After nearly a year of Zoom happy hours and small shindigs on someone’s back porch, you and your best gals are probably ready for a proper “Girls Night Out.” You know, one that entails getting dressed up in a new outfit that no one has seen, and ordering an Über (because you are nothing if not responsible!) Perhaps table service at a restaurant you’ve all been eager to try, followed by out-of-the-ordinary – but safe – shenanigans, or merely a slice of respite from the rigmarole of everyday life. Plain and simple, you need a “Girls Night Out” that involves lots of laughter with the crew of ladies you missed so dearly during quarantine. Thanks to science and the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, that’s becoming more possible. Here are our suggestions for a swinging evening with your squad.
Stumpy’s Hatchet House
Blow off steam, channel your inner-lumberjack, and basically share a good belly laugh with friends at Stumpy’s Hatchet House in downtown New Orleans. As its name implies, this place offers safe hatchet-throwing sessions for small groups. All you have to do is book a reservation, bring closed-toe shoes (or buy a pair there for ten bucks), and aim for the bulls-eye. Stumpy’s hosts Ladies’ Night every Wednesday, during which gals receive 20 percent off hatchet-throwing and a complimentary glass of bubbly. Be prepared for time to fly by. 1200 Poydras St. Suite C, Stumpyshh.com.
An exciting night doesn’t always have to focus on food and libations. Shake up your excursion with light, physical activities that energize you – or bring out your competitive side. Fulton Alley features a bowling alley, dartboards, a foosball table, Scrabble, and lots of other games – all in a super swanky setting. The kitchen serves elevated iterations of casual items, such as cheese fries, burgers, and teriyaki chicken wings, along with clever cocktails. Guests can book a private party or reserve a lane for four to 20 people. Rates range from $30 to $50 per hour. Outdoor seating is available. 600 Fulton St., Fultonalley.com.
NOLA Tribe Yoga
Bend, stretch, and share a collective “ohm” with a cathartic yoga session. NOLA Tribe Yoga hosts private group yoga classes, and best of all, they bring the party to you. Gather your friends for yoga at your home, or let NOLA Tribe find the right location – like the park – for you. Group rates begin at $175. You can also select a Bride Tribe Yoga package and enjoy either poolside yoga followed by a mimosa, glow-in-the-dark yoga, or even yoga alongside cute, fuzzy kittens (in which case, it’s totally understandable if that “ohm” is replaced with an “aww”). Rates range from $150 to $350. Another plus? You will actually feel GOOD after your epic evening. Nolatribeyoga.com; Bridetribeyoga.com.
Strike up a game of mini-golf at City Putt. City Park’s decorative, 36-hole setup contains two courses and takes golfers on a cultural excursion through The Big Easy, and beyond. Afterwards, cool down with a sno-ball. The sno-ball booth just next door offers more than 30 flavors, edible glitter toppings, and sno-ball flights. City Putt and the sno-ball stand are open from Wednesday through Sunday, until 10 p.m. The last mini-golf rental is at 9 p.m. Neworleanscitypark.com/in-the-park/city-putt. Cheers!
Do it all on Magazine Street during the three-day Champagne Stroll. This year’s annual event, presented by Gulf Coast Bank, happens from Friday, May 7 through Sunday, May 9. Small businesses will welcome guests with open doors – and fizzy bubbles – and offer sales and special discounts on merchandise. Lined with a collection of boutiques offering fashion apparel, lingerie, children’s clothing, antiques, and seasonal home décor, the participating six-mile stretch of Magazine Street will satisfy all your shopping needs. After perusing nearby art galleries, snag a bite to eat at your favorite Magazine Street restaurant. Magazinestreet.com/event/champagne-stroll.
Langlois culinary events look more like a traveling food show than a standard cooking class or demo. That’s because chef Amy Sins brings the revelry and flavors to you. Sins will head to your house and guide you and up to 15 of your gals through a gourmet meal. Friends can even join in through an online platform. Menus comprise appetizers, an entrée such as blackened shrimp pasta with artichoke and lemon, and a decadent dessert of sweet cream crepes with bananas foster sauce flambé. In other words, you can light your food on fire with expert supervision. The brunch menu based around gumbo is especially popular with moms excited to sip Champagne while dads watch the little ones. Sins can accommodate dietary restrictions and preferences. She supplies the ingredients and cooking equipment (and takes them with her, as if she was never there). If you need helping finding a location, let Sins know. She can pinpoint the right venue – even if it is outside. Rates start around $125 a person, but final pricing is based upon the selected menu and the day of the gathering. Langloisnola.com/book-events/.
