Best of New Orleans #17
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Drago's menu claims that their specialty is “the single best bite of food in New Orleans”
Freshly-shucked Gulf oysters hit a ripping hot grill at Drago's.
Every day during the month of August, we’re highlighting one restaurant from our recent ranking of the 31 Best Restaurants in New Orleans. Today’s restaurant, Dargo's, is #17 on our list.
It’s rare that one food item puts a restaurant on the map, but at Drago’s, which has one location in Metairie and another in the Hilton Riverside, it’s all about the Charbroiled Oysters. The menu claims that this is “the single best bite of food in New Orleans,” and that’s actually not too far from the truth. Freshly-shucked Gulf oysters hit a ripping hot grill before being topped with a thick butter-based sauce kicked up with garlic, Pecorino, cayenne, white pepper, lemon juice, and parsley, and it all combines into a buttery flavorbomb for the ages. You might as well order your second dozen as soon as your first one arrives, and ask for some extra bread to mop up the sauce while you’re at it.
Here's our complete ranking:
#31. Maurepas Fine Foods
#27. The Joint
#26. Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse
#23. La Petite Grocery
#20. Parkway Bakery
#18. Dooky Chase
#15. Redfish Grill
#12. Camellia Grill
#10. Willie Mae’s Scotch House
#1. Commander’s Palace
Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe
In my humble opinion, the Central Grocery’s Muffuletta is the best. It’s the standard that all other Muffulettas should strive to emulate! There are a lot of bad ones in the city. The one at Napoleon House is pretty good, it’s a heated version with a more finely chopped olive salad. They use Pastrami on their version, I’m not crazy about that part, but it’s pretty good. Pretty good, but like all others, it’s no Central Grocery.
I watched Emeril Live the other night, Mario Batali was a guest, and Emeril made a Muffuletta. Now, the meats and cheeses he used looked phenomenal, his olive salad looked great, but then he came to the bread. He used a nice looking loaf of bread, but it was obviously too much of a rustic loaf for a Muffuletta, I like something a little lighter for the Muffuletta (with sesame seeds of course), but I guess I can live with that part. But then… he cuts the bread, right, and out of nowhere (dramatic pause) he plunges his meat hooks into it and digs out all of the wonderful center of the bread on both sides and discards it! I almost fell out of my chair! My skin is crawling just thinking about it. The moral of the story is this:
Don’t do that. It makes my skin crawl. Unless of course you like it that way, then to hell with me.
Back to the recipe, I make a pretty good Muffuletta, but I’ll be honest, it’s no Central Grocery, but it’s pretty darned good. The quality bread, as I just emphasized is important, you need about a 10 inch round loaf with a good coarse texture, and a nice crust (not too hard) and sesame seeds. Here is my recipe, with a deep, humble bow to Central Grocery:
1 10″ round loaf Italian bread with Sesame seeds My Recipe
1 Recipe Olive Salad
1/4 lb Genoa Salami (Oldani is the best, and I’m relatively certain it’s what CG uses)
1/4 lb Hot Capicola (this is my spin, you can use regular Ham.)
1/4 lb Mortadella (I use San Danielle)
1/8 lb Sliced Mozzarella
1/8 lb Provolone
Cut the bread in half length wise.
Brush both sides with the oil from your 1 week old Olive Salad, go a little heavier on the bottom.
Layer half of the Oldani on the bottom half of the bread. Then the Mortadella. Then the Mozzarella, then the Capicola, Provolone, and the remainder of Oldani. Top this with the olive salad. Put the lid on and press it down without smashing the bread. Quarter it. You’ve just created pure heaven.
Serves: 4 light eaters, 2 hungry hangovers or one bad to the bone eating machine!
