I recognized Nat(halie) the moment I walked into la Bodeguita, a newish wine bar on the rue Quincampoix. I spent many nights in the palm of her hand back when she worked at Le Garde Robe. “I remember you, too” she said, narrowing her eyes into a French girl’s version of “here comes trouble.”
I always drank too much at Le Garde Robe when Nat was working behind the bar. I’d go in for one drink and she’d pour me something crazy – something natural, unexpected and fun. She asked what I thought, made suggestions based on my response, and allowed me to taste before pouring a glass. Under Nat’s command, I was always ready to conquer the ever-expanding territory of “just one more.”
Her presence at La Bodeguita was only the first of many signs. Also promising: the sight of Edyta, the Ryst-Dupeyron seller who stole my Armagnac virginity, and the wafting smell of room temperature charcuterie (see here for Sébastien Demorand’s dirty thoughts on the matter).
We paired our planche (Spanish hams, French cheese) with chilly white wines because of the heat. We tasted so many different things that Barbra finished the evening wearing flowers in her hair. All were interesting, but I especially loved the opener – a Vain de Rû from Dominique Andiran – and my lullaby glass of Drappier.
The wines themselves are interesting, but it’s the time that Nat spends in describing her finds that will bring me back to La Bodeguita. This sort of friendly welcome is missing in some other wine bars that specialize in vins naturels. The location is central and the interior (like everything else there) is devoid of pretension. I do wish they served a little more food and had a smaller markup on their bottles consumed sur place.
Price: The big platter of charcuterie and cheese runs €20, and most wines by the glass are between €4-6.
Atmosphere: The floors are concrete, the crates are visible and the bartender is dancing with the dog (video here).
Location: 58 rue Quincampoix (near the Centre Pompidou), 75004