Painting with a Twist
You can savor lively conversation and a glass of cabernet, all while tapping into your creative side, at Painting with a Twist. Book a private party at the company’s Gretna or Metairie location, and bring your favorite vino and snacks. The staff provides the paints, artistic guidance and protective aprons. Not sure what or how to paint? Painting with a Twist has a library of more than 15,000 art pieces to inspire you. Skilled instructors will mentor you through the design process. But you can also take a spontaneous approach, start swiping your paintbrush across that blank canvas, and just see what happens. When you get home, hang your abstract masterpiece somewhere prominent – maybe above your mantle, because after all, your kid’s doodles occupy the entire refrigerator. You will remember your glorious night with fellow adults, every time it catches your eye. 1900 Lafayette St., Suite 2A, Gretna; 4931 W Esplanade Ave, Suite D, Metairie.
Vintage Rock Club
Dance, and belt out your favorite tunes from long ago, at Vintage Rock Club. The downtown venue broadcasts music videos and concert footage, mostly from the 60s through the 90s, on a large screen, while you get down with your girls and reminisce about the good ‘ol times. It also hosts private parties and squares away VIP areas, complete with cozy sofas and tables. 1007 Poydras St., Vintagerockclub.com.
If you and your friends are into sports, catch a Pelicans game and watch Zion sink shots. The Smoothie King Center is serving food and beverages, including super tasty piña coladas topped with cherries. Scoring a bite to eat before the game is also an option. Reserve a table at nearby airy eateries like Copper Vine (pictured), Johnny Sanchez, and NOLA CAYE. All offer stellar, shareable plates. Nba.com/pelicans; Copper Vine, 1001 Poydras St., Coppervine.com; Johnny Sanchez, 930 Poydras St. Suite 101, Johnnysancheznola.com; NOLA Caye, 898 Baronne St., Nolacaye.com.
A WEEKEND AWAY
Looking for luxury, with a little adventure on the side? Go glamping. Less than an hour away from New Orleans, Paloma Lake provides a breathtaking break from the hustle and bustle of city life. But it doesn’t remove its conveniences or modern comforts (like air conditioning, for example). Situated in Braithwaite, Louisiana, the spacious setting hosts a 53-acre private lake, surrounded by oak trees, and lined with elegant, waterfront cabins and lodges for large groups. The lodges, which each accommodate 10 people, come complete with private bathrooms, a kitchen and an outdoor grill, along with a pool overlooking the pristine lake. Rates range from $1,200 to $1,400 per night. While there, you can enjoy walks and bike rides through the woods, lawn games like corn hole, citrus picking, kayaking, and skeet shooting. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, indulge in fresh, boiled crawfish. 4300 LA-39, Braithwaite, LA, Palomalakela.com.
Located in the heart of downtown Covington, Southern Hotel puts guests within walking distance of terrific restaurants, a spa, and outdoor escapades. Since the Tchefuncte River is only a couple of blocks away, you can enjoy a sunset dinner cruise, or sail on over to a waterfront restaurant. During the day, rent bikes from nearby and explore the scenic Tammany Trace. Were you hoping to relax and move as little as possible? No problem. You can accomplish that and then some on the hotel grounds. Start off with a cocktail in the Cypress Bar, where mixologists concoct house-made syrups, and listen to a pianist tickle the ivories. Or sip refreshments next to the pool. When you are ready for dinner, go to Oxlot 9, the hotel’s onsite restaurant. In a nutshell, no matter what you are in the mood for, Southern Hotel’s concierge will make it happen. Weekend rates for a hotel room hover around $260 a night. Ladies can also rent the Garden House, with its six suites. This unique setup, situated in a whimsical renovation of the 1930s-era Covington Post Office, has an exclusive feel. 428 East Boston Street, Covington, LA, Southernhotel.com.
PLAN A STAYCATION...
