Rich in cultural diversity resulting from the historical migrations of the Spanish, French and Haitians, New Orleans is an American city like no other. The Big Easy is world-renowned for its distinctive music, Creole food, and cocktails -such as the French 75 and Sazerac. We took a deeper dive -and drink, of the Southern city’s elevated foodie scene and discovered a sophisticated bar culture that pairs elegantly with hotspots -on and off the famous French Quarter.
CLASSIC WATERING HOLES
The exposed brick and wood paneled walls add warmth to this cozy bar, and the perfect spot to order the vintage bubbly cocktail – the French 75, made with Champagne, Gin, Sugar and Lemon Juice.
621 St. Louis Street, New Orleans – French Quarter, LA; omnihotels.com/new-orleans-royal-orleans/touche-bar
Peychaud’s Bar in the Hotel Maison De Ville
Housed in the boutique hotel, and featuring a private courtyard, Peychaud’s Bar is a beautiful spot to sip the official cocktail of New Orleans. Once the residence of Antoine Amédée Peychaud, a Creole apothecary who prescribed and dispensed his patented herbal bitters. Peychaud’s Bitters would later become the main ingredient to the famous Sazerac -a boozy cocktail mixed with Sazerac Rye Whiskey, Peychaud’s Bitters and Herbsaint Legendre (an anise liqueur similar to Absinthe), and garnished with Brandied Cherries.
727 Toulouse St, New Orleans – French Quarter; maisondeville.com/peychaud-s ; @peychaudsbar
EAT & DRINK
Rib Room at Omni Royal Orleans Hotel
Located on the most fashionable corner of the French Quarter inside one of the historic Grand Dames, the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel, is this refined, yet friendly steakhouse restaurant and bar. Start your experience by pairing their amazing Oysters Pastis with the delish and refreshing Sea Foam Collins – made heavenly with Hendrick’s Gin, St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Fresh Lime, Cucumber and Mint; then topped off with Q Club Soda.
You must stay for the Rib Room’s exceptional Prime Rib or Filet -served with housemade steak sauce, and perhaps enjoyed with a glass of Uppercut Cabernet Sauvignon. Do order a dessert cocktail, like the rich and creamy Solero -made with Svedka Vodka, Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur, RumChata, Passion Fruit Reàl Monin Vanilla Spice, Fresh Orange Juice and Whipped Cream.
621 St. Louis Street (In the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel), French Quarter – New Orleans, LA; https://ribroomneworleans.com/ ; @RibRoom
TIP: Guests of the hotel can cool off at the rooftop pool and the poolside La Riviera Bar. I recommend the fruity and refreshing Strawberry Hibiscus Shake – mixed with Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Strawberry Reàl Monin, Hibiscus Monin, Fresh Lemon Juice and Simple Syrup.
The Elysian Bar
In the trendy Marigny neighborhood, find this unique hotspot located in a former rectory. The Elysian Bar consists of dining spaces in its parlors, the small glass atrium, and the lush outdoor courtyard that leads to an iconic jewel box bar.
While you pursue one of NOLA’s best menus for New Southern cuisine, we recommend ordering the potent and rich Creole Cocktail -stirred with Cask Strength Rye, Amer, Rosso Vermouth, Alpine Amaro, and garnished with Orange Peel.
Do start with the incredible Smoked Beet Tartare prepared with horseradish and creme fraïche or the Snapper Crudo. For your mains, go for the scrumptious and tender Braised Lamb Shoulder – served with charred eggplant, grilled swiss chard, and sumac yogurt, or the Grilled Swordfish in a cilantro and herb broth.
Finish the night strong with the Café Brûlot -made with Bourbon, Mezcal, Sfumato Amaro, Coffee Liquor, Angostura and garnished with Orange Peel.
2317 Burgundy Street, New Orleans -Marigny; theelysianbar.com ; @elysianbarnola
Criollo at Hotel Monteleone
This luxe, and reportedly haunted, hotel is home to the famous Carousel Bar, but head to Criollo for the best brunch in town. Kick off your Sunday Funday with their outstanding Peach Bellini -made with Taittinger’s Champagne, Mathilde Peche Liqueur and Fresh Orange Juice.
While starting off with their French Market style beignets may be irresistible, do not miss out the amazing Blue Crab & Corn Beignets as well. Try egg dishes typical of Louisiana cuisine, such as Eggs Sardou -Benedict style with artichoke and creamed spinach, or Eggs Tchoupitoulas with boudin blanc sausage and fried green tomatoes.
Or pair Brioche French Toast with their amazingly delish Brandy Milk Punch specialty brunch cocktail -mixed with Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac, Cream, Nutmeg, Vanilla and Simple Syrup.
214 Royal Street (inside Hotel Monteleone), New Orleans – French Quarter; https://criollonola.com/ ; @criollo_nola
The Grill Room at Windsor Court
To experience fine dining like New Orlean’s upper-crust, make a reservation at The Grill Room at Windsor Court. This classic luxury hotel is a popular destination with the social genteel class for its specialty themed afternoon tea services and poolside cocktail soirees. However, The Grill Room, renowned for Japanese Wagyu steaks and its wine list, draws every local gourmand.
Begin with The Queen’s Flute -Lavender & Violet Syrup, Polynesian Bitters, and Sparkling Wine. Also available as a mocktail version, Laviolet Spritz.
Review their caviar menu as a starter before ordering your dinner meal. Consider a glass or bottle of elegant, red fruited Duckhorn Merlot when choosing your steak. Or pair a citrusy Joseph Mellot “La Chatellenie” Sancerre with one of the Grill Room’s new seafood options.
Before you end the evening, head to the Polo Club Lounge for an after dinner drink. Consider their Mirror Mirror cocktail – a smooth blend of cognac with a touch of chocolate liquor and other sweet treats.
300 Gravier St, New Orleans – Central Business District (CBD); https://windsorcourthotel.com/dining/the-grill-room/ ; @windsorcourt
TIP: Speaking of personal care indulgences, enjoy a quick spa experience with a FactorFive soothing facial mask for heading out for your big night out.
This new immersive entertainment venue offers a colorful and -and, at times explosive sensory experience. Journey through this multi-floored historical and cultural tour via a series of elevators to gain a quick, but full understanding of the city’s influential figures who formed its unique customs and traditions as well as its music and infamous Mardi Gras celebration. Along the way, ushers will guide your education, from a theater video presentation and the interactive games on each floor. Your visit will culminate high above and outdoors on the rooftop’s observation deck for 360° views of the city and the Mississippi River. Grab a bite at the Story Cafe on the main level before you fully exit.
2 Canal Street, New Orleans – Riverwalk; vueorleans.com ; @vueorleansnola
Cafe Du Monde
If you could only drink and eat at one place in New Orleans, head to Cafe Du Monde. Although there are now multiple locations, the original coffee stand is in the French Market off Jackson Square. This landmark and tourist destination is renowned for its Café Au Lait -made with coffee blended with chicory root, mixed half and half and hot milk, and beignets -hot and pillowy fritters heavily doused with powdered sugar.
1039 Decatur Street (off Jackson Square), New Orleans – French Market
500 Port of New Orleans Place at The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk, New Orleans
MSY New Orleans Airport at the main terminal at Concourse B, Level 2
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