The Beerdeaux proper pint guide by Bordeaux Expats
The Bordeaux Expats page is an info-site that covers the full spectrum of local events, associations and businesses with the aim of helping and linking-up Bordeaux’s international community. We offer useful local tips to visitors, newcomers and long-termers as well as running a blog that acts as a platform to promote expat businesses and post interviews or articles. Contributions are most welcome!
Cutting straight to the chase, here’s an expat guide on where to grab a decent pint in the posh wine capital…
Believe it or not, brewing has a long and illustrious history in Bordeaux. The Fischer brewery branched out from Alsace in 1806 to set up the Grande Brasserie de l’Atlantique on the banks of the Garonne (Quai de Brienne on the site of the new Jean-Jacques Bosc bridge) and used Bordeaux as a base for exporting beers to the colonies and beyond. They ran stalls at all the Bordeaux international fairs in Quinconces and closed down as recently as 1979. They had a German brasserie beer garden and café overlooking the river which is still within living memory. There was also the Goledzinowski family who ran a lemonade/soda factory and Brasserie de la Gironde in Le Réole who made beers up to the 1950’s.
Zooming up to the present day, Bordeaux has undergone a beer revolution in recent years. From the pint-wasteland of 1989 when the city’s first pub, The Golden Apple opened, there are now countless pubs in the city centre in a variety of locations and offering a diverse range of experiences.
Here’s a list of personal favourites based on years of fighting to maintain a healthy Anglo-Saxon beer intake in the face of wine sipping locals and extortionate prices!
Beer is unfairly over-priced in France so if you’re after more than a half, it’s essential to head straight for the nearest Happy Hour. *Disclaimer: the concept of a pint in France is a very liberal term for around 50cl – prices are based on those listed on the pub websites/the people that wrote back to me on Facebook and are subject to change.
Here’s a list in price order…
Le Camelot – €2.50 a pint of lager, beer towers – 5-8pm every day
Student bar hidden away behind Place Victoire, they have quizzes and a pool table. There is also a small terrace which fills up fast! If you fancy a mojito for €3, nip round the corner to El Chuchumbé on 6 Rue de Causserouge… – 8 rue des Augustins (Place Victoire tram stop)
Vintage Bar – €3 a pint of lager – every day – 4-8pm
A buzzy place with plenty of hipster-looking student types – plenty of cocktails as well… El Sitio nearby is great for authentic tapas and the sister Vintage Café is on the quai (19 Quai Richelieu) – 45 rue St. James (by the Gros Cloche)
La Vie Moderne – €3 a pint of lager and €3.50 a Jägerbomb – Tuesday to Saturday – 6-9pm
Vintage style bar with two floors and comfy chairs – see below for more details. – 72 cours Alsace Lorraine (Ste Catherine tram stop)
Pub St Aubin – 25cl for the price of 50cl (basically €3-4 a pint incl. Guinness) – 6-9pm
Table service which can be lengthy when it’s rammed. Sun-soaked huge terrace and eclectic blend of students, locals and criminals. Tons of sports screens showing different channels. The waiters wear kilts. – Place Victoire
Le Rond Point – €3 a pint of Heineken – Thursday, 6-8pm
Rugby bar with superb charcuterie and table tennis tournaments (!?). The perfect warm-up bar for a match at the stadium. – 1 Av Parc de Lescure (Stade Chaban Delmas tram stop)
Mushroom Café – €3 a pint of Cardinal “lager…” – €5 pint of Chouffe (8%) – 3-8pm
Grimy student drinking pit. Convenient location. The Globe nearby has a terrace overlooking the place Gambetta traffic gridlock. – 5 rue Georges Bonnac (Gambetta tram stop)
Rockwood – €3.50 a pint of ‘Rockwood’ lager – every day except Sunday – 5-8pm
Recently opened trendy bar near the river and next to Quinconces. Back next door to the Dog and Duck… – 4 Quai Louis XVIII (Quinconces Fleuve tram stop)
The Blarney Stone – €4 a pint of lager – 5.30-9.30pm
Large terrace and just off rue St Catherine. Superb view of alcoholics-with-dogs encampment opposite. Regularly shows Gaelic football matches. – 144 Cours Victor Hugo (Musée d’Aquitaine tram stop)
Golden Apple – €4 a pint of lager – 6-8.30pm
Bordeaux’s oldest British pub. Cosy and packed for rugby matches… – 46 rue Borie, Chartrons (just back from the Chartrons trams stop)
The Grindhouse – €4 a pint of Kronenbourg – 5-8pm
Dingy American theme bar just off rue St Catherine – regular US theme nights and beer pong tournaments – staggering range of shots. They show all the US sport – American football, Baseball, Basketball etc. – 24 rue Gouvéa (Musée d’Aquitaine tram stop)
The Grizzly Pub – Happy Hour every day from 6-9pm
Self-described as a ‘Canadian pub’ it’s actually a banging student hangout with tunes and carnage galore. – 12 place de la Victoire
El Bodegon Rock Café
Student warzone that doubles as an alcoholic’s bar on place Victoire that’s the perfect warmup for the meatfest clubs down on quai Paludite. They have drinks specials and Happy Hours every night of the week and serve beer towers… – next door to the Grizzly
Rough and ready student tavern just off place Victoire with regular Happy Hours and flowing pints. See FB page for details.
