After visiting Le Syndicat earlier in the evening, our plan was to grab some tacos at the front facing half of Candelaria, when our friend Matt suggested instead a place he’d been wanting to try ever since he moved here.
Reluctantly, we agreed (as I’ve heard those tacos are wonderful), but it ended up being a happy surprise, as his suggestion ended up being Le Mary Celeste – which is owned by the same group as Candelaria, and was actually #57 on the 2016 Best Bars List.
Everything we had was excellent from the oysters, broccoli, to thai spiced Chicken to the fantastic, not-too-sweet rhubarb dessert.
Le Mary Celeste is right around the corner, so I felt it worth mentioning that if you’re in the area, it’s definitely worth checking out.
First Impressions of Candelaria
Having been around for 8 years now, Candelaria is one of the original cocktail bars that started putting Paris on the map as a place worth visiting for the cocktails, on top of just the food and wine.
I knew it was in the back of the taco shop, so I just kind of took a shot in the dark and walked through the packed taqueria, and pushed against the only area in the room that could possibly be a door – and fortunately entered a dark speakeasy style bar, that felt cool without being pretentious.
We had a reservation for 3 of us, and decided to forgo the table to snag the three open seats at the bar.
One thing about Candelaria is, it’s dark if you go after sundown. So the photos from the bar? Not the greatest.
When I told people I was coming to Paris, all of my cocktail inclined friends seemed to be most familiar with Candelaria. A few had been there, and all had great things to say, so I was looking forward to trying it for myself.
The Drinks at Candelaria in Paris
After perusing the menu, my first thought was to go with the Oaxcan Old Fashioned, as when it’s made well, it’s one of my favorite drinks out there.
However on a second consideration of the menu, I opted for something a little rogue and went with the Pensa en Mi.
A collection of gin, chartreuse, creme de cacao, a couple other ingredients I can’t pronounce, and creme fraiche.
Something about it just intrigued me, and boy am I glad I ordered it.
Served with a little oatmeal cookie on top, the drink was excellent. It had a creamy sweetness, that while subtle, still tasted fantastic.
Everything worked out in the end, as my friend Matt ordered the aforementioned Old Fashioned. It was less sweet and more spirit forward than other variations I’ve had, and was served straight up, rather than over a cube.
Tate had the Pais Tropical in keeping with her theme of getting whatever the closest thing to a tiki drink on offering was, and it was very good, if not a little champagne heavy towards the end.
The other star of the show at Candelaria is their La Guepe Verde, which was essentially a spicy margarita. However it had a depth of flavor, and complexity that you simply don’t usually get with a margarita.
Final Thoughts on Candelaria Paris
It’s easy to see why Candelaria is such a legend in the Paris and global cocktail scene.
The drinks were creative and well executed.
The vibe is cool and memorable.
And the staff couldn’t have been nicer and more accommodating.
The manager even gave me a detailed list of all of her other favorite Paris cocktail bars to visit!
With all of that being said, while everything was very good, I found a few of the other bars to have more unique and memorable drinks.
While the vibe is super cool at Candelaria, I think I preferred the drinks I had at Danico more.
This should still be near the top of any Paris itinerary, and for the less cocktail initiated who just want a cool and memorable experience? Candelaria will provide that better than just about any of the other bars we visited in Paris.