Sip-Sational Summer Happy Hours
A guide to 9 of the most refreshing spots in town
Tennessee Williams once wrote, “Liquor goes fast in hot weather” and he was definitely onto something. Refreshing summer cocktails are one way to make our humid summers a little more tolerable. The following hot-spots, bars and restaurants have updated their menus just in time to help us all beat the heat.
Arnaud’s French 75 Bar
In the French Quarter, Arnaud’s French 75 Bar hosts happy hour from 3-5:30 p.m., when guests can sip select wines by the glass for half the regular price and enjoy a selection of classic and creative cocktails. And don’t forget to raise a toast to head bartender Chris Hannah, who’s responsible for the restaurant’s 2017 James Beard award for its overall outstanding bar program. If you need another excuse to celebrate, Arnaud’s is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, coinciding with the city’s tricentennial. Arnaud’s French 75 Bar will also offer a refreshing spritz for $6, with flavors changing on a weekly basis, as well as a $5 Old Fashioned.
Arnaud’s, 813 Bienville St., 523-5433, ArnaudsRestaurant.com
Hosting a generous happy hour Tuesdays-Fridays, Apolline offers half-priced beer, $5 house wines by the glass, $20 bottles of house wine and $2 classic cocktails. General manager Frank Phillips says that Amanda Thomas, the bar director, is a real master of her craft; she makes her own spirits, liqueurs and cordials in-house. One standout cocktail this summer is a boozy version of a snowball, which is sure to help New Orleanians beat the heat. Apolline also has a fine selection of happy hour fare, including chargrilled oysters, shrimp and grits, fried boudin and burgers.
Apolline, 4729 Magazine St., 894-8881, ApollineRestaurant.com
Mr. Funk, named after the former cellar-master, featuring cranberry juice, peach Schnapps and sparkling wine from Brennan’s
Brennan’s, the self-proclaimed “Champagne House of the South” offers a “Bubbles at Brennan’s happy hour,” which features discounted bottles of bubbly, champagne cocktails and bar bites, such as BBQ shrimp potstickers; Parmesan pommes frites and sliders in the Roost Bar and Courtyard 2-7 p.m., Mondays-Thursdays, and 9 a.m.-7 p.m. on Fridays (including 9 a.m.-2 p.m. happy hour in the dining room as well) and 5 p.m. champagne sabering in the courtyard to usher in the weekend. One particular highlight on the menu is the Mr. Funk, named after the former cellar-master, featuring cranberry juice, peach Schnapps and sparkling wine.
Brennan’s, 417 Royal St., 525-9711, BrennansNewOrleans.com
Rosemary pommes frites with housemade aioli; Prince Edward Island mussels in a white wine sauce; and Brussels sprouts topped with bleu cheese crumble from Briquette
Briquette is situated in a converted former molasses factory, with repurposed wood and a glass-encased kitchen. Owner Anna Tusa refers to the bar area as the “living room” because it offers a communal, sociable atmosphere. The summer happy hour menu consists of the Briquette 75: an original take on the classic French 75, with Bouvet Sparkling Rosé and Boodles Gin. There is also the refreshing South Peters Mojito and the District Smash, which is “light, refreshing and a little sweet,” says Tusa.
Additionally, this summer Briquette offers several $5 cocktails, including Refinery Margaritas, house wines for $5 and $3 beers. Appetizers and small plates in this price range include Prince Edward Island Mussels in a white wine sauce; rosemary pommes frites with housemade aioli; and Brussels sprouts topped with bleu cheese crumble.
Briquette, 701 S. Peters St., 302-7496, Briquette-Nola.com
Summer cocktails Dulce Humo and the Stress Reliever from The Country Club with Burrata Tartine
The Country Club
Tucked away in Bywater, The Country Club underwent a renovation last year and now features hand-painted walls, a butterfly lounge and a luxurious bar where guests can sip $3 well drinks during its daily happy hour, 4-7 p.m. Outside, the Country Club has a swimming pool and hot tub as well as an outdoor bar, and lounge chairs and tables to catch some rays.