The Cambridge Arms – €4 a pint of lager – 5-7pm
Cosy British ‘theme’ pub tucked away in the corner of place des Chartrons with an impressive selection of whiskies. – 27 rue Rode, place des Chartrons (Paul Doumer/Chartrons tram stop)
The Oxford Arms – currently closed for a refurb. Keep an eye on their FB page for updates…
Sister pub of the Cambridge and Molly Malone’s they have similar décor and cater to both locals and expats. Bizarrely, I have a French colleague who passionately swears that this is the best pub in Bordeaux and that they go all the time… – 9 place des Martyrs de Résistance (St Seurin… Gambetta tram stop)
The Cock and Bull – €4 a pint of pilsner, €4.50 for all other beers – Monday – Saturday 4-8pm, Sunday 12-8pm
Popular Erasmus and expat pub they have several sports screen and a variety of Happy Hours. See their FB site for more. – 23 rue Duffour-Dubergier (Musée d’Aquitaine tram stop)
The Black Velvet – €4.50 for all pints (Happy Hour on spirits as well) – 6-8pm
Cosy friendly Irish bar near the quai. Pool, darts, large screen and the best pint of Guinness in Bordeaux (just ask the manager). They used to have an amazing darts team that played nationally…not sure if it’s still going. – 9 Rue du Chai des Farines (Place de la Bourse tram stop)
Sweeney Todd’s – €4.50 any draught pint – 5- 7pm Monday, 4-7pm rest of the week
Outside tables for afternoon sunshine and drinking venue for local expat sports teams. Decent selection of tap beers from the same supplier as the Rather Good Pub Company. – 2 cours d’Alsace Lorraine (Place du Palais tram stop)
Houses of Parliament – €4.50 a pint of Carlsberg, €5.50 for the rest – 3-8pm weekdays, 5-7pm weekends
A Bordeaux institution – themed nights galore, pool competitions, music and a sweaty epic pub quiz! – 11 Rue Parlement Sainte-Catherine (Place de la Bourse tram stop)
The HMS Victory – €4 a pint of Kronenbourg, €5 the rest – 3-8pm weekdays, 5-7pm weekends
Bordeaux’s largest English pub – two floors, pool table, darts. Large terrace and regular concerts – at the ropey end of rue St Catherine. – 3 Place Général Sarrail (Victoire tram stop)
The Market Tavern – €4 a pint of craft pilsner, €4.50/€5 the rest – 5-9pm weekdays – 4-7pm weekends
Upmarket gastropub with terrace on place des Chartrons. Decent food menu. – 15 rue Rode – place des Chartrons (Paul Doumer/Chartrons tram stop)
Bollywood Bar – Sporadic Happy Hours are advertised on their FB page such as buy one, get one free on all Indian beers, pints and Sol…
Bang next door to the HMS Victory (with whom they share a terrace) this place is run by the infamous ‘Prince’, a Sri Lankan cuisine warlord who set up here a few years ago. He serves superb Indian food in the summer the place is a bar the rest of the year. You can grab some Singapore street food from Aussie Jason next door for munchies. The Prince loves cricket… – 2 place Général Sarrail (Victoire tram stop)
Frog and Rosbif – €5 a pint – 5-8pm – week nights
Beer brewed on-premises, tons of themed nights and huge HD sports screen. This place sometimes gets a bad rap but they’ve done well with it considering it used to be a prison. The bar staff are very friendly and ask for Rachel! They also hold brewing workshops for beer geeks and enthusiasts in partnership with Lydia from La P’tite Martiale. – 23 rue Ausonne (Place du Palais tram stop)
Charles Wells group (part of the Young’s brewery):
The Charles Dickens – €5 a pint of John Bull draught lager, €5.40 for all the others beers including cider, 5-9pm every day
Popular and regularly rammed English pub on the quai. – 9 Quai de la Douane (Place de la Bourse tram stop)
The Starfish – €5 a pint of John Bull draught lager, €6.20 for all the others
Previously the DNA, they had a refurb last year and are now twice the size. Tons of concerts and open mic and are a highlight of the Bordeaux hipster circuit. Large beer range. – 24 rue St Colombe (Place du Palais tram stop)
The Sherlock Holmes – €5 a pint of John Bull draught lager
Young packed pub with a varied choice of beers on tap and in the bottle and a pool table. Look out for the Young’s Double Chocolate Stout! (England’s finest, 5.2%) – 16/18 rue Judaïque (Gambetta tram stop)
There is quite an impressive range of potential pub atmospheres in Bordeaux. From the French-style bistro-pub where you feel like you’ve insulted the waiters and managers’ mothers by simply turning up, to pubs that’ll magically transport you back home based on the amount of alcohol you’ve managed to consume.
Get Away from the Students!
