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Cocktails in NOLA

We are staying next week for three days (Wed-Sat) in the CBD right between the FQ and GD. Looking for good places for cocktails, apps, maybe lunch in general area. Don't want Commander's, NOLA institutions, FQ tackiness. Instead, looking for good atmosphere, nice place, mid-range as opposed to high end.

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  1. For cocktails (not food) I'd recommend Tujagues, Bar Tonique, and the Carousel Bar. Note that Tonique has an atmosphere that you may or may not consider "good" ... think dive bar with indifferent service and four star cocktails; I like it, it's reasonably priced, but it's not exactly gracious. Tujagues will do you well if you're looking for a classic cocktail; again though, the service at the bar is sometimes ... gruff.

    The Carousel Bar is (in my opinion) very attractive and makes a fine Sazarac or Vieux Carre.

    For cocktails with food, try Cure on Feret St., it's worth the cheap cab ride out there. Also, right there in the CBD is Cochon ... their drinks aren't classics but are usually well conceived (and the food is delicious). I think spending an afternoon at the Cochon bar grazing on small plates is one of my favorite ways to kill time.

    I'd be remiss not to mention Herbsaint as well. Their half-sinner/half-saint -- an original -- has spread far and wide and is a personal favorite. It's been a while since I've seen their cocktail list though.

    6 Replies
    1. re: montuori

      also for cocktails without food - Loa (in the International House hotel). Exquisite craft cocktails, and absolutely no FQ "tackiness."

      With food, try Sylvain in the FQ.

      1. re: montuori

        We were in NO last month and Carousel was closed for reno.

        Maybe just a wee bit tacky, but I'd suggest an early morning (7-8am), happy-hour ($2 or so) bloody mary, TO GO, from anywhere thats open.

          1. re: porker

            Re: the Carousel -- I haven't been by in a few weeks but the claim was they would be open early December. Construction being what it is, I wouldn't be surprised if they're late. Sorry for any misinformation there.

            (Say, anyone know if and when the Circle Bar at Lee Circle is reopening? The last time I was in -- a while ago now -- the bartender handed me my beer and took second one out of the cooler to put on ice because, as she said, "You'll be wanting another." That's good service.)

            Looking forward to trying Loa. Back in the days when I was a visitor I stayed a bunch of times at the IH owned Loft 523. If the quality's up to those exacting standards I very much understand the use of "exquisite."

            1. re: porker

              When we were there Carousel was open, but the piano bar area was closed. According to what they told us it should be all up and running by now. Definitely check it out.

              Commander's Palace has great cocktails beyond the 25c martinis at lunch. Just check out their specialty cocktail menu.

              Mr. B's has a really nice cheap lunch cocktail menu.

              Tujague's had my favorite sazerac but really all the ones I had were great.

              Lots of cocktail pics here: http://tastytrix.blogspot.com/2012/01...

              http://tastytrix.blogspot.com/2012/01...

              1. re: porker

                Wanted to let everyone know that the Carousel is back open and the renovations to the piano area are stunning. We went on New Year’s Eve and had a great time listening to Luther Kent. As for bars with good food, I’d recommend the Delachaise on St. Charles, Coop’s in the French Quarter and Capdeville in the CBD.

            2. CBD:Rambla in the International House Hotel, Swizzle Stick in the Lowe's Hotel
              FQ:Hermes Bar at Antoines, Royal Orleans Bar, Napoleon House,
              GD: Columns Hotel on St. Charles
              Uptown: Oak Wine Bar on Oak Street

              1. If you're willing to go Uptown, I highly recommend Cure Bar. It's amazing what those guys do with a cocktail. And there is some good food to nosh on.

                -----
                Cure
                4905 Freret St, New Orleans, LA 70115

                1. Cure is off the beaten path but worth it (though can be a little pretentious)...

                  Some others to consider: Sylvain, Patrick's Bar Vin, Swizzle Stick, Delachiase, Loa and Columns Hotel and Salu

                  Hope this helps...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: nolawinelover

                    Core can be pretentious, but we sure have fun there.

                    Swizzle stick used to have an amazing bar menu with shrimp corn dogs (not what you think), and duck meat balls, etc. We LOVED sitting in the bar talking, drinking and eating for a few hours at a time. The last time we went the bar menu had changed substantially, and it hasn't been the same for us since.

                    With that being said, it's still a lovely bar. I'd definitely recommend it.

                  2. The guys at Victory in the CBD are really nice and fun to talk to. Drinks are good and reasonably priced.

                    The Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt is flat out fantastic.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: daffodilly

                      Yes, the Sazerac is wonderful. Bar Uncommon in the Pere Marquette is nice, but it's hours are hit or miss.

                      1. re: FoodChic

                        Last time we went from Sazerac to Bar Uncommon (which we love when Mr. Chris is there) but it was a miss night so we traveled on to the Bombay Club, which we hadn't been to in years but will now go back. Great drinks and an interesting looking bar menu.

                    2. Coquette made some incredible drinks, and was one of the best meals I have had in a while. Arnaud's French 75 bar also makes a great drink.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: mikek

                        I wanted to give a +1 to Coquette. You can sit at the bar, have a few yummy drinks and some apps. Plus, Alley (sp?) is an excellent bartender!

                        I recommend the Delachaise not so much for cocktails, while they do them well, they aren't artisinal, handcrafted, etc. What they do well is atmosphere. And their prices are very reasonable.

                        I find Cure to be so pretentious that I won't go there anymore.

                        Loa was making some great cocktails last time I was there. The bartender from Clever was infusing his own liquors and making some really creative stuff.

                        1. re: Annasta

                          They essentially did a cocktail pairing for our entire meal at Coquette, both on and off menu/custom drinks. Fantastic.

                      2. Feelings Cafe is my favorite.

                        1. Walk across Canal on N Peters and go W on S Peters 4/5 blocks to the corner of Lafayette and S Peters to Ernst Cafe which is over 100 years old for good happy hour and crawfish. They have outdoor tables. Then go W a block to Girod and go N 2 blocks to Lucy's Bar on Tchoupitoulas for a good 4 to 7 happy hour and $2.50 beer.
                          Lucy's Bar @ 701 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 504 - 523 - 8995.
                          http://www.lucysretiredsurfers.com/
                          Ernst Cafe @ 600 South Peters Street, New Orleans, LA 504 - 525 - 8544.
                          http://www.nomenu.com/reviews/ErnstCa...
                          Walk On’s is a fun sports bar on Poydras just S of the SD.
                          Walk On’s @ 1009 Poydras Street, New Orleans, LA 504- 309 – 6530.
                          http://walk-ons.com/