The iconic Hemingway Bar Paris at the Ritz Hotel has been on my bucket list for a while. I want to perch on a bar stool or relax in a tufted leather armchair exactly where Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald conversed and soak up their literary brilliance.
Perhaps it is Hemingway’s infamous words “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a movable feast.” from his iconic book about Paris that is calling me to the Bar Hemingway, as it is called in French.
On a chilly November night, while standing in the elegant Place Vendôme admiring the glittering Christmas lights, my Swiss friend and I decided to experience first-hand the Hemingway Bar Paris.
We walk through the Ritz Hotel hallways leading to the far side of the hotel under suspended golden stars feeling a luxuriant and warm vibe.
As we wander the corridors peeking into magnificent rooms and admiring the showcases with Ritz items for sale, my mind flits back to the book I read last winter, The Hotel on Place Vendome: Life, Death, and Betrayal at the Hotel Ritz in Paris. I imagine the notorious German figures of Hermann Goering and Joseph Goebbels, who had official living quarters in the hotel during the Nazi occupation of Paris, marching down this very hallway.
I think of Ernest Hemingway arriving in front of the hotel, gun in hand, to free the Ritz from the Germans. When informed that the Germans had long gone, and he was unable to enter the hotel with firearms, Hemingway put the gun down and walked through the hotel to the little bar at the back where he proceeded to drink 51 martinis! At least, that’s how the story goes.
When Elsbeth and I are finally ushered into the tiny Hemingway Bar Paris my jaw drops. Packed with Hemingway memorabilia, my eyes scan the small room. Photos line the walls, each one telling a story worth knowing. This Bar Hemingway Ritz immediately feels legendary.
We are tucked into a corner of the Hemingway Bar Paris rubbing elbows with his infamous typewriter and welcomed by the famous bartender Colin Field who, with his warm regard, offers the assurance that he will mix us the perfect cocktail.
The Hemingway Bar Paris Menu: The Star
With the Hemingway bar menu, the Hemingway Star, in hand, the fun begins. Each cocktail is a story unto itself, recounted in a newspaper-style menu amidst photos of Hemingway. One could spend a few hours just perusing this Ritz Paris bar menu and dreaming of which drinks to enjoy.
Certain drinks are alluring. The traveller in me wants to try “The Last Train to Shanghai” an Orient-Express style cocktail made with gin and Bual/Madera and a drop of secret exotic burned orange bitters.
Or possibly I should dive into the martini world with “The Clean Dirty Martini,” apparently the best Martini in the world with its taste of olives and a frozen cube of olive juice.
Cocktails At The Hemingway Bar Ritz Paris
I’ve become a bit of a champagne lover living in Paris. Apparently so was Ernest Hemingway who once said, “If I have any money, I can’t think of any better way of spending it than on Champagne.” I concur. The Champagne bottles range from €150 – €1200 at the Hemingway Bar Paris so this time, I opt for a cocktail.
What I didn’t see at the time (there is a lot to digest on the menu) was that there are five different Champagne Cocktails. I’m coming back for “Miss Bond,” a champagne cocktail with the essence of raspberry, reminiscent of a kir.
Elsbeth decides on “The Serendipity Cocktail,” a Hemingway Bar house cocktail since 1994. This delight is made with Calvados from Normandy, fresh mint, apple juice from Normandy and Champagne.
I order the Margarita. I’ve never been asked for my preference for the salted rim. I go with the suggestion of French lemon salt. It’s the most delicious Margarita I have ever tasted and I’ve had plenty!
The old-world charm in the Hemingway Bar Paris invites you to sit back, relax in your leather armchair, and stay a couple of hours. The elegant drinks arrive, a pink rose in full bloom adorning each glass. Our smiles are wide. We dive into deep conversation sipping our deluxe cocktails and nibbling on the ever-replenished bar snacks.
Head on over to The Hemingway Bar Paris where the drinks will take a little bite out of your budget at €34 each. You’ll walk away with a smile and a story to tell about your first apéro at the Hemingway Bar Paris.
If you’re looking for a romantic evening, the Hemingway Bar Paris might be your place. It’s listed in my article on the 45 most romantic places in Paris. Would you agree?
The Hemingway Bar Paris: Practicalities
Bar Hemingway Hours: Open Daily 5:30 pm – 00:30 am.
Location: 38 rue Cambon, 75001 Paris
Phone: +33 1 43 16 33 74
Closest Métro Stations: Opéra, Tuileries, Madeleine, Havre-Caumartin
Do You Need A Reservation At The Hemingway Bar Paris?
There are no reservations taken at the Ritz Paris Bar Hemingway. There are only 25 seats, mostly leather armchairs, in the Ritz Bar so prepare to line up. It’s well worth it!
Are You An Ernest Hemingway Fan?
Where do you fall on the Hemingway fan wagon?
Plan A Day Around The Hemingway Bar Paris
Spend a Day at the Ritz Hotel:
- Take a cooking class at the Escoffier Ritz Cooking School. I had an outstanding experience when I took my class. Read about my full cooking class experience. Head over after your cooking class for a cocktail at the Hemingway Bar Paris!
- Have tea in the Salon Proust in the afternoon and then head on over for opening time at the Hemingway Bar Paris!
- Stop by Ritz Paris Le Comptoir for a delectable pastry by François Perret. There are a few tables in the café, Le Comptoir, on rue Cambon. Of course, Le Comptoir made it into my list of best pâtisseries in Paris!
Books About The Ritz Hotel Paris
- Coco At The Ritz: A Novel by Gioia Diliberto
- All The Ways We Said Good-bye: A Novel of The Ritz Paris by Beatriz Williams
- Mistress of the Ritz: A Novel by Melanie Benjamin
- Ritz and Escoffier: The Hotelier, The Chef, and The Rise of the Leisure Class by Luke Barr
- Ritz Paris: Haute Cuisine by Michel Roth
- French Pastry at The Ritz Paris by François Perret
I hope you enjoy your cocktail(s) at the Ritz Paris Hemingway Bar as much as I did.
Until next time,
More Travel Info…
Paris Travel Resources
All my Paris resources are right here on this page.
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If you are going further afield in France, make sure to check out my page on France.