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SF Hounds Searching for NOLA Bachelor Party Spots

Hello party people --

We are coming to town in late August for three nights for a bachelor party and have a dedicated group of foodies ready to check out all that New Orleans has to offer. We're staying in the French Quarter. The only thing that is set in stone so far is that we will be doing lunch on Saturday at Commander's Palace. The rest of our weekend is a blank slate.

We're looking for a late-night, casual spot on Thursday night (we don't land until 8:30pm) with a New Orleans feel and some southern flavors. Amazing fried chicken would be a plus. Something with some history and folklore.... and good booze.

Friday night is our big dinner. We are currently deciding between the following places. Please let me know which one you think would be the best for a group of 15 somewhat rowdy Californians who love good food.

Galatoires
Cochon
Bayona
Stella
Brigsten's
Restaurant August
Cuvee

Any other suggestions for "must try" places that would be fun for us to hit up? I've searched the board and have a list already in the works but just wanted to make sure I'm not missing anything.

One last thing, the bachelor is a vegetarian and I was hoping folks might be able to recommend a few amazing veggie-friendly spots. I'm looking for a place known for its vegetarian offerings that still really captures the southern/creole New Orleans vibe.

Thanks!

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  1. Wow. This may be a tall order. We will start with your formal dinner for 15. As much as I hate to say it, most of the spots on your list are somewhat intimate and quiet dining spots and are housed in VERY small spaces, so a group of rowdy(even somewhat) may not work for some other patrons. Galatoires can be somewhat loud and very fun and is a wonderful spot for a first time visitor to NOLA. You could start with a late lunch and let it linger into dinner, as many do on Friday. Cochon would be fine as well. You may also consider Clancy's or Vizards. Both have great food, are upscale, and are located Uptown. They are also very busy and loud, so you should blend right in even as a group of gentlemen cutting up and having a good time. In fact at Clancy's you will find quite a bit of that. For your Thursday dinner, you could try Jacques Imos or Mandina's. Both are casual and very indicitive of New Orleans casual dining. In times past, JI had wonderful fried chicken and does take reservations for parties of 5 or more. Mandina's has Creole/Italian comfort food, from Trout meuniere to an oyster loaf. I recently posted a list of bars that would be great for a bachelor party on a recent query by blake1138, who was seeking the same type of weekend that it sounds as though y'all plan on having. It was posted today, so some of what is listed there will be helpful to you as well. Try to hit The Sazerac Bar for a good dose of history as well as a Sazerac. Have a Pimm's Cup at Napoleon House, and a cocktail at the Carousel Bar. Good luck and hope this helps.

    1. I did a bachelor party at K-Paul's and it was perfect. Large room in the back can accommodate as many as you want. Muriel's would be good too. There are plenty of good vegetarian items, but if he's strict or vegan, it might be harder. Coop's Place on Decatur is exactly what you are looking for on Thursday night. Great fried chicken, gumbo, jambalaya and it's close to the Marigny for late night partying. Green Goddess is a place in the Quarter that specializes in vegetarian items. Try that for Saturday night.

      1 Reply
      1. re: shanefink

        Right on! Thank you both. Coop's Place looks fantastic!

      2. Try and reserve the "wine room" at Restaurant August. It can easily be closed off, so that you can really enjoy, but not bother other guests. The food is great, and I hear from good sources that the new sommelier is doing great things, so it should be a great evening. Chef Besh leans towards some great vegetarian treatmens. Call to make sure that he knows you're coming, and can prepare for the groom.

        Now, as I could be the grandfather of the bride, I'm not up on bachelor parties any more - been too many decades, but I can imagine that the venue there would be perfect.

        Galatoire's might have something similar, but I have only dined upstairs, or downstairs, and have never attended a smallish function there, so do not know about separate rooms. OTOH, if you moved that to Friday lunch, no one would probably take notice of you.

        While great food awaits, the vegetarian aspect might be a tad of a sticking point. Check this out before you arrive, so you are not surprised, and so the kitchen is not surprised.

        Enjoy and have fun,

        Hunt

        10 Replies
        1. re: Bill Hunt

          Very helpful, Bill. Thanks! I will give Chef Besh a call (once I give him some time to wind down from his somewhat embarassing performance on Top Chef Masters last week!!) and see what they can do for us. The private room at Restaurant August sounds like it might be the call.