Share All sharing options for: 12 Classic Cocktails Invented in New Orleans
Despite the popularity of Hand Grenades and sickly sweet Hurricanes on Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras, New Orleans’ history of the cocktail can be traced back to its beginning, when drinks were built simply from spirits, sugar, water, and bitters. The city may not be the birthplace of the very first cocktail, but it is where many of the most enduring drinks were invented. To honor the Crescent City for Mardi Gras, Los Angeles cocktail blogger and New Orleans native Chuck Taggart — a verifiable cocktail geek and student of cocktail historians Ted Haigh and David Wondrich — details the history of the Big Easy's classics. From the well-known Sazerac to the more obscure Café Brûlot.
Drink name: Sazerac
Where it was invented: According to legend, the Sazerac was born at Antoine Amédée Peychaud’s pharmacy on Royal Street. It was then popularized at Sazerac Coffee House, a saloon on Exchange Place in the French Quarter. The drink and eventually its primary source were named for the brand of Cognac that favored the drink, Sazerac de Forge et Fils. The primary ingredient was switched to rye whiskey in 1870 due to imbibers' changing tastes and an absinthe dash/rinse was added.
Who invented it: Apothecary Antoine Amédée Peychaud, who did indeed concoct Peychaud’s bitters, served friends a brandy cocktail spiked with his bitters.
What is it: Absinthe (or Herbsaint), rich simple syrup (sugar to water ratio, two to one), Peychaud's Bitters, rye whiskey. It is New Orleans’ own cocktail in the truest historic definition. It actually bears more resemblance to what Jerry Thomas (considered the father of American mixology) referred to as an "improved" cocktail (an old term from the beginning on the cocktail, basically referring to an Old Fashioned with something added to it) with absinthe, but the Peychaud’s bitters makes it New Orleans’ own.
Drink name: Brandy Crusta
Where it was invented: Jewel of the South, the bar at the New Orleans City Exchange, Gravier Street, New Orleans.
Who invented it: Joseph Santini.
What is it: Cognac, Grand Marnier, maraschino, simple syrup, lemon juice, Angostura. Perhaps the first sour, and the precursor to the Sidecar.
Drink name: Brandy Milk Punch
Where it was invented: Although the drink is now heavily associated with New Orleans, milk punch recipes date back to the 17th century, and one version appears in Jerry Thomas’ first ever bar guide in 1862.
What is it: Cognac, whole milk, simple syrup, vanilla extract. It may not have been invented in New Orleans, but this drink is very much part of the city's culture and history.
Drink name: Absinthe Frappé
Where it was invented: Aleix Coffee House, later called The Absinthe Room and now known as Old Absinthe House.
Who invented it: Cayetano Ferrer, head bartender of Aleix Coffee House and later proprietor of the establishment, which he renamed.
What is it? Absinthe, rich simple syrup, anisette (optional), chilled soda water.
Drink name: Ramos Gin Fizz
Where it was invented: Imperial Cabinet Saloon, Gravier St., New Orleans.
Who invented it: Henry C. Ramos, who popularized the drink at his own bar on Gravier, The Stag, from 1907 on.
What is it: Gin, heavy cream, lemon juice, lime juice, simple syrup, egg white, orange flower water. The Ramos Gin Fizz is Henry C. Ramos' gussied up version of a Silver Fizz (gin, lemon, sugar, egg white, soda water). It is a silky, rich, beautiful, elegant drink.
Drink name: Café Brûlot
Where it was invented: Antoine’s Restaurant, French Quarter, New Orleans.
Who invented it: Jules Alciatore, son of the restaurant’s founder Antoine Alciatore.
What is it: Cognac, Grand Marnier or Cointreau, dark brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, strong New Orleans chicory coffee. A grand after-dinner flaming coffee drink prepared tableside with lots of ceremony and showmanship. At New Orleans’ grander restaurants (and certain grand homes as well), a special brûlot set with a ladle for straining out the fruit peel and spices is used, some of them made from sterling silver.
Drink name: Roffignac
Where it was invented: Signature cocktail at the former Maylie’s restaurant, New Orleans.
Who invented it: Obscure, but named for Count Louis Philippe Joseph de Roffignac, who was mayor in the 1820s.
