With warm temperatures and a location close to the water, the French Quarter seems like a perfect place for a rum-focused bar. And in Cane & Table, it has one. This rustic, vintage-looking bar features an inventive cocktail menu of "protoTiki" drinks that often feature the sugar cane-derived spirit — hence the name — as well as a short food menu made up of mostly small plates and sides. Also on the drinks menu are a selection of natural ciders, sherry, beer, and white and red wines, any of which are ideal for enjoying out on the spacious patio.
When looking for a taste of New York, NOLA's Bywater neighborhood might be one of the more unlikely places to find it — but that's exactly what you'll find Pizza Delicious. Open every day but Monday, this unpretentious spot cooks up 18-inch, NY-style pies, with the stand cheese, pepperoni, and margherita options available at any time, alongside a brief menu of daily specials that include one-off pies, pasta, small plates, salads, and desserts. To drink, they offer a few beers on tap, ranging from PBR to local brews — and all available by the glass or pitcher — as well as a handful of wines. Feeling lazy? Not to worry, as they offer bike delivery to Marigny and Bywater from 4-10 pm.
New Orleans is known for its decadence — but it also has plenty of history to offer, as well. The Hotel Monteleone is a perfect example. This landmark French Quarter hotel offers 600 opulently appointed guest rooms, including 55 suites — some named after literary authors. Why, you might ask? Well, apart from Truman Capote — who claimed to have been born there — both Tennessee Williams and William Faulkner were known to get their thirst quenched at the hotel's rotating Carousel Bar that serves up a signature Vieux Carré cocktail as well as views of Royal Street. Add in the terrific service and a rooftop pool with downtown views, and you've got the perfect home base from which to write your own NOLA adventures.
It might have a celestial name, but you'd be best to keep your expectations grounded when heading to the Saturn Bar. This hole-in-the-wall St Claude bar offers all the best features of a dive, including interesting clientele, worn out seating, cheap, strong, cold drinks, bad artwork, smoke-filled atmosphere, and great music - including frequent appearances by live DJs, and even a Mod dance party night on certain nights. In other words, it's genuine in all the ways the tourist-filled bars on Bourbon street are not.
Calling it a restaurant is a bit of a stretch — there's minimal seating, and it's counter-service only — but when you're jonesing for a sandwich at 5:00 am, these things don't matter much. Verti Marte is a hidden gem of the French Quarter, a 24-hour spot that offers a huge menu of tasty sandwiches, wraps, salads, soups, sides, and other foodstuffs, along with an unexpected — and extra convenient — in-store liquor shop, allowing you to sate your late night food, booze, and even tobacco cravings in a single stop.
If Chipotle were to start a food truck, we imagine it'd be something along the lines of La Cocinita. Ordering from this NOLA-based big red truck starts with picking a "vessel": either white cornmeal patties, white corn tacos, quesadillas, or a bowl. From there, you pick your protein from options like braised chicken or pork, steak, or roasted butternut squash and black beans, then a sauce, then any extras you'd like. Yes, you're in charge of creating your own meal, but we see that as a good thing — just like the Mexican Coke and horchata they sell to wash it all down.
Forget the typical touristy cocktail creations of Bourbon Street — if you're looking for a real drink in NOLA, Arnaud's French 75 can deliver. Staffed by master bartender Chris Hannah and adjacent to Arnaud's main dining room, this refined spot features a custom bar built in the late 1800s, a menu that focuses on seasonal, classic drinks from years gone by — including the cocktail for which the bar is named — as well as wine and beer, and a great selection of cigars to enjoy as you sip on your drink.
Relying on the wealth of Southern clothing available nearby, Retro Active is a prime spot for vintage dudes in the Big Easy. Recently relocated, this Uptown shop is, like many vintage stores, a dual-gender affair, but still finds room to offer a solid selection of men's clothing, including vintage suiting and hats, accessories, and other goodies that are happily far more accessible and organized than there were in its prior incarnation. Oh, and be sure to mind your step — the store's resident dogs may well be underfoot as you stroll from one offering to the next.
It might not look like much from the outside, but like so many NOLA institutions, it's what's inside Bacchanal that counts. Inside and outside, actually, as the large courtyard is a huge part of the experience. Most nights, you can find live music and a table outside, which is a nearly ideal setting for enjoying the wines — the place features mostly Old World wines from smaller producers — cocktails, cheese, and food on offer. With a relaxed atmosphere and a new indoor bar on the second floor, it's an ideal place to escape the crowds of tourists in the French Quarter.
Snow cones and other shaved ice treats have become staples of summertime — but if you want to see where the trend started, you need to make a visit to Hansen's Sno-Bliz. Founded in 1939, this historic shop was the love of Ernest and Mary Hansen — Ernest invented the first ice shaving machine, while Mary created her own flavored syrups. And true to its beginnings, Sno-Bliz still makes its own flavors fresh each day, and serves its signature snow balls under the careful eye of Ernest and Mary's granddaughter, who now owns and operates the business. Just don't take too long — it's only open Spring through Fall.
Most people visiting New Orleans don't need an excuse to enjoy a cocktail or two, but rarely is doing so the main reason for going. Tales of the Cocktail makes it so, with a five-day festival (July 17-21) dedicated to fine spirits and the art of cocktail making. During the event, a variety of venues — most notably the Hotel Monteleone — will play host to seminars, dinners, competitions, and tasting rooms where you can learn, sample, and enjoy a huge variety of drinks from distilleries both large and small, encompassing everything from complex flavored gin and tonics to a simple shot and a beer.
Self-billed as the "South's Largest Hat Store", Meyer the Hatter has certainly been around long enough to know. Originally opened in 1894 and in its current location since 1961, this family-owned store — 88-year-old Sam Meyer II is the third-generation of his family to run the store, with help from his wife and sons — offers a roomy sales floor and an extra two floors that hold extra stock. Available brands include Kangol, Dobbs, Stetson, Akubra, Bailey, Ozark, and others, and should you hit the store at the right time, you might even be able to enjoy a parade from the balcony.