We found recently that many restaurants and bars are back in full force with amazing happy hour deals and we are also thrilled that so many cocktail inspired events are coming back, too.

Vals (4632 Freret St.) – This renovated service station on Valence and Freret streets is a fun, cool spot with a casual setting and a nice front patio. Serving up Mexican bites, this locale also has exciting drinks, including everyone’s favorite margaritas. Happy hour is from 4 to 6 p.m. daily, offering a $6 margarita, frozen or on the rocks, and a $5 Modelo and Tapatio tequila shot combo.

The Bower (1320 Magazine St.) – They had us hooked with the outdoor space, which is a nice size and full of tropical plants. The happy here is simple, classy and runs Monday through Friday, with a handful of classic cocktails for $7, from 4 to 6 p.m.

The annual New Orleans Bourbon Festival is back! In its fourth year, this festival celebrates American-made whiskies paired with the best of the Crescent City’s cuisine. The multi-day festival kicks off with a bartender competition, followed by a seminar series, and concluding with two grand tastings. The festival will take place through Saturday, March 26, at select locales across the city.

The four-day festival provides attendees – from brown spirit enthusiasts to connoisseurs – with a bevy of exclusive opportunities to taste, learn, and enjoy exceptional American-made whiskies from across the country. Fest among likeminded imbibers and masters of their craft, all complimented by some of the best of the city’s restaurants and surrounded by the charm and culture of New Orleans. The two-day seminar series taking place Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. will also be hosted at the New Orleans Marriott. This series boasts master classes with the country’s foremost whiskey experts, as well as seasoned industry vets and includes two full days of cocktail classes, guided tastings, bourbon history, master distiller talks, discussion panels, food pairing workshops, and more. Highlights include the Women in Whiskey panel with Lisa Wicker, Master Distiller at Widow Jane Distillery; Victoria Butler of Uncle Nearest, the first African American woman Master Blender and Marianne Eaves, Kentucky’s first woman Master Distiller; a discussion with Michael Veach, the country’s leading bourbon historian and member of the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame; and a whiskey and cigar pairing class with Maggie Kimber, acclaimed spirits writer and Content Editor of American Whiskey Magazine.

Tickets for the two-day seminar series are $129 (+fees) and are available for purchase here. Single day tickets are also available for Friday and Saturday at $59/person.

As always, if you have a happy hour or fun cocktail event for us to try, let us know so we can share it with cocktail lovers everywhere.