Paris – 1st arrondissement
Along with the Ritz, you might call Harry's the most iconic bar in all of Paris. There since 1911, it's hosted everyone from Ernest Hemingway to Coco Chanel, and Rita Hayworth to Humphrey Bogart. Even the fictional James Bond recalled having a drink at Harry's in Ian Fleming's 1960 story "A View to Kill". It's said that the Bloody Mary, Sidecar, and French 75 were all invented at 15 Rue Daunou, as well. Simply put: you can't go to Paris and not have a cocktail at Harry's. Especially considering you can get a hotdog with mustard and relish while you sip your drink.
If the Bloody Mary and Sidecar were invented at Harry's, then—as a dedicated student of cocktail history—that's exactly what I was going to have. One of each, please. The bartenders at Harry's are also top notch. They're very relaxed, friendly, and reminiscent of something you'd expect in the 1940s. Our guy hummed a little tune as he casually made our drinks.
Don't like cocktails? Then don't get one, but please—for God's sake, please—order one of the several hundred shots of whisky available at Harry's. Not just current release stuff either, but old relics from the 50s, 60s, and 70s, too! The prices are more than reasonable. I had a large pour of ancient Ballantine's 17 year for about $18. If only most blended whisky still tasted that good.
If Harry's hot dogs aren't enough to soak up all that hooch in your stomach, then walk about half a kilometer down the Rue des Petit Champs and hit up Hokkaido: the best bang for your buck we have found anywhere inside the city limits. The ramen is more than legit; it's top notch and it comes with seven pieces of fried gyoza. Add in a bottle of rosé de Provance and make it a decadent experience. We paid forty euros for two steaming bowls plus fourteen savory gyoza and a large volume of wine. We were very happy with this place, as was everyone else because it was packed.