There is nothing like a cool cocktail on a hot summer day, and when you enjoy that cool cocktail at an historic oak bar or in a centuries-old courtyard, the nostalgia of old New Orleans is sure to sweep in as well. Daytime imbibing may as well be the definition of laissez-faire, and that sort of behavior is integral to the New Orleans experience. Those hours before the sunsets are indeed some of the happiest for summer sipping, and various restaurants and bars across the city invite locals and visitors to experience Happy Hour their way.
616 St. Peter St.
Happy hour at Tableau is one of the best-kept French Quarter secrets. With a balcony view overlooking Jackson Square, Tableau’s locale and locals-friendly prices make it a top Happy Hour pick. Extending from 3-7 p.m. daily in the bars, balcony and courtyard, Tableau offers half-price beer and wine on tap, $6 select small plates and $5 classic cocktails, which include favorites like the French 75 and the Dark & Stormy.
In addition to Happy Hour classics, Tableau offers a seasonal, changing specialty cocktail menu. The “Just as Well” however, remains a staple.
“It is a bourbon cocktail with rosemary syrup, lemon and Bittermens cranberry bitters that we tried to retire, but our guests kept ordering it. So it goes, we ‘just as well’ keep it on the menu,” says Sara Schulenberg, Marketing Coordinator for Dickie Brennan & Co.
Court of Two Sisters
613 Royal St.
Another well-kept French Quarter secret is the Carriageway Bar at Court of Two Sisters.
“Many people know the Court of Two Sisters for our daily live jazz brunch and our elegant dinners, but a true hidden gem is our Carriageway Bar.,” says Sherry Constance, Event Sales Manager. ”While the restaurant is closed between brunch and dinner from 3-5:30 p.m., the Carriageway bar remains open and is a wonderful respite for locals and visitors alike.”
For those who like to sup while they sip, the Carriageway Bar is introducing a summer small plates menu of popular Court of Two Sisters dishes such as Jalapeño-Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Duck Breast with Wild Berry Gastrique, Pan Fried Rabbit Loin with Baby Arugula and Lemon Caper Butter and Homemade Honey Jalapeno Cornbread. The menu will be available nightly beginning at 5 p.m.
777 Bienville St.
Restaurant R’evolution recently introduced their Summer Cocktail list, which highlights New Orleans’ classic base liquors of bourbon, gin and rum. According to Director of Wine & Spirits Molly Wismeier, R’evolution infuses its drinks with a personal touch and current trends such as Combier, a stunning classical liquor both citrus and floral and hailing from France. Combier is featured in the Seelbach cocktail alongside Bulleit Bourbon and Borgoluce Proseco.
“We have also incorporated Aquavit from Sweden into our latest gin drink that marries perfectly with the botanicals in Tanqueray Gin. The Sunna is the perfect refreshing minty aperitif you want with the start of your meal or to just relax with after work,” says Wismeier.
430 Dauphine St.
While not technically a Happy Hour, lunchtime martinis are also a New Orleans tradition, and Bayona is the place for that this summer as they celebrate their 25th anniversary. The appropriately priced $25 anniversary lunch special includes soup or a Bayona salad, any entrée and house-made ice cream or sorbet. Accompany your lunch with 25-cent martinis, lemondrops or Manhattans. The special lunch will be offered Wednesdays through Fridays from now until Labor Day.
Additionally, Bayona celebrates Bastille Day this month with “Let Them Drink Wine” Wine Amnesty, July 13, 14 and 15. A locals’ favorite, the celebration allows diners to bring their favorite bottle (French perhaps?) of wine with no corkage fee.
310 Chartres St.
A self-declared “spirited restaurant” in the French Quarter SoBou offers “Happier Hour … because it’s so much better than plain old Happy Hour,” says Darla Fisackerly, Marketing Manager at Commander’s Family of Restaurants. From 3-6 p.m. daily, SoBou’s drinks and snacks range from $3-$6. Menu items are subject to change, but patrons can count on the prices staying the same. SoBou’s snacks menu may include the Shrimp & Tasso Pincho (each) for $3, a Smokey Pulled Pork Taco for $4, Crispy Chicken on the Bone for $3 or the Chef’s Gumbo for $6. Draft beer runs $3, wines and well highballs run $4, and specialty cocktails such as Miss Abigail’s Punch, Sazerac and Tom Collins range $5-6.
