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Bars where Pete has had a Drink (3,089 bars; 1,434 bars in Seattle):

Bars where Pete has had a drink

Sunday, September 25, 2016

#2460 - Sobou, New Orleans - 3/18/2014

Since Owen Brennan opened his eponymous French restaurant on Bourbon Street in 1946, the Brennan family has extended it's reputation across more than a dozen highly regarded restaurants, including about ten in New Orleans. The branch of the family that has been running Commander's Palace (and launched the careers of chefs like Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Laggase) established Sobou ("South of Bourbon") in June of 2012, as a more modern and more casual stop. There is more of an emphasis on small plates and cocktails, with the latter program run by Abagail Guillo, whom they lured from Brooklyn's Fort Defiance. This includes three tables with self-serve beer taps and Napa machines offering 16 wines by the ounce. The entire dining room glows with gold-lit shelves of antique bottles, most apparently from the Museum of the American Cocktail.

I did not have time for dinner on this visit and I've lost my notes on my drinks, but I do recall quite enjoying them, and it would be hard to go wrong on your drinks or food with this staff behind them.

310 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130 - (504) 552-4095
Est. June 25, 2012
Web site:  sobounola.com
Articles ranked: foodartsbestofneworleans - myneworleans - neworleanswill - nytimes - wgno - frenchquarter (Brennan family) epicurious - nola.com - yelp

Saturday, September 17, 2016

#2459 - Chart Room, New Orleans - 3/18/2014

A tip of the strongly poured cup to Ray Newman, who passed away about a month before this visit, after running the Chart Room for almost 40 years. Dubbed a "de facto oasis of sanity" in Esquire's list of best bars in the country, this bar is pleasingly super dark, cozy, and quite un-touristy for a bar near ground zero of the French Quarter.

300 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130 - (504) 522-1708
Web site:  facebook
Articles ranked: esquirenola - noladefender - noshbus - eater - seriouseatsyelp - bartrove -  bestofneworleans - neworleansonline

#2458 - Royal House Oyster Bar, New Orleans - 3/18/2014

For many years this was the Italian restaurant Tortorici's, established in 1900 and until the 1960s actually called Tortorich's, after an error by the immigration clerk that greeted founder Louis Tortorici. It lived to be the seventh oldest restaurant in New Orleans, and appears to have been struggling even before Hurricane Katrina closed it for good. In 2008 it was remodeled and reopened as the Royal House Oyster Bar.










441 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130 - (504) 528-2601
Est. 2008
Previous bars in this location: Tortorici’s
Web site: royalhouserestaurant.com - facebook
Articles ranked: bobandterrycitylightsbysharon - frenchquarterlyseriouseats - bestofneworleanscoolinary

#2457 - Hermes Bar, New Orleans - 3/18/2014

I have to assume my experience at this relatively new bar in the legendary Antoine's was not representative. From the employees wiling the time away chatting with their friends at the bar -- chatting, ironically, about how busy they are; to the bartender who could not make a Vieux Carre, to the bland tenderloin tips and salad, there was virtually nothing to enjoy here on this night except the restaurant's pedigree. This bar was constructed in 2009 the wake of the Hurricane Katrina disaster (which also claimed Antoine's fabled 25,000-bottle wine cellar). It's the first time Antoine's has had a bar, after 169 years without one.

Of course the restaurant itself is an essential visit. It was established in 1840, 39 years before Edison would invent the lightbulb by Antoine Alciatore, whose father had witnessed the execution of Robespierre, Antoine's is still run by his heirs, the oldest family-run restaurant in the country, and the second oldest, period. In 1868 it moved to its current location, subsequently purchasing and expanding into the adjacent spaces that once held stables and slave quarters, to 15 dining rooms -- one of which was sacrificed for the Hermes bar. The dishes and cocktails invented here, the most famous from Antoine's son Jules, include the Cafe Brulot Diabolique and Oysters Rockefeller.

