Les Tilleuls, 32 rue Saint-Pierre Saint Paul

Sunday 20th December
11.30 am

It’s Wazemmes market time! I am heavy with a roast chicken and a cheap multi-colored tableclothe. I just want to sit down and have a beer and a fag to reward myself for being awake so early in the morning.

I go to Les Tilleuls at the corner of the market place. I have been there just once a few months go and I kept a good memory of this place, especially because I was at a table outside the café on a sunny day. But this time it’s not the same, it’s -10 degree and the tables are covered with snow.

Fortunately, the inside is not that different from the outside: everybody is smoking! Like Granny Sophie says, it’s one of those typical Wazemmes places where the Evin law does not lay down the law! I light my fag and think « It feels so good to be a rebel! »

The place is small but full of people of all age gathered around beers, exactly what I was looking for. Prices are normal, around 3,30 Euros for a beer. The interior design is simple but enough: green and yellow wallpaper and some old ads.

I will think about it more often after my Wazemmes shopping.

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La Pirogue, 16 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Friday 11th December

23.45pm

Where am I going to start my night? Let’s have a look at La Pirogue, a cocktail bar specialized in rum I was told about a few days ago.

It’s almost midnight when I reach the pub at he bottom of a small street. First thought: « How on hell can I enter this place?!». There are masses of people smoking outside and gathering around the bar inside. I can barely make my way through the crowd, and I hope I won’t have to stay up all night long. Fortunately there’s one free table remaining.

Now that I am sitting I can look up to the nice African interior design. There are African masks, bamboos, Jamaican flags, fresco paintings representing the history of slavery… As an incidental music, there is Carribbean music, such as zouk, reggae, soca… Pleasant change of scenery!

Time to have a drink, the rum-based cocktails are not expensive, prices go from 4 to 6 Euros. Even if I’m not a great rum fan, I try the Swing Punch, made of blood orange and rum. Small quantity but good quality! It tastes good but I guess two glasses would be enough to get drunk. I am told to try the Zazou, the most famous cocktail here but I’d rather let it to rum experts.

I really like this original place, waiters are welcoming, the atmosphere is easy-going and this time I don’t feel old at all. I’ll definitely come back!

Drugstore Café, 21 Rue Royale

Saturday 5th December

9.30pm

It’s Saturday night, I am hanging around downtown and I am thinking “Damn, I haven’t started my English blog yet! I definitely have to try a new pub tonight…homework are so hard”.

I decide to head toward an area I don’t go very often because of the fancy atmosphere I don’t like there: the Old Town. I stop at the beginning of “rue Royale”, at the Drugstore Café, attracted by the seventies interior design. (Of course it’s not a real “pub” but let’s say this blog deals with all kind of bars)

The place is quite small, but I really like the decoration, posters of cult films such as Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction or Hitchcock’s Birds, and of major singers like Jimmy Hendrix, Franz Ferdinand or the Beatles. The red lights and multi colored polka-dot wallpaper make the place warm and welcoming. I go upstairs and sit down on one of those typical seventies chair, nice but really uncomfortable.

I appreciate the mood music too, a bit of jazz, folk, rock… Every Thursday, the bar organizes concerts of folk music that take place in a nice basement for 4 Euros.

First look on the menu, I am obviously in a cocktail bar, there is a large choice of cocktails which prices go from 6 to 10 Euros. Unfortunately my wallet allows me to have only a white Martini (4 Euros) nicely presented though. I note that there is a happy hour everyday from 2 pm to 9 pm all the cocktails cost 6 Euros.

While having a look around me I realize I am surrounded by floppy-fringed teenagers drinking wine. Suddenly I feel old. The clientele is a bit more various later, but the average age remains around 20.

Finally, even if the Drugstore rather looks like a bar for posh teenagers, I would maybe come back a Thursday to see if the ambiance worth it when there’s a concert.

An afternoon bar

Le « Ici » is a small place that is not much to look at, located on Rue d’Inkerman, on the right pedestrian when coming from place de la République. From outside, it looks like to any dingy, crummy pub but this one has something more, even if it is actually pretty difficult to define what it is exactly. Maybe the strange pieces of art hanged on walls give this kind of absurd, out of phase with reality feeling that make it precisely different enough from the average pub and so, interesting.

