Should I Stay or Should I Go
The Big Easy has never been known to be reserved and calm. As we opened up midsummer to what was somewhat a normal "New Normal" the flow of cocktails once again commenced and we were able to visit many of our favorite bars and restaurants. Alas, the tourist trade, which of course is the lifeblood of New Orleans, also had the same idea of getting out there, and large sections of town, mainly Bourbon Street, became as popular as they ever were. Bars and restaurants have remained at limited capacity to stop the spread from the Covid but humans, being, well human, resisted mask mandates and social distancing and now we have returned to a more limited experience......and Geaux Cups have been restricted which is the first time in my life I have ever not been able to wander the streets with a cocktail. Yes, the horror of that freedom restraint!
In the meantime, there are always choices and a good numbers of establishments are finding creative ways to stay in business and keep customers happy. We have been bouncing around to a few places in an effort to support our friends after we secured enough face coverings to safely "mask up."
We had the opportunity to dine at Tujague's on the last five days that they were remaining in their old location which happens to have one of the oldest continually operated bars in the country. Their new location is going down the street and after some negotiating, the neon sign will be moved into an inner courtyard in the new building.
On the more neighborhoody side, Junior's on Harrison in Lakeview continues to improve their menu on each visit, and their cocktail prices are some of the least expensive on the Avenue. Juniors also has created clever social distancing cards from vintage television actors. The staff is youthful and always having a great time making your meal even more special. They have a happy hour each day and a reverse happy hour at night on Friday and Saturdays.
Zea's at City Park Avenue finally opened their interior as well and is perhaps the best at social distancing and masking protocols. Same old wonderful food and happy hour pricing is still in place covering many cocktails as well as wine and beer.
Down along the Bayou, the Deutsches Haus is back in full swing. While this organization is technically a club, the bar is open to the public and features the sassiest bartenders and pretty much the least expensive drinks in midcity. Tanqueray and Tonic is just 7 dollars and a clever collection of German beers is generally 6 dollars each. You also can get great views of Bayou St. John as the sun sets over City Park. Tables are spacious so social distancing is easy.
Also in the City Park area, Toups Meatery is back with both indoor and outdoor dining. They managed to buy their building and have a newly painted mural that wraps the front and side. Cocktails are as creative as ever and rotate on the menu. You should try a collection of small plates to get started with, and we highly recommend the cracklin.
A quick trip uptown brings us back to Claret, the wine bar, with a special new twist. Since bars are now closed, Claret's patio is open outside and The Bower, the newest addition in the Latter Hospitality Group, has reopened in the front of the Framework Building serving food creations from Marcus Woodham. Mixology is extraordinary at Bower and Claret and their very generous happy hour is daily until 6PM.
1320 Magazine Street
The Framework Building
845 North Carrollton Avenue
Deutsches Haus New Orleans
Bayou St. John
1700 Moss Street
5080 Pontchartrain Boulevard
Juniors on Harrison
789 Harrison Avenue