There are upwards of 50 000 students in Bordeaux (including around 6000 international/Erasmus students) giving the city a young, dynamic and buzzing nightlife. However, for those of us who are beyond the unemployable, non-washing, perpetual time-wasting phase, there are plenty of places where you can grab a cheeky pint or two in peace.
Bordeaux’s Chartrons ‘village’ has a laid back exclusive atmosphere and is well away from the carnage of the centre. Rue Notre Dame is one of the city’s highlights and has a fantastic selection of hidden and value-for-money eateries. It’s a great place to start…
Featured in a Bordeaux Expats blog, the city’s first gastropub has a spacious terrace and excellent selection of draught beers driven down from England. On tap they have, Abbot Ale (English Pale Ale – 5%), Belhaven Craft Pilsner (German pilsner style – 4.8%), Belhaven Black (Scottish Stout – 4.2%), Magners Cider (4.5%), Old Speckled Hen (English Pale Ale – 5.2%), Twisted Thistle (India Pale Ale – 5.6%) and resident guest beers such as Double Hop Monster (India Pale Ale – 7.2%). The bottle selection is equally as impressive.
They have a more classical selection of cocktails as well. From Pimms and lemonade throughout the extended Bordeaux summer to the Mint Julep (the world’s first ever cocktail?) to the Old Fashioned and the Dark & Stormy (a version of the highball) – not forgetting GnT darling.
If you feel like soaking up some of the alcohol or recovering from the previous night, they also have a very progressive brunch and dinner selection on offer. – 15 place du Marché des Chartrons (Chartrons tram stop)
A long-time local’s favourite, Paul’s decked his place out as treasure trove of retro-Britannic memorabilia and old world charm. He holds regular events and language exchanges and offers a traditional yet classy teatime and dinner menu. It’s a great place to get away from the crowds and meet people of a similar mindset.
On the beer front, it’s got nothing on the Market Tavern, but you can still get a draught pint of Créon-brewed St-Léon as well as Pessacais Gasconha (wheat, porter, lager, pale ale) and London Pride in the bottle. – 79 rue Notre Dame (Paul Doumer/Chartrons tram stop)
For those of you that have been living in a cave, craft beer has swept Bordeaux like the plague over the last two years. Checkout one of the latest additions to the scene at this ultra-hipster craft beer bar at the top end of Chartrons.
They have 18 craft beers on tap that are in constant rotation. The beers are all listed on a giant blackboard and you’ll never be short of choice. Beers on at the moment include Arrogant Bastard from the Stone brewery in the US (7.2%), Libertine from Brewdog in the UK (7.2%), Donkere Vader (yep – Darth Vader…) from Birrificio del Ducato in Italy (7%) and the Holy BLIB which was brewed up the road by La P’tite Martiale (4.6%) exclusively for the recent Bordeaux beer festival – have a read of our recent blog for more info. They advertise up to 100 types of bottled beer as well and you can get a takeaway. There is a chance you may get loads of students/hipsters in there so try going on a week night… – 28 rue Latour (CAPC Musée d’Art Contemporain tram stop)
Bordeaux has yet to catch on to the legendary English concept of afternoon drinking in a sunny pub beer garden. Nevertheless, there are a handful of places you can go to soak up the late summer nights.
Bacalan’s local secret, from the exterior it looks like a dodgy docker’s bar but opens up to reveal a large private sunny garden in the back. They only have the regular overpriced bottled beers, but given the location, it’s worth a visit. The restaurant has a 1950’s retro look and the food has decent reviews. They also have DJ nights. – 28 rue Achard (rue Achard tram stop)
Unlikely candidate for a beer listing, they in fact only sell drinks and snacks so overpriced that they could bankrupt a Chinese wine mogul. Still it’s hands-down the best Bordeaux venue for relaxing on a sun-lounger under a parasol. Save up for a few months then relish the 18th century garden view with a frosty pint. – Jardin Public (Jardin Public tram stop duh…)
Pricey and full of snobby hipster kids prancing around, but definitely worth it to experience an amazing rooftop view of Bordeaux at sunset on a comfy sofa – €5 for an ice cold bottle of Corona and they do mojitos etc. To be fair, they’ve done well considering it was an abandoned gas works until a couple of years ago… – 19 Rue Poquelin Molière (Gambetta tram stop)
So called ‘Night Beach’, you’ll have to re-mortgage your house to go up there. Nevertheless, the view is nuts and grabbing a drink at sunset has to be done at least once in Bordeaux. If you feel like splashing out, you can get one of the massage treatments one afternoon and get free access to the rooftop jacuzzi for the rest of the day.
CROSSING THE RIVER..!
Less of a beer garden and more of an ex-military base/internment camp/prison, they have plenty of room to stretch out and the odd leather sofa if you get in quick. It’s a fun place to spend a hot afternoon playing table tennis/table football and watching kids on BMX’s perform failed backflips. Ignore the ‘too-cool-for-school’ hipster waiters and enjoy a few pints of €5 a pint Darwin beer, brewed locally. There is a pricey organic supermarket that sells cold takeaway beers as well for the long walk back to civilization.
