Thursday, 10 June 2010

Harry's New York Bar, Paris

Joe Donohue
HARRY'S NEW YORK BAR in Paris is our favorite place in the whole world. Yes, the WHOLE world. It’s a haven if you want to drink, listen to music, meet friends, write your novel or just sit. The people that work there are extremely nice, and always remember us from year to year. It’s not stuffy - great décor with old wooden tables and pennants from various U.S. universities and teams tacked to the wall and hanging from the ceiling. Harry’s has an amazing history - it was a favourite of Hemingway, Gershwin and Bogart to name a few. It’s the bar where the Bloody Mary was invented. They serve peanuts and hot dogs (if you go early enough), and lots of alcohol! My husband, Joe, had an exhibition of his (fabulous) photographs in the piano bar and it was all a thrill. Couldn’t have gone better. As a matter of fact, we’re hoping to join the IBF(International Barflies). Maybe we're already members seeing as we've been going there for 30 years.

BUT….don’t be fooled! There are other “Harry’s New York Bars” in other cities including Manhattan, Berlin, and Montreux. The one in Montreux has a DRESS CODE. What? In Harry’s? I still have to check out these other locations, but I can tell you with certainty,  the Harry’s that opened in Montreal many years back wasn’t Harry’s at all. It was a restaurant with formal looking table cloths and had, what they call, ‘ambiance’. I think not. Needless to say, they’re no longer open insulting us by using the name.

My recommendation –run, don’t walk, to 5, Rue Daunou in Paris. You won’t regret it. Tell them I said hello.


  1. Great piece on Harry's. Like you, I've been going there for a long time, though it has been quite a while since my last visit. I have always called it my home-away-from-home in Paris. Some of the greatest conversations I've ever had were with perfect strangers at Harry's. I never knew Harry (I'm not THAT old), but his son and grandson (Andy and Duncan) were dear friends of mine. In fact, it was Duncan who made me an IBFer many years ago.
    By the way, the Harry's Bars in Montreux and Berlin, plus a couple of other places, are either owned or franchised by the Paris bar.
    Don't know when my next trip will be, but perhaps we'll be there at the same time. I suspect we could swap some very good stories about the place. I'm sure you remember Guy, Roger and Philippe behind the bar.
    As Andy would say,
    Michael W. Stewart
    Tuscaloosa, Alabama (USA)

  2. Paris and Harry's, Harry's and Paris. You can't think of one without the other! You're so lucky you're an official IBF! I hope we do meet in Harry's one day. My heart hurts just thinking of what's going on there without us! Thanks for the nice note Michael! Cheers and sante!