a craft cocktail oasis
For a culture centered on epicurean enjoyment, the French have been slow to the cocktail game outside of Paris. Some say it’s because booze isn’t a traditional tipple. The lack of an essential ingredient, ice, is a factor, and with all that good wine, can you blame them? Others lament that the sugary concoctions of the 90’s (see: Sex On The Beach) have left a bad taste in France's mouth. Luckily, there's nothing but palate pleasers at Gaspard.
Edouard Giribone and Gregoire Hessmann, the hipster duo behind Bar de la Relève and Café de l’Abbaye, bring their knack at creating convivial, buzzworthy spots to Gaspard. This lovely little liquor lounge adheres to the recipe of Great Cocktail Bars: bartenders who boast an encyclopedic knowledge of booze + thoughtfully crafted drinks + a stylish setting to set the mood. What makes Gaspard marseillais is how it pours world-class drinks without a whiff of pretense. Here’s why you need to belly up to Marseille’s best cocktail bar – and one of my own personal top ten.
Gaspard has some of the friendliest bunch of bartenders I’ve come across. Like the local sun, they radiate welcoming warmth, instead of the martini-esque chill of certain smug mixologists. Helmed by Ben Colombani, a talent poached from London’s Connaught who looks too young to drink legally, Gaspard’s staff educate as they intoxicate. They are happy to teach you the difference between dark rum and rhum agricole or give you a taste of yuzu, the flavorful Japanese citrus clementine and lemon lovechild. These mix-maestros infuse passion and nerdy knowhow into each drink they pour.
Gaspard’s cocktails are complex, balanced, beautifully executed creations. The menu features both original concoctions and their spin on the classics, like a Last Word, an elegant sipper of gin and green Chartreuse, the magical herbal elixir crafted by French monks.
You are also invited to order a bespoke beverage based on your choice of booze and predilections. When I ask for “gin” and “vegetal”, Ben shakes up sage, gin, cucumber, and ginger juice, topped with nose-tickling sprouts and served in a frosty copper mug. My request for “tequila” and “refreshing in a non-margarita way” results in an intriguing, spicy medley of tequila, cucumber, coriander seed syrup, and an alcohol infused with an Old Bay-esque seasoning sourced from a nearby fish restaurant. This drink is inspired by La Guépe Vert from Paris’ list-topping Mexican taqueria Candaleria, a nod of respect to the bartender brotherhood.
Gaspard is retro tiki chic, with palm tree wallpaper, brass pineapples, and a bar that resembles a fish tank topped in speckled, oceanic blues. Edouard’s mom, Annick Lestrohan, of nearby home decor boutique Honoré is the brains behind the beautiful design – her gorgeous net lamps above the bar glow like jellyfish at night. Nab a bar stool underneath them to witness cocktail crafting up close, grab a table on the cozy mezzanine, or a seat on the outside terrace to watch scooters buzz by.
In case you get hungry, bites are offered nightly, like the winning combo of guacamole, melted cheese, and spicy chips. I lucked out with a truffled jambon, raclette, and pickles for the bocadillo du jour - this French take on a Cuban sandwich is a tasty way to soak up the booze.
Like a well-balanced cocktail, Gaspard’s staff, sips, and style harmoniously blend together to make a delicious bar that goes down easily. Let's drink, er trinque, to that!
tip A new menu every month means 12x your drinking pleasure.
fyi Teetotalers, expecting moms and non-drinkers rejoice! Gaspard also makes a mean mocktail.
nearby Limone, Madame Jeanne, Cave á Papilles
hours M - Sa 19h - 1h
7, boulevard Notre Dame
Palais de Justice/Saint Victor