Recently refurbished giant beer garden, pub, restaurant, snack bar and concert venue opposite Darwin, they have a great view of Bordeaux and a range of beers on tap. They run various exhibitions as well as DJ nights and it’s a lovely Bordeaux hangout for the summer months. It has a tendency to flood when it rains too much! Read the Bordeaux Expats blog for more.
Next door to the Guinguette the Chantiers offers more of a beach atmosphere as they’ve put sand and pallet chairs and tables everywhere. Great place for afternoon pétanques and a plate of their speciality seafood. Stay tuned to their FB page for special parties and DJ nights as well which are kicking! They are also getting on the craft beer bandwagon with the imminent launch of their own microbrewery, Lalune Brasseurs.
Best of the rest…
El Chicho – “Les meilleurs empanadas de Bordeaux”
Chilean hideout nestled behind the marché des Capucins. They have a terrace, serve ice cold South American beers, host regular concerts and do an amazing churrasco and beer snacks – hard to ask for more… – 52 place des Capucins (Victoire tram stop)
Next to Porte Caillou this trendy bar has Alsace beer on tap (Meteor lager, wheat beer and pale ale), a delicious menu (especially the charcuterie) and if it gets too hot you can go next door to get the best homemade ice cream in town at the Frozen Palace. – 32 Rue du Chai des Farines (place du Palais tram stop)
France’s first Organic brew pub started by Québécois, Etienne at the end of last year. He has regular theme nights, brewing workshops and makes a fine selection of beers. Read the Bordeaux Expats blog for more info. – 2 rue des Boucheries (it magically changes name up the Victor Hugo end from rue Bouquière – Porte de Bourgogne tram stop)
Round the corner from the shop on rue Ste James, they have a microbrewery on-site and over 50 bottled beers. They have theme tasting nights, brewing workshops and it’s an event space you can hire out. – Place de la Ferme Richemont – around the old Marché Victor Hugo (Ste Catherine tram stop)
Wine bar that has a decent selection of beers to enjoy on their big old leather sofas. For the more sophisticated drinker! Whitbread Pale Ale (5.7%), Hobgoblin (5.2%) etc. – 8 rue Ste James – by the Gros Cloche (Ste Catherine tram stop)
Board game bar with beers on tap and every game you could possibly image including the mighty Carrom (Indian finger billiards). They have regular beer parties which look pretty fun… – 12 rue Ste James – by the Gros Cloche (Ste Catherine tram stop)
Argentinian bar with superb tap beers. One of a cluster of cafés behind place Fernand Lafargue which all have a shared terrace that’s ideal for a chilled pint in the sunshine. – 28, rue Sainte Colombe (Ste Catherine tram stop)
American-style surfer café in hipster central, they have Brooklyn beer on tap and a terrace you can share with overgrown-bearded student tw*ts. They also have a burger bar on place Fernand Lafargue and are mates with Darwin whose beer they also sell. – 14 rue Ravez (place du Palais tram stop)
Retro bar with vintage décor and cheap drinks! They have a tasty Happy Hour and comfy chairs where you can groove away to the 1960’s-80’s soundtrack on the jukebox. They equally do mojito and other cocktails as well as old rums and absinthe if you want to spice things up a bit.
72 cours Alsace Lorraine (Ste Catherine tram stop)
Mainstay of place Fernand Lafargue, they recently had a refurb/cleanup and look brand spanking new! They have a range of beers on tap and a few chairs outside where you can try to blend with everyone doing their best to look cool. Santosha and Yes Mum are also close at hand if you need some nosh. – 19 place Fernand Lafargue (Ste Catherine tram stop)
Self-described as the highwayman’s haunt, the Dick Turpin is nestled behind place Pey Berland. It has two tiny tables outside on a busy road and is tight inside, however if you time it right, it’s the perfect place for a swift half if you’re in the center.
They have recently started selling a range of interesting beers such as Old Tom classic (8.5%) and chocolate (6%), the White Hag session IPA (4.2%) and Red hop rocket (4.7%), Lion Stout from Sri Lanka (8.8%), Joker IPA (5%) and Old Jock dark red scotch ale (6.7%) amongst others.
For the more adventurous, they have regular Belote card tournaments where you can win jugs of beer as well as various theme nights. The Happy Hour is every day 5.30-8.30pm and €5/5.50 a pint… – 72 rue du Loup (Hôtel de Ville tram stop)
Popular craft beer bar that opened last year, they give you specific advice on which beer to try based on your tastes. Order a mind-shattering Paix Dieu (Belgian Strong Ale brewed under a “full moon” – 10%…). The Happy Hour is 5.30-8.30pm and pints are €5/5.50 instead of the usual bargain €7/7.50. – 23 Rue Piliers de Tutelle (Grand Théatre tram stop)
In the heart of hectic St Pierre, this bistro is a weird twilight zone of Baroque chandeliers, sofas, gold-framed pictures and a disturbing shrine of a baby doll in the gents loo… Not a specific beer bar (of course you can order a cold beer) but definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area just to see the insane paraphernalia… – 25 Rue du Parlement St Pierre (Place de la Bourse tram stop)
9 different beers on tap and a large choice of bottles. Opened relatively recently and is a big hit with the locals and is near the epicenter of Ste Pierre (next street up from Chez Les Ploucs). It’s a tardis so don’t be deceived by the small exterior. – 6-8 rue de Merignac (place de la Bourse tram stop)
Previously known as Bordeaux’s premier jazz venue they have regular acoustic concerts and plenty of Belgian beers. There is also a Happy Hour every day with a countdown clock on their website! – 42 cours de l’Yser (Victoire tram stop)
Rock bar with Belgian beers on tap and Chimay they have Happy Hour pints at €5.50. Decent music and popular with locals. They were also one of the hosts of the recent BLIB Bordeaux Beer Festival.
