Now that warmer weather is on the horizon, it’s time to hit the town.
As we approach the end of an unusually cold winter for New Orleans, we look to spring with much anticipation. We saw a winter that twice in as many weeks created sheets of ice on bridges across the region, caused some pretty hectic conditions and even forced the region to shut down for two days.
So I think I speak for all when I say, lets spring forward. After all, this is the best time of year in New Orleans. Even before all of the festivals begin, the climate is just so inviting — oftentimes making it hard to get any work done. Let’s take a trip across town to check out some of the best spring destinations.
First things first: When the calendar rolls to spring, and the temps get back up in the 70s, there’s nothing better than dining outside. If you cruise New Orleans on a pretty weekend afternoon or evening, you will surely see large and small groups of Millennials taking all the good tables at some of our best alfresco dining places. If you’re new here or just need some direction, I’ll give you some tips.
Uptown in the Riverbend area, Dante’s Kitchen (danteskitchen.com) reigns supreme for outdoor dining. Its courtyard of lush greens sets the scene; the food is awesome; and it has a full bar. In my neck of the woods in Mid-City is the very casual PoBoy shop Parkway Bakery & Tavern (parkwaypoorboys.com). This is probably the most famous PoBoy place in the country after being visited by President Obama for the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Ninety percent of its seating capacity is outdoors, and, of course, it too has a full bar — so you can eat, drink and be merry. If scenery is really your thing, the trio of restaurants on Lakeshore Drive is for you. For years Landry’s Seafood (landrysseafood.com) had the monopoly on the Lakefront, which was fine with me (because I love Landry’s). However, in the past year, two new restaurants have opened providing great food, great views and, of course, great drinks … I think there’s a pattern developing here. So if you’re looking for waterfront dining in New Orleans, you have old faithful Landry’s, Brisbi’s Lakefront Restaurant & Bar (brisbisrestaurant.com) and Blue Crab Restaurant & Oyster Bar (thebluecrabnola.com) all on Lakeshore Drive. Bon Appétit!
It’s All About the Patio Bars
Friday after work, Saturday afternoon, Sunday afternoon or really anytime during March through May, it’s all about the patio bars. The Bulldog (bulldog.draftfreak.com) has locations in both Uptown and in Mid-City to wet your whistle with a wide assortment of beers on tap. In Mid-City, my all time favorite is the Bayou Beer Garden (bayoubeergarden.com), with its huge outdoor deck and greenery, which surrounds the perimeter to create the ambience of an oasis. If we shoot back Uptown, other favorites include The Delachaise (thedelachaise.com), The Rusty Nail Bar (therustynail.biz) and The Columns Hotel (thecolumns.com) — even though it sports a porch more so than a patio. If you’re hanging out in the Marigny, take in some live music and check out the beautiful courtyard at Mojitos Rum Bar & Grill (mojitosnola.com). Lastly, down in the Bywater area, is Bacchanal Wine (bacchanalwine.com). Bacchanal is the triple threat, thanks to its gorgeous scenery, great food and live music all in a backyard setting.
Brunching Across the Crescent City
Just a few years ago, a small brunch spot called The Ruby Slipper (therubyslippercafe.net) popped up in Mid-City. It was small and quaint, and it had amazing food and mimosas. Fast forward to today and there are now three locations (with a fourth on the way), and it is commonly viewed as the best brunch spot in town. So with the original Mid-City location, and two locations downtown, The Ruby Slipper is worth a visit. If outdoor brunch with great views is on the menu, then the Audubon Clubhouse Café (auduboninstitute.org) is the place to be (and be seen). Meanwhile, Li’l Dizzy’s Cafe in Treme has the best assortment of sweet and savory brunch options in town. The brunch buffet includes fruit-covered French toast, gumbo and fried chicken — along with a host of other items. Another favorite is Elizabeth’s Restaurant (elizabethsrestaurantnola.com) in the Bywater. And this is just to name a few.
Spring is here, — so get out; have some fun; and enjoy time with friends. With so much more to see and do in New Orleans, you better do it quick. Because once the dog days of summer start, you’re just going to want some AC.