NEW ORLEANS – Mardi Gras is back. You might say the festival comes around every year like clockwork. You might be right, if your clockwork allows for the same party to fall on a different day depending on that old devil moon.
To help guide you through the Madness of It All with Your Dignity Intact, here are our favorite bars in New Orleans.
(P.S. We don't care what you do with your dignity if you don't.)
FATHOM'S FIVE FAVORITE NOLA BARS
820 N. Rampart St., +1-504-324-6045
Teetering on the edge of the French Quarter (on a nondescript street behind a nondescript door) is a fine drinking establishment for modern cocktail enthusiasts. Drinks are made with more than TLC: Fresh juices, homemade tinctures, and rare liquors go into every concoction.
Carousel Bar & Lounge
Hotel Monteleone, 214 Royal St.; +1-504-523-3341
There is a carousel — complete with carnival lights on the cresting — rotating ever so slowly in a counter-clockwise fashion around two bartenders and their top-shelf liquors. Stools act as chariots. Sidle up and take a spin. Things really get interesting after a few gin cocktails.
4905 Freret St.; +504-302-2357
Familiarize yourself with the house rules (no baseball caps or shorts, boys) before heading over to this schmancy cocktail bar on a happening little strip Uptown. The space, a reclaimed firehouse, is spacious and sharp. Small plates are carefully prepared and served late.
811 Conti St.; +504-523-8619
A classic dive bar and headquarters of awesome sandwich operation Killer Poboys. French bread is stuffed with meat and veggies and other stuff that can soak up all the booze. Superbowl Sunday brings turduken smoked sausage with pickled green beans.
The Spotted Cat
623 Frenchmen St.; +504-943-3887
Tiny and old-timey. There's a piano in the ladies room. Catch the New Orleans Cotton Mouth Kings — a motley crew playing classic, lo-fi swing. They do a great medley of spirituals and really get the crowd moving.