Some of the summer cocktails gracing its menu include Dulce Humo, made with mezcal, pama, lemon and habanero syrup, and the Stress Reliever, made with spiced rum, coconut cream, pineapple, mint, basil, cinnamon and honey. The bar and restaurant also offer a small plates menu during happy hour that includes crawfish beignets; mussels with saffron butter and red chilis; grilled oysters; polenta cake; and arancini with kalamata olives, smoked gouda, basil tomato and Fontina creme. Another tip: The Country Club hosts a drag brunch on Saturdays, with a Bloody Mary bar and bottomless mimosas.
The Country Club, 634 Louisa St., 945-0742, TheCountryClubNewOrleans.com
Throughout the summer, the restaurants under the Dickie Brennan management (Palace Café, Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse, Bourbon House and Tableau) have been running a “$5 after 5” promotion, 5-7 p.m. At Palace Café, the happy hour menu features a range of cocktails, including a classic lime daiquiri; the Mardi Gras Mambo (a blend of Bayou Silver rum, Luxardo cherry juice, coconut, lemon and pineapple); and the Puerto Rican Delicacy, made of Caliche white rum, sweet potato purée, pineapple, orange and lemon.
Another highlight is its decadent, frozen Bananas Foster cocktail: an ice cream-based drink that pays tribute to the traditional dessert. Andrew Bates, lead bartender at the Black Duck Bar, is the brains behind these aforementioned specialty cocktails.
Palace Café’s happy hour also offers fried duck wings with satsuma Steen’s syrup, ginger glaze and toasted sesame seeds, while lighter fare includes a trio of hummus with black eyed peas and truffle oil; edamame with ginger; chickpeas with sundried tomatoes and pine nuts; and fried pickled okra with pepper jelly.
Palace Café, 605 Canal St., 523-1661, PalaceCafe.com
Ralph’s On the Park
Ralph’s On the Park’s, the farm-to-table destination overlooking City Park, offers global spins on locally sourced seafood, meats and vegetables. Happy hour is Mondays-Fridays, 3-7 p.m. in the bar with $5 dips and snacks, $15 pitchers for 4, $5 daily featured wines by the glass and $3 local craft beers.
Ralph’s On the Park, 900 City Park Ave., 488-1000, RalphsOnThePark.com
St. James Cheese Co.
With a carefully curated list of wines and beers, St. James Cheese Co. now has a second location in the Warehouse District on Tchoupitoulas Street, in addition to its original Uptown home.
“We try to feature natural, funky wines,” notes business manager Rachel Heiligman.
On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 5-8 p.m., the Uptown location serves $10 three-item cheese boards, with $1 off wines and beers and $4 discounts on bottles of wine. Over on Tchoupitoulas Street, Mondays-Saturdays, the staff serves $10 three-item cheese boards, $1 off wines and beers and $4 discounts on wine bottles.
Foodwise, Heiligman also recommends the “pickle plate” in the Warehouse District for $5, which features an assorted selection of house-pickled vegetables. Another summer special is the Country Ham Plate; for $8 it includes Landrauchshinnken smoked ham, house-made juniper mustard and pickled collard greens, all served with country loaf from Bellegarde Bakery.
Additionally, the Warehouse District location features Friday Night Flights, consisting of three cheeses paired with three beers from a specific brewer that rotates each month.
St. James Cheese Co., 641 Tchoupitoulas St., 304-1485; 5004 Prytania St., 899-4737; StJamesCheese.com
This sleek sushi spot in the Central Business District boasts delicious cocktails this summer with a happy hour 3-6 p.m. during the week. On Tuesdays happy hour is extended until 10 p.m. On the menu are $5 house martinis, cosmos, apple-tinis and lemon drops; $4 house wine and beers; and $3 domestic bottle beers, well liquors and hot sake. To cool off after a long day, check out the Honey Dew Me Martini made with Bacardi Limon, melon and a hint of ginger along with an in-house special blend of fruit juices and macerated honey dew. Another standout is the Japanese Magnolia: a refreshing classic that has been on the menu since its early days. “It is a true sushi bar classic cocktail, made with sake and plum wine,” says Partner Michele Ezell. It’s “something sweet, light and easy to drink for a summer cocktail.”
Tsunami, Pan American Life Center, 601 Poydras St., Suite B, 608-3474, ServingSushi.com