Tuesday 3rd June 2014
I hadn’t been to this pub for a while, so I noticed the new style of branding on the building straight away. However, inside there were few changes, apart from the new design of beer taps and a general tidy up. This establishment was the first of the “Frog” chain of pubs in Paris, later extending to other cities in France. It is a little bit of England in France, although it is also used by a considerable number of local customers.
I bet that the founders, when they opened the pub on 18th October 1993, would not believe how the chain has grown over the intervening years, especially more recently. They were two MBA students at Fontainebleau University in the city, being Paul Chantler and Thor Gudmundson, who was born in London from Icelandic parents. Being students of business they obviously wanted to start up their own.
Although there were many Irish pubs in Paris then, English pubs were rarer. They were influenced by David Bruce and his “Firkin” chain of pubs. He was a small stakeholder in the new company. The pair added in a brewery in the cellar which began producing English-style beers and also lager. The pub is also a semi-sports bar and is enormously popular amongst UK visitors when there are big international games on, especially Rugby. Although the building, located in the 2nd Arrodissement (postal district) looks very much like an English town pub, it was previously a restaurant.
Inside the similarity to an English boozer is continued. Entering through the corner door in Rue Tiquetonne I observed the traditional wooden bar counter ahead. After ordering a beer I looked around.
The furniture is also wooden and most of it and the bar were built by Ian Thomas, a joiner from Bristol. Electric chandeliers dangle and these is a nice little statue of a frog (amphibian) wearing a tie and doffing his cap to the customers.
There were six beers on offer, five keg and one cask, some with appalling puns on the names of famous Paris landmarks. It is possible to get a small tasting paddle with all six beers at no extra cost. The owners no longer brew as they did when the pub opened. They learnt their trade at the Jolly Roger Brewery in Worcester.
The keg beers were:
FNB – Fresh Natural Blonde (4.3%); a lager with Lager malt, Cara-20 malt, also Satz and Hersbrucker hops.
Parislytic (5.2%); an ESB made with Lager, Caramünich and Carafa malt with Bobek and Challenger hops.
Ginger Twist (4.2%); an amber ale with a hint of Ginger. Lager, Caramünich and Wheat malt, Bobek hops.
Saison Blanche (4.2%); a wheat beer in the Belgian style with Lager and Wheat malt with Saaz hops.
Dark de Triomph (5.0%); an Irish dry stout made of Lager, Wheat and Challenger hops.
The sole cask beer was:
Insein (4.4%); a best bitter made from Pale Ale malt with a little Crystal and Wheat. the hops are East Kent Goldings and Challenger. It comes out with 35 International Bittering Units.
The above represents the standard range in all the pubs, each of which has its own brewer. However, there are occasional seasonal beers. A new development is the “Super Hero” range of beers in bottles. On a visit to another Frog pub I was told that they now have a stand-alone brewery in the northern suburb of St Denis. I guess this is where these beers are brewed and bottled.
There is a lot going on in this pub as, apart from the sporting events involving UK teams, there is also a dart board and a Sunday night quiz. Food is typically British pub food with very good reports on the Fish & Chips and the “Frogburgers”.
The Frog & Rostbif, 116 Rue St Denis, Paris 75002. Tel: 0142 363473
Open: Monday-Sunday 12.00-02.00. Food is served: 12.00-23.00
Take the metro to Etienne Marcel station. This is on line 4 which runs from Porte de Clignancourt in the north with stops at Nord and Est stations and on to Paris d’Orleans in the south. Come out of the exit, turn left and cross the road and will see the Rue de Turbigo. Walk along this street and you will see the pub on the opposite side.