          I also must thank you for some of your Hawaii posts. I'm heading to the big island next week and have structured a few meals around some of your thorough reviews.

          1. re: PulledPork

            Wow, did I miss your episode? We try to catch most of these, plus other similar series. Unfortunately, when our TV guide (not THE "TV Guide") lists "Top Chef Masters," we more often get an episode of the "Horny Housewives of Casa Grande, AZ," or similar. Which episode was this?

            As for the Big Island, remember that I have not been there in some years, as one poster is prone to point out. Also, Alan Wong does not have a presence there now, and we were big fans. A few of the older spots seem to be doing better than they were, when we were last there. Chefs change. Sommeliers change. Times change.

            Please do report back with the changes on the Big Island, and travel with both safety and much aloha.

            Hunt

            1. re: Bill Hunt

              I watched TCM for the first time and caught 3 episodes. I'm getting the rhythm of the show and thought the theme of Besh's episode was great for creativity...but sadly not so much for the scores for Besh. his quickfire didn't happen for him, but thought he rallied in the elimination.

              chefs say the hardest thing to make are eggs. Besh says, the difference btwn a good egg and a bad egg is seconds. at first, I was thinking seconds, as in getting them again or not, until I saw how off the timing Besh's eggs were...seconds...tick tock.

              I must check out this Anita further...her dishes looked tasty.

          2. re: Bill Hunt

            That advice is sagacious...you make an excellent point about not annoying others. The vegetarian aspect is something I cannot speak to, as much as I love vegetables. Any restuarant in the city could provide side dishes of good stuff with sauces...but then we wonder if we are dealing with Ovo-lacto (I don't know how to spell that term) vegetarians.

            If Galatoire's was to be the place then I'd certainly suggest one of the three rooms upstairs. I don't know the seating capacity of them--the two samll rooms are identical, I think, and the larger room that run parallel to Bourbon could easily hold the party under consideration. But downstairs? I'd rather not. I don;t even like goddamn christening parties down there. It's just rude.

            1. re: hazelhurst

              You know, I played my memory of the menu at Galatoire's and could not come up with a full veggie meal. I'm sure that Chef is better than I, but still, considering the menu what, beyond eggplant, do you go with?

              I've had up to 6, out of 10, veggie dishes at Restaurant August, and I am a raving omnivoere. A few times, I have wondered, "how did you come to the conclusion that I am a _____ vegan?" Still, the dishes were great, and I enjoyed veggies that I would not even imagine eating at home - AND I enjoyed them!!!!

              Considering the potential for a "bachelor party," I think some privacy would be a real plus. Were I young enough to be invited to such, I would want our venue to be closed off from the regular diners. I've been on the other side too often. Still, a party should be a party. If everyone is worried about disturbing other diners, how can they have a party?

              What is the story of Galatoie's private rooms? Guess that my "dance card" did not have the proper call-out, as I cannot recall these.

              Hunt

              1. re: Bill Hunt

                The "private rooms" are simply just the upstairs rooms..there are three of them...if the place is open to all the the "pocket doors" (i.e. 'sliding doors') are open. But the rooms can be closed off. A raucous party should, in my opinion, be sealed off. While downstairs dinging room is the "real" place, it is just flat rude to inflict a bachelor party or a Carnival party on other honest people...I dont care if we do think we own the place....there are other people to be considered.

                1. re: hazelhurst

                  Yea, I totally agree. We certainly aren't trying to ruin anyone else's experience. I think the private room at August may be the way to go.

                  Any other tips for great "can't miss" spots for our group?

            2. re: Bill Hunt

              After spending some time with Restaurant August's menu, I fear that the selections are a tad too similar to many of the finest "California Cuisine with a French Influence" restaurants that we know and love here in SF. There's nothing wrong with that style of cooking obviously, but I think we are looking for something a little more indigenous to New Orleans. I will call Galatoire's and see if they can accomodate / quarantine a large group like ours.

              1. re: PulledPork

                I would call the sales offices and see what menus can be made to accommodate. there are a lot of places that I held private functions and could write my own menu, do not underestimate the talent and creativity of John Besh. I'm sure August could be up to the challenge.
                http://www.hulu.com/watch/22985/after...
                or cochon:
                http://www.hulu.com/watch/22904/after...

