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Suggestions for cool cocktails in New Orleans?

Headed to to New Orleans, staying at the Le Pavillon. Looking for a good bar for excellent cocktails and maybe some small dishes. Nothing loud and cheesy. A short cab ride is no problem, no need to be in walking distance. Just looking for a cool vibe, old school feeling -- serving good gin. Any suggestions?

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  1. Delachaise, Bouligny Tavern, Cure and Three Muses.

    3442 Saint Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70115

    8 Replies
    1. re: BayouTeche

      I second Three Muses, though it's pretty dang new, so couldn't qualify for "old school," but "cool vibe", excellent drinks (not sure about the gin, not my typical poison) and apparently delicious small plates. I say apparently, because my dining partners have absolutely loved it the three times i went, but though they have a good selection of veg appetizers and i know the chef, so hate to say it, I was not blown away by any of them. Fine, but not great. Stick to meats and seafood. I have learned by now that the maxim "what's good for Peter might not be so good for Paul" certainly applies to my nola dining recommendations.

      Be forewarned, they have live music (fun, but quite loud) and it's typically packed. I haven't been in a few months, so don't know if the hub-ubs died down and it's a little less crowded, or if it's only gotten worse. But the crowd always seems happy, almost verging on raucous but not quite, and having a very good time.

      Oh, and for a different feel, but another "cool vibe" in an old building, go Upstairs at Mimi's in the Marigny. You won't get well crafted cocktails there, I stick to wine and beer, but they have small plates and usually music a little later at night, and a good vibe.

      1. re: swampsue

        Did anyone mention Bar Uncommon? Try to go when Chris McMillian is working. Very worthwhile,

        1. re: CharlieH

          The boyfriend and I went by Bar Uncommon based off the recommendations of this board. We didn't go in. I hope the drinks are better than the ambiance because it looked super wankerville. What is this, Miami 1987? The cheesy backlit bar just put us off. It might be fine, but we were looking for something more cosy, old-school NOLA.

          We ended up around the block at Sazerac in the Waldorf-Astoria Roosevelt and were exceedingly pleased. We had a perfect bartender that made me a lovely ramos gin fizz. Boyfriend's basil julep went down dangerously well also.

          The Sazerac Restaurant-Roosevelt Hotel-New Orleans
          123 Baronne St., New Orleans, LA 70112

          1. re: skinny

            No offense, but you're a fool for not getting a cocktail at Bar UnCommon.

            It's a Renaissance...that's the way they all look. The quality of the cocktails have nothing to do with the location.

            I was just there last night and had three of the best cocktails I've ever imbibed. I had a 20th Century, "The Last Word" and a Tuscan Sunrise...all superb. I can't recommend it highly enough.

          2. re: CharlieH

            +1 with everthing you said.

            But I would also agree with Skinny. If you want comfortable ambiance Bar Uncommon is probably not the place. We like it for a drink before going somewhere on that side of Canal for dinner. The point is to sit at the bar, talk with Mr. McMillan and have a very good drink.

            While Emeril's is not known for its bar several of the bartenders there are from Nick's so if you miss one of Nick's absurdly named drinks you can get your taste there.

            In the FQ you can go from the big names, Carousel Bar, Hermes, French 75 to the more layback Chartroom, Mollys, Napoleon House, Tujaques...

            Napoleon House Bar & Cafe
            500 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130

            Emeril's Restaurant
            800 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130

            1. re: collardman

              I did not know that bit about Nick's mob being at Emeril's...that is a good thing to know and a feather in Mr LAgasse's cap. A college friend who lived @ Nick's will be in town this spring..I will be sure he finds out. Thanks.

          3. re: swampsue

            Three Muses has gotten worse as far as the crowd goes. we cant stop in for a bite anymore unless its after work. good problem to have.. we enjoy the signature Three Muses cocktail there.

            1. re: kibbles

              Earlier definitely better than later to avoid crowds.

        2. Above are good. Would also recommend Bar Tonique on Rampart St. Anyone know if they're doing food/snacks?

          820 N Rampart St, New Orleans, LA 70116

          2 Replies
          1. re: culinas

            Tonique is excellent....but no grub.

            820 N Rampart St, New Orleans, LA 70116

            1. re: BayouTeche

              Sigh. A friend told me they were gonna start some food up soon, but I guess not. Don't they know I'd drink more with snacks?

          2. you could also belly up to the bar at Coquette for apps and cocktails. also try OAK and The Sazerac Bar.

            6 Replies
              1. re: BayouTeche

                me either, but all my trusted winos and foodie friends are digging it. even the San Francisco friends, who were in town last week, went and raved about it. I wouldn't throw it out as a suggestion unless I was confident in the feedback I'm getting.

                1. re: edible complex

                  Cool....trusted winos & foodies are always appreciated. Thanks.

                2. re: BayouTeche

                  Went to Oak last month; it was great. Feels rather New York-y, which is changing it up a little bit, but we had a wonderful time. Good music too.

                  1. re: BayouTeche

                    Oak is nice, they have a pretty good cocktail menu. They seem to get pretty busy with a younger crowd, people appear to dress business casual. It was nice, I can't say I had a bad time but it all looked very "put on". It felt dirty and a bit all over the place, I wasn't sure of the "direction" or "theme" of the bar. All of that aside, it was a nice change of pace.

