It seems these days that you can’t have a restaurant without the inclusion of a great cocktail program. Why not visit one of these fine eateries and imbibe some of the city’s finest concoctions, while sitting beneath the autumn stars?
Turkey and the Wolf
Sure it’s just a small, brightly painted cinder block building on the corner of Jackson Avenue and Annunciation Street, but it packs a delicious punch with unique sandwiches on fresh-baked bread from Chef Mason Hereford and a killer cocktail menu from his partner and mixologist Lauren Holton (formerly of High Hat Cafe). Place your order at the counter; grab a farm animal or dinosaur; and plant yourself outside to enjoy the cooler fall weather. Sip on cocktails like Mason’s Hard Lemonade (created with gin, strawberry shrub, lemon, honey syrup and soda) or a Ma’am, Don’t Be Hysterical (made with gin, Campari, house blackberry syrup and lime). 739 Jackson Ave., (504) 218-7428, turkeyandthewolf.com
Whether you’re indulging in 25 cent martinis at lunch or reveling in a luxurious dinner, Commander’s Palace has a gorgeous, tree-shaded patio in which to enjoy it all al fresco. Located in the breath-taking Garden District, Commander’s Palace is one of the grand dame restaurants of New Orleans founded in 1893. The food from James Beard award-winning Chef Tory McPhail is out of this world and so it should follow that the cocktails crafted by beloved local bar chef Ferrel Dugas are equally phenomenal. She’s slinging it behind the stick, whipping out specialty drinks like the Port of New Orleans made with Tanqueray, Quinta do Noval “Black” Porto, fresh lime and pecan simple syrup. Or try the Fashionable Ella mixed with Dewar’s Scotch, Drambuie, orange bitters and lime juice. Dugas’ take on the French 75, dubbed the Saint 75, is made with St. Germain elderflower liqueur, Tanqueray, basil-infused simple syrup and Champagne. 1403 Washington Ave., (504) 899-8221, commanderspalace.com
Baru Bistro & Tapas
One of the first spots in the city to feature Latin-Caribbean tapas-style cuisine, Baru is a hip, Uptown spot on the corner of Magazine and Amelia streets. Sprawl out on the balcony or one of the many sidewalk tables for killer crudo and “cocteles.” Chef/owner Edgar Caro will wow you with his Camarones al Ajillo or Arepas con Lechon, but while you munch under the sweet Southern stars, be sure to cool your palate with an El Pepino Picoso made with Tequila Blanco, cucumber water, agave and a jalapeño and cilantro tincture. Or try the Caipirinha de Pina concocted with cachaça, lime, guarapo, pineapple and a sugared rim. 3700 Magazine St., (504) 895-2225, barutapas.com
Over in the Carrollton neighborhood on Oak Street, you can grab a sidewalk seat and watch the world wander by at Chiba. Known for its Funk and Roll Happy Hour —where diners can enjoy apps, sushi, sake and wine at a discounted price from 4-6 p.m. — this hip sushi bar also offers quite an eclectic array of cocktails. While selecting some sashimi, set your lips to a Lycheetini made with Three Olives Vodka, lychee puree and lychee liqueur; an Ultra Saketini with Fuzzy’s Vodka, Ozeki Sake and a splash of plum wine; or Chiba’s signature drink, the Chiba Painkiller made with Don Q Cristal Rum, Don Q Anejo Rum, coconut, pineapple and nutmeg. 8312 Oak St., (504) 826-9119, chiba-nola.com