I searched for posts about the Roosevelt in the past two weeks and noticed a few people had asked if anyone had been there yet.
Yesterday I went for an afternoon cocktail at the Sazerac Bar with a visiting friend. I knew the Roosevelt had opened back up but had not yet been. I was extremely impressed by the way the hotel looks. It's gorgeous. It's obviously not all the way open yet, they are still working on one of the storefront sites -- I think it's the space where Besh's Domenica will open up in a couple of months. But the inside of the lobby is lovely; I think they did a nice job there.
The Sazerac Bar itself is also gorgeous. I never went there before the storm, so I can't compare it to its former glory, but to me it's a gorgeous space. Tile floor, wall paintings, beautiful Art Deco etched glass above the bar, the wooden bar itself, all look wonderful to me. I overheard someone ask the bartender if the bar itself was the original and had been in good condition and the bartender said yes, so it appears perhaps the bones of the place were in decent shape.
The drinks. I've had Sazeracs all over this town, my favorite is usually at Mandina's. This was a lovely Sazerac and of course I saw the bottles of Peychaud's and Sazerac Rye so I know they are, of course, using all the right ingredients (can't imagine that they wouldn't or they'd be lined up and stoned to death in this town). It was on the sweeter side of the Sazeracs I've had here, which I like. Not too much ice (I like it on the rocks), and a nice lemon twist. My friend, who does not like whiskey or rye, had two different drinks from the drink menu, both of which were very good, one Rum based (called a Dark and Stormy, I believe) and the other was touted in the menu as being Huey Long's favorite drink and was also very tasty. The drink menu is nice and simple and consists of about eight special cocktails listed and the second page was, I think, wines by the glass. This particular bartender seemed pretty knowledgeable and the bar seemed stocked with good quality liquor. I get the impression they are still putting finishing touches on the decor (and the bartender indicated as much) but it really looks nice. I asked the bartender how crowded it's been on weekends and he said, quite crowded. We were there on, well, a Monday afternoon at 2 p.m. and so of course it wasn't crowded but we were not the only people there. There are a few nice tables plus the very lovely long wooden bar with comfortable stools. A good place for a drink or four.
There is also the very nice looking Sazerac Restaurant next door to the bar. We looked at the menu which is small but well chosen. The things I remember best were a Foie Gras appetizer and a lamb entree. Not inexpensive. I will try it at my next opportunity.
I would be interested to hear if anyone else has gone, has eaten at the restaurant, or has gone to the bar when it was more crowded and how that was, too.
I am very happy the hotel, bar, and restaurant are open. It feels like a god thing for the city, for us locals, and certainly for tourists. I am sure you'll see me there sipping a Sazerac one of these Friday early evenings.
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