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Feb 20, 201909:35 AM
Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans

It’s Complicated

Please indulge me for just a bit today. I want to stretch beyond my usual editorial boundaries for this effort. Then afterwards I will bring thoughts to bear that are about adult beverages.

To note that New Orleans is not like anyplace else is stating the obvious, to the point of being unnecessary to even mention. While this town can confuse and exasperate, those of us here are devoted to keeping her as we have embraced her. As crazy as New Orleans is, we like it like that and are loath to change customs, habits, features and generally accepted ways of accomplishing “things.”

Would we ever be so foolish to abandon or alter the policy on go-cups?

It came to light last week that World of Beer, an emporium of multiple taps and bar-style food, would close. This is the second location for this national chain of pubs to close in New Orleans. The first spot that could not make the grade was on Vets in Metairie. This location was located on Julia Street near Convention Center Blvd.

While we hate to see any business fail in our community, I can imagine the corporate gurus for WOB sitting down and planning a location in The City of Yes as a can’t-miss proposition. “Are you kidding me? The way that place parties and drinks, we can’t fail. No brainer.”

Today World of Beer, almost 50 locations mostly in the Southern United States and with a few international outlets, is no longer a player in New Orleans. But why? One of the reasons has to be a lack of marketing. Who knew about this alcohol outlet?

Another possible reason for the closure is that New Orleans has plenty of local craft beer and reveling in beers from other places is not really important. Or it could be that it takes time and investment, special events, to change local habits, even when those habits are in complete alignment with corporate directions.

This unfortunate failed project again points out that while New Orleans on the surface seems like the Big Easy, we are not. We are complicated and gaining an understanding of what makes us tick can be a journey through a field littered with cultural land mines.

The Krewe du Vieux parade last Saturday was a crazy and highly entertaining example of “you just have to be here to understand.” The complete absence of political correctness was overwhelming. The Catholic Church, the National Football League, the federal government, city government, state government and more all came in for their share of skewering in a way not understood by visitors.

I’ve no doubt that locals were constantly explaining the meaning of the expressions on the floats to visitors who thought they were attending a Carnival parade like they’ve seen on YouTube.

And does anyone want to explain to the Governor of Virginia why he is in such hot water over something that takes place on our streets every Mardi Gras morning?

Visitors probably don’t feel as cheated as I do of a good show when a bartender does not throw and twirl a glass of absinthe into the air to coat the inside for a properly made Sazerac? Not taking six minutes to correctly create a Ramos Gin Fizz still feels to me a bit like the day the Natchez was broadsided in her dock by an out-of-control freighter, or the day the Cabildo caught fire.

New Orleans may seem obvious. We are anything but. We are provincial in many ways and progressive in others. We can be predictable then we are complicated and strange.

Happy Carnival, and have an over-the-top, crazy Mardi Gras. Then do the ashes and respect Lent. It all makes sense to us.




Read Happy Hour here on myneworleans.com on Wednesdays, and listen to The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, hosted by Tim, every weekday, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. on WGSO 990AM and streamed, as well as stored (podcast), at www.wgso.com. Also, check out Last Call, Tim’s photo-feature about cocktails in New Orleans, every month in New Orleans Magazine.



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Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans


In New Orleans, when the subject is wine and spirits, it is very difficult to leave Tim McNally out of the discussion. He is considered one of the “go to” resources in the Crescent City for counsel and information about adult beverages and their place in the fabric of life in this great city.


Tim is the Wine and Spirits Editor, columnist and feature writer for New Orleans Magazine; the Wine and Spirits Editor and weekly columnist, Happy Hour, for www.MyNewOrleans.com; creator and editor of his own website, www.winetalknola.com; all in addition to his daily hosting duties on the radio program, The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, on the air at WGSO – 990AM, every weekday, 3- 5 p.m, and streamed live on www.wgso.com.


Over the years, Tim has proved to be an informed interviewer, putting his guests at ease, and covering tactile and technical information so that even a novice can understand difficult agricultural and production concepts. Tim speaks with winemakers, wine and spirit ambassadors, distillers, authors, people who stage events and festivals, and takes questions from listeners and readers, all seamlessly blended together in a program that is unique in America.


Tim’s love of wine actually came about many years ago from his then wife-to-be, Brenda Maitland, a noted journalist in her own right, and together they have traveled to the major wine producing areas in the US and Europe, seeking first-hand information about beverages that give us all so much pleasure.


They were instrumental in the founding of the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, a major national and international well-regarded festival of its type. They both continue to be involved with the planning and staging of this multi-venue, five-day event now over twenty years old.


Tim is also considered one of the foremost professional wine judges in the US, being invited to judge more than 11 wine competitions each year, including the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (the largest competition of American wines in the world, with more than 6,000 entries), the Riverside, CA International Wine Competition, San Francisco International Wine Competition, Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition, Indiana International Wine Competition, Sandestin, Florida Wine Festival Competition, the State of Michigan Wine Competition, the U.S. National Wine Competition, and the National Wine Competition of Portugal.


Tim is a guest lecturer to many local wine and dine organizations, and speaks each year to the senior class in the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama.


Staying abreast of the news of the wine and spirits world is a passion for Tim, and he is committed to sharing what he knows with his listeners and readers. “Doing something I love, with products that I truly enjoy, created by interesting people, coupling the experience with culinary excellence, and doing it all in the greatest city in America,” are the words Tim lives by.


It’s a good gig. 




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