Hidden bars are popular in Paris: the Beef Club, Moonshiner etc and they are fun at first given the novelty factor of entering the restaurant like you own the place, walking to the unmarked door, pushing it open and entering the secret drinking den. I had wanted to go to Candelaria for a long time and finally went with a friend and decided that maybe I had judged it unfairly so promised to go back for a solo apéro – ha!
The front entrance of Candelaria is a Mexican eaterie or should I just say it serves tacos. I arrived at 20h on a Friday night and to use the adjective, popular, to describe it would be an understatement. The one large table was taken at the front and all the seats at the bar as well and there was a queue of people lined up against the wall waiting for those at the bar to finish. The unmarked white door at the back leads to the bar but to get to it is a Herculean task. Thank goodness I have taken to using clutches when I go out in the evening as I wriggled my way between the standers and the sitters and had icy glares thrown at me that I matched back. One woman positively snorted derision as I pushed past her and I flippantly threw back in her direction “I’m not here for food”. Finally, a small glass of sweat later I was at the white door and I stepped into the darkness.
The bar was packed full of people, every single chair and table was taken. Here is what I like in a bar – seats, no music or if there is music strictly at a background noise level and light. You can call me old fashioned but I actually like to be to see what’s on the menu, what I am ordering without having to squint or be forced to use the torch function on my iphone to read the menu. Yes it is that dark and I have 20/20 vision – enough said!
Les Verres/ Drinks
This is the perfect place to come on a date with someone you aren’t sure about: everyone looks good in the dark. What is that line in Rhianna’s Umbrella song: you can’t see shiny cars in the dark. You can’t see sweet FA in Candelaria let alone the drink in your hand. As I decided whether or not I was going to order something – I just thought no I can’t be bothered and left. Let me add that the cocktails here are good – I ordered some cocktail the last time with my friend that had cactus in it and it was amazing. However, I just couldn’t be bothered to push my way to the bar on this occasion so I left.
If you are looking for a little taco and cocktail action in a dimly lit hidden bar then this is the place for you. Try and come early and grab a seat – I am sure sitting down makes all the difference!
Where? 52 rue de Saintogne, 75003 Paris
How? Line 8 (Filles du Calvaire)
Open when? The bar 18h to 2am but food is served from midday until around 22h