Tuesday 12th March - Baranis is a Provencal/Corsican themed bar tucked away beneath its sister restaurant Cigalon on Chancery Lane (a short walk from Temple tube). Credit goes to flatmate Maggie for recommending this one. The main reason it makes The List is that Baranis houses an indoor Petanque court (bowls on gravel) that you can use for free throughout the evening. I booked a half hour Petanque slot and told local Fleet Street paralegal Cheryl (long time reader, first time Lister) to meet me there.
You know you are in the right place when you find the olive trees outside the entrance. Head down the stairs and you are instantly transported to Provence. There is a very chilled vibe and it remained surprisingly empty all evening considering the number of people that must walk past it in need of a quiet drink every day! The theme continues into its menu with plenty of pastis available, herbs and quirky liqueurs going in to cocktails (£7-10), an interesting wine list and appropriate beers (go for the Corsican Pietra beer).
We started off with a Thyme Daiquiri (made using a thyme liqueur) and Le Pagnol (containing lychee liqueur and a rosemary sprig) and headed over to Petanque. Beginner's luck is the only excuse I can come up with for losing the half hour Petanque session that followed. I had a healthy lead but it all got away from me in the last few minutes. A quick check of the rules on Wikipedia has informed me however that the game is only over when one team reaches 13 points. With the scoring set at 12-11, I'm still in it to win it. There are a couple of tables along the side of the court if you are playing in larger groups, though you would be in danger of a boule to the face, especially after a couple of cocktails.
With my head hung in shame, we headed back to a table to have some food and another cocktail. The bar menu is mostly snack food but they do make a tasty burger and chips. This time we went for a classic French 75 and Treasure Chestnut (served in a jam jar). Thanks to the authentic French bar staff for giving us a taster of the Corsican Chestnut liqueur used to make Treasure Chestnut. The service was good all evening and it's impossible not to relax in Baranis. The only downside was how unpleasant the freezing cold outside world seemed afterwards in contrast!
My birthday week of List-ing continues with Pop up Ping Pong on Saturday and Dime Bar bottomless brunch on Sunday. Get your tickets for Monkey Shoulder's One Night Only event for next Thursday that looks awesome, and book your table for the ridiculously popular B.Y.O.C while there is still space.