What is it? Raspberry shrub, cognac, simple syrup, soda water. It's like a brandy highball with raspberry shrub. Stanley Clisby Arthur’s classic tome Famous New Orleans Drinks and How To Mix ‘em gave a recipe with whiskey and an odd ingredient called "red Hembarig." Nobody could figure out the ingredient until food writer Robert F. Moss realized that it was a conflation of the German words for "raspberry" and "vinegar" — himbeeressig, aka raspberry shrub.
*The Roffignac gained popularity around this time but exact year of creation is unknown.
Drink name: Cocktail à la Louisiane
Where it was invented: Restaurant de la Louisiane, New Orleans.
Who invented it: Obscure Stanley Clisby Arthur lists it in his 1937 book.
What is it: Rye, Bénédictine, sweet vermouth, Herbsaint or absinthe, Peychaud’s Bitters. A cousin to both the Sazerac and the Vieux Carré with elements of each.
Drink name: Vieux Carré
Where it was invented: Hotel Monteleone, French Quarter, New Orleans.
Who invented it: Monteleone head bartender Walter Bergeron.
What is it: Rye, cognac, sweet vermouth, Bénédictine, Angostura bitters, Peychaud’s bitters. Pronounced "VOO ka-RAY," it translates from French to "Old Square" and is an old name for New Orleans’ French Quarter. Mr. Bergeron was the head bartender of the hotel’s cocktail lounge, pre-dating the current Carousel Bar, which opened in 1949.
Drink name: Hurricane
Where it was invented: Pat O’Brien’s Bar, St. Peter St., French Quarter, New Orleans.
Who invented it: Benson "Pat" O’Brien and Charlie Cantrell. According to the story, post prohibition there was a glut of rum and Pat and Charlie's liquor distributor would only sell them other booze if they agreed to take 50 cases of rum they didn't want. So, they concocted a mixture using a large amount of rum, passion fruit syrup and lemon juice, and it took off.
What is it: Dark rum, passion fruit syrup, fresh lemon juice or lime juice, garnished with orange slice and a cherry.
Drink name: Arnaud’s Special Cocktail
When it was invented: 1940s-1950s
Where it was invented: Arnaud’s French 75, New Orleans.
Who invented it: It was the popular house cocktail of the bar after World War II, but who actually invented it is unclear.
What is it: Scotch, Dubonnet Rouge, orange bitters similar to a Rob Roy.
Drink name: Bywater
Where it was invented: Arnaud’s French 75, New Orleans.
Who invented it: French 75 bartender Chris Hannah created the drink in honor of his favorite New Orleans neighborhood, Bywater. And like the Vieux Carré is to the Manhattan, the Bywater is to the Brooklyn.
What is it: Aged rum, Green Chartreuse, Averna Amaro, velvet falernum. A variation on the obscure Brooklyn cocktail.
2. Restaurant R'evolution
Restaurant R’evolution has six one-of-a-kind dining rooms ensuring that all guests can find their perfect ambiance. Each is adorned with designer drapes, comforting colors, exceptional lighting, authentic artwork, and extraordinary white china. The atmosphere of the restaurant is exceeded only by the food, conceptualized by world-renowned chefs John Folse and Rick Tramonto.
Their award-winning cuisine can best be described as a stylish and inventive twist on classic Cajun and Creole cuisine. Guests will enjoy everything from seafood gumbo to sheep ricotta gnocchi with lobster, perfectly paired with fine wines from their 10,000-bottle cellar, or one of the eclectic libations featured at Bar R’evolution.
777 Bienville Street, New Orleans, LA, Phone: 504-553-2277
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Friday before St. Patrick's Day.
Molly&rsquos at the Market hosts a French Quarter parade with riders in carriages and marching groups. Starts at 6 p.m. at 1107 Decatur Street.
The Downtown Irish Club Parade starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Bywater and travels through the French Quarter, making several pit stops at local drinking establishments as it heads towards Bourbon Street.
Saturday before St. Patrick's Day.
