February 19, 2016 by Emma Bentley
Have you wondered where the young, hip and unshaven hang out? The answer is the Walrus. It’s a welcome addition to a quartier which doesn’t have much to offer besides stolen iPhones.
Think I’m joking? Just spend a couple of seconds on the crossroads of boulevard Magenta, rue Maubeuge and rue de Dunkerque (near Gare du Nord) and you’ll hear “psst, psst, iphone.”
Actually, no, I exaggerate slightly. Adjacent to the Walrus, still on the rue de Dunkerque, is the new Smart Place Paris budget hotel and to the other side, a decent Italian deli “La Campanella.” The street has definitely got a lot cleaner (in every sense) than it was 8 years ago when I had a boyfriend who lived there.
The Walrus is a large, modern space; one third of which is the bar, one third is seating and the final third a music shop. It’s a record store AND café and this is refreshingly original for Paris.
There is seating for approximately 25 people. In the morning, you can come here for the breakfast menu (a croissant + orange pressé + coffee = for 5 or 6€) and to flick through the newspapers. In the afternoon, you come for a drink and to meet a friend or simply read a book. The music is not so loud as to disturb your concentration. In the evening, you come here for the ambiance and the cheap beers.
Open for now already a year and a half, it has developed a predominantly young and local clientele.. the majority of whom address the staff by their first names and visibly don’t even need to state their order; a coffee will promptly appear in front of them.
A coffee at the bar (it’s Illy – nothing special) costs a very reasonable 1€ at the bar. (2€, if you sit down to enjoy it.) And if you’re feeling peckish, you can sate your hunger with chocolate cookies at 1.90€.
The drinks menu includes other staples such as Luscombe Hot Ginger Beer and Fever Tree Tonic. There’s Brooklyn IPA (4,5€ for un demi /25cl) and when I popped by, they were doing a Rhub’ IPA as Beer of the Month (5.50€ for 33cl.) The wine list was not overly exciting but would you really want a glass of wine here?
So whilst you have the bar on one side, you just need to turn around to admire the other half of the room which is completely dedicated to vinyls. Apparently the two women, before opening Walrus, worked for Fnac. They wanted to open up their own record shop but were realistic enough to conclude that in this day and age, they needed to offer something else.
Monochrome music posters line the walls. There are three booths where you can listen to the the vinyl of your choice. If you love indie and rock music, you’ll be in heaven here.
After just a few minutes at the bar, I realised that it was really little wonder that the locals hang out here. The vibe is so friendly and relaxed that for a moment I forgot I was in Paris. I’ll be back!
Essential InformationAddress: 34 ter, rue de Dunkerque, 75010 Telephone: 01 45 26 06 40 Website: Walrus, Facebook Opening Hours: Tuesday-Thursday 9am-10pm. Friday 9am-9pm. Saturday 10am-9pm. Sunday 3pm-8pm. Closed Monday.