Located at 5, rue Daunou 75002 or SANK ROO DOE NOO, Harry’s New York Bar, unlike its name would suggest, is one of the most famous bars in Paris. It is located in the 2nd arrondissement, very close to the Opéra Garnier. It is well known to be the birthplace of the famous Bloody Mary (1921), although to be fair there are multiple conflicting claims as to who really invented the Bloody Mary.
In 1911, former American star horse racing jockey Tod Sloan dismantled a bar in NY and shipped it to Paris. The bar was opened on November 26, 1911, and was run by Harry MacElhone, from Dundee, Scotland. In 1923 he bought the bar and called it Harry’s New York Bar. Several generations of MacElhone succeeded one another in this mythical place, and the current owner is Isabelle MacElhone.
Over the years, many famous artists and celebrities such as Hemingway, Coco Chanel, Rita Hayworth, Humphrey Bogart, Sartre, etc. came to Harry’s New York Bar to taste the most famous cocktails in the world, some of which were created here.
Underneath the main bar, a piano bar called the “Ivories” with an intimate atmosphere starts playing live music after 10 pm until 2 or 3 am. Cocktails, music, and a muted atmosphere … what an attractive combination!
It is at this very same “Ivories” Piano Bar that George Gershwin composed An American in Paris.
Harry’s is the fief of American expats. Harry’s conducts a straw poll before each US presidential election, and customers who provide proof of US citizenship can vote in the poll. The results have mirrored every election, except twice, since the poll began in 1924. I wonder if the 2016 elections will match Harry’s votes.
Old-fashioned place: brown bench seats, walls made of dark wood paneling, and a beautiful molded ceiling. Mix of US College pennants and English University solemnity decorate the walls. Different countries banknotes and an unlimited choice of bottles decorate the wall behind the bar.
The cocktail selection at Harry’s is incredible: Gin, Vodka, Rum, Tequila, – any with all kinds of alcohol and juices blend together is delicious assortments. Regardless of your preferences, you are sure to find your happiness. And if you don’t know what you want exactly, the bartender will kindly guide you in your choice.
Needless to say, soft juice cocktails are also available.
One of my favorites is “Harry’s pick me up,” with Cognac, orange juice, grenadine, champagne and Grand Marnier.
“Hot Basil” is not bad at all – Vodka based with Stolichnaya Hot, lime, and basil.
With my friends we’ve tasted so many cocktails, it’s hard to keep track of all of them, especially after so many successful tastings.
Buccaneer, Bellini “de luxe”, Harry’s Ti punch, Pina Colada, Swimming-pool, … and of course the Bloody Mary, with just the perfect amount of vodka and spices. All tasty and so colorful!
To make this place even more American, only hotdogs with mustard and ketchup are served for snacks.
Harry’s New York bar is a very popular bar; if you arrive after 6pm the place is already packed. The atmosphere is very nice and worth it even if you have to drink your cocktail standing at the bar while waiting for a table to open up.