42 rue de Cheverus (Hôtel de Ville tram stop)
Run by the Anglo-Irish Damien, long-term manager of sister boozer The City Bar (famed for its poker nights and cocktails) Casey’s is a relaxed little rugby pub to grab a pint before the seeing a film at UGC Gambetta. The street has evolved a lot in recent years with the addition of the English Country Kitchen amongst others, especially considering it used to be one of Bordeaux’s main red light districts… Happy Hour is every day from 5-8pm and he keeps a good Guinness. – 14 Rue Castelnau D’Auros (Gambetta tram stop)
The spiritual home of Irish Bordeaux, this place was a smash hit during the recent Euro footie tournament. Get there early and avoid any match days and you can enjoy a pint on the sun-drenched terrace opposite the newly refurbished Musée des Beaux Arts square. Regular hectic concerts and theme nights and varying Happy Hour prices (check the FB site). They have the second best pint of Guinness in town (after the Black Velvet). – 14-18 Cours Albret (Meriadeck tram stop)
Bordeaux’s online gaming bar – GEEK ALERT. The online gaming bar concept was brought down from Paris where it started in 2012 and has now spread all over France. A big fave with gayming locals they have Happy Hours for all draught pints and pints of cocktails. It’s obviously popular as they have nearly 8000 likes on their FB page… – 129 cours d’Albret (Palais de Justice tram stop)
Newly opened indoor surfing café with a giant wave machine and splashing reviews. They focus on American snacks and smoothies etc. but also cheekily have beers on tap and bottles… – 174 Cours du Médoc (Grand Parc tram stop)
ALONG THE QUAIS…
Le Club House (ex Comptoir du Jazz)
Groovy chilled jazz club with enough jazz photos on the wall to transport you to the New Orleans birthplace of jazz (OK not quite). On draught the have the usual: Heineken, Affligem, Edelweiss, Murphy’s and the Club (not sure what that is so please let me know…) In the bottle you can find Corona, Leffe and Krick. Concerts and smooth grooves galore…! – 58 Quai de Paludate (Ste Croix tram stop)
Bordeaux’s best Brazilian music venue and café/restaurant (not forgetting Carioca). Street terrace and outstanding concerts on two floors. Caipirinhas are obviously the way to go here but they also have Brazilian beer… Happy Hour is 5-8pm, Wednesday to Friday – 2 Caipis bought, 3rd free and special beer discounts. – 6 rue du Port (Ste Croix tram stop)
Up the St Michel end of the quai, they are Breton-run and have a decent range of beers including plenty of black brews… They also have regular themed quiz nights and DJ sets. – 8 quai de la Monnaie (Saint Michel tram stop)
Bordeaux’s ‘lost’ English pub was set up by an English bloke a few years ago and is an oasis in the middle of the crazy tram intersection by the Pont de Pierre. He runs quizzes, open mic nights and regular themed evenings. Great selection of tunes. – 52 quai Richalieu (porte de Bourgogne tram stop)
Quacking pub that couldn’t be more centrally located with rave reviews run by English Mickey. They have a great atmosphere with banging tunes, all the Premiership matches and regular table football tournaments with prizes. Read the Bordeaux Expats blog for more info. – 5 quai Louis XVIII (Quinconces Fleuve tram stop)
Part of the Oxford/Cambridge Arms family of pubs, they are well away from the busy centre and have a spacious terrace. There are regular concerts and the standard Anglo/Irish pub food menu. The outdoor tables get plenty of sunshine and it’s perfect for a stroll along the river after a few jars. – 83 Quai Chartrons (Chartrons tram stop)
If you dare venture away from 5% beers into the minefield of Belgian rocket fuel, then you can try some of the Belgian bars.
Quite simply Bordeaux’s top pool bar. Tons of American pool and English pub pool tables. Darts, Pinball and Poker tables/tournaments. Run by a very friendly Belgian bloke who always has time for a chat or game of pool. He also has loads of Belgian beers on tap and in the bottle. €5 for a pint of Cardinal and the Pauwel Kwak beer glass with stand for a late night 8.4% beer for the road. – 175 rue Georges Bonnac (tram stop St Bruno – Hôtel de Région)
The Titi Twister
Cosy Belgian bar hidden away behind Victoire that’s a fave with Bière de Garde officionados.
