From the client point of view “I don’t come for the drinks; I come to be looked after” - 1883 Maison Routin

Alexandra lives several lives. 

She is an antiques dealer (@unjour_unevieillerie) with a boutique in Paris; she is a community manager and trainer (her principal profession); she is a writer of a new genre (@alexandriane); and she is a fan of cocktails (@alcoolismemondain). And when asked what she expects when she enters a bar, her answer is clear and unhesitating: “I don’t come for the drinks. I come to be looked after.”

She explains: a high-quality drink is already a prerequisite. “I am not a technical geek, and as a client I don’t really get to see the products that go into my drink, even if some of the bottles are lined up on the shelf behind the bar. When you’re seated at a table and someone serves you a drink, you don’t think only about what’s in the glass. However, the product is not enough in itself. It can even seem pretentious and snobbish. What I am looking for when I come into an establishment – whether a cocktail bar or a local pub – is the full package, the atmosphere. I always sit at the bar and take in the experience. I catch glimpses of daily life, watching people interact around me. That is what I am actually drinking in. A social experience.”

That’s probably because Alexandra is one of those customers who comes in for conversation. She usually comes in with no more than two or three people. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have the same expectations or approach, since a larger group is socially self-sufficient. On her own, she can speak with the professionals behind the bar. With other patrons seated around her. What she expects is to be welcomed. Truly welcomed. She wants the team to take an interest in her, speak with her, and – as she says – for “something to happen.” She explains that the head bartender at one of her favourite cocktail bars, Thierry, is incredibly perceptive. He senses her mood. He never ignores her. And he takes care of everyone in the rather small room in just the same way. That is something that probably requires a certain maturity as a bartender. 

In choosing an establishment, she looks for a laid-back atmosphere, and she doesn’t have preconceived notions. Some time ago, before attending a show, she stepped into a bistro across from the venue. Just a local watering hole. She ordered a margarita. Just to see how it would be. And the cocktail was perfect! She thought about it throughout the entire show, and she returned to have another one afterwards. She told the young server that she had been thinking about it for two hours. She and her friends took a seat and enjoyed the rest of the evening there. A quarrel broke out at another table. One of the individuals left and came to stand at the bar. She was a musician. Together they spoke and laughed, and Alexandra promised to attend her upcoming concert. She found exactly what she had come in search of: atypical, somewhat peculiar snippets of life. “In times of crisis, you’re not looking for something ordinary when you go out; you are looking for an exceptional experience in every sense of the term.” And that is what Alexandra seeks out when she enters a café or bar.

Her favourite hangouts of the moment:

-Le Calbar for a cocktail (@lecalbar)

-The Green Goose for a beer or authentic Irish coffee (@thegreengooseparis)

-Les Enfants de la Balle for a coffee (lesenfantsdelaballe75020)

-L’Églantine for its terrace (@leglantinebistrot)

Her first cocktail bar experience: at a speakeasy in New York City. Honourable mention: the American-style service.