|Ralph Lauren flagship store, Paris|
A couple of months ago, to much fanfare, Ralph Lauren opened his huge Parisian flagship store on the boulevard St Germain, complete with an American fine dining restaurant (apparently not an oxymoron), Ralph's. This week, I checked out the bar attached to the restaurant with Paris' cocktail maven extraordinaire, the wonderfully monikered Forest Collins. Forest researches bars around the capital and when she's not busy sharing her secrets with journalists around the world, she writes up her findings on her blog, 52 martinis. The concept of her blog is that every week, she goes to a bar, samples their martini and then their house special. And when Forest asks me if I'd like to accompany her on a research mission, I'm only too happy to help. So, we ordered and analysed a couple of cocktails through the course of the evening, giggled over the awfully translated drinks menu, eavesdropped on the swanky drinkers next to us talking about some film project for which they needed Megan Fox, nibbled away on the delicious bar snacks, and eyed up the super preppy decor (red roses, tartan and horse pictures galore).
I'll leave you to read Forest's more detailed review to find out how Ralph's compares to the capital's other bars from a cocktail connoisseur's point of view, but I can tell you that I, as just a general gal about town, was pleasantly surprised. The cosy wood-paneled bar looks onto an interior courtyard, and it's an intimate, luxurious setting that feels like you could be at Ralph's pad in the Hamptons. I would recommend it for an upscale drink (€15 for a classic cocktail), be it for a romantic date, a drink for a special occasion with a couple of friends, or indeed a highly enjoyable research mission with Paris' number one cocktail expert...