The best thing to do is come in the morning and spend a couple of hours at the Marché d'Aligre 50 meters further : There are actually several markets going on there : the street market with its joyful vegetable and fruit stalls, the Marché Beauvau, a covered market with specialized shops selling charcuterie and other fine foods, and the flea market on the opposite side of the Place d'Aligre. You can easily spend a full morning just strolling in the area, and end up at Le Baron Rouge like many locals who go there either after shopping at the markets, or for the work pause. It is thus very lively between noon and 2pm and the patrons are mostly wine-loving locals who appreciate the cheerful and friendly ambiance of the bar
But it may be also interesting to drop there at the end of the day, from 6 pm when the "habitués" living or working in the area begin to flock to the bar for an "apero" to celebrate the end of the work-day . The area is a densely-populated, middle-class neighborhood and I envy these patrons that just walk a few seconds or minutes from work or home to have a drink and enjoy the good time here.
We went to the zinc bar ( I love the granular surface of the metal at this bar) and after a while_needs time to choose_ we had our glasses of wine . B. took a glass of Vouvray demi-sec Daniel Mabille 1998 (3 Euro) . I took a Fronsac Chateau Puy Saint Vincent 1999 (3,2 Euro)
The wines on the blackboards are "vins de Proprieté", family-estate wines from the french wine regions. About 25 reds and 15 whites are served by the glass (10 cl) with prices starting at 1,4 Euro. The prices seem quite reasonable, which is why the crowd too, I guess.
What I also like about this place is that you can buy some wine in bulk. They have a few casks inside on the left and you can bring your, say, 10-liter container and take it home (or bring a 1-liter bottle and have it filled when you need it)They even lend empty bottles if you forgot to bring yours. On my last visit (april 2007), prices for bulk wine started at 2,8 Euro a liter. Some of the casks had "organic" written on their blackboard. While it's pretty common for individual customers to buy wine in bulk in the french wineries, it is now rare in Paris. But long time ago (before WW2), that is how parisians would buy their wine : straight from a cask in a wine shop, as estate bottlings were a modern invention.
If you want to eat with your wine, Le Baron Rouge has many different small dishes . Charcuterie , saucisson , etc...Simple plates are 5 Euro . A "Planchette" of saucisse seche from Cantal (region known for quality charcuterie) like the one on the picture costs 5 Euro . A corsical plate is 7,5 Euro . A large composed plate has 3 different charcuteries for 9,5 Euro .
Looking at the wines on the list , I notice a Touraine by Jacky Preys , a Valencay wine producer in Meusnes . I'll try this one next time . Sunday morning is also a good time to visit (wine bars open on sunday are not so common) because the Marché d'Aligre reaches peak activity then .