PLACE Hotel Monteleone
214 Royal St
New Orleans, LA 70130
New Orleans Bars
New Orleans is a well known drinking town, in addition to laying claim to the (probably not actual) first cocktail - the Sazerac - it has a whole district dedicated to public drunkenness, a museum covering cocktail history and the countries 3rd oldest bar (Laffite’s Blacksmiths Shop)
It lays claim to one of the most enduring drinking cultures in the world. But despite all of this history, or perhaps because of it, for the longest time it was a difficult place to find a good drink. The French Quarter became synonymous with careless drinking and volume over quality. However, partly because of the advent of a conference called Tales of the Cocktail, which attracts thousands of the top bartenders from all over the world to New Orleans to discuss trends and techniques and history in the world of drinks making, NOLA has had to step up it’s game a little bit with new bars and freshening up of older bars. While there are still a lot of bad drinks in town I was very excited to find a bubbling culture of craft drinks and some fantastic history of some of my favorite drinks.
First up we went to the Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone, a rotating circus carousel themed intoxication machine. This bar has fallen a bit from it’s former days of inventing one of our favorite drinks The Vieux Carré, to now making things with midori in to go cups, but it still a fantastic experience. It is a bar in the round that takes about an hour to do a full rotation. The bartenders stand in the center with a column of liquor in the middle, They don’t rotate so they have to keep sort of walking along to serve you. During the course of our hour there we saw several people that weren’t that drunk have their drunkenness heightened while trying to walk away from the slowly spinning bar. There is a high probability for most people with more than 2 drinks that you will stumble while walking from the spinning part to the non spinning part. They do make the Vieux Carré there again but I found it to be far from good. Go here for the experience and stick to something that is hard to mess up.