First of all, I have to tell a word about the bartender – by the way i think that bartenders quite often play a big part in the pub atmosphere-. I am especially keen on him because he is an unkempt-haired and tired-faced man who always looks like as if he just woke up, and seems to be wondering what he is doing behind this desk and who are those people coming to order drinks. For people who know the French character, he has something of Gaston Lagaffe.

To the question when to go there, I would say that it is an afternoon pub, nice for having a coffee – or a pastis for some people I know- and a small chat at 2 pm. It is also the place where to go when you want to read a bit or study but you can’t concentrate home at your university library that looks like to a soviet bunker.

Out of curiosity, next spring when demonstration will spread around France, you might go there and have a look, just for the folklore. As it is situated at the arrival point of the cortège, and as after demonstrating the average unionist is thirsty, the pub is full of them, drinking and talking loud about what to change in the world… it has an indescribable taste!!

Granny Sophie becomes nostalgic !

I have to admit that we have not been exactly active on this blog until now. I also have to say that since September, I didn’t find that much time to hang around in pubs. Still, having been living in Lille for 4 years now, with a two-years interruption for travelling, I had time to visit some pubs and for an first post I wanted to say something about my first experiments in Lille’s pubs.

It takes place in Wazemmes, and more specifically around the sunday morning market place. Pubs there have this typical atmosphere of « not giving-up ». The law forbidding smoking passed but we won’t give our right to smoke in. People there are just against. Against what ? Right wing, left-wing way of doing, politics, rich people in general but especially the « rich beaches » from the old town, the most unbearable one. Yet, they are not against everything, they are for a fairer world, for smoking weed without being bothered by the police… well you will have understood it, a group of utopians building a better world beer after beer, night afer night. Wazemmes pubs also have this feature that you can’t go there just for one drink. Because once there, you will get into some discussion and some glasses full of beer will arrive on the table, and more discussions, more beer, the closing time is over ? No matter, the bartender will just close the curtain and it can goes on until the morning.

The one I have spent the most of my evenings and free afternoon, the second year I was in Lille, is « Le Relax ». It is on the corner between la rue des Sarrazins et la place de la Nouvelle Aventure. Wazemmes is a district where there are a lot of migrants, and on some afternoon if you are lucky, you might hear a quite instructive part of French history you won’t find in official books. Party evenings often started like this, with « just a beer to calm down after the school » it finished quite often at 3a.m. I remember on Sunday evening « la bande à Paulo » was coming to play some music.

I came back there only once after my two years in northern Europe. Regular customers did not change that much and I had the weird impression of going back to my past. Let say that I probably changed more than I thought.

Introduction & apologizes

Hi everybody!

Welcome to our lately beginning blog where you might have spent more time than us until now but we are going to change that !

As you probably already know our blog is untitled « Pubtaste » and we are going to test pubs in Lille in order to tell you how they taste.

Don’t hesitate to indicate us some good places if you know any. We will try to propose pubs in various areas with different atmosphere that are not situated in the so-called « Rue de la Soif » that everybody knows.

To be more efficient we will make three groups of one person. We are pleased to introduce ourselves :

Poshy Charly will tell you everything about the trendy fancy places of the heart of the old town, far away from the popular slum.

Freshly arrived in Lille, the Fickle Aline will flutter from place to place in order to report her good discoveries as well as her disappointments to you.

Granny Sophie, already in Lille for quite many years, will go on a dig and try to find for you forgotten places in the city’s dark corners.

Don’t be too impatient and enjoy!

NB: The abuse of alcohol is dangerous for your health!

Hi everybody!

Welcome to our lately beginning blog where you might have spend more time than us until now but we are going to change that !

As you probably already know our blog is untitled « Pubtaste » and we are going to test pubs in Lille in order to tell you how they taste.

Don’t hesitate to indicate us some good places if you know any. We will try to propose pubs in various areas with different atmosphere that are not situated in the so-called « Rue de la Soif » that everybody knows.

To be more efficient we will make three groups of one person. We are pleased to introduce ourselves :

Poshy Charly will tell you everything about the trendy fancy places of the heart of the old town, far away from the popular slum.

Freshly arrived in Lille, the Fickle Aline will flutter from place to place in order to report her good discoveries as well as her disappointments to you.

Granny Sophie, already in Lille for quite many years, will go on a dig and try to find for you forgotten places in the city’s dark corners.

Don’t be too impatient and enjoy!

NB: The abuse of alcohol is dangerous for your health!

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