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Bar Principal x GiftShop
Bar Principal x GiftShop
11 September 2023
An interview featuring Ninon Lecomte and Lucas Baur de Campos, the co-founders of Bar Principal. They discuss their perspective on the restaurant business and their merchandising strategy.

Bar Principal

GiftShop introduces its collab with Bar Principal, the Brazilian-inspired bar and eatery located in Paris. Explore the "Le Véritable Remède" T-shirts, available in both black and white, on the GiftShop website starting September 11th.

Ninon Lecomte - co-founder of Bar Principal

Lucas Baur de Campos - co-founder of Bar Principal

5 Rue du Général Renault, 75011 Paris

Hello Ninon, before we delve into the topic of merchandising, could you share some insights into your background leading up to the opening of Bar Principal?
I'm Ninon Lecomte, and I have a Franco-Brazilian heritage. My journey began when I met Lucas Baur De Campos in Porto Alegre, a region in southern Brazil known for its love of barbecue cuisine. While I come from a design background, Lucas pursued studies in law and culinary arts. Thirteen years ago, we ventured to France to connect with a part of my family. Our adventure kicked off in Aix-en-Provence and eventually led us to Paris, among other places. In Paris, I honed my skills in pastry and cuisine. My introduction to the world of gastronomy began with an internship at renowned restaurants like Châteaubriand and Le Dauphin in Paris. Six years after our arrival in France, we established Brutos in 2017, followed closely by the inauguration of Bar Principal in 2021.

What was the reason behind your decision to make Paris your home?
We chose to settle in Paris because it's one of the rare capital cities where one can truly feel at ease. The neighborhoods here are welcoming, and there's a sense of community. Despite its size, Paris exudes a village-like atmosphere that resonates with us.

What was your intention behind launching Bar Principal in 2021?
Our aim was to establish a venue that's more accessible and uncomplicated compared to Brutos. Bar Principal welcomes patrons without the need for reservations, often when Brutos is fully booked (laughs). Our primary focus was to achieve one thing: to build relationships with the local residents and become a genuine neighborhood bar.

"With Bar Principal, our aim was to build relationships with the local residents and truly become a neighborhood bar."

Does the name 'Bar Principal' convey any information about your offerings?
In a neighborhood with many bars around Saint-Ambroise and Place Gardette, we aimed to entice the locals to visit us. Therefore, the choice of the name 'Bar Principal' subtly suggests that we offer a range of options, possibly even top choices. It's also noteworthy that this name is easily understood and pronounced in both French and Brazilian Portuguese.

What does the Bar Principal menu feature?
Our customers have shared their enthusiasm for authentic Brazilian evening cuisine, characterized by small fried snacks and convenient, on-the-go options like burgers and accra. Consequently, our menu naturally evolved to accommodate these preferences. In terms of beverages, we offer a selection of natural wines and craft cocktails made exclusively with artisanal, natural, and additive-free spirits sourced directly from producers.

"We consider ourselves fortunate as it's our customers who have shaped our offerings. Initially, we had plans to open for lunch and serve intricate, seasonally-driven dishes. However, it's their preferences that led us to operate exclusively in the evenings, every day of the week."

What does the slogan "Le Véritable Remède" mean?
The "Le Véritable Remède" t-shirt is designed to highlight our commitment to 100% artisanal and homemade spirits. Last year, we bottled our cocktails (approximately 100 bottles), and it was during this period that I created the "Le Véritable Remède" logo. This logo embodies the notion that our bar is an inclusive and convivial place, where both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages can be considered a kind of magical elixir or remedy.

How significant is merchandising to you as restaurant owners?
Merchandising plays a pivotal role in our profession. Personally, I exclusively wear merchandise from establishments I'm acquainted with. Once, during a visit to Brazil, I wore a t-shirt from the Montreal-based restaurant Joe Beef, and predictably, it sparked a conversation. Lucas and I found ourselves engaging in a conversation with an American couple for a while. These spontaneous interactions are always a pleasant surprise and quite enjoyable. Additionally, merchandising breathes new life into defunct establishments, and every so often, you can stumble upon vintage merchandise at flea markets.

"Every now and then, you can come across vintage merchandise at flea markets. Merchandise has an almost limitless lifespan."

Ninon, what product would you select from GiftShop?

I have a fondness for ashtrays; I collect them because they're quite stylish.

Where do you see yourselves in 10 years?
We are considering returning to Brazil. It has been 13 years since we arrived in France, and we believe it's important to go back. However, we will continue our career as restaurateurs; it's our calling. We have chosen to work with high-quality, healthy, organic meat sourced from humane slaughter practices. Yet, this poses an economic challenge for us as restaurant owners because these products are expensive to produce and offer to consumers.

If tomorrow were the end of the world, what would be your final meal and cocktail together?
With Lucas, we'd sit at the Bar Principal's counter. We'd order a hamburger and a dry martini without hesitation!

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