Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Best of Bourbon Street

I've been off on a whirlwind girls vacation minus any sort of connection to my computer, email or blogging. I was too busy immersing myself completely in the atmosphere, people, food and drink in where I learned is apparently the other city that never sleeps; New Orleans, Louisiana. It was an absolutely fascinating, crazy, fun experience; a truly amazing girls getaway that I will cherish for a long time to come. I've missed you all and can't wait to catch up, get back to real life, and share my time spent down in The French Quarter. So, let's take it from the top, because that's the best way I know how. Tricia and I departed from Logan Airport on Thursday afternoon and in no hurry at all to get the party started, enjoyed fancy martinis at Todd English's Bonfire in Terminal B. Once we landed safely at Louis Armstrong International we took a cab ride to our destination hotel.The feelings of anticipation and excitement were really beginning to set in as we unpacked and mentally prepared. We're here, in the Big Easy, in a gorgeous hotel room, spacious enough for four girls to spread out comfortably, just steps from the madness of Bourbon Street. Laura flew in from Colorado and Eden from California, so as you can imagine we were thrilled to be together after a long time apart. Our first stop was the dueling piano bar, Howl At The Moon. (It was dark out at this point, I snapped a shot of the sign in daylight.) For the first official drink we ordered what else but Hurricanes - the infamous NOLA cocktail of choice; traditionally made with light and dark rum, and a blend of passion fruit juice, orange juice, lime juice, simple syrup and grenadine, garnished with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry. We caught up and listened to the entertainment before setting out onto the madness that is Bourbon Street. We walked for awhile, drinks in hand, taking it alllll in. The fact that you can take your drinks to-go was instantly one of my favorite things about the city. It was certainly not the endless supply of beads being pelted at us from the balconies above, or the wreaking stench in the air, or the cockroach I spotted scattering about. But from anywhere, at