There are four bars we’d recommend considering in the evening: The Piano Bar, Le Billig, THe Alp Hotel, and Le Joker Bar.
The Piano Bar is on the opposite side of the church to the Mairie. Its barrel-vaulted rooms give it a real cellar-bar feel, but it has a very English home counties feel too – which is its strength and weakness. You’ll find lots of Brits there, and be lucky to hear a word of French spoken. Quiz night is Wednesday, 9pm; a band is on in the apres-ski slot Thursday, and more live music on Sunday evening.
Le Billig was a ski bum’s bar, with rock music, a pool table and a table football. It had comfy seating area that was much nicer than the Piano Bar’s, and they served some basic, but tasty, bar snacks. What it will be in the 2016/17 is not clear at the moment. The bar hasn’t really been viable for as long as I’ve known it, and it has changed hands again, I believe. We’ll have to wait and see.
Bar Le Joker is just behind the 8 à Huit, and is a good place to meet the locals. It has an up and a downstairs. Upstairs tends to be open apres ski, and is run by the irrepressible Eric. We had some great nights of Karaoke their last season. Last season the downstairs was shut, but the rumour was it was opening up this season again.
The Alp Hotel bar was revamped last year and become a favourite apres-ski or early-evening bar. It’s over at the bottom of the bubble, near to the Dahlia Bar. It’s a nicer place to sit and chat than the Piano Bar, even if the comfy seats are too squishy. The friendly bar-staff do a mean mojito, and are even happy to pink-ify your lager, if that takes your fancy.
That’s not to say there aren’t other bars. L’ Eterlou is a genuine French bar. It’s a no-frills place, and does great evening snacks too, such as burgers, paninis and chips – eat-in or take-away. It’s easy to find, at the bottom of the button lift, on the square. The terrace area at the back is great in the afternoon, but the bar itself always lacks a bit ambience for me.
L’Eterlou is open at lunchtimes, as is the Le Dahlia bar, which is easy to spot at the bottom of the Saint Martin 1 bubble lift. It serves beer, coffee, and food. It’s pretty busy during the day, as one of the obvious lunch spots for people skiing in to St Martin from other resorts. For many people, it is the bar to visit when returning from a day’s skiing, in the late afternoon. It shuts early evening.
St Martin de Belleville is not Val Thorens when it comes to hard partying, but if you want that, take a bus or taxi up there for the evening. There is also a night club or two in Les Menuires.