The Irish Channel Parade is an annual favorite through the Irish Channel and Garden District. Parade starts at 1 p.m. at the St. Mary&rsquos Assumption Church. There are Irish themed floats, marching bands, countless men dressed in tuxedos and plenty of green beads. Keep an eye out for cabbage&hellipto make corned beef and cabbage later, of course.
Sunday before St. Patrick's Day.
Metairie celebrates St. Patrick&rsquos Day with a parade starting at noon. It&rsquos a favorite for both kids and adults. The parade starts in front of Rummel High School on Severn Avenue.
Sunday after St. Patrick's Day
Louisiana Irish-Italian Parade in Metarie, along the Veterans Highway parade route. Starts at noon.
St. Bernard Irish Italian Islenos Parade in Chalmette, starting at noon.
10 Traditional New Orleans Cocktails To Make During Mardi Gras
When Carnival ends, the celebration of Mardi Gras begins &mdash also known as the last day to consume all the deep fried foods, cakes, and booze you want before Ash Wednesday arrives and Lent begins. Can't make it to the Big Easy this year? You can still raise a glass to Fat Tuesday by making these classic New Orleans cocktails at home&mdashor ordering one in your hometown bar. For more Mardi Gras party ideas, check out our favorite Mardi Gras food recipes.
If you're in New Orleans, you should most definitely stop by Pat O'Brien's bar&mdashthey lay claim to one of New Orleans' most famous beverages: the Hurricane. If you're at home, here's how to make one yourself.
A brunch staple in New Orleans thanks to Benjamin Franklin. Ours is made with bourbon but you'll also find brandy is very common.
The Sazerac is the official cocktail of the city of New Orleans. In the city, you can get a great one at the bar inside the Roosevelt hotel, which has been serving it since 1949.
Want a classic strawberry? We've got you covered.
The classic Bourbon St. cure.
Down in NOLA, daiquiris can be found EVERYWHERE. At the drive-thru, at bars, in restaurants. At some of these pitstops, you can even order yours by the gallon. Usually, though, it's by the cup, and that cup is classy styrofoam or plastic. If you're recreating the vibe at home, we suggest going with this frozen watermelon daiquiri.
These aren't traditional, but are fun.
Grasshoppers have been served at Tujague's in the French Quarter since 1919&mdashif you want to make a copycat, we've got a great one.
Mint juleps are a southern classic&mdashif you're drinking at home, we love this strawberry jalapeño recipe.
This tiki drink is peak New Orleans&mdashand with multiple rums inside, it'll get you prettyyy tipsy.
Where To See Art: Ogden Museum of Southern Art
A piece on exhibit at the Central Business District's Ogden Museum of Southern Art, which showcases more than 4,000 artistic works ranging from sculptures to literature.
If you love design, you've likely visited your fair share of historic and contemporary museums. But how much do you know about Louisiana's art throughout history?
"For Lousiana-specific art, from contemporary all the way back to the 19th-century, I would go to the Ogden Museum of Southern Art," says Graci.
You'll find the Ogden Museum in the Warehouse Art District of downtown New Orleans, where it displays Southern traditions in art, music, literature and culinary heritage. Founded in 1999, it was based on the founding donation of more than 1,100 works from the private collection of New Orleans businessman Roger H. Ogden. Now, that collection has grown to include more than 4,000 works.
The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (and until 8 p.m. for Ogden After Hours on Thursdays). Tickets are $13.50 for adults and $6.75 for children ages 5 - 17. Children under 5 are free.
Prejean's at JazzFest
Southern Foodways Alliance/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
Once a year, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival turns the Fair Grounds and Race Course into a microcosm of Louisiana culture, and the food there is second to none. You can find a pheasant, quail, and andouille gumbo from Lafayette-based Cajun restaurant Prejean's among the 70-plus booths.
It's worth the (steep) price of admission—not to mention the absurdly long line—and JazzFest is the only place to get it. You could make the two-hour drive out to the restaurant any time, but although it has great gumbos on its regular menu, this one is a festival-only special.
