Libations for Locals: February 2015
Take your Valentine out for a spin and a sip at one of these six romantic bars.
There’s something special about Cellar Door that makes guests want to share secrets. (Case in point: You can tell your date that this clandestine spot in the CBD was once a brothel.) “I am very much interested in wine and have recently expanded our wine list,” says Michael Yusko, managing partner. “A main focus of mine is for Cellar Door to become a destination for people who want to enjoy cool, interesting and reasonably priced wines in the one of the most romantic and sexy spaces in New Orleans.” We’ll drink to that! 916 Lafayette St., (504) 383-5583, cellardoornola.com
Take your Valentine to this dimly lit, Storyville-inspired drinking den. Located adjacent to the Hotel Modern, it’s outfitted with plush velvet nooks and handcrafted cocktails that always feel on-trend (like the Sherry Cobbler). “Old is new again,” says bar manager Sal Agnello. “We see a big focus continuing to grow in the sherry and Madeira departments.” 936 St. Charles Ave., (504) 962-0911, thehotelmodern.com
Muriel’s Jackson Square
Though tons of tourists frequent Muriel’s Jackson Square, bar manager Mary Hulse is building a reputation around town for her house-made seasonal reductions and creative cocktails, drawing drink aficionados from all over town. Her ginger reduction makes for a spicy sipper, either in her Moscow Mule or El Diablo (made with Cajun spiced rum, cayenne pepper, ginger reduction and lime juice). 801 Chartres St., (504) 568-1885, muriels.com
In addition to a date-ready dining room, head bartender Billy Dollard surprises guests with regional vermouths, liqueurs and spirits, along with new twists on traditional tipples. Want to wow your significant other? Order the Chinato Town, showcasing Barolo Chinato, a digestivo made from 100 percent Nebbiolo grapes from Piedmont, Italy. “Pairing this aromatized, fortified wine with an over-proof rye like Rittenhouse creates a bitter and lush cocktail that offers greater complexities than a standard Manhattan,” Dollard says. 701 St. Charles Ave., (504) 524-4114, herbsaint.com
The Bombay Club and Martini Bistro, Prince Conti Hotel
Brand New Year, brand new bar! Renowned for its martini selection, The Bombay Club now has a revamped bar menu overseen by head bartender Blake Kaiser (don’t worry, there are still tons of signature martinis). Grab a table for two, and order bites off the Cajun-meets-British menu — like bangers and grits with black pudding and onion pan gravy — all while absorbing the sweet sounds of live local jazz musicians. 830 Conti St., (504) 577-2237, bombayclubneworleans.com
Patrick’s Bar Vin, Hotel Mazarin
A favorite locale for couples, there’s a hidden quality to Patrick’s Bar Vin that makes it feel like a refined oasis amidst the craziness of the Quarter. Here, lead bartender Lisa Huong Nguyen pours wines by the glass (and bottle) from around the world, along with signature cocktails — such as Lisa’s Temptation, made with Moscato, Mathilde Cassis and fresh lemon. 730 Bienville St., (504) 200-3180, patricksbarvin.com
Wine of the Month
The Pour: 2013 Château Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé
The Palate: Yes, this is the Brangelina wine (made with a helping hand from winemakers Famille Perrin of Château de Beaucastel). We can’t think of a better pour for Valentine’s Day than a soft but expressive rosé created by Hollywood’s power couple. With a gorgeous petal-pink color, the blend is bright, beautiful and complex, with vibrant stone fruit and mineral nuances on the palate that make the Côtes de Provence the go-to region for rosé wines.
The Place: Martin Wine Cellar’s new Uptown location offers the Miraval by the glass ($7) or bottle ($22.50). 3827 Baronne St., (504) 899-7411, martinwinecellar.com