With its verdant courtyard and shimmering pool, the Royal Sonesta on Bourbon Street feels like an oasis, set smack dab in the middle of the French Quarter. On Sundays, the hotel is hosting poolside parties, featuring live music, gourmet food and cocktails, along with Red Bull daiquiris. On select Sundays throughout the spring, the hotel’s onsite restaurant, Restaurant R’evolution, will stage a Bourbon Queens Drag Brunch, complete with bottomless mimosas and midday delicacies ($85). Two seatings are available from 10:30 a.m. to noon, and 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. Reservations are strongly recommended. With Royal Sonesta’s French Quarter Fling package (available through August 31), hotel rates start at $149 per night for Sundays through Thursdays, and $179 per night for Fridays and Saturdays. Parking is free. 300 Bourbon St., Sonesta.com/us/louisiana/new-orleans/royal-sonesta-new-orleans.
After surviving 2020 (and then some), you and your ladies may be craving rest, relaxation, and a deep tissue massage – preferably in a place that at least FEELS far from the confines of your home – and, let’s admit it – any youngsters. The Windsor Court offers just the thing with its onsite spa’s Relax & Restore package. With rates starting at $355, the package includes a stay in a lavish hotel suite, a $200 spa credit, along with two glasses of sparkling wine in the Polo Club Lounge. Local songbird Robin Barnes and her band will perform on Friday and Saturday nights. During the day, you can lounge by the outdoor pool while sipping tropical drinks concocted in the poolside bar. Don’t forget to put your phone on airplane mode. 300 Gravier St., Windsorcourthotel.com.
The Ace Hotel has two packages running in May. Their “Prix Unfixed” (code UNFIXED) deal treats guests to two or more nights at the hotel and a four-course feast for two that spans all of the onsite restaurants: Josephine Estelle, Seaworthy, Alto and the Lobby Bar. The hotel’s “Hometowner” bargain comes with free daily parking, breakfast at Josephine Estelle, and a late checkout. Rates begin around $150 per night. 600 Carondelet St., Acehotel.com/neworleans.
Hotel Saint Vincent
Scope out the brand-new Hotel Saint Vincent, when it officially opens in June. Located in the Lower Garden District, the 75-room hotel is situated inside a landmark 1861 building that’s been restored with modern elements. Guests can sit back and unwind in the interior courtyard, stroll the outdoor verandas, or take a dip in the pool. The hotel houses two restaurants: San Lorenzo, with a menu inspired by the Mediterranean; and Elizabeth Street Café, with baked goods prepared with French and Vietnamese-style flair. Rates start around $289 per night. 1507 Magazine St., Hotelsaintvincentnola.com.Picnic
And if you really want to relish the fresh air – away from other diners –take a picnic in the outdoor space of your choice. NOLA PopUp Picnic will make sure it’s perfect. The small business, which was spawned during the pandemic, can handle the food, table settings, seating arrangements – from large floor pillows to beanbag chairs – and the décor.Think flowers, all the balloons, and even a setup for selfie photos. Rates begin at $100 for 2.5 hours. Nolapop-uppicnic.com.
GO OUT TO EAT
For an easy but unforgettable “Girls Night Out,” you can’t go wrong with sharing delicious food at one of the city’s best restaurants. Just pick a date that works for everyone, make a reservation, and presto! You and your gals are in for a treat. (Well, almost. Choosing an outfit often takes time and second opinions.)
Wine and Dine
Book a private dinner at Jewel of the South (1026 St Louis St., Jewelnola.com) in the French Quarter and sip artsy, elevated cocktails; or a few seats at Cavan (3607 Magazine St., Cavannola.com), which has an upstairs dining area perfect for small parties. Junior’s on Harrison (789 Harrison Ave., Juniorsonharrison.com), a bright, neighborhood restaurant in Lakeview, offers private dining and patio space. Then there’s the always festive-feeling Commander’s Palace (1403 Washington Ave., Commanderspalace.com), Paladar 511, a spacious Marigny restaurant that specializes in pizza and pasta (511 Marigny St., Paladar511.com), and Arnaud’s Restaurant (813 Bienville St., Arnaudsrestaurant.com). This New Orleans classic boasts elegant yet lively dining rooms (including 17 private rooms) and balconies overlooking the Vieux Carre, along with Jazz music and chilled French 75s – all ingredients for a grand time.
Pluck Wine Bar
Is wine on your mind? Check out the Pluck Wine Bar & Restaurant in the Central Business District. Not surprisingly, this new place boasts a vast wine list with various price points, Champagne, and bites to eat. While sipping, snack on goat cheese croquettes covered with caramelized onion and honey; charcuterie; and spiced popcorn; or something a bit heartier, like roasted quail topped with a Beaujolais reduction. You can sit in a cozy booth, or snag a table by the window. 722 Girod Street, Pluckwines.com.
Palm & Pine
And don’t forget about Palm & Pine. The Rampart Street restaurant recently reopened for dine-in and outdoor table service, with a fresh menu that pays homage to “The South and South of That.” Items range from Texas-style steak tartare to coconut shrimp, alongside Trinidadian stewed chickpeas and potatoes. Intriguing! On Monday evenings, Palm & Pine will sell Vietnamese-style boiled crawfish packages (available for pre-order via the website). Peel and suck the heads of those spicy critters at home, or right there on the restaurant’s sidewalk patio. 308 N Rampart St., Palmandpinenola.com.
If you are solely on the hunt for ample outdoor seating, try visiting Columns (3811 St Charles Ave., Thecolumns.com) and steal a glimpse of the streetcar rumbling down St. Charles Avenue; or The Chloe (4125 St Charles Ave., Thechloenola.com) – a posh hotel with an onsite restaurant and bar. Private, patio, and poolside dining is available here. Book your reservation early, and you will have a better chance of getting a table al fresco.
Raise a Glass
Savor spring weather at the kind of quirky Bacchanal Wine (600 Poland Ave., Bacchanalwine.com) in the Bywater, or in the charming courtyard of The Elysian Bar (2317 Burgundy St., Theelysianbar.com) in the Marigny.
In the mood for something simple but festive? Perhaps tacos and frozen margaritas? Try VALS. The Freret Street restaurant offers that, plus an array of small and side items, and plenty of outdoor seating. But please note: they do not take reservations. 4632 Freret St., Valsnola.com.
Happy Raptor Distilling on Carondelet Street creates New Orleans-inspired rum, made with local sugarcane, and concocts vibrant rum cocktails within its vast tasting room and on the patio. Pop-up kitchens serve food on the weekends. Whether you have children or not, you will want to check out their Mother’s Day Art Market on Saturday, May 8. Happy Raptor Distilling will welcome NOLA Sliders and their juicy hamburgers, along with a collection of local arts and crafts vendors. In addition to offering private group tours and tastings (which have been a big hit with bachelorette parties), the woman-owned distillery is adding events to its calendar – from cocktail classes to “cocktails and canvas” paint parties. 1512 Robert C. Blakes Sr. Dr., Happyraptor.com.
Cocktails and More
In the Lower Garden District, both The Bower Restaurant & Bar (pictured) (1320 Magazine St., Thebowernola.com) and its neighbor, Claret Wine & Cocktail Bar (1320 Magazine St.), offer covered outdoor seating, along with robust menus of shareable plates. Lush foliage and fairy lights enhance the ambiance. For a night of revelry in the Warehouse District, begin with an outdoor feast at Sidecar Patio & Oyster Bar (1114 Constance St., Sidecarnola.com) or the lively Flamingo A-GO-GO (869 Magazine St., Flamingonola.com). And then take it from there. This area is pretty much always brimming with activity.
If your tribe has been looking forward to this night for a long time, then you might as well go all out. But get an early start.
Have your makeup done by a pro – and learn how do it like a pro – at About Face of New Orleans. The Old Metairie studio offers one-on-one makeup lessons for $60, where they teach beauties how to create an everyday look, or something a bitglam. Or you can skip the lesson and relax while the makeup artists work their magic on your perfectly-prepped skin. In-store makeup applications cost $30 to $60. Add false lashes for $20. About Face can accommodate a group of girls. Peruse the vast selection of cosmetics and skincare products while you are there. A $100 purchase comes with a complimentary makeup session. About Face also offers a variety of facial treatments, but you may want to save those for another day. 701 Metairie Road #1b 106, Metairie, Aboutfacenola.com.
There’s getting a mani/pedi, and then there’s getting a mani/pedi at Southern Swings Nail Bar & Spa in Uptown. The salon is a popular destination for bachelorette and birthday parties, and it is no surprise why. Southern Swings’ pedicure stations are actually porch swings – both indoor and outdoor porch swings, to boot. The locale can accommodate a bunch of ladies, and let them pick from an array of pedicure services, such as sugar scrubs, honey and goat milk soaks, and chocolate mud masks. Another plus? They treat guests to a complimentary bottle of bubbly. Pedicure packages range from $45 to $70. Manicures cost $20 to $30. Add-ons, like French tips and gel polish, are also available. Clients can browse nail polish colors ahead of time, on the company’s website. 4422 Magazine St., Southernswingsnailbar.com.
Take it up a notch (literally) and savor sweeping views of the city, by ordering drinks and bites at a rooftop lounge, like Alto at Ace Hotel (600 Carondelet St., Acehotel.com). May coincides with the relaunch of this rooftop garden and poolside café, which features new furniture, a fresh menu of Italian-inspired small-plates, seasonal cocktails, and frozen drinks. Catch a cool breeze while sipping craft cocktails and munching on fried chicken sliders at Monkey Board (pictured) (1111 Gravier St., Monkeyboardnola.com), The Troubadour hotel’s spacious rooftop restaurant and bar. Or swing by Hot Tin (2031 St Charles Ave., Hottinbar.com) atop the Pontchartrain Hotel. The open lounge, which is inspired by a 1940s artist’s loft, offers a stunning look at the Mississippi River and downtown New Orleans. In addition to tasty libations, Hot Tin serves appetizers and entrees from its sister restaurant, Jack Rose (2031 St Charles Ave FL 1, Jackroserestaurant.com).BLEU
Drop by BLEU, a Blowdry Bar and let the experts shape your tresses into glossy, beach babe-style waves. They can work with clean, dry hair, or treat clients to a shampoo and scalp massage. Prices range from $30 to $40. BLEU also offers makeup applications. All services include a complimentary glass of wine, bubbles or a mimosa. The salon’s happy hour takes place Monday through Wednesday, from noon to 4 p.m. Clients will receive $10-off blowouts and a 20-percent discount on other services. And if ladies would like the whole salon to themselves, BLEU can make it happen. Email BLEUaBlowdryBar1@gmail.com for information on availability and pricing. 701 Metairie Rd. Ste. 112-2A, Bleuablowdrybar.com.
Sure. Your closet is likely stocked with lots of cute outfits that are ideal for a night on a town. But every now and then it’s nice to throw on something fresh and fabulous. Maybe even an ensemble based on your mood at that very moment. Perhaps jeans and a snazzy top with trendy spring accessories? Or does the nocturnal affair call for a cocktail dress? Well, whatever the case may be, you can find any and all of those options at one of the locally-owned boutiques in and around New Orleans.
Garden District Shops
If you are in the Garden District area, drop by Hemline (3310 Magazine St., Shophemline.com) on Magazine Street and its neighbor, Lucy Rose (3318 Magazine St., Shoplucyrose.com). Elle Boutique (2108 Magazine St., Shopelle.com), right off Jackson Avenue, carries flirty sundresses. West London Boutique (3952 Magazine St., Westlondonboutique.com) near Napoleon sells dramatic, statement pieces.
Accessorize Your Look
In Uptown, add a budget-friendly accessory, such as a beaded clutch bag or a set of dangly earrings, from Trendz (4222 Magazine St.); or a festive piece from Miss Claudia’s Vintage (4204 Magazine St.).
In between Jefferson Avenue and Nashville, there’s the upscale Azby’s (5531 Magazine St., Azbys.com), and Blink (5517 Magazine St., Shopblinkboutique.com), which carries fashion-forward apparel geared towards the young, and the young at heart. Miss Smarty Pants (5523 Magazine St., Misssmartypantsnola.com) sells sophisticated jewelry that won’t break the bank.
In the Riverbend, you can visit the classy Gae-tana’s (7732 Maple St.), C. Collection (8141 Maple St., CCollection.net), which largely caters to the college crowd, and Yvonne LaFleur (8131 Hampson St., Yvonnelafleur.com) on Hampson Street. This iconic boutique offers so much more than bridal gowns; it’s actually an amazing destination for a weekend party dress.
In Lakeview, you will love the selection at Pronto (902 Harrison Ave.) and Swoon (130 Harrison Ave., Swoonboutiquenola.com) on Harrison Avenue. In Old Metairie, you will find one-of-a-kind items at Em’s (246 Metairie Rd.), Cella’s (512 Metairie Rd., Shopcellas.com), Dolce (204 Metairie Rd.), and Wildflower (2700 Metairie Rd. STE C, Wildflowernola.com) – just to name a few. And finally, there’s Chatta Box (4114 Veterans Memorial Blvd.) in Metairie, which features gorgeous clothes and a curated dress collection that comprises casual and full-on glam getups. You are all set!