You know how to EAT THIS CITY. With top chefs as tour guides, you’ve learned how to scout out hot spots for breakfast and brunch, where to go for a delicious date night, and how to feast like a local liege in the cities you love. But where do you wash it all down? Do you know how to find the best brewpub? Uncover who makes the meanest bloody marys and the most sparkling mimosas?
You’re about to find out. Welcome to DRINK THIS CITY!
This week, we’re going hard in the Big Easy! Welcome to New Orleans! Our guide, bartender Ashtin Berry, practices her craft in New York City at Tokyo Record Bar, an underground, 18-seater jewel box vinyl bar that pays homage to the record bars of Tokyo. One look at Tokyo Record Bar’s menu leaves little doubt that it should be on your must-see list the next time you visit the Big Apple, but Berry also has plenty to share about the city of New Orleans and its rich cocktail culture.
“I’ve been wanting to live in New Orleans since I can remember,” she says. “Something about the city just calls to some of us and that was definitely what happened with me. I moved there after spending time in a city that wasn’t a great fit for me. New Orleans immediately felt like home and I made a connection to so many people there. I worked at the Ace Hotel New Orleans; I was part of their opening team and later became the GM of the Lobby Bar.”
Berry obviously learned a lot in NoLA, her recent creations are absolutely on point.
Ready to check out Ashtin’s curated cocktail map of New Orleans? Let’s go drink this city!
BRUNCH COCKTAIL OR HAIR OF THE DOG
Oh, that’s, easy Erin Rose has the best frozen Irish coffee and it’s the perfect cool pick me up after a long night of drinking. See it’s not overly sweet so you can taste the coffee and is just thick enough it will stay super cold even in the Nola humidity.
Sorry got to do it…. Juan’s frozen margarita is ALL I can think about when it gets hot. Sure a fresh margarita is great, but when it’s 90 degrees outside and you are dripping sweat nothing tastes as good as one of their frozen margaritas.
Pro-tip: ask for a shot of mezcal on top; you will not regret it.
Bar Tonique the bar that has everything and nothing, and by that I mean this is one of the best cocktail bars in the city, but you won’t find it decked out with fancy menus or decor. However, if you’re looking for a really well-made sazerac or Pimm’s cup — or any classic really — this is where you wanna be. The music is always good and you are bound to hear an interesting story or two.
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Our own @matt_lofink giving the love for this cocktail: "The 'Champs Élysées' is a really delicious cognac sour with a hint of bitters and chartreuse. Here till midnight… come try one." . . #NOLA #neworleans #igersneworleans #showmeyournola #followyournola #noladining #noladrinks #OnlyLouisiana #tasteLouisiana #eaternola #yelpnola #myfab5 #cocktail #freretstreet #curenola
Take a trip uptown and go visit Cure if you are looking for a great crafted cocktail. They have a heavily curated back bar and their bartenders are extremely knowledgeable. It’s a great opportunity to check out another Cane & Tablepart of the city too.
Cane and Table is your place if you are looking for a great punch. They have a punch of the day for happy hour every day. This is also a rum Mecca so if you are looking to explore the category for the first time or try something new C&T is perfect.
My suggestion: grab the punch, chat with the bartender and let them make you another drink. They also have punch set ups for larger groups.
DIVE BAR COCKTAIL
Nola has a lot of dive bars — you could throw a rock and hit three at any moment — but my fave would have to be The Saint. It’s dark, dank, has a vending machine, and everything is served out of plastic. They have a DJ on most nights and karaoke once a week. On the weekends it is a madhouse, but a ton of fun if you need a great dance session with your cocktail.
PUB, TAVERN or BREWERY BEVERAGE
This isn’t a pub, per se, but I think it’s what you are looking for and the name is Parasol’s. This is the recovery spot…You come here and grab yourself a nice hair of the dog, some red beans and rice and a sammich!!!
HOTEL BAR COCKTAIL
Well this would definitely have to be Compère Lapin where Abigail runs the program. It’s located in the CBD so if you find yourself out of the quarter stop by on your way to the modern art museum. I always find myself having a negroni when I’m there, but they do it all.
Swing by Turkey and The Wolf. It’s a great neighborhood place with excellent drinks. They generally always have a spicy drink on the menu; right now they are serving a Hillbilly Hotbox that has espelette in it.
THEMED COCKTAIL at IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE BAR
Latitude is your place if you are looking for an immersive experience. It is tiki heaven and the drinks surpass your expectations with extensive garnishes and tons of flavor. You can also visit with one of the best in the business, Kimberly Patton-Bragg.
Meauxbar for sure Gillian White heads up the program there and it’s one of my favorite places to dine. The cocktails here are always really balanced. Here’s my take: head in for the sparkling cocktail stay for the amazing food.
Angeline has a very small bar, but it’s one of the best kept secrets in the quarter especially if you are looking for a sherry fix. If you are doing a tour of sorts, might I suggest picking up some sherry, then heading overt to the market for some beignets.
Bakery Bar. It’s located in the Garden district and they have an amazing brunch and King Cake Doberge! But this was my fave spot to grab a low ABV cocktail and get some admin work done. The bar is filled with books and records and you often find people playing board games. It’s your non-cafe turned bar that just happens to have amazing cake!! You are welcome.
UNUSUAL COCKTAIL or COCKTAIL WITH SURPRISING INGREDIENTS
The Catahoula Hotel is one of the funnest bar programs in the city. It is extremely innovative and their courtyard makes having a midday drink perfect. They specialize in Pisco and my favorite cocktail is their Pisco Martini; it’s simple, but really delicious. However, they’ve got a little bit of everything including a great rooftop program that features junglebirds served out of pineapples and other great original frozen drinks.
They have had drinks with dandelion flowers, goldfish garnishes, and watermelon ice. Really if you can think it the Catahoula has at least tried it.
COCKTAIL MADE BY A FRIEND
Kristen Trahan is one of the most talented bartenders in Nola. She is currently working at Cane and Table. Go check out her cocktail the Vauxhall; it features Smith and Cross and is a play on a punch that she found in Dickens companion. Also, she’s a Nola native and so maybe if you’re nice she’ll tell you some local secrets.
Catch her there for Saturday and Sunday brunches or for a Thursday nitecap.
Thank you Ashtin for taking us on a tour of New Orleans’ best bars!
Join us next week for more DRINK THIS CITY! Meanwhile, hit us in the comments — where should we travel next?