Six taps and loads of bottled beer including the Cuvée des Trolls (Pale Ale, 7%), Triple Karmeliet (Tripel beer, 8.4%), Kaastel (Quadruple, 11%), Délirium (Strong Pale Ale, 8.5%), Queue de Charrue (Tripel beer, 9%), and Pauwel Kwak (Strong Pale Ale, 8.4%), with sausage/cheese plates to soak it up… – 76 Rue Leyteire (Victoire tram stop)
Bordeaux beer Goliath, the Lucifer is infamous for its 18 tap beers, around 250 bottles and staple rock gigs. Jean also has Débauche on tap – read more in the Bordeaux Expats blog… 35 rue de Pessac (Victoire tram stop)
Belgian medieval cave in St Michel (with the appropriate address of rue des MeNuts) this place has a Happy Hour from 7-8pm and a selection of Belgian and French local beers. Worth a visit to try the Black Albert (13%) which will leave you without certain key mental faculties. – 12 Rue des Menuts (Porte de Bourgogne tram stop)
It’s easy to forget all the associative cafés and bars part which play a huge part in Bordeaux’s local community. You usually have to pay a token annual membership fee to join and they are quite often open after-hours for late night socialising.
Asso in the heart of Saint-Jean/Saint-Croix they offer a vast range of community activities. You can volunteer in the café, join cooking workshops, get involved with the gardening club or attend one of the regular meet-ups. They also have a terrace on a quiet square near the station and serve cold beers. Check out the Marmite if you’re in Saint Michel as well… – 3 place Dormoy (Tauzia tram stop)
Open from 10-30pm until late they play rock/jazz/electro, have cabaret nights and have been around for over 15 years. Regular concerts and they serve beer by the jug! – 50 cours de la Marne (Victoire tram stop)
Open until 2am, they opened in 2009, have affordable pints and play a mix of reggae, rock and punk. They have photo exhibitions and show films as well as hosting regular concerts and DJ nights. There is no joining fee and all money raised goes straight back into the Antidote Asso Chapeaubas. – 13bis rue Elie Gintrac (Victoire tram stop)
Sweaty rock, punk and 80’s bar open from midnight – 6am. Grrr… – 4 rue Gratiolet (Victoire tram stop)
Open from 11pm-3.30am this place is a cosy living-room-style night bar with leather lounge chairs and sofas. They have a decent size dance floor, normal beer prices and chilled out group of members. You’ll need a membership card if you want to get in after 2am. – 25 rue Bouquière (Porte de Bourgogne tram stop)
Midnight – 5am, this is a simple late night bar where members can bring their own music and queue it up on the evening’s playlist. Sounds sweet…
13 rue de Guienne (Musée d’Aquitaine tram stop)
In a stone basement and open 10pm-late they have regular concerts and exhibitions.
31 rue Paul Bert (Musée d’Aquitaine tram stop)
THE BEER SHOPS
Le Comptoire Irelandais – Long-term Bordeaux Expats favourite this place far pre-dates the recent beer revolution and was practically the only place to pick up imported beer as recently as 2012… I was in there last week and they have some new brews along with the classics: Abbot Ale in a can (England, 5% – €2.30), Telenn Du organic Breton black beer (4.5%), Terenez Breton Stout (5.6%), Black Sheep Imperial Russian (England, 8.5%), Black Wych (Hobgoblin brewery, English ale, 5%), Hobgoblin Ale (England’s legend – 5.2%), Bru Dubh Stout (Ireland, 4.2%), Sharp’s Doombar (English classic, 4.3%), ESB ‘Extra Special Bitter’ (England, 5.9% – €3.60 for a 50ml bottle), Fuller’s London Porter (5.4%), Guinness Dublin Porter (3.8%), Guinness Golden Ale (4.5%), Guinness Luxury 1798 (9% and €35…), Guinness West Indies Porter (6%), ACDC lager (Carlsberg, 5%), Iron Maiden Trooper (England, 4.7%), Trooper Red ‘N Black Porter (England, 6.8%), Motörhead Bastard Lager (England, 4.7% RIP Lemmy) and plenty more! – 14 Rue du Temple (Gambetta tram stop)
Opened by Shari from the US in 2014, the pioneering BBS was the catalyst that singlehandedly kick-started Bordeaux’s craft beer revolution. She has regular themed tastings and workshop evenings and sells beers that you can’t find anywhere else in town. Breweries in stock include: De Dochter van de Korenaar, Dougall’s, Mala Gissona and Drunken Bros. She supplies beer barrels and pumps and knows everyone in the Bordeaux beer world. She was also the brainchild behind the BLIB Bordeaux Beer Festival. RESPECT..! – 57 rue des Faures (Porte de Bourgogne tram stop)
La Bodeguita Latina – A newly opened South American epicerie that has products from throughout the continent. Beers include: Negra Modelo (Mexico, 5.3%), Quilmes (Argentina, 4.9%), Club Columbia (4.7%), Poker (Columbia, 4%), Aguila (Columbia, 4%), Presidente (Dominican Republic, 5%), Polar Beer (Venezuela, 5%) – 142 cours de la Somme (Bergonié tram stop)
Adega Lusitania – The main Portuguese supermarket in the middle of Bordeaux’s Spanish/Portuguese ‘ghetto’. As well as Bacalao and all the other goodies you can find: Sagres black (4.3%), Super Bock (5.6%) and Super Bock stout (5%). There is a Portuguese warehouse supply supermarket in Bacalan (2 Rue Edmond Besse) but they’re apparently ‘not very nice’… – 64 cours de l’Yser (Victoire tram stop)
