Le Cinquante (means 50, like its number on rue de Lancry), located near the popular Canal Saint-Martin, is what I’d call a “bar de quartier”, a bar ‘around the corner’, genuine and friendly, run by its owners, Hugo and Charlotte..
My favourite day to go there is Sunday evening when the bar simply becomes one of the craziest places in Paris, thanks to the Marcello Song System.
What is it? At about 17:30, a guy called Marcello comes with his guitar and books containing the lyrics of hundreds of songs identified by numbers. Then, in a happy chaos, the clients shout a number, Marcello plays the corresponding song, and the whole bar, thanks to the lyrics written in the book, can all sing together. And so on for several hours, until about 21:00…
Of course, most songs are French classics (Piaf, Gainsbourg, Brassens, Brel…) but there are also several famous songs in English (notably by the Beatles), and even a few in Italian or Spanish, so it is definitely not only a locals’ place and every time I go there, I am happy to see foreign people or even tourists having as much fun (and singing just as bad) as the francophones.
Marcello also plays in other bars and sometimes takes holidays, so you can check the dates on his website.