Weather to Whet the Thirst
The lanterns at St. Joe's Bar.
The cool winds blew in Monday, and all over New Orleans off went the A/C units, out came the boots and scarves and up shot the interest in anywhere at all to sit outside and revel in it. Summer is over, fall is on and any bar with a deck, patio or porch has the equivalent of its own live entertainment right now. Here are five choice spots to soak it up as you suck them down.
St. Joe’s Bar
5537 Magazine St., 899-3744
This long, narrow Uptown watering hole is atmospherically dark and cloistered up front. Just past all of that, you’ll find a rear courtyard that ranks as one of the most seductive in town with a design falling somewhere between Asian temple and a caravansary. A fleet of Chinese paper lanterns cluster by the ceiling, there’s a full bar in action and the spot is completely hidden from the street.
5135 Canal Blvd., 488-4191; 3236 Magazine St., 891-1516
Both outposts of this small, local chain of taverns have full-fledged beer gardens. The one Uptown feels like an extension of the street, with good people watching opportunities along the Magazine Street sidewalk. The Bulldog courtyard over on Canal Boulevard is much larger and more sequestered, with tables so long an entire crew team could sit down together for a round. Well-behaved dogs are welcome, which is good for those who might feel guilty about leaving their pets cooped up on a beautiful day.
Bayou Beer Garden
326 N. Jefferson Davis Parkway, 302-9357
From the front, Bayou Beer Garden looks just like the other double shotguns lining the block. But continue out the side door and down a narrow outdoor passageway lined by fence boards painted with bayou scenes. It opens to a sprawling deck the size of an outdoor ballroom sheltered under a tin roof and with banana trees standing in as curtains. There’s an outdoor bar, big TVs and a space for bands to perform. Park around back (in the well-hidden lot on North Rendon Street) and you walk right into a scene that seems like it should be on a beach.
3442 St. Charles Ave., 895-0858
It can hard to score a spot at the bar at The Delachaise, the upscale, very popular wine bar and gastropub on St. Charles Avenue. But when the weather is nice, it’s the clutch of tables outside that become the really choice seats. Streetcars rattle past, an oak overhangs the scene and the curved glass front of the oblong building glows like candlelight. You still have to order at the bar (there’s no table service), so just make sure you leave someone behind to stake out your table claim.
The Rusty Nail
1100 Constance St., 525-5515
The yard next to this bar has been periodically put to use through the years, even back when this tucked-away Warehouse District spot was the Mermaid Lounge. The Rusty Nail has more recently given the outdoor space a major overhaul, however. It’s now a lush, brick-trimmed patio with its own bar, TVs, lots of strings of lights and plenty of tables. Look for food trucks to set up for short residences just past the patio and check out the excellent range of local beers on tap.