Beaujolais Nouveau is not a sophisticated French wine. A light red aged but a few weeks, it was traditionally consumed by peasants during harvest celebrations. So why is it so popular? Marketing. According to French law, new batches of the wine cannot be served until the third Thursday in November. So on Wednesday night, as the seconds tick down to midnight, many area restaurants and bars celebrate with lavish parties, which are more beloved (and exciting) than the wine itself. The best part? The wine is often free -- as much as you care to drink.
Bistrot du Coin is traditionally the home of the most boisterous merrymaking -- tables are cleared to make room for a dance floor; a French DJ spins; disco lights flash; women dance on the zinc-topped bar while the night is still relatively young.
The Bistrot generally offers two or three different varieties, and the young, party-hungry crowd usually turns the place into a bilingual madhouse. The only problem is getting in. Tables are reserved weeks in advance, and would-be revelers form long lines outside, trying to get in to dance and drink. Those without reservations are usually let in once diners start trickling out, which is sometime after 11. Expect a "one-in, one-out" policy, though, so you might want to arrive on the early side.
-- Fritz Hahn