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La Cave de Belleville

La Cave de Belleville’s unlikely origins sound like the set-up for a knock-knock joke: a pharmacist, a sound engineer, and a gallerist open a cave-à-manger. François Braouezec, Aline Geller, and Thomas Perlmutter deserve a lot of credit for the scale of their ambitions, as La Cave de Belleville, open every day of the week, is at once a wine shop, an épicerie, and a vast, casual wine bar. The airy, well-lit space (a former leather wholesaler) positively bustles at apéro hour, when locals nip in for inexpensive plates of charcuterie, cheese, and canned delicacies. The trio’s limited industry experience is sometimes evident in the inconsistency of the shop’s maximalist selections of wine, spirits, and beer. (Were the wine not mostly natural, it would be hard to call it a “selection”. Filling shelves seems to have been the priority.) But one senses the owners’ intentions are sincere, and the Belleville neighborhood – chaotic, culture-clashy, forever on the cusp of gentrification – stands to benefit greatly from a friendly, accessible social anchor like La Cave de Belleville.