January 01, 2010
YCGTNO - Watering Holes
Posted by Trey Drury

Those of you hoping to enjoy a cocktail while visiting New Orleans have options beyond packing yourselves into Pat O'Brien's (not that there's anything wrong with that).  There are a number of respectable establishments within walking distance of the meeting, and even a few less respectable ones.

Some of you may not even need to leave your hotel to find a great spot.  Most hotel bars are perfectly functional, but nothing to write home about.  There are two in New Orleans that buck that trend.  First, the Carousel Bar at the Monteleone is decorated like an old time carousel, and the floor actually revolves to complete that carousel feel.  Also, the Polo Lounge at the Windsor Court is probably the nicest bar in the city.  If you are entertaining an important guest or are still dressed up from dinner, you can end your night in style here.

There are a few excellent bars in the French Quarter that are in 200 year old buildings and look like they've never been washed.  If you prefer something a little dingier, somewhere with character, you should head in this direction.  The Old Absinthe House is great for people-watching.  It's a couple of blocks into the  Quarter, right at the beginning of Bourbon Street.  The Napoleon House got it's name because the original owner offered it as refuge for Napoleon when he was in exile.  Although Napoleon never made it, the name stuck.  There is a cool courtyard here that is worth checking out.  Finally, Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop claims that it was owned by Jean Lafitte, and that it is the oldest continuously occupied bar in the US.   It is the smallest and darkest of the three, which can either be a big plus or a big minus.


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