300 Poydras St.
Also a Commander’s Family restaurant, Café Adelaide likewise features Happier Hour downtown at its Swizzle Stick Bar from 3-6 p.m. daily. Some of chef Carl’s Finger Foods include Lemon, Thyme & Parmesan Fries for $3, Cornfried Catfish Taco for $4, Soups 1-1-1 for $5 and a Honey Baked Duck Ham & Brie Finger Sandwich for $6. Beers start at $3, house wine at $4 and cocktails range from $5-6.
Ralph’s on the Park
900 City Park Ave.
Over in Mid-City, Ralph’s on the Park offers a picturesque Happy Hour experience alongside beautiful oak-filled City Park 3-6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. It features $6 specialty cocktails, half-price wine by the glass and additional beer and small plate specials. According to Christina Persand, Marketing Manager, “There’s just no better way to unwind on a hot summer day then sipping on a refreshing cocktail in the bar at Ralph’s on the Park while relaxing to the sounds of Joe Krown playing the piano and taking in the views of City Park.” Famed New Orleans piano man Joe Krown performs from 5-8 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays.
If you miss Happy Hour but still want a steal of a meal, take advantage of “Ralph’s 3 Appetizers + a Glass of Wine” for only $33. The summer special goes through August and includes a wide variety of appetizers available for sampling and sharing.
Pearl Wine Co.
3700 Orleans Ave., #1C
Also located in Mid-City, Pearl Wine Co. offers the benefits of both a bar and a store, as the company connects the two within the American Can Company building on Orleans Avenue. Happy hour at Pearl Wine Co. goes until 7 p.m. daily and includes $1 off all drinks. Daily specials include an all-day Happy Hour on Tuesdays, no corkage fees on Wednesdays (“… the store is open if the bar is open,” says owner Leora Madden) and free wine and spirit tastings on Thursdays and Fridays, 5-7 p.m.
Pearl offers specialty cocktails and even wine cocktails, too. The Floral Blush is an exceptionally colorful and elegant concoction incorporating sparkling wine, angostura and elderflower liqueur topped with a floating edible flower.
8118 Oak St.
Uptown, located in the Carrollton neighborhood, Oak Wine Bar offers a sophisticated Happy Hour amongst the bustling, revamped Oak Street. From 5-7 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, wine enthusiasts can enjoy $5 house reds and whites. A $5 cocktail is also featured daily. On Wednesdays, enjoy half-off bottles of wine all night. Oak Wine Bar offers a changing seasonal specialty cocktail menu. According to Bar Manager Shanah Bartram, the 8118 is undeniably a favorite. The popular cocktail features Russian Standard Vodka, lemon and lime juice and fresh basil leaves.
Q & C Hotel/Bar
344 Camp St.
For a Happy Hour that feels like home, Q & C Bar offers a hip downtown experience that resembles “a friend’s living room,” says Q-Rator Amy Foster. With big, plush couches and a warm, wood-and brick-lined atmosphere, the Q & C is a great place for friends to gather after work, enjoy a hand-crafted cocktail by PJ Hanne and snack on elevated bar favorites.
Happy hour at Q & C is every day, 4-7 p.m. For the foodies, it features $3 hand-cut fries served with Q & C’s own hot sauce mayo, $5 boudin served with Creole mustard and pickles, $5 fried cheese curds, $3 house-roasted bar nuts and a $10 Margherita pizza. Sip on $4 local draft beers and $5 wines (one red, one white) and high balls. Favorite Happy Hour cocktails include the French fry accompanied French 75 (also known as the “French & Fry”) and the Death in the Afternoon (absinthe and sparkling wine).
They say it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, and it’s a great saying for the early hours of the day. But it turns out that 5 o’clock in New Orleans isn’t so bad itself – and a very Happy Hour worth exploring around town this summer.