Watching a business evolve and grow is always inspiring. Here in New Orleans many places have lived several lives, with some transitioning from one type of business to another, while others start as one thing and morphing into something even larger and grander,  and in some ways growing from a child into an adult. In the Bywater neighborhood, on the corner of Poland ave. is a well worn building with a small wine store in the front. If you can find your way past the wine (which is very easy) you will have walked into the wine/music/eatery known as Bacchanal Wine. 

wooden board covered in a variety of cheese and meats

Photo courtesy of Bacchanal’s


The origins of Bacchanal wine are interesting.  Originally opened as a small wine store in the early 2000’s, owner Chris Rudge wanted something cool in the Bywater. After Katrina Bacchanal Wine re-opened  quickly and organically became a spot for returning locals to come and hang out. The property had a very large backyard, accommodating folks that were turning up to hang out in the damaged city at the time.  Musicians started playing, taking advantage of the stage in the courtyard and the growing audience. A local chef began using the kitchen to cook food and soon a rotating cast of chefs, mostly unemployed, having only recently returned to New Orleans had created weekly pop-ups.   Much like a neighborhood, Bacchanal became a go-to spot for just about everyone. The city finally caught on and shut down BW for lack of permits, but with enormous outpouring of support from the neighborhood, BW was able to re-open fully legal and began to tranform into the BW of today.

  Bacchanal wine is now a full functioning restaurant with an electic, fun courtyard, complete with a stage, and music seven nights a week.  Upstairs is fully-stocked cocktail bar with a hip and current spirits, with a nice cocktail menu that does not intimidate with unusual ingredients and room for the band if the weather becomes disagreeable.  The food is globally inspired and the sizes are made for sharing. With small dishes such radishes with housemade cultured butter or citrus and herb marinated olives perfect for small bites while you enjoy a glass of wine.  The wine list is off the chain, whether you are a rookie or serious wine drinker there is something for everyone. If you are coming with an appetite check out the whole grilled fish or the grilled cauliflower ( so delicious) The courtyard has been overhauled yet keeping the rustic feel of a neighborhood backyard party with plastic mix matched chairs and lights strung through the trees.  And dont forget, live music, seven days a week. Check out their website below to look at the music calendar.  

An uber, lyft or taxi is needed as it is deep in the bywater, but if you are driving there is plenty of parking nearby.  Bacchanal opens daily at 11 am and closes around midnight Bacchanal accepts all credit cards and has a pretty strong social media so you can check out photos of everything. Also Bacchanal runs the Elysian bar in the Peter and Paul hotel.  Check out our archives for the review of Elysian. But don’t forget to make a trip to Bacchanal Wine

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