For those who acquaint themselves with a city by the pulse of its live music, Paris can leave the average punter a little cold. Openied in 2008 and located close to Rue Oberkampf, in the heart of the 11th arrondisment, The International Bar is something of a revelation for the local Parisian live music scene. It hosts two bands a night, every night of the week, completely free of charge with relatively cheap drinks and a laid back atmosphere. The music runs the gamut from rock, electro, folk, pop and world and still manages to maintain a distinctly cool DIY attitude and Indie swagger.The crowd is as eclectic as the music styles but is becoming increasingly popular with young dressed down hipsters, students and ex-pats. Most come for the 4 euro pints at happy hour (finishing at 9pm) and stay on for the free live music. The bar stays open until 2am during the week and until 4am on the weekends. After the bands finish, DJ’s play an eclectic mix of everything from Prince to Joy Division to Lauren Hill.
The space accommodates two separate bars each with their own ambiance. The ground floor bar is warmly lit with rough concrete flooring and simple furnishings. Stencil art and posters hang on the walls along with video projections and abstract sculptures lending it the feel of a messy artist’s studio or co-location. The downstairs bar is a 200+ capacity band room with a low ceiling and the ubiquitous sticky carpets and dark corners that typifies rock’n’roll.The drink selection includes cocktails and tap beers as well as a couple of decent wines. For snacks, the upstairs bar also does a nice trade in hotdogs and will serve up free popcorn and chips/crisps during happy hour.From Champs-Elysee to Montmartre there is no shortage of expensive clubs and bars with DJ’s spinning the latest dance music for an increasingly bovine audience but if you feel more in the mood to enjoy a beer, catch up with friends and see a local French band then head down to The International Bar.
The International Bar
5/7 Rue Moret, 11th
Metro: Menilmontant (2), Parmentier, Rue St Maur (3)