The best bars and nightlife in Marseille

Marseille is both a major city and a working port, so of course there is no shortage of bars, some of which have quite a raucous reputation. Many of the best of the rest gather around the Vieux Port, although these days the hippest of them all gather in the streets around Rue Sainte et Rue d’Endoume, above the Vieux Port in a previously little-visited district. Other highlights include an expansive rooftop bar that looks directly out to the sea, a pleasantly wacky bar in a design-conscious hotel and a fantastic spot for craft beer drinkers with over 400 types of beer.

For more inspiration about Marseille, check out our guide to the city and its best hotels, restaurants and activities.

Find a bar by area

Old Port

Le Bar de la Marine

Despite what the locals will tell you, this harborside bar is almost certainly not where Marseille writer and filmmaker Marcel Pagnol set crucial scenes from his Marius, Fanny and César trilogy, but it is where Colin Firth expressed his feelings in Love Actually. The enormous terrace is a nice meeting place during an aperitif and the interior still has a 1930s aspect. Later, the Navy indulges in spicy contemporary music. Classic Provencal dishes are also available.

Contact: 00 33 491 549542; see Facebook page
Prices: £

Le Bar de la Marine, Marseille

You may recognize Le Bar de la Marine from Love Actually – get to know it better while enjoying some delicious aperitifs – SYLVAIN RAVERA

La Caravelle

Enter Hotel Belle Vue and go up the grand staircase to this small jazz and tapas bar on the first floor. It has retained attractive pre-war elements – it was already a jazz bar in the 1920s – and has a small terrace with a beautiful view over the Vieux Port. The atmosphere is part bodega, part maritime. Expect live jazz on select evenings and an atmosphere that evolves from aperitif time (pastis, good selection of wines) through cocktail hours to a later evening break, with a great collection of spirits. There’s decent food at lunch and dinner too, with mains from €23 (£19).

Prices: £

La Caravelle, MarseilleLa Caravelle, Marseille

Live jazz and pre-war interiors make La Caravelle a lively meeting point

Course Julien

Bar Mama Shelter

The outside is anonymous, but inside this cheap, luxury hotel the bar is pleasantly gnarly… think primary school-meets-gentlemen’s club, with rubber swimming rings above the bar, a good little terrace and some of Marseille’s hippest elements gather for aperitifs. It’s located outside the center, in the Cours Julien district, with other good options nearby if you fancy a pub crawl. Café Julien (39 Cours Julien) is as rock ‘n’ roll as a small music café can get, while Le Makeda also puts on some groovy shows – including top jazz/soul singer Lusaint on November 20, 2024 (103 Rue Ferrari).

Prices: ££

Bar Mama Shelter, MarseilleBar Mama Shelter, Marseille

The destination bar at Mama Shelter dominates the ground floor

La Tasca

La Tasca is a recommended tapas bar – with Spanish, Provencal and Corsican elements – in the artsy Cours Julien district. Look forward to the fish, vegetable and meat specialties, together with the right appetizer platters with charcuterie and/or cheese, which can even form your entire meal. As for tapas, you might need three or four to prepare the equivalent of a main course. With tapas from around €4, this is quite reasonable in terms of price, especially if you sit on the somewhat romantic summer terrace. Cocktails – from €8 each – or perhaps a glass of Provençal rosé wine wouldn’t hurt at all.

Prices: £

la tasca, Marseillela tasca, Marseille

La Tasca is a recommended tapas bar – with Spanish, Provencal and Corsican elements

Le Panier

Bad Virgin

An incredibly cool spot slipped into the sea-facing vaulted arcades and found itself in the lee of the cathedral. Visual art meets a contemporary rock and electro soundtrack in a surprisingly lively environment. The idea is that what appears at first glance fuels the contemporary urban soundtrack – and vice versa – and that, if this is the case, everyone is having a good time. There are regularly changing exhibitions, concerts, drinks, tapas and a Sunday brunch. If you’re cool and cultured, you’ll fit in well. If you’re not, you’ll at least find the place fascinating.

