My friends and I love nothing more than to sit at outdoor cafés and people watch in Paris so it came as no surprise when Gal Pal Elizabeth suggested we head out for a stroll for some shopping and perhaps a cocktail on our first night in southern France in Nice. We had a few hours to kill before dinner and wandered down the main shopping area enjoying the remnants of the Christmas lights and glitter hanging above our heads down the pedestrian avenue rue de France. A stumble upon the Côté Lounge was proof that some of our best finds happen by accident.
We walked past quite a few bars or cafés that seemed pretty “commercial” and some were deserted as it was an unusually chilly evening in Nice. My rule of thumb is to NOT eat or drink at a place when empty tables outnumber the amount of guests occupying the others. If locals pass by it, then I sure as heck am going to give follow suit and skip it. Residents always know way more than we tourists do, so despite how interesting the building or menu looks, it’s not worth the “risk.”
One place caught my eye. I thought it looked pretty “glitzy” and perhaps might be part of chain of sorts, but it was full of local young people and I loved the decor. Red bistro tables paired with white art deco club chairs – fab! We decided the Côté Lounge was cocktail worthy and gave it a chance. We were greeted by a super friendly maître d’ and were offered free bar snacks – a delicious array of hot and cold petit treats. There were two types, sweet and savory. They first brought us some terrific savory choices and we filled up while sipping on our cocktails. Elizabeth, the martini connoisseur (see her review below), ordered a dirty martini and I ordered a 2009 Bordeaux which we sipped slowly, taking time to relax after a long day of travel. Just as we finished up, admonishing ourselves for putting our appetites in jeopardy for dinner, the waiter brought a HUGE plate of sweet treats and set them down in front of us. UH OH! Now we are going to have to eat these too?! The only thing we could do was to order another drink to wash it down with and agree that we will forego alcohol and dessert with dinner. Now we know why there were so many college aged students present – the free food was enough to make it a meal! Forget Happy Hour, think Happy Meal French style. This café is a definite “must do” in Nice!
Elizabeth’s Martini Review: Côté Lounge – Nice cold vodka and one olive. I was thrilled I did not get the anticipated blank stare I usually get in France when ordering a cocktail, it did have an olive (though no juice – the French don’t typically understand the whole adding olive juice to a Martini concept) and it was the first of the trip so the desire level was high! Rating: Good
4 rue de France
Nice, France 06000
04 93 87 14 15