The girl from Leitrim who became the &lsquoAngel&rsquo of New Orleans
It is sometimes said that the only difference between the truth and fiction is that fiction needs to be plausible. Margaret Gaffney Haughery is a case in point. If Charles Dickens had written her life story, even he would surely have paused at some point and thought, “Wait! Am I laying this on too thick?”
Margaret Gaffney was born on Christmas Day 1813, in Tully, Co Leitrim. Five years later, faced with extreme poverty and religious persecution, her parents and the three youngest of their six children, including Margaret, boarded a steamer bound for Boston.
The stormy crossing took six months because the ship was blown 400 hundred miles off course. The family’s luggage was lost and passengers were reduced to starvation rations before eventually docking in Baltimore. Shortly after disembarking, Margaret’s emaciated sister Kathleen died.
The family settled in Baltimore, where, in 1822, a yellow fever epidemic hit. Both of Margaret’s parents succumbed to the disease. Shortly afterwards, her brother Kevin disappeared, leaving nine-year-old Margaret alone. She was taken in and employed as a servant by a Welsh family.
In 1834, she married an Irishman, Charles Haughery, and they had a daughter named Frances. When her husband took ill, they relocated to New Orleans, where it was hoped the warm climate would aid his recuperation. It didn’t. Charles died, as did their daughter just a couple of months later. At the age of 23, and for the second time, Margaret Haughery found herself all alone in the world.
No wealthy widow
Deciding to devote the rest of her life to children, Margaret would in time become one of the most celebrated philanthropists in New Orleans history. But she wasn’t some wealthy widow – her late husband left her nothing. So Margaret started out, very much, as an entry-level philanthropist.
She volunteered at the Poydras Orphan Asylum and earned her living as a laundress. Using her own wages, she purchased two cows and began selling milk door to door in the French Quarter. Mary Lou Widmer’s 1996 biography, Margaret: Friend of Orphans, relates how Margaret used her daily milk round to cultivate relationships with local business owners and solicit donations for the orphanage.
By the age of 40, she owned 50 milk cows and, with the Sisters of Charity, ran two orphanages, caring for children of every race and religion. In 1860 she opened a bakery. When the American civil war broke out the following year, the port of New Orleans was blockaded by the Union navy. Margaret opened a “coffee shop” – in reality a soup kitchen to feed the swelling ranks of the city’s poor.
When Yankee soldiers occupied the city, she defied Union general Benjamin Butler, crossing Confederate lines daily to purchase flour to keep her bakery open. By the war’s end, the number of orphans in the city had risen dramatically. Margaret upgraded and expanded her facilities to meet demand, as well as providing day care for working widows.
By now she was famous, known affectionately as the Bread Lady or the Angel of the Delta. During her final illness, scores of people queued to visit her bedside, among them the former Confederate general PGT Beauregard and the African-American philanthropist Thomy Lafon. Pope Pius IX sent her a crucifix.
Margaret’s death on February 9th, 1882 was reported on the front page of the Daily Picayune: “She never had upon her hand a kid glove, she never wore a silk dress, though she earned by hard labour many thousands of dollars. But no woman has been borne to the tomb within the limits of New Orleans who was more generally respected and loved.”
Margaret Gaffney Haughery was granted a state funeral, and a large monument was dedicated to her memory two years later. She left tens of thousands of dollars to local charities in her will. The document, which is reproduced in Widmer’s book, contains one final surprise. The testator’s name is signed with an X.
The Best Places to Eat and Drink in New Orleans
The idea of celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans is either a traveler's dream or worst nightmare. I had always assumed I would never be able to fully appreciate the debauchery that comes with a few too many Sazeracs, thumping music, and topless women—and men.
But then I found myself standing on Canal Street catching beads—by accident.
