NEW ORLEANS (press release) – The boundary-breaking Orpheum Theater debuted in the heart of New Orleans in 1918, beginning its tenure as the city’s centerpiece for avant-garde entertainment. Two years later, the dawn of prohibition led to the inevitable birth of the ‘speakeasy,’ bringing with it an underground culture of indulgence and vice. Now, over one hundred years later, the debut of the Double Dealer promises to celebrate the legacies of both movements.
Accessed through an unmarked side entrance of the Orpheum opposite the city’s famed Roosevelt Hotel, the Double Dealer is a lively basement-level bar and lounge that pays homage to New Orleans’ vibrant counterculture and love affair with all things debaucherous. Comprised of four distinct rooms to explore and engage with, the venue offers a one-of-a-kind nightlife experience centered around a best-in-class bar program, cutting-edge live performances and transformative design.
The venue is the latest venture of ERG Enterprises, an investment company founded, owned, and led by Dr. Eric George, who continues his quest to preserve and enhance one of the city’s most iconic musical, cultural, and artistic attractions.
“We’re always looking to maximize value for our patrons and community. We saw an opportunity to utilize a part of the Orpheum Theater that was dormant. So, we set out to create a venue that would capture the mystique and energy of the theater’s past, while embracing aspects of the present and future” says George, the visionary behind the bar. “Ever since we acquired the theater in 2014, we’ve been focused on enhancing its experience and accessibility. Credit to our team for getting that done.”
Named after the influential 20th century literary journal that was circulated throughout New Orleans, which published the likes of Hemingway and Faulkner, the Double Dealer is a celebration of inclusivity and spontaneity for theatregoers and non-theatregoers alike.
Once inside and underground, guests first enter the Main Bar, an expansive room anchored by a 13-seat bar. Snug-style booth seating concealed behind vintage theater curtains line the walls, allowing for a more intimate gathering place, while one-way glass windows on the back bar offer patrons unobstructed access to the Double Dealer’s expert bar team.
From there, three additional rooms each offer a distinct experience. The VIP Room, a secondary bar area, offers patrons a more lounge-like environment, while The Poker Room, accessed through an unassuming vault-style door, introduces a secret space to indulge in its namesake. Finally, through a set of eye-catching double doors adorned with an infinity mirror feature, revelers will find The Green Room, the nucleus of the Double Dealer’s incomparable entertainment program.
On any given night, the Green Room’s stage will play host to a variety of eclectic acts and performances that will shock and delight. From famed French Quarter street performers and musicians to magicians, sword swallowers and more, the Double Dealer’s entertainment program is rooted in spontaneity, surprise, and the notion that truly anything can happen.
The Double Dealer’s cocktail program, curated by Bar Director Miki Nikolic, is centered around fresh and homemade ingredients, local products and modern techniques while paying homage to the 1920’s drinking culture through well-balanced, unpretentious cocktails. The menu, designed to emulate an original issue of The Double Dealer, consists of a selection of classic cocktails and ‘Double Dealer Concoctions,’ Nikolic’s signature creations, each named for a literary work that once graced the magazine’s pages. Highlights include:
Ultimately: gin, cucumber water, lime juice, jalapeño simple syrup
The Shining Pyramid: tequila, prickly pear puree, maraschino, hibiscus syrup, lime juice
Cables of Cobweb: rum, grapefruit shrub, lemon juice, simple syrup, bitters
“We want every type of imbiber to be able to walk into the Double Dealer and find something that sparks joy” said Nikolic. “That’s why we designed a playful menu that inspires and encourages interaction between guests and bartenders. My favorite touch is our twenty-sided die; indecisive drinkers can toss the die to discover prompts like ‘something shaken’, ‘make it tropical’ or ‘bubbles included’. These aren’t meant to decide for the guest, merely to inspire a dialogue that leads them to a delicious drink.”
Spearheaded by locally-based architecture and design practice Farouki Farouki (Justine, Saffron NOLA), the Double Dealer’s Art Nouveau-inspired design layers raw and refined materials – from exposed concrete to plush velvet – creating a striking juxtaposition throughout the space. Meant to conjure up a moodiness and sense of mystery that is synonymous with theatrical and speakeasy culture, the space is anchored by a variety of reclaimed mechanisms found in the backstage area of a theater, including original vintage theater curtains, and a hand-painted 1930s theater backdrop. A stunning collection of vintage stage costumes adorn the venue’s walls, inspiring a sense of wonder and nostalgia.
The Double Dealer will be open Tuesday – Thursday from 4pm – 12am and Friday – Saturday from 4 p.m. – 2 a.m., and is located at 129 Roosevelt Way, New Orleans, LA 70112. For more information, visit www.doubledealernola.com, follow along on social at @doubledealernola, or call (504) 300-0212.