So. Four days in New Orleans, where every bar has to-go cups at the ready. One couple that really loves interesting things to drink, and fun places in which to do so. I've written about where we ate elsewhere on this board, so this is all about places where we primarily drank. Here - in no particular order - is how it all went down:
Lafitte's Blacksmith (Bourbon & St Philip) : A favourite from previous visits, but how had we never discovered the back-room piano bar? Impossible NOT to have another beer and sidle up to the edge of the baby grand.
Napoleon House (St. Louis & Chartes): Pimm's cups at the bar. Pimm's cups to go. Pimm's cups while cycling. We hit this place up at least 3 times. The last time we were in NOLA, we were drinking at the bar here, and a friendly couple named Mark and Lacey from Texas befriended us and insisted we drink shots of Fernet Branca with them. We hate to disappoint, so we helped them finish the bottle of Fernet, and tagged along with them to...
The Erin Rose (Conti, north of Bourbon): where we drank more Fernet and I think somebody had an Irish Car bomb, and then it was 4 am and we staggered back to the hotel and never saw Mark and Lacey again. This trip, we took it relatively easy and drank bourbon and G&T's at the back bar in the evening, and came back for morning Irish Coffee's (frozen and hot) a few days later.
Chart Room (Chartres & Bienville): Small, dark-ish, usually packed. Great people-watching in the bar and looking out over the sidewalk. Feels like a bar where bartenders go to drink before or after shifts. That is a good thing.
Molly's at the Market (Decatur & Ursulines): Excellent Irish/Americana bar. If there was a cop show set in New Orleans, this is where they would drink and talk over cases. At some fairly late hour, we took our large chicory coffee from Cafe du Monde to Mollys, had a couple of beers to help digest beignets, and as we were leaving, ordered 2 shots of whiskey that we added to the coffee. Chicory coffee: much improved by whiskey.
Tujagues (Decatur & Madison): One solo beer at the bar. There are no stools, so you literally have to belly-up to the bar or sit by yourself at a table. I stood. Like a lady.
Sidney's Wine Cellar (Decatur & Dumaine): Not exactly a drinking establishment, per se... but a damn good liquor store with a great selection of cans of local brew. Which are good to sip across the street on the levee overlooking the river. This place also stocks Old New Orleans Rum (http://oldneworleansrum.com/), which is delicious.
Tiki Tolteca (North Peters & Bienville, 2nd floor): This is a tiki bar which should be taken seriously. For real. Why? Because they make a damn fine Hurricane, by the original recipe. Did you know that it includes passion-fruit juice and tastes like heaven? Forget that shit on Bourbon St. This is the real deal and deserves respect.
Crescent City Brewhouse (Decatur & St Louis): Did not go in, but they have a hand-dandy take-out counter with at least a blonde and an amber on tap. Makes the walk to Frenchman St that much nicer.
R Bar (Royal & Kerlerec): This was kind of our local. Discovered it on a previous trip, and it was just down the street from where we were staying. Pool table, loud music, long bar, and a randomly placed old-timey barber chair. One night there was a guy making jambalaya in a huge pot on the sidewalk for everyone at the bar. The staff are super lovely, especially Lara, who was our guide on...
Confederacy of Cruisers Cocktail & Bike Tour: Started at 10:15 am, with a freshly made daquiri. Then, in the space of 3 hours, we got a pretty great tour of the FQ and CBD interspersed with stops for drinks: Beer from Sidney's, Pimm's Cup from Napoleon House, Sazerac or Ramos Gin Fizz's at the Roosevelt, and Frozen Irish Coffees at the Erin Rose. We'd been to everyplace already or on prior visits, but we learned a lot about the history of bits of the city, and tipsy biking is ALWAYS fun.
Frenchman Street: We stayed in the Marigny, so Frenchman was our starting and ending point for daily drinking. Which is to say, my recollections of the specific attributes of each establishment are hazy. However, we had great beers and morning Irish Coffees at 13. Bamboulas is a bit pricey, but has a great tap selection and the music was excellent each time we stumbled in. We saw the Treme Brass Band at d.b.a. or the Blue Nile and had a bunch of very strong cocktails and Abita Purple Haze's wherever it was.
The Howlin' Wolf (South Peter Street): Headed out here to catch the Hot 8 on Sunday night. Solid beer options. Excellent band.
Bonus favourites (but not from this trip): The Columns Hotel on St Charles. Gracious old mansion with old school bar inside and an amazing garden patio. The Maple Leaf Lounge in Riverbend. Fritzel's Jazz Pub on Bourbon.
Whew. That's a (sodden) wrap. Cheers!