Contact: 00 33 645 848258;
Prices: ££

Vout Virgin, MarseilleVout Virgin, Marseille

At Voute Virgo you experience a mixture of contemporary art and music – JULIE LAGIER

Bar with 13 coins

The “13 Coins” has the reputation of embodying the quintessential Marseille bar, to the extent that it appears as such in several films. It also served as the model for the bar in France’s favorite TV soap, the Marseille-based Plus Belle La Vie, and is thus revered by fans in the same way that British soap fans might revere the original Rover’s Return. Perhaps its more interesting fame comes from the fact that it was once the haunt of poet and crime writer Jean-Claude Izzo, who has never written better about Marseille (try Total Kheops). But above all, it is a super friendly place where both locals and tourists meet.

Contact: 00 33 491 915649; see Facebook page
Prices: £

Bar des 13 Coins, MarseilleBar des 13 Coins, Marseille

Bar des 13 Coins is a classic Le Panier spot for an evening pastis

Saint Victor

Café de l’Abbaye

This looks like a fairly standard cafe bar from the outside, the blue wooden facade flanked by a number of patio tables. But it is here, on the border between anonymity and urban cool, that young professionals and students are joining the locals in impressive numbers. The most beautiful time is sunset, when the sunset view over the harbor and the sea beyond is a sumptuous addition to any aperitif. You will be able to appreciate them from the small terrace or, more likely, from the sidewalk opposite where customers walk with panache. But business continues well into the night when the lights go out.

Contact: 00 33 491 66 87 57;
Prices: £

Café de l'Abbaye, MarseilleCafé de l'Abbaye, Marseille

Café de l’Abbaye, Marseille


A favorite beer bar from Marseille that combines the seriousness of its purpose – 400 craft beers and special tasting glasses for each category – with cool conviviality. You will not be tested on your beer knowledge, but you will have the opportunity to expand it with beers from Marseille itself, Provence, France, Europe and the rest of the world. If in doubt, try one of the two better Marseille brews: Minotte or Bières de la Plaine. The setting is chic and simple – somewhere between a warehouse, a bookstore and a public bar – and the place is generally devilishly difficult to leave. If you tire of beer, Le Victor also provides you with organic wines and spirits.

Prices: £

Le Victor, MarseilleLe Victor, Marseille

Le Victor is a favorite beer bar in Marseille that combines seriousness and purpose

Palais de Justice district

Back to Bac

New bar with premium cocktails – and six private karaoke boxes that you can reserve for up to 20 people at a time, for singing that only those you choose will hear. It’s a concept that has quickly caught on in Marseille, so you’ll need to reserve your place in advance. Expect uninhibited fun, a welcome change from nightlife venues that strive for little more than cool.

Prices: £

Bear nation

Great and secret cocktail bar that pays tribute to the speakeasies of Prohibition times in the US. Named after the most famous of all American anti-booze campaigners – the Kentucky-born Mrs Nation took an ax through the bars – the place requires you to book in advance. Only then will you be told the exact location and the access code for that evening. No food, just cocktails, a world-class collection of spirits – and a sense of clandestine conviviality.

Prices: ££

Le Rooftop

Le Rooftop is located on top of the extensive commercial center Terrasses du Port and has direct access to the sea, which makes for the most beautiful summer evenings under the starry sky. Now in its tenth year, it’s serving cocktails and aperitif platters that are doing business well – and there’s free entry between 7pm and 9pm, with the hours in between counting as what the French call ‘les afterwork’.

Price: ££

How we choose

Every bar, venue or experience on this curated list has been tried and tested by our destination expert, who’s dropped by to give you their insider perspective. We cover a range of budgets and styles, from casual pubs to exquisite cocktail bars – to suit every type of traveler – and take service, drinks, atmosphere and price into account in our recommendations. We update this list regularly to stay informed of the latest vacancies and to provide current recommendations.

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