                1. re: PulledPork

                  Arnaud's has a number of private rooms. It may just have that New Orleans flavor you are looking for too.

                  http://www.arnauds.com/images/pdf/arn...

                  http://www.arnauds.com/menu.html

                  You'll be right there on Bourbon St and you guys can stumble right out in the quarter.

                  Bars:

                  Pat O'Brien's
                  If you like metal - The Famous Door
                  Irish/Celtic - Kerry Pub
                  Jazz - Snug Harbor or Funky Pirate for a little Big Al Carson

                  It doesn't really matter though. As you all become more and more inebriated you'll just wander aimlessly from bar to bar on Bourbon and you'll forget you actually had an agenda. You'll have a wonderful time.

              2. I've read of many a bachelor party dinner at La Boca. all good.

                1 Reply
                1. re: edible complex

                  La Boca seems to be an Argentinian Steak House. Not exactly the N'awlins feel we are looking for.

                2. Hey Pulled Pork -

                  I would go with either Galatoire's or Cochon, but leaning toward the latter. I celebrated my 30th birthday at Galatoire's during a Friday lunch and it was madness, to say the least (weekend of Halloween). All of my out-of-town friends still talk about that lunch and since we didn't get seated until about 2pm, we left at around 5pm to meet up with others before a long night. But doing a dinner may be a tad different. If it were me, I would do a Friday late lunch, about 1pm, and continue into happy hour and finish by 5pm, then everyone can shower before going out and not be weighed down by heavy dinner food. You can always eat after drinking!

                  My best friend had his bachelor party at Cochon and it turned out great. There were probably around 15 of us and we had a long table that sat us all. It's a rather unique culinary experience and a contrast to anything you'll find in SF. We ordered beer after beer, mostly local Abita beers and we all shared plates of just about everything on the menu. We finished the dinner with moonshine before hitting the town.

                  I am not normally one to eat a heavy meal before going out, so this was perfect. Even though the food sounds heavy, we were all able to share plates and taste just about the entire menu (I think our first order was "bring us 2 of every app on the menu!)

                  Cochon is a pretty loud place, so having a group of guys did not affect the dynamics of the rest of the restaurant.

                  Can't really recommend anything vegetarian, sorry. And you may want to check out the menu at Cochon, seeing as the restaurant revolves around pig!

                  -Kevin

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: UptownKevin

                    Extremely helpful, Kevin! I think we're going to take your advice and do two late lunches instead of a long dinner. Long dinners from 7 - 10 can really take the momentum away from a night of boozing. So, it looks like our plan is to do Commander's Palace for one lunch and then see if Cochon, Galatoire's or some other fine establishment could accomodate us for a 1:00 - 4:00 culinary extravaganza. Thanks again.

                    Any great bars or other bachelor party tips for us, Kevin?

                    1. re: PulledPork

                      Where will you be staying? What are the age ranges of your crew?

                      Will be more than willing to give you suggestions and ideas, but 9 times out of 10, bachelor parties end up at strip clubs or crappy tourist bars on Bourbon Street. Really disappointing, since NOLA has so many great bars with stories to tell. Let me know and I'll give you some great ideas.

                      -Kevin

                      1. re: PulledPork

                        Alright, after thinking of a few things, here are my French Quarter (FQ)/Bourbon Street ideas and tips for a bachelor party and for drinking in the city. Following is a quick bar guide that I send out to first time visitors, along with my restaurant guide. I just cut and pasted it.

                        In the FQ, you'll probably end up staying on Bourbon Street most of the time. During the afternoon, you'll see plenty of guys waving the 3-for-1 signs and believe it or not, you really do get 3-for-1. It's like 5 bucks for a beer, but you get three. If you come back after 8pm, it'll actually cost you a small fortune for a beer in one of those places.

                        One of my favorite places for afternoon 3-for-1 drinks is at Razoo, since they have a really cool back patio to hang out. I generally avoid Cat's Meow, but have been known to have a drink or two there. If you hit 3-for-1 and have a cocktail, they'll give you 3 shots of alcohol, totaling about 3oz. Your best bet is to have them put it in a small cup, instead of the ginormous cup they'll try to give you. No reason to drink that much liquid. If you want 3-for-1 after 8pm, head upstairs at the Bourbon Street Blues Club (BBC), where it's always 3-4-1 and you'll have a good shot at getting out on a balcony to watch the wildlife.

