Travel Back in Time: Discover Toulouse’s Best Vintage Bars and Restaurants
There’s nothing quite like stumbling upon a time capsule of a bar or restaurant while exploring a new city. Toulouse is fortunate to have an abundance of such vintage establishments oozing with nostalgia and charm.
Today, we’re excited to share some of our favorite picks – a handpicked selection of Toulouse’s iconic bars and restaurants. Whether a seasoned local or a first-time visitor, these venues offer a unique blend of classic French elegance and contemporary comfort, transporting you to a bygone era.
Experience the magic of Toulouse’s vintage bars and restaurants, from intimate jazz-age cocktail lounges to grand Art Nouveau bistros.
Join us on a journey through time as we explore Toulouse’s coolest old haunts, each with a rich history and character.
And, while you’re at it, don’t forget to check out our range of Food Tours in Toulouse for an even deeper dive into the city’s culinary scene.
First on our list is Le Bibent, a cultural heritage site renowned for its ornate 19th-century architecture and opulent Baroque and Art Nouveau interiors.
The brasserie has won numerous awards for its culinary excellence, making it an ideal spot for an unforgettable meal or drink. Le Bibent’s extraordinary interiors have been on Toulouse’s register of historic monuments since 1975.
It was also on the terrace of this café that three Serbian students drew up the plans which led to the assassination, in 1914, of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, an attack which is considered to be the trigger of the First World War — it’s not every day you drink in a café where the course of human history was completely altered.
Le Bibent is one of the few restaurants on the Place du Capitole that we feel is worth eating at for the food itself, but if you just want to have a drink and enjoy the ambiance, they offer an excellent Happy Hour deal – 50% off cocktails (even non-alcoholic ones) from 5-7pm every day.
◆ 5 Pl. du Capitole, 31000 Toulouse
Au Pére Louis
Au Pére Louis is a historic bar and restaurant frequented by local artists and rugby players alike. Founded in 1889 and long a hub of Toulouse’s cultural and social scene, the bar’s interior murals (painted by a local artist in the 1940s to work off his bar tab!) and outer facade are protected as historical monuments by the city of Toulouse.
If visiting Au Pére Louis, be sure to try a quinquina, the premise’s emblematic drink that was concocted by Pére Louis himself. The drink mixes wine, spirits, caramel, cinchona bark, and other herbs to produce a rich, decadent flavor befitting this old-world establishment. French soldiers used to drink this as a cure for malaria!
◆ 45 Rue des Tourneurs, 31000 Toulouse
Le Café de la Concorde
Le Café de la Concorde is another truly special Toulouse destination. Its location just outside the heart of the city makes it an ideal spot to take a break from exploring, and the bar has a terrace perfect for soaking up the local ambiance.
Then there’s the bar’s rich history. This establishment has been serving Toulouse locals and visitors for over a century and has become a cultural institution in its own right. The traditional decor, including polished wood paneling and traditional French bistrot chairs, evokes a deep nostalgia. During the roaring twenties, the café served as a popular dance hall, and it hasn’t lost any of its buoyant spirit.
Le Café de la Concorde is known for its delicious drinks and light bites, including French pastries, coffee, and a selection of local wines. Whether looking for a revitalizing snack, a relaxing glass of wine, or a full meal, you’ll surely find something to suit your tastes here — highly recommended.
◆ 17 Rue de la Concorde, 31000 Toulouse
Le Père Peinard
Le Père Peinard is a beer bar and cultural center popular with locals in central Toulouse. It is known for its eclectic atmosphere, lively music, and program of cultural events.
The bar always offers a friendly atmosphere, making it a great place to spend an evening with friends or coworkers. Le Père Peinard is a must for beer lovers, with 24 beers on tap, including plenty of regional options and a selection that changes weekly.
Among the events hosted by Le Père Peinard are concerts, jam sessions, DJ nights, blind tastings, and a regular swing and blues party!
The clientele here is always diverse making this an excellent spot for mingling and meeting new people.
◆ 1 Rue des Chalets, 31000 Toulouse
Established in 1882, Café Authié is the oldest continuously running café in Toulouse and is still home to a wonderfully evocative, historic horseshoe bar. Originally opened as a table d’hôtes, the bar today offers typical brasserie fare and tapas.
Being a meeting place for locals and visitors for over a century, you won’t struggle to feel you’ve entered a bygone era when drinking in Café Authié.
The bar’s historical significance has been recognized by the French government, which has designated it as a protected cultural site.
Few establishments offer as good a window into Toulouse’s rich history and cultural heritage.
◆ 25 Pl. Dupuy, 31000 Toulouse
Grand Café Le Florida
With its swaying staircase, painted lead mirrors, and molded ceiling the Grand Café Le Florida is understandably known for its romantic atmosphere. Located in a building dating back to 1874, this establishment conjures images of the glory days of the Belle Époque.
First run by a local chocolate maker, the site’s original café was a gathering place for local cab drivers. It was only after WWI that the café began building a reputation as one of the city’s trendiest venues. In order to attract the right clientele, the owners followed the trend of the day and decided to Americanize the café’s name — the Grand Café Le Florida was born.
Today, the bar serves classic cocktails, and the music selection is carefully curated to evoke the sounds and styles of bygone eras. The grand interiors of Le Florida make this a must-visit café for anyone who wants a taste of the grand opulence of yesteryear.
◆ 12 Pl. du Capitole, 31000 Toulouse
Formerly a candy store, Le Nabuchodonsor was opened in 1981 and became Toulouse’s first wine bar. The owner, Roland Castagne, styled the bar on the wine bars he’d come to know in Paris.
The name, nabuchodonosor, comes from the name given to a 16-liter bottle of champagne — a fitting name for a place that fizzes with natural charm. The zinc-topped bar of Le Nabuchodonosor recently celebrated its centenary and it’s these historic details that make the bar so evocative.
The old wine posters, vintage furniture, unusual art, and tapestries provide a one-of-a-kind vibe.
Le Nabuchodonosor – or “Le Nabu” as it’s called by locals – specializes in natural wines and is a top destination for those looking to experience the coolest and most unique side of Toulouse’s bar scene. Few bars have been so lovingly and enduringly curated and cared for by their owner.
◆ 15 Rue du Coq d’Inde, 31000 Toulouse
In conclusion, Toulouse’s vintage bars and restaurants treat the taste buds and the soul. These timeless establishments welcome you into the heart of the city’s rich history and cultural heritage.
Be sure to stop at one of these vintage bars and restaurants when traveling in Toulouse. Anyone with a longing for bygone days will surely fall in love with this selection of romantic, historic bars and cafés.
If you’d like to delve deeper into the local food scene, consider joining one of our Toulouse Food Tours. If you have any questions, please get in touch.