After all the fun in Paris, this week we headed down to Lyon, the gateway to the glorious South of France.
Our first port of call was Le Comptoir de la Bourse, an outstanding bar that stands out for more reasons than its solid crimson exterior in a typical ‘off white’French street. This bar is all about fun. There is a great selection of high grade spirits, bartenders who know their business and an ambiance that demands a smile. The on-street furniture is relaxed and reminiscent of a beach club, while the interior is retro chic at its most flamboyant. There are crushed velvet thrones, sweeping sofas and a mix of bold ‘60s colours. The only thing missing was Austin Powers.
There are very few bars in the world that can list their whiskies by region as well as country. There are over 50 different types of Scotch alone and just wait until you see the list of rums! As you can imagine, with that ample selection of spirits and liqueurs, the cocktail menu is extensive with tremendous opportunities for subtle twists on flavours. If you have the time, go for the €38 Luxury Experience, a selection of cocktails by the Chef Barman, that depends on your tastes and his inspiration on the day.
Le Comptoir de la Bourse, 33 Rue de la Bourse, 69002, Lyon
Could Lyon be any further from Ayers Rock, that large lump of stone that sits in the middle of the Aussie Outback? A few blokes from down under have been partying in Lyon since 1997 and may just challenge your thinking. The Ayers Rock Cafe is a small piece of Australia right in the heart of France. In fact there are two Ayers Rocks in Lyon, Ayers Rock Downtown and the Ayers Rock Boat. We opted for a night downtown and we were not disappointed.
This is a real Aussie experience, loud, brash and a lot of high energy fun. It is unashamedly Anglo Saxon from the bartenders to the beer. Yes you can get a VB but there is more than a little French in there to take the edge off. The bar is well stocked with liqueurs and spirits and the classic cocktails are as good as you will find anywhere. Many of our companions that evening were experimenting with a variety of liqueurs; sipping straight up, over ice or as shots between beers. On more than one occasion that night, memories of happy evenings in Sydney came flooding back. This is a real party bar.
Ayers Rock, 4 Rue Desiree, 69001, Lyon
Our final bar on this visit was L’Antiquaire, another great find and totally different to the other two. This is a 20s style speakeasy with more than a little Gallic flare and the emphasis is back on cocktails. There are barrel aged cocktails on the bar and some unique specials on the menu, it’s a tough choice only eased by some smooth jazz playing in the background. If you can’t make a decision just ask the guys behind the bar for what you really fancy and the chances are they’ll make it for you, just the way you like.
This is a cosy, relaxed, intimate bar. It is not hung up on the speakeasy theme, rather it sets the stage for a sophisticated evening of sheer indulgence. We loved it!
L’Antiquaire, 20 Rue Hippolyte Flandrin, 69001, Lyon