The French Quarter has a long and illustrious history of libational pleasure, both upscale and lowbrow, and the sheer number of bars and lounges contained in the Quarter can be a bit daunting.
After a hot summer day (or evening!) in New Orleans, you may well be ready to belly up to the bar for a round of well-prepared refreshments at a classy locale. Here are four serious cocktail-focused options to consider in the heart of the French Quarter:
- The Carousel Bar is a timeless attraction located inside a great piece of real estate on Royal Street —The Hotel Monteleone. The beautiful rotating circular bar is featured in many tourist guidebooks so The Carousel draws a large crowd throughout the day. With the expansion of the space two years ago, there are plenty of other seats and lounges, but you’ll probably want to jump in as soon as a seat on the merry-go-round opens up. Try their customized Pimm’s Cups made with muddled strawberries, alongside the traditional cucumber garnish.
- Kingfish Kitchen & Cocktails also recently expanded: a massive well-polished U-shaped wooden bar welcomes cocktail aficionados at this convenient location on the corner of Chartres and Conti Streets. Chris McMillian, a fourth generation bartender, won the Best Bartender award from New Orleans Magazine in 2012 — and is considered a great influencer in the cocktail world. Try McMillian’s renowned Ramos Gin Fizz or Mint Julep.
- French 75 boasts two celebrity bartenders, Chris Hannah and Hadi Ktiri (most recently from NOLA-tiki-style bar, Latitude 29). French 75 is a tiny, elegantly decorated bar attached to Arnaud’s Restaurant on Bienville Street. If you’ve never had a French 75 cocktail take the plunge here! The standard menu French 75 is the cognac version (versus the often-poured gin concoction) made with Courvoisier VS, sugar, lemon juice, and French champagne. French 75 serves an upscale Creole-flavored small plate and snack menu from 6:00 pm until 10:00 pm, nightly.
- Mr. B’s Bistro on Royal Street may not be as ‘showy’ as the above three spots, however the dark wood corner bar can be particularly welcoming (and a good value) during weekday lunch hours. Mr. B’s famous Bloody Mary’s —and their classic martinis —are only $1.50 each from 11:30 am – 2:00 pm every Monday through Friday. A refreshing vodka-spiked lemonade is offered during those same hours for just $3.00.
Being a curious cocktail drinker is part of the full experience, so this summer duck into a cool bar for a refreshing tall drink— and toast this town!