30th Birthday Bash in December---Please Help
So myself and a bunch of friends (probably about 6) are heading in New Orleans in December for my 30th birthday. I've never been to New Orleans and I want to make sure this is the best party ever but Im in need of some help.
I will be in town for about 5 days (probably the 15th to 20th) but my friends will just be there the weekend (16th to 18th).
I need suggestions on:
1. places to eat. Im not a foodie but I do appreciate good food but love down home good cooking.
2. A great place to have birthday dinner on saturday the 17th. (must have nice ambience)
3. A great bakery to get a birthday cake
4. Potential places to have a small intimate birthday party (not for sure if I want to do one yet) and have some fun. Im a native New Yorker living in DC, so Im use to lounges with VIP sections for birthdays. Not for sure if I can get that in NOLA but as long as the place has a good vibe I will live.
5. Places to hang out at night on Friday and Sunday
6. Im staying extra days so I can do some touristy stuff like vist plantations etc....any suggestions on what/where I should go would be great.
Hoping to have a blast on my first trip on NOLA for my 30th.
Where will you be staying? Will you have a car? What is your price range for the birthday dinner?
#3 Maurice's in Metairie
#4 House of Blues has a VIP lounge...but you have to join.
#5 Lucy's on Tchoupitoulas and music clubs in the Marigny
House of Blues
225 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Im still deciding on hotels. Right now its between the Le Marais or The Wyndham La Belle Maison.
We will not have a car but could get one for a day if it was really worth it.
I wouldnt want anyone to pay more than $50 per person (meal plus 1 drink) for the birthday dinnner. Is that realistic?
OK, looks like you will be staying in the heart of the FQ (French Quarter), so you will have a lot nearby.
How large will the group be for the birthday (not the private b'day)?
The price range is a bit on the low side, but NOLA has great dining bargains, vs most of the US, so probably doable.
One rec. would be G W Fins, and their private room hold about 18 - 20 comfortably. They specialize in local seafood (but have other options), and know how to treat a group well.
For the "small, intimate b'day party," there are many choices. I would talk to the Windsor Court and ask about doing that in a corner of the Grill Room. Other options would be Galatoire's, or Arnaud's (nice bar scene too).
Another option would be Le Meritage at the Maison Dupuy.
Beyond those, there are dozens of alternatives, that should all work.
Most of all, enjoy your birthday in NOLA.
209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130
1001 Toulouse, New Orleans, LA 70112
re: Bill Hunt
Yes I figured for my first trip to NOLA I should stay in the FQ, especially since a few others attending it will be their first trip too.
The group will probably get as big as 15 to 20.
If $50 is low what sounds more reasonable. I just want to ensure everyone is properly prepared since it will be holiday and people will probably be still buying Christmas gifts.
I plan to enjoy this trip 100%. Any bakery suggetions?
I would try K-Paul's for a birthday dinner for 6 people. I'm not a huge fan of Cochon, but I was there last night and if you want a somewhat affordable meal in a loud, fun environment, you can try there. For your VIP section party, try Whiskey Blue in the W Hotel. It's a clubby atmosphere, and it hopefully will be different than your other nights. My favorite bakery is Haydel's on Jefferson Hwy. I would imagine the first timers will want to do Bourbon Street and the French Quarter on Friday night. Try to venture out to the Marigny or Uptown on Saturday and catch some live local music. When you are by yourself, hit the bar at Coup's for some good local dive food. December weather can be totally hit or miss so make sure you adjust your side trip plans accordingly. Personally I don't think there is anything I would recommend a first timer outside the city. There's enough exploring to do that would fill up your five days. Try the World War II Museum on one of your solo days.
930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130
333 Poydras St, New Orleans, LA 70130
For an out of the FQ adventure, take the St. Charles Avenue Street Car...in December get on at 4PM, so that you can enjoy the scenery. Stop off for a drink at the Columns Hotel. Get back on the street car and head for Oak Street. In the first block is a lovely spot, Oak...great appetizers, wine and drinks. Further down and in walking distance is Jacqueimos...make a dinner reservation. If you like BBQ, Squeal is on the corner. After dinner, go next door to the Maple Leaf for live music...check out their website. When all is said and done TAKE A CAB back to your hotel. Do not walk the streets.
3811 Saint Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70115
At the risk of getting too far away from food, having an extra day, or two, in the FQ is a good thing. Just walking and observing is a great way to spend the time. Along the way, there will be myriad food opportunities, and unless it's a Bourbon St. stand, selling drinks in large, oddly-shaped plastic containers, you cannot go too far off for lunch.
For some interesting breakfasts, I recommend Stanley! just River-side/down River in Jackson SQ., and then The Coffee Pot, nee Maxie's Coffee Pot. Mention "Maxie's" to any of the older ladies there, and just put yourself into their hands. I personally like either the two-top at the window indoors, or the first table (4-top) near the door to the courtyard. Enjoy the breakfast, the coffee and then parade on the sidewalk. Little is better, IMHO.
Now, and if you have not noticed, my recs. tend to be a bit more "formal," than many, but then we do not get over as often, as we'd like. The beautiful thing about NOLA is that there is great food almost everywhere, and at many price-points. I do not turn my nose up at the lower-end of things, as there is wonderful fare to be found, but we tend to go to the upper-end, due to the infrequent trips now. Just us.
For some great "local" places, most others here are better at that, than I will be. Though we still have family "on the ground," my niece and nephew, in the business, are now elsewhere, though their hearts are still in NOLA.
Coffee Pot Restaurant
714 Saint Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116
Look into Irene's Cuisine in the Quarter for one of your dinners; delicious creole italian food, beautiful cozy atmosphere. We always have an amazing time. Make reservations; the wait can be devastating without them, (sometimes even WITH them!) but it's worth it. I second the Oak Street/Oak Bar/Jacques Imo's & Maple Leaf recommendation for a raucous night out.
There is SO much do see between the Quarter and then venturing into Uptown & the Garden District, you would miss a lot by venturing out of town, you may want to save that for another trip.
Have an amazing birthday!
539 Saint Philip St, New Orleans, LA 70116
Some of the best dining is in the FQ and the CBD across Canal Street. There's also great restaurants in the Garden District and Uptown. If you are staying in the FQ you will have to take a cab or the streetcar 15 minutes or so Uptown which is not bad. Some people that stay in the FQ prefer to dine there so they can walk. Are you interested in fine dining or casual restaurants. If you prefer to stay in the FQ I like Galatoire's, Muriel's, Bayona, Stella, Irene's, Brennan's, Mr. B's and NOLA. Don't miss lunch at Galatoire's. On Friday there is a party all afternoon so choose your day as you please. Go to The Davenport Lounge at The Ritz Carlton Hotel and listen to Jeremy Davenport's jazz on Friday and Saturday at 9 PM.
Galatoire's @ 209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 504 - 525 - 2021.
Muriel's @ 801 Chartres St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 568 - 1885.
Stella Restaurant @ 1032 Chartres St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 587 - 0091.
Irene's Cuisine @ 539 St. Phillip St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 529 - 8811.
Brennan's Restaurant @ Royal St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 525 - 9711.
Mr. B's Bistro @ 201 Royal St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 523 - 2078.
Nola Restaurant @ 534 Saint Louis St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 522 - 6652.
Here's a couple of nice places to get your cake.
Swiss Confectionery @ 747 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 504 - 522 - 7788.
Cake Cafe and Bakery @ 2440 Chartres Street, New Orleans, LA 504 - 943 - 0010.
I would go to Commander's Palace for your birthday. Ask for a table in the Garden Room overlooking the courtyard. Enjoy your trip.
Commander's Palace @ 1403 Washington Ave., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 899 - 8221.
Traditional New Orleans birthday cake-- my Mom got me one every year til she passed away: Doberge Cake from Gambino's. I prefer Chocolate, but they also make lemon. Filling is pudding like.