                        Cool bars in the FQ include Molly's at the Market and Napoleon House, two of my favorites. Molly's is a total dive and not to be missed. Napoleon House has too much history not to go there. Another really cool bar is the Carousel Bar in the Hotel Monteleone. Rotating bar and classic, pricey, touristy cocktails, but a necessity nonetheless.

                        Pat O'Brien's is a given, so check it out. Keep in mind that there are several bars at Pat O's and the drinks are different prices at each one. Also I will fill you in on a rookie mistake that many make. The drinks at Pat O's are super expensive and they come in fancy glasses. Part of the money you pay is a deposit on the glass; you can go to the bar and get your deposit back. Or you can leave with your souvenir glass or leave a table full of them for someone else to cash in. The choice is yours.

                        If you're hungry at 4am, you can pick up a Lucky Dog, but I'd advise against it. Head over to The Alibi for a roast beef po-boy and some seedy company. There are also a few other late-night haunts, but The Alibi was my go-to (if I wasn't uptown).

                        If you want to get out of the quarter and be cool like locals, take a cab to the Fauburg Marigny and hang out on Frenchman street. It's similar to Bourbon Street but without the idiot tourists. It's only locals and the good tourists. Very hip, artsy scene, like many parts of SF.

                        Uptown is a whole other part of town and where most locals spend their time. Although the bars are much cooler, frankly I'd have a hard time suggesting that a bachelor party trek that far away from the FQ. Let me know if you want some other tips. Here are several of my favorite bars:

                        Favorite Bars (by neighborhood)
                        Most of these are dives, but a couple are upscale. I used to bartend and manage the bar at The Columns. It pays to take the streetcar there on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and have a drink on the porch.

                        p.s. please don't let anyone in your group buy a "Hand Grenade" and carry it around the FQ!


                        Pat O'Brien's - FQ - A New Orleans institution. Don't get suckered into drinking a Hurricane. They're potent, and not that great.

                        Molly's at the Market - FQ - dive bar - Open 24 hours a day. Great bloody mary. Interesting place.

                        Coop's Place, FQ - Located on the same block as Molly's. It's a divey place with pretty good Creole/Cajun food.

                        Igor's - Uptown - dive bar. Best burger in town at 2am. Open 24 hours a day.

                        Fat Harry's, Uptown - Across the street from The Columns. It's a smoky college bar, open late with food served late.

                        Columns Hotel - Uptown (upscale) www.thecolumns.com

                        The Bulldog - Uptown (best beer selection in the city) www.draftfreak.com

                        Cooter Brown's - Riverbend - great sports bar, large beer selection and good bar food. The sausage sandwich is rockin'.

                        Carousel Bar at the Monteleone Hotel - FQ (upscale) The drinks are pricey, but it is one of a kind. The bar is built on an old carousel and rotates slowly while you sip on your drinks.

                        That's about it for bars. Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any specific questions.

                        -Kevin

                        p.s. One last tip - there are no live sex shows in the FQ, don't get suckered into going into one of those places...

                        1. re: UptownKevin

                          Ditto on The Bulldog. Great beer garden and an amazing selection. It would be well worth an afternoon trip to Magazine St.

                          1. re: UptownKevin

                            Fat Harry's is a couple block up from Columns. "across the street" is Superior Bar & Grill, which is not all that good. in a previous life, on wednesdays, I'd bounce back n forth from Que Sera (now Superior) and the Columns.

                            1. re: edible complex

                              Ok, so it's a couple blocks down, but still across the street, no? Directly across the street from the Columns is a house and Superior is caddy-corner, so if you want to split hairs...

                              But I can see your point. That bar guide was written hastily quite a while back. Time for an update.

                              -Kevin

                            2. re: UptownKevin

                              Dude - I owe you a beer. This is incredibly helpful.

                              1. re: UptownKevin

                                Do you think we should hit Coop's for our late-night Thursday night dinner? You said the food is "pretty good".... is there a late-night spot with better food and that same Creole/Cajun feel?

                                1. re: PulledPork

                                  I think Coop's is a good idea. You probably won't be there until 10pm or so, so your dining options are limited. Food is good, but contrary to some reviews on CH, it's not the end all, be all. Think "bar food" and you'll be fine.

                                  -Kevin

                                  http://www.coopsplace.net/