                  2. re: edible complex

                    +1 Coquette, among my favorites, excellent sazerac and other interesting spirits, such as Benton's-bacon-infused bourbon.

                  3. Try The Columns on St Charles - supposed to have great cocktails not sure about any food though

                    1. If I were at the pavillion, I'd put on a suit 9which is not necessary but I'd feel better about it) and walk just down the street to The Roosevelt, claim a barstool in The Sazerac Bar and put down roots. Check with them first, tho, because I have encountered a littel jazz group playing too loud and, on one horrible occasion, a pack of self-congratulatory Fake People. Every other time, though, it has been serene. Closest thing to the Old School feel outside of the private clubs on Canal.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: hazelhurst

                        ...w/ the exception of the $14 prices, yeah. unfortunately i cant find many people willing to join me for cocktails at Sazerac for this reason and i cant say i blame them. its pretty much going to be a vacationers bar. bummer.

                        i like the craft cocktails at Iris, in quarter. very good seasonal creations, $7-9.

                        321 North Peters Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

                        1. re: kibbles

                          It's not a problem for a time to time deal, especially if you've had cocktails at their Flagship shop on Park Ave. I usually stick to martinis in there...maybe that's why I don't recall what I paid the last time, in the late fall.

                          1. re: hazelhurst

                            well, i havent been to their place in NYC, but if one were living & drinking there then one would also be doing better than the mean salary here... while i myself go into Saz from time to time because i like the cocktails regardless and dont mind drinking alone, i do find it unfortunate their namesake bevs are $12 and $14 each. but hey, its a hotel bar that caters to out of towners. i get it.

                            Tonique is probably my fav for a sazerac or other crack cocktail, since its geared more to locals. restaurant Iris does some good work, too.

                            dah i hear the CH forum guards coming down the hall to silence our off-topic ways!

                            1. re: kibbles

                              What's off topic about this thread? Drinks are food too! I never thought that drinks talk was verboten on CH. Am I wrong?

                              1. re: ml77

                                dunno. but i know we've received warnings when talking about dress codes in restaurants...maybe drinks are ok since theyre consumed

                                1. re: kibbles


                                  You are correct. Almost every time that I comment on dress-codes, even in threads asking what the dress-code is, the CH team descends upon me.

                                  Still, where a poster (OP, or otherwise) asks about a dress-code, I try to be helpful, whether to talk about a published/enforced dress-code, or what will allow the patron to be comfortable. It's all in the spirit of helping people fully enjoy great food and wonderful restaurants.


                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                    Feeling comfortable, as a diner, by dint of being attired appropriately is integral to the enjoyment of a fine restaurant meal!

                              2. re: kibbles

                                There has been some heavy handed stuff lately. Words just disappear into the void.

                        2. For what you describe, Cure is the best option in the city. It will be a ten minute cab ride, but easily found, and they will call you a taxi when you depart. This is a place for highly inventive, top-end cocktails, also serving outstanding small plates of delectables. Caters to a mainly thirty-something (and up) well-heeled crowd, almost all local. Sophisticated and classy, but you'd feel at home there either in jeans or a suit.

                          4905 Freret St, New Orleans, LA 70115

                          1. the current issue of new orleans magazine has an article on bars. it lists 63 bars in different catagories.

                            1. Well, my best rec. would be to stop in at the Carousel Bar at the Montelenone Hotel, and call Hazelhurst to join you. He'll be the gentleman in the Perlis pen-feather sersucker suit with the Panama hat.

                              As another poster has alluded, the Sazerac Bar (Roosevelt Hotel) is great. It is an updated, but "old-school" room, and worth the stop.

                              The bar (name escapes me at this moment) at the Ritz-Carlton is great for drinks and excellent jazz.



                              2 Replies
                                1. re: edible complex

                                  Yes, and thank you. I had a dozen tabs open, and should have just brought up the NOLA Ritz, but was focused elsewhere.



                              1. Restaurant August has a new cocktail menu. Also has infused whiskies...

                                Restaurant August
                                301 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                1. Not sure if it qualifies as "cheesy" and thus is disqualified, but we had wonderful cocktails when lunching (twice in three days, we liked it that well) at Green Goddess.

                                  They made me the best Aviation I've ever been served. The house-made Bloody Mary mix, with roasted tomatoes, was also very good...only complaint was that it was a bit TOO thick...but GREAT flavor.

                                  The bar space, however, is VERY small...six seat, max, if I recall. But you can get some wonderful bites at Green Goddess.

                                  Green Goddess
                                  307 Exchange Place, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Monch

                                    cheesy? GG is great, and their craft cocktails are too. go down quick tho for the price tho.

                                  2. I've been enjoying Twelve Mile Limit in Mid-City- definitely a cab ride as it's set back from Canal by several blocks. The former cocktail manager of Coquette opened it up in October, and it's comfy with a neighborhood/locals vibe, with great cocktails at reasonable prices. ($6-7)

                                    Off the beaten path for sure, but definitely a diamond in the rough.

                                    They serve BBQ as well.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: noradeirdre

                                      Is smoking allowed at Twelve Mile Limit?

                                    2. Thanks for all of the responses! It was hard to narrow the list down. We went to Cure last weekend. Great drinks (lots of gin choices!) and amazing food. Three Muses and Bar Tonique are on our list for next time!

                                      820 N Rampart St, New Orleans, LA 70116