It turns out there are two versions of Mardi Gras—one for locals (aptly called Family Gras) and one for the masses. I had unwittingly booked my annual visit to the Crescent City for that first week of festivities. And it was glorious. For one thing, there’s something pleasurable about it being a bit more sedate. Plus—as the name implies—the celebrations are incredibly family friendly. (Like the Krewe of Barkus parade, which features dogs in outrageous costumes.)
This year, while hordes of tourists descend upon The Big Easy for Fat Tuesday (February 17), savvy vacationers will go early—when the Family Gras parades and celebrations begin during the first week of the month.
And because New Orleans is a city for travelers guided by their stomachs, there’s so much more than spectacle to take in—such as its restaurant and bar scene, which is arguably one of the best in the U.S.
Here, a comprehensive list of the best bars and restaurants the city has to offer. Just remember to check out the rules and guidelines surrounding Mardi Gras—and yes, that definitely means no “risqué behavior” outside of the French Quarter. But beyond that, laissez les bon temps rouler!
As its name (which is French for pig) implies, James Beard Award winner Donald Link’s casual restaurant in the Warehouse District specializes in all things pork. And while everything on the menu is tempting, Link’s fried alligator with chili garlic mayo, smoked pork ribs, and fried boudin are the true winners. Go for lunch. Order from the extensive bourbon menu. Make sure to book a table well in advance. And after the meal, stop by Butcher—the restaurant’s sister eatery next door—for some cured meats and hot sauces to take home.
You can't knock fried alligator until you've tried Cochon's version.
In New Orleans, there’s only one way to do Friday afternoon right. And that means a very long and boozy lunch at Galatoire’s on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. The restaurant has been there for more than a hundred years, but you’re not there just for the meal. It’s the predominantly local scene you’re after—where people converge to celebrate the start of the weekend and gossip about the town’s goings-on. One very important thing to note: They don’t take reservations for the downstairs dining room, which is where you need to sit. Walk-ins only, so come early or wait next door at the bar of Galatoire’s 33 Steak House.
Galatoire's is exactly where you'll want to be for a boozy Friday afternoon lunch. (Photo: Louis . [+] Sahuc)
Having opened in 2012, R’evolution is a relative newcomer to NOLA’s dining scene. But it’s already a hit. Consider it for dinner and don’t neglect to get the bone marrow appetizer and braised short ribs. The charcuterie board wouldn’t hurt, either. But if you can’t make it at night, its lunch menu is superb.
Make a lunch reservation at this legendary restaurant, which has been in business since the late 1800s. It’s the kind of place where men wear jackets and women arrive with perfectly coiffed hair—but it serves one helluva deal: a seasonal two- or three-course lunch prix fixe (for no more than $45) and 25-cent martinis.
This is old world New Orleans at its finest. It’s been around since 1840 and it’s still alive and well for good reason. Many go for dinner (there’s a reasonably-priced five-course prix fixe). But the Sunday jazz brunch, from 11am to 2 pm, is exceptionally fun.
You can never go wrong with Antoines' Sunday Jazz Brunch.
A cousin of Cochon, Herbsaint is chef Donald Link’s finer restaurant. Also in the city’s Warehouse District, it’s technically a casual spot, but the ambience is more elevated than Cochon’s and guests are always smartly dressed. In keeping with Link’s style, the fare is seasonal, local, and hearty.
This little jewel box of a restaurant in the Garden District is lovely for dinner—particularly for couples. The cuisine is French-Italian. And because chef John Harris focuses on seasonality, the menu is ever-changing—but never disappointing.
This is chef John Besh's best restaurant—hands down. A safe distance from the maddening crowds of Mardi Gras, the only breasts you can expect to see here come from a duck. Serving contemporary French fare that focuses on seasonal ingredients, August is in a league of its own. Its elegant ambience lends itself to good conversation—so make a reservation for date night or for a quiet evening with good friends.
Great oysters and crawfish. Enough said. But go for lunch, a very early dinner, or a 3pm pop-in. The line outside is frequently more than 10 deep, so the wait isn’t exactly convenient. There are other places nearby, but Acme is the real deal.
