Published on July 26th, 2013 | by Marysa0
An Insider’s Guide to New Orleans
By Marysa Mitch
Just take a look at some of our photos from Tales of the Cocktail and it’s pretty obvious we had a blast! In addition to the fabulous parties, informative seminars and plethora of delicious tastings, a big part of why we loved our experience at Tales, was the city of New Orleans itself. So, while we may focus on the NYC cocktail scene (for now!) we thought it only right to give all of our readers the Dipsology-approved Insider’s Guide to New Orleans. Most of the events at Tales took place in the French Quarter, so we’ll focus many of our drinking and eating recommendations there. If you’re looking to branch out geographically, Abigail Gullo of SoBou (listed below) recently shared her list of non-Quarter spots that you can check out here. We definitely urge anyone who visits New Orleans to get out and explore the city, as it’s so much more than great eating and drinking – it’s a city with a rich history and a spirit like no other.
Dipsology Restaurant and Bar Recommendations (in alphabetical order):
Alibi – If you are looking for a beer and some snacks at 4am after a night of cocktails, go to Alibi. It’s not a cocktail bar, it’s a dive bar where you can get a pint and relax with the bartenders who just got off a full night’s work down the block. 811 Iberville Street, 504-522-9187.
Arnaud’s French 75 – It’s not a trip to New Orleans unless you stop at French 75 to see NOLA legend Chris Hannah work his magic. The French 75 Bar is located adjacent to the dining room of Arnaud’s Restaurant (try the Shrimp Rémoulade here!). You can get any number of delicious cocktails, but we recommend getting the classic French 75, the bar’s namesake. 813 Bienville Avenue, 504-523-5433.
Cane & Table – This new bar, brought to you by the team behind Cure and Bellocq, has an island theme. Think more colonial island feel and less tiki. With a menu that boasts great rum cocktails and food like pork skins with jerk seasoning and ropa vieja, Cane & Table is sure to be a hit with locals and tourists alike. 1113 Decatur Street, 504-581-1112 (website not currently available).
Chart Room – Like Alibi, Chart Room is a dive bar. However, for industry professionals and locals, it’s the dive bar away from the madness. It offers a bit of sanity to go along with your cheap beer and shot. Again, fully a dive bar, so tourists, keep that in mind, but a great one! 300 Chartres Street, 504-522-1708 (no website).
Cochon – Dipsology is a guide to great cocktails, but when in New Orleans, you cannot get by on alcohol alone – nor should you even want to. With great food around every corner, we may have actually eaten more than we drank. Case in point: Cochon. We visited more than once and never had a bad dish. Some of our favorites were the Rabbit & Dumplings, the Fried Alligator, Fried Oysters, Pork Cheeks…and the list goes on and on. 930 Tchoupitoulas Street, 504-588-2133.
Cure – We were in love the moment we stepped in to Cure. With outstanding cocktails that match any we’d find in NYC, the vibe was a cross between cool cocktail lounge and just a great, laid-back bar. While there are house rules and the cocktails are “fancy” there was no pretentious attitude. We had a blast with friends while enjoying great cocktails and food. 4905 Freret Street, 504-302-2357.
d.b.a – New Yorkers will recognize the name. Yes, there’s a d.b.a in New York, but don’t think just because you’ve been to an outpost in the East Village, you can pass up this one. Make sure to venture outside the usual Bourbon Street bars and head to d.b.a. on Frenchmen Street for a fantastic selection of beers on tap, liquor and live music. You heard me right – fantastic live music at d.b.a. – this isn’t your East Village or Brooklyn d.b.a. 618 Frenchmen Street, 504-942-3731.
Domenica – New York isn’t the only city with good pizza. Domenica, inside the Roosevelt Hotel, has some great and unique pizza – hello, clam pizza! Also, make sure to go during happy hour (3-6pm, 7 days a week) for half priced pizza, wine by the glass, beer and well cocktails. 123 Baronne Street, 504-648-6020.
Erin Rose – If you want to ensure you have a great day in NOLA start your day at Erin Rose. Sure, it’s a bar, but it opens at 10am, and on a hot and humid day walk in, enjoy the AC and order a delicious frozen Irish coffee. Then when 12pm comes around head to the back of the bar and order some po’boys from the Killer Poboys window. Sit back down at the bar, eat your amazing po’boys and order another frozen Irish coffee, because, why not? You’re in NOLA! 811 Conti Street, 504-523-8619.
Maurepas Foods– During our time in New Orleans we kept hearing the same six words from our friends, “You must go to Maurepas Foods!” So, on our last night in town we decided to see what all the fuss was about. The cocktails are fab and the food is top notch. If you stop by this restaurant in the Bywater make sure you try the Peaches & Peppers, Gulf Shrimp and Stone Ground Grits. 3200 Burgundy Street, 504-267-0072.
Mena’s Palace – On a recommendation from a friend we decided to pop in this unassuming breakfast and lunch spot. Mena’s Palace is a favorite among locals and we could see why. The food is full of flavor and easy on the wallet. And the daily specials are a deal that can’t be beat in the French Quarter. 200 Chartres Street, 504-525-0217.
Mother’s Restaurant – If you watch any food or travel show, you’ll hear about the legendary Mother’s. The line can, at times, be out the door, but it moves fast and once you place your order at the counter and take a seat, you can relax and take in the delicious smell of fried chicken and baked ham. Speaking of fried chicken, Mother’s served up the best this Jersey girl has ever had. 401 Poydras Street, 504-523-9656.
Old Absinthe House – The Old Absinthe House is a part of New Orleans history and is right in the center of the French Quarter on Bourbon and Bienville. The building itself was built in 1806 and serves up classics like Brandy Milk Punch and Ramos Gin Fizz, along with its signature Absinthe House Frappe. It’s the quintessential Bourbon Street bar where you’ll often find yourself meeting up with old friends and making some new ones as the night progresses. 240 Bourbon Street, 504-523-0113.
Sazerac – I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you to go to a bar that shares the name with the signature drink of New Orleans. The Sazerac is a great cocktail lounge housed in the Roosevelt Hotel. Take a seat at the bar or on one of the comfy chairs and sip cocktails while enjoying a nice night with friends. Of course, you must order the Sazerac while at the Sazerac, but the Ramos Gin Fizz here was definitely one of the best I had in town. 123 Baronne Street, 504-648-1200.
SoBou– What started as a quick bite, turned in to a full on delicious meal when we ventured into SoBou. We already knew the cocktails were going to be stellar since Abigail Gullo is SoBou’s Head Bar Chef. For those of you who are New Yorkers you’ll probably recognize Abigail, as she was once behind the bar at some Dipsology’s favorite NYC bars, The Beagle and Fort Defiance. The quality of food matches that of Abigail’s cocktails and we will be sure to make a beeline to SoBou next time we are in NOLA. 310 Rue Chartres, 504-552-4095.
Featured images courtesy of Cure and Cochon
Marysa is the NYC General Manager & Cocktail Maven of Dipsology. She is also a contributing writer for The Alcohol Professor and shares her love of spirits, beer, and wine on her blog, limerence + liquor. You can follow her on Twitter at @msmarysa.