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Bars where Pete has had a Drink (3,202 bars; 1,477 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