Stop by this John Besh restaurant if you’re in the mood for a great raw bar or some solid brasserie fare—say, some excellent fries and a no-nonsense burger. It’s nothing fancy but the menu can’t be beat.
One of the many homes of the famous New Orleans po’ boy sandwich. They serve several kinds of this messy masterpiece, but it’s the fried gulf shrimp you want. And you can order the oyster, famous Ferdi special, or debris to share with friends. Get the catfish salad and jambalaya as sides. (Trust me, you’ll want them.)
The Sazerac is a knockout bar—the kind of place you’d expect to find Don Draper and Roger Sterling if Mad Men were set in New Orleans. And like the other bars on this list, it’s nothing like most of the raucous places on Bourbon Street, which are best reserved for the under-25 crowd. This is not where one gets drunk. This is where one sips and converses. Expect a swanky crowd, erudite bartenders, and amazing cocktails (including the city’s signature drink, the Sazerac).
This beautiful Garden District hotel is where Pretty Baby was filmed. It’s worth a stop for a drink—or three—when you’re coming from Commander’s Palace or walking along Magazine Street.
The Columns Hotel in New Orleans' Garden District is perfect for that mid-afternoon cocktail.
The hotel has been around since 1886 and has some serious literary history behind it. (Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, and William Faulkner were frequent guests—as were Truman Capote, Anne Rice, and John Grisham). And its legendary Carousel Bar is a stop you need to make. Try to get there early to snag a seat at its main attraction: a circular 25-seat bar that actually spins.
Hotel Monteleone's Carousel Bar has a rich literary history behind it—and an actual carousel that . [+] turns.
This French Quarter gem is housed in a historic landmark that dates all the way back to 1797 and was once owned by Nicholas Girod, New Orleans’ mayor in the early 1800s. Come for the (strong) cocktails. Stay for the ambience.
Conveniently located in the W Hotel’s French Quarter outpost, SoBou makes for a good stop when doing the inevitable French Quarter bar crawl. The bar stocks everything. And the bourbon selection is extensive. By that I mean, you could order a pour of the elusive Pappy Van Winkle—if the other patrons don’t beat you to it first. While you’re there, make sure to grab some small plates, which are inspired by Louisiana street food.
SoBou's bourbon selection is impressive. Get a Pappy Van Winkle. Neat, of course.
WALKING IT OFF
Royal Street in the French Quarter
If you think Bourbon Street defines New Orleans, you’re wrong. If anything, it’s the one street to avoid—save for the few gems like Galatoire’s and R’evolution. In any case, you can never go wrong ambling around the French Quarter. But Royal has some of the finer antique, art, and jewelry boutiques.
The street is miles long, so you’ll want to pick a section and walk it—especially when you’re not exactly sober. But the 5000s to the 1800s blocks on Magazine are solid. (You can get there via the St. Charles line streetcar. Or a cab.)
Walking distance from the celebrated Cafe Du Monde, the market is filled with stalls selling every kind of pickled vegetable, pepper sauce, jam, and other foodstuffs. There’s also costume jewelry and tchotchkes to be had. But even if you’re not into souvenirs, it’s certainly worth exploring.
A short walk from the French Quarter, the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood is where most of the (fun) non-touristy action is. Walk along Frenchmen Street and you’ll find the best music joints in the city—the Spotted Cat and Café Negril are not to be missed.
AND DON’T LEAVE WITHOUT HAVING A BEIGNET…
It’s the only place to get beignets as God intended, at least this is what both locals and tourists swear by. It’s almost always a scramble to get a table or a bag of sugar-dusted doughnuts to go. But if the line is just too damn long, go to the café’s outpost in Riverwalk. Or. there’s always nearby Cafe Beignet, where the line is nowhere near as impossible and the beignets are just as beig-nificent.
You can't leave New Orleans without having the puffy and powdery goodness that is the beignet—and . [+] Cafe Du Monde is the place to get it.