Aghshajaa Tel Com – One of several Sri Lankan/West African food/drink shops that are all variations on a theme. They have a fair selection of decent beers to try including: Guinness Foreign Extra Stout (Nigeria, 7.5%), Guinness Extra Stout (Cameroun, 7.5%), Lion Lager (4.8%, Sri Lanka), Lion Stout (8.8%, Sri Lanka), 3 Horses Pilsner (Madagascar, 5.4%). The bloke over the road also sells Bombay mix if you’re keen… – 44 rue Elie Gintrac, next to Marché des Capucins (Victoire tram stop)
Russian supermarket (for some reason there is a Russian/Bulgarian community here) just up from the porte de Bourgogne that stocks various Ukrainian and Russian beers (not forgetting a vodka brand with a bottle in the shape of an AK47). To my knowledge, it’s the only place that has the mighty king on Polish beers, Zywiec (5.6% and drink FREEZING COLD). – 24 Rue Mauriac (Porte de Bourgogne tram stop)
Online store run by Sophie that has a showroom on the route de Toulouse. She stocks a large range of delicious wholesome products (including plenty of organic and gluten-free) and a variety of beers including Cock o’ the Walk (4.3% Scottish red beer), Midnight Sun (5.6% Scottish Porter) and Anchor Porter (5.6%, USA). – 261 route de Toulouse
The ‘beer shop next to the Gros Cloche’ l’Amirale has around 300 beers and many that you can takeaway cold from their fridge. Paul and Bénédicte stock beers from all over the world including all the local breweries. – 7 rue Ste James (Ste Catherine tram stop)
Belgian beer shop on the cours Victor Hugo that’s linked with the Café des Moines Belgian rock bar nearby. They stock all the regular Belgian high-powered beers we all know and love… – 57 cours Victor Hugo (Porte de Bourgogne tram stop)
The wine bar near the Cock n’ Bull started stocking beers in 2014 and has an impressive range. Breweries include: Brasserie de la Goutte d’or, Del Ducato, Craig Allan, Siren Craft Brewery and the Danish Fanø Bryghus. They recently moved over the road to a bigger brand new shop. – 14 rue Duffour Dubergier (Hôtel de Ville tram stop)
Opened in 2014 Benjamin and Cédric run a craft bistro-bar hybrid and do food as well. Read more about them in the Bordeaux Expats blog…
Beer shop that opened last year near place Gambetta, they stock all the regular craft staples as well as a few different brews. Try the beer from the Shakespeare Brasserie which are brewed by a English lady in Navarrenx. – 62 rue du Palais Gallien (Gambetta tram stop)
Bière et Whisky – Au Coeur du Malt – Recently opened, they sell loads of decent and pricey brands of (surprisingly) beer and whisky… – 10 rue Georges Bonnac (Gambetta tram stop)
Fine wine, spirits and beer shop just off Boulevard Wilson run by friendly Angélique. She has Dougall’s, La Débauche and plenty more. If you phone her up beforehand, she’ll happily throw some bottles in the fridge so they’re cold when you arrive – 09 51 46 72 78 – 9 Avenue Charles de Gaulle (Gambetta tram stop + 20 mins walk…)
She has a range of imported beers including The Loch Ness Brewery, Mr Trotter’s Chestnut beer (England, 4%) and the Wold Top Brewery. Less of a shop and more of a storeroom for her online sales, she nevertheless welcomes visitors! – 17 rue Mondon, Le Bouscat (place Ravezies tram stop)
Large chain with tentacles everywhere including the latest on place Gambetta, on cours Pasteur and in Chartrons. They all have organic beer stands with local and regional brews… As the organic craze in France continues to mushroom there are ‘Bio’ shops popping up all over the place. So Bio and Bio c’ Bon in Pessac are two more organic warehouses you can try when you win the lottery.
Bordeaux’s Asia central and they sell every variety of Asian food (incl. fresh) you could possibly ever need including crockery and Buddhist funeral fake money (you’ll need shed loads of the real stuff by the way in this place…). Beer on offer include: Tsingtao (China, 4.7%), Chang (Thailand, 5%), Singha (Thailand, 5%), OB (Korean, 4.5%), Asahi Super Dry (Japan, 5%), Sapporo Premium (Japan, 4.9%), Kirin Ichiban (Japan, 5%), Beerlao (Laos, 4.9%), Cobra (India, 5%), Bintang (Indonesia, 4.7%), Halida (Vietnam, 4.5%), Saigon Export (Vietnam, 4.7%), Bourbon (Réunion, 5%), Guinness Extra Stout (Cameroun, 7.5%). Grab a beef Pho while you’re there for good measure… – 10 Avenue de Tourville (Brandenburg tram stop)
They’ve recently started stocking a wide range of local and international beers – a goldmine for Pessac residents! – 10 Avenue Gustave Eiffel, Pessac (Saige tram stop)
A cheeky little deli near the hospital, they stock some alternative local products including beers from the
With a vast selection of beers, pumps & barrels on hire and tap installation they are more of a distribution warehouse events supplier than a beer shop. They are notably present at the Christmas market on the Allées de Tourny so check ‘em out if you’re up there for a winter tipple… – 22/24 rue Roger Touton (Berges de la Garonne tram stop)
OUT OF TOWN
There are obviously tons of pubs that need to be driven to so you’ll need a designated driver. Here’s a pick of some of the out-of-towners worth checking out.
A nationwide chain, their shops double as bars (check the FB pages for Happy Hours) and can be found at Bordeaux Lac, Mérignac, Bégles and Saint-Médard-en-Jalles. They mostly have Belgian rocketfuel but you can pick up beers such as Brewdog and Becks and they sometimes have awesome beers on tap – phone ahead for info…
Le Fleur de Houblon, Rive d’Arcins shopping centre, Villenave d’Ornon
Bordeaux’s Alsace temple, it’s too far out for a regular beer drinking soirée. However, if you’re keen to venture beyond the boulevards, they have beer brewed on site, regular jazz concerts and copious Alsace dishes to soak it up. They produce 8 brews including the seasonals which are served in awesome tall handle pint jars: La Blonde – A slightly bitter lager made with aromatic hops and grilled malt. Light and fruity and best served between 6°c and 8°C. L’Ambrée – A heavier and darker beer with caramel tones it is made with a mix of 4 malts and goes well with main courses. La Blanche – Brewed with a mix of malted barley and wheat this light citrus beer is a thirst quencher! Goes well with fish, white meat, grills and other summer mains. La Girondine – A special red fruit beer brewed all year round this has hints of blackcurrant, blackberry and raspberry; there are also traces of chocolate and caramel. The perfect companion to a ‘magret de canard’, a Flammeküche or cheeseboard. Brewed seasonally there is also the Bière de Munich, Bière de Noël, Bière de Printemps and Bière d’Eté. – 5 Rue Louis de Funès, Villenave-d’Ornon
The Yorkshireman, Talence
The second oldest pub in Bordeaux (opened in 1990), it is totally lost in the middle of Talence and run by English John and Kate Rose. The pub décor hasn’t changed since the 90’s and the John plays tunes on an old cassette recorder. Paradoxically, it’s a big hit with locals who love the ‘So British’ cliché and continue to flock there for halves of French beer, darts, cards and dominos. Cheeky beer garden for the summer months and decent Guinness… – 2 Rue Pacaris, Talence (by car or about 20 mins walk from Peixotto tram stop)
Québec Music Café, Pessac
Québec style restaurant/café and boutique, they do a selection of burgers, poutine and beers on tap etc. The boutique has a few Québec brews that you can’t get anywhere else in town. They are present at the Epicurials food festival on the Allées de Tourny in June as well. – 263 avenue Pasteur (Pessac Alouette tram stop)
If you’re in the mood you can also hunt down the P’tit Québec Café behind the hospital (93 rue Eugene Jacquet), Etienne at the Nouveau Monde and the Petit Cabanes à Sucres on the Bordeaux Christmas market (and throughout France).
THE LOCAL BREWERS
Bordeaux Beer Factory – Local brewery set up last year who supply several outlets in town… American Ale – India Pale Ale – Mosaïc Session
Aliénor – Started by Belgian Laurent in 2010 he is based in Saint-Caprais-de-Bordeaux and supplies almost every supermarket and beer shop in Bordeaux! Blonde (6.5%), Blanche (5.9%) Brune (6.5%) and Russe Printemps (not sure…)
Mascaret – Another one that began in 2010 they are based in Rions, are part of the Château Maine Pascaud who also produce wine, have an event space and run a Gite. They have managed to get everywhere as well and are also the Organic shops… Blonde Bio Grande Cru (5.5% lager), Ambrée Bio (6%), Blanche Bio (4.5% – 5% wheat beer) Brune Bio (7% English style Brown Ale)
St Léon – Brasserie/bar based in Créon, they have their own beers brewed locally. Blonde is €5 a pint, Russe €6 and they have a Liqueur de Malt beer (?). Kids are welcome with their parents and can try the locally produced lemonade. The bar itself is almost a local community centre with a WiFi connection, mini library and piano. The chef offers a beer themed menu with local produce including – Duck Sausage à la bière or Beef à la bière and they have regular theme nights with card/board games and often improvised concerts.
PIP – Pression Imparfaitement Parfaite – Brewery and brewing/tasting workshops where you can make your own personalised beer and labels etc. Pip Super Blonde (5.5%), Pip Super Blanche (5%) – 2 rue Achard (Rue Achard tram stop)
Bordeaux Brewer’s Club – Local homebrewing club run by English Sam Cranford (among others), they hold regular brewing sessions, tastings, demonstrations and general beer-related group meet-ups etc…
Cheers ears and drop me a line if I’ve missed anything!