Hermes Bar at Antoine's, New Orleans
(I don't eat oysters, so I can't be trusted to judge.)
Antoine's no longer requires the strictly formal dress code (although many still adhere to it), and getting a table in one of the dining rooms no longer requires a personal relationship with the waiter who runs it -- relationships once passed down like heirloms. But the renowned French-Creole cuisine and note-perfect service continue.

I don't know if it makes sense to return to a bar because the experience was sub-par, but I definitely plan to do that with the Hermes Bar. It just has too good of bloodlines for my experience to have been typical.

713 St Louis St, New Orleans, LA 70130 - (504) 581-4422
Est. 2009
Web site: http://www.antoines.com/hermes-bar.html - facebook
Reviews: gonolanola.com - bestofneworleans

Sunday, June 19, 2016

#2456 - The Abbey, New Orleans - 3/18/2014

The Abbey is open 24x7 and routinely included of lists of New Orlean's top dive bars. It is said to have been open since the 30s, to have once been a gay bar, and to have gotten Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt drunk. It is a happily dark, semi-gothy themed place that seems like it must have a lot of good stories. (I don't know any, but there there are couple here: tiltingsuds)

The Abbey, New Orleans, LA
1123 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116 - (504) 523-7177
Web site: facebook
Reviews: tiltingsuds - nola.com - yelpthrillist - tripadvisor - bestofneworleans

#2455 - Coop's Place, New Orleans - 3/18/2014

Coop's Place, New Orleans, LA
"Where the not-so-elite meet to eat." Affordable Cajun food in a homey atmosphere.



Coop's Taster Plate - seafood gumbo, shrimp creole,
Cajun fried chicken, red beans and rice with sausage,
rabbit and sausage jambalaya
1109 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116 - (504) 525-9053
Est. 1983
Web site: coopsplace.net - facebook
Reviews: theconstantrambler - penandfork - seriouseatsyelp - tripadvisor - neworleans.com 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

#2454 - Cafe Lafitte In Exile, New Orleans - 3/17/2014

Cafe Lafitte's in Exile, New Orleans, LA
Cafe Lafitte in Exile in New Orleans claims to be the oldest gay bar in the country. While it is difficult to identify when the bar started catering primarily to gays, "Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop" was founded in 1933 by straight but gay-welcoming Roger 'Tom' Caplinger and his partners Harold Bartell and Mary Collins. "In Exile" authors Perez and Palmquist note:
'Although the bar could not be classified a "gay bar" as we think of that term today, it was as gay friendly as the times would permit.'
However when the building's owner died in 1951, the building was sold at auction and a new owner took over Lafitte's, and did not welcome gay patrons. "Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop" remains in business to this day in the location, now catering to (straight) tourists. In 1953 Caplinger and his partners opened "Cafe Lafitte in Exile," which welcomed his former patrons, and remains definitively a gay bar today. However, dating the current "Lafitte in Exile" as the same bar as Caplinger's original Lafitte's would be inconsistent with a more typical approach, where people routinely treat a bar business run by a series of owners under a single name and in a single location as the same bar. That is, the more established approach would be to count Caplinger's years in the Blacksmith location in the age of the bar still operating there, rather than in the age of the new one he opened a block down Bourbon Street two years later, even if his theme and most of his patrons moved with him. By these criteria the oldest gay bar in the United States is probably the White Horse Bar in Oakland (for more on this question, see this page.)

In any case, there is no question that the bar is packed with history, has been momentous and comforting in the lives of many gay men over many decades, and has served as a semi-regular haunt of many significant writers and artists. The gossipy history of "In Exile" quotes a patron about the two mostly famously associated with the bar:

“One evening I saw Truman Capote sitting at the bar talking with someone. I approached him and said, ‘I don’t mean to come on to you but I’ve always admired your work. My I buy you a drink?’ And he responded, ‘Only if you sit and have one with us.’ He was so sweet, not at all bitchy like some have said. He even signed a beverage napkin for me. Another time I saw Tennessee Williams standing by the flame. As I neared him I could see he was very, very drunk but I introduced myself anyway. He gave me a very limp handshake, like a dead fish, and mumbled something incoherently, which kind of grossed me out, and almost fell down in the process.”

Today it remains a comfortable hangout for gays or straights, with an "eternal flame" (part of a fountain before one owner tired of patrons using it in lieu of the loo) and friendly bartenders. I've lost the name of the bartender on the lazy Monday evening that I wandered in, but I recall a long, interesting chat about the bar, music, life, and New Orleans.



901 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70116 - (504) 522-8397
Est. 1953 (current location)
Web site: lafittes.com - facebook
Reviews: nola - gaycitiesyelp - tripadvisor - wikipedia - neworleansonline

#2453 - Oz, New Orleans - 3/17/2014

The biggest gay bar and dance club on Bourbon Street. Apparently the new owner is not beloved by all residents, but it remains quite the party.

800 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70116 - (504) 593-9491                     
Est. 1993
Web site: ozneworleans.com - facebook
Reviews: curbed - gaycities - yelp - nola

#2452 - Johnny White's Bar (St. Peter St), New Orleans - 3/17/2014

Johnny White's Bar, New Orleans, LA
If your friends tell you to meet them at Johnny White's in the French Quarter, you're going to need some clarification. The eponymously named bars in the neighborhood include Johnny White's Pub and Grill, Johnny White's Hole in the Wall, Johnny White's Corner Bar, and, until recently, Johnny White's Sports Bar. But Johnny White's Bar on Saint Peter is the oldest and my favorite -- a little less frenetic and a little more dark and divey than the others.






Johnny White's Bar, New Orleans, LA






733 St. Peter, New Orleans, LA                                               
Web site: johnnywhitesfrenchquarter.com - facebook
Reviews: yelp - tripadvisor

Saturday, May 07, 2016

#2451 - Bourbon Heat, New Orleans - 3/17/2014

This is a most Bourbon Street of Bourbon Street bars, with a busy dance club upstairs complete with a balcony to flash from, if you're looking for that sort of thing. It's located within a historic New Orleans building constructed between 1832 and 1834, although there are few vestiges of that once you step inside and the history isn't entirely respected by the club owner.


711 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70116 - (504) 324-4669
Est. Jan 2011 - Building constructed: year
Previous bars in this location: Tricou House, Madrigal's
Web site: 711bourbonheat.com - facebook
Reviews: examiner - neworleans - yelp - tripadvisor

#2450 - ALLways Lounge, New Orleans - 3/17/2014

This is among my favorite bars in New Orleans, an intimate, alternative theater and lounge on the edge of the Marigny featuring burlesque, erotica readings, swing dance lessons and bingo. We arrived to a small crowd dancing to some engaging Hungarian Gypsy music from Kalman Balogh's Gypsy Cimbalom Band.


Allways Lounge, New Orleans, LA

2240 St Claude Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117 - (504) 218-5778
Web site: theallwayslounge.net - facebook
Reviews: nolaroadtrippers - bestofneworleans - gonola - yelp

#2449 - The John, New Orleans - 3/17/2014

A divey bar just off of Frenchmen Street, where mostly locals drink PBRs and cheap, strong cocktails, and the occasional tourist swings in to check out the golden seating alluded to in the name.

The John, New Orleans, LA
2040 Burgundy St, New Orleans, LA 70116 - (504) 942-7159
Web site: facebook
Reviews: nola - yelp - bestofneworleans - thrillist

#2448 - Port of Call, New Orleans - 3/17/2014

Try the: Monsoon

The Port of Call is a nifty little nautial/tiki themed dive in a quiet portion of the French Quarter, known primarily for its massive burgers, which some consider the New Orleans style burger. In addition to the larger patty, this means they come with a huge mound of un-melted, grated, cheddar cheese and a big baked potato on the side. The large burgers are a vestige of its early days as a neighborhood steakhouse:
"It was a sort of back of town place," recalled Wesley Schmidt, the longtime general manager of the jazz club and restaurant Snug Harbor, whose history is entangled with the Port's. "It was the kind of place where the floor director for the 10 o'clock news would come and drink after work -- you have to remember, this was before Bourbon Street really became a drunken frat boy weekend. It was another time and place. And George began serving food to those guys, these steaks and these really big hamburgers."  
(Brett Anderson, Times-Picayune)  
The Port of Call, New Orleans, LA
The tiki theme is a vestige of original owner George Brumat's time as a maitre d at the Bali Ha'i, a large, classic tiki restaurant along Pontchartrain Beach from 1939 to 1983. The 55-acre amusement park there closed, and the Bali Ha'i with it, in 1983. The building was then destroyed by fire in 1986, and the only vestige remaining is a portion of the entrance that now opens to Kenner Veterans Memorial Park.

Port of Call is quite popular with the locals so you are likely to wait for a seat if you do not arrive right as they open (currently 11am every day). In addition to the massive burger, we ordered the signature "Monsoon" cocktail from our bartender Floyd. The drinks here are more French Quarter touristy than craft, but the Monsoon is pretty good as these drinks go -- not overly sweet as you might fear.

Mushroom Burger at the Port of Call, New Orleans, LA
















The Bali Ha'i, New Orleans, LA
(Postcard photo via nola.com)


(A few more photos of the old Bali Ha'i can be found at Tiki Central here.)
838 Esplanade s, New Orleans, LA 70116 - (504) 523-0120
Est. 1963
Web site: portofcallnola.com - facebook
Articles ranked: nolathetikichickbeakersandbouillabaisse - tikiroom - 24dollarburger - gonola - redbeansandlifeepicurious - stevesbeenthere - yelp - tripadvisor

#2447 - Sneaky Pete's, New Orleans - 3/17/2014

The bartender here told me that there are two definitions for "Sneaky Pete": A pool cue used by a hustler and banged up to look like a local bar cue, and a 24oz beer in a paper bag. Dictionary.com says it is "a homemade or inferior liquor or wine." The internet has a few even more colorful definitions. The French Quarter Sneaky Pete's is open 24 hours, and is an unremarkable, but comfortably divey bar.

135 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130 - (504) 587-7701
Est. 2008
Web site: sneakypetesnola.com - facebook
Reviews: yelp - bestofneworleans

Sunday, May 01, 2016

#2446 - The Carousel Bar, New Orleans - 3/17/2014

The Carousel Bar, Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans
Try the: Vieux Carre

The Hotel Monteleone claims that the Carousel Bar is "the only revolving bar in New Orleans." One wonders how many thousands of visitors to various French Quarter bars over the decades have arrived at a state where that claim would seem dubious. But let's stipulate that the Carousel is probably the only one that appears to revolve even when one arrives completely sober.

Beyond the kitch, the Carousel Bar delivers some quality cocktails, and shares a notable place in both cocktail culture and literary history. In the former category its contributions include the invention of the Vieux Carre. In the latter, authors who have rotated through the bar include Hemingway, Faulkner, Capote, Tennessee Williams, Anne Rice, Stephen Ambrose, and John Grisham. References to the bar are contained in Hemingway's "Night Before Battle," Ambrose's "Band of Brothers," Eudora Welty's "A Curtain of Green," and Rebecca Wells' "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood."

The Carousel Bar, New Orleans
The rotating bar was constructed in 1949 and has been substantially remodeled a couple times, most recently in 2011. It should go without saying that we should make a point to support carousel bars wherever we may find them, and your New Orleans checklist should include stopping in for a Vieux Carre.













Vintage postcard of the Carousel Bar, New Orleans
(via trashytravel.com)

214 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130 - (504) 523-3341                    
Est. 1949 - Building constructed 1886
Web site: hotelmonteleone.com
Articles ranked: nola.com - gardenandgun - roadtrippers - neworleans.com - wikipedia - esquire (video) - yelp - tripadvisor - neworleansonline

Saturday, April 30, 2016

#2445 - Sazerac Bar, New Orleans - 3/16/2014

Yuri, myself, Ray and Russell
Ramos Gin Fizzes at the Sazerac Bar, New Orleans
Try the: Ramos Gin Fizz

The Sazerac's title as first ever cocktail may be in dispute, but it is my favorite classic cocktail, and there are few places better to enjoy it than the historic bar that bears its name in the city of its invention. But the drink that encouraged Huey Long to hold court in the Roosevelt Hotel bar -- to the point where the bar was known as "Huey's Office" and is said to have been the reason for the construction of the Airline Highway from Baton Rouge -- is the Ramos Gin Fizz. Thus our party started with the latter classic.



Sazerac Bar, New Orleans
The bar named The Sazerac traveled around town a bit. "It started out in a roughhouse back alley behind Royal Street in 1853 and stayed in more-or-less the same location for about 100 years before some enterprising businessman recognized the value of an emerging brand, purchased Peychaud’s original recipe, and moved the Bar to the Roosevelt Hotel.  Two more hotel name changes and one location change within the hotel would place the Sazerac bar in its current spot… right off the grand main lobby of what is once again, and finally, called the Roosevelt Hotel." (12bottlebar)

Meanwhile, the Roosevelt Hotel had quite a history of its own. The first part of building opened in 1893 as the Hotel Grunewald, which featured a basement lounge called "The Cave," considered one of the first nightclubs in America. The Cave was elaborately decorated with stalactites, stalagnites, pools, fountains and nymphs, and remained in operation hosting late night carousing, dancing, and Dixieland musics until 1935. In that year the hotel was purchased by a group headed by the aforementioned "enterprising businessman." This was Seymour Weiss, the former owner of a barber shop in the hotel, who would grow into becoming not only the owner and general manager but a valued confidante of Huey P. Long. Weiss converted The Cave to the Blue Room, which would host the likes of Glenn Miller, Guy Lombardo, and Tommy Dorsey. In 1938 they added the Main Bar, later to become The Sazerac:

Sazerac Bar, New Orleans, LA
'In 1949, Weiss purchased the rights to use the name "Sazerac Bar" from the Sazerac Company. The bar had previously been on Exchange Place before Prohibition and at 300 Carondelet Street afterward. He renovated a store front on Baronne Street which had previously held a wine-and-spirits store and opened the Sazerac Bar on September 26, 1949. As a sign of his marketing genius, Weiss announced through the news media that the new bar would abolish the previous 'men-only' house rule and admit women. Women from around the city flocked to the venue, and the event became known as Storming the Sazerac. The anniversary is celebrated every year at the hotel with vintage costumes and libations.... In 1959, the decision was made to close the Sazerac Bar on Baronne Street and transfer the name to the Main Bar. It is still named the Sazerac Bar today.' (wikipedia)

The bar and the rest of the hotel were shut down for four years after Hurricane Katrina, reopening in 2009 under the ownership of the Waldorf Astoria group. The room is handsomely dark, its bar framed by giant silver trophies and its art deco interior featuring murals by Paul Ninas. While the crowd tends to be sedate and formal, our well made gin fizzes were interrupted by a group of young women who told us they were on a sort of bachelorette party version of a scavenger hunt with their friend required to get a stranger to buy her a shot. If it wasn't a true story, it was good enough to merit a swig of tequila, and we happily obliged.

The Cave, Grunewald Hotel (wikimedia)

The Sazerac definitely belongs on your shortlist of bars to visit in New Orleans.


130 Roosevelt Way, New Orleans, LA 70112 - (504) 648-1200
Est. 1949 - Building constructed: 1893
Previous bars in this location: The Main Bar
Web site: therooseveltneworleans.com
Reviews: 12bottlebar - eater - youtube - nola.com - nola.com - atlasobscura - edibleneworleansneworleans.comyelp