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Parisian bars that serve drinkers free meals

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Parisian bars that serve drinkers free meals
Places in Paris where dinner is the price of a pint. Photo: Simon Thomas/Luca Nebuloni/Flickr
13:28 CET+01:00
Hitting the bars in Paris can be a pricey affair, but as part of a unique custom many serve full meals for free to people who buy a drink. The Local has collected its 10 favorite bars that'll feed you for free.

Free food seems so un-Parisian given the cost of everything from a pint of beer to elf-size apartments, but incredibly it's a frequent practice in quite a few places around town.

First it's important to note you won't be ordering off the menu, you'll get what they serve and that is frequently a North African couscous dish with chicken and stewed vegetables. It's not unheard of, however, to serve costlier fare like moules et frites (steamed mussels with chips/French fries).

Second, the gratis grub is only offered a couple nights per week, usually Thursday, Friday or Saturday nights so it's worth checking things out before you go. And you do have to order a drink before they'll feed you.

So without any further ado, here's where you can eat for the price of a pint:

Moroccan hospitality: In a friendly atmosphere, this Moroccan restaurant Le Taïs on Boulevard Ménilmontant in the 11th serves you free couscous along with your drink on Fridays and Saturdays.

The place is nothing fancy, but the food is good and if you are looking for more elaborate dishes like tajine (a sort of stew cooked in an earthenware pot) they've got that too.  

Providence provides: To make sure you’ll power through a evening of drinking, head to the bar La Providence on Avenue Parmentier in the 12th arrondissement before hitting the night spots in the Oberkampf area.

The food deal is every Friday and Saturday evening and we've heard reports that there's a two-drink minimum if you'd like to get fed. It's not a huge place, so best arrive a bit early for roughly 8:30pm service.

Student vibe: The Tribal Café attracts a mixed crowd of young people and regulars, who all come for the cheap beer and the free couscous on Friday and Saturday evenings.

The café is in the 10th arrondissement on the Cours des Petites Écuries, which is a quaint narrow street that fills with people when it's warm out.

Tunisian ties: Tired from sight-seeing? Head to the family-owned Tunisian restaurant Les 3 Frères, a couple of minutes away from Sacre-Coeur, to regain your strength with a drink and a free bowl of couscous on Thursdays.

The pub’s on Rue Léon, close to the heavily visited sights in the area, but not well-known to the hordes of tourists.  

All-you-can-eat: Have a pint at this “bistrot du quartier” La Chope du Château Rouge and pair it with as much couscous as you can eat. It may not look like much from outside, but it draws a young hip crowd.

On weekends the bar's outdoor terrace literally takes over the pavement (sidewalk) out front. You can find the pub on Rue de Clignancourt in the 18th.

Jazzy atmosphere:  Don't let Le Grenier's bizarre country-like decor scare you off. The drinks are cheap, there's occasional live jazz music and a friendly ambiance. 

Le Grenier is on Rue Oberkampf in the 11th and offers its free grub on Friday and Saturday evenings.

New York style: Le Lockwood is a bit fancier than some of these other places, with a hipster vibe and a strong Italian influence. It offers a free "apertivo" buffet (which is pre-dinner drinks in English).

The sound track is blues, rock as well as oldies here and you can find it on Rue d'Aboukir in the second arrondissement.   

Belgium bash: Head to Le Bouillon Belge for a vast selection of delicious Belgian beer, both bottled and on tap. It's a bit funky with an old school video game and a piano nearly side by side as well as wall coverings from another era.

On top of the low cost pints, you can choose between couscous or mussels at this bar on Rue Planchat in the 20th arrondissment.  

Cozy, but cool: On Thursdays and Saturdays, find a spot on the crammed terrace of La Cordonnerie to listen to some rock and reggae and to enjoy a Mojito and free couscous.

The bar’s on Rue Grenata in the 2nd and is always hopping. The owners also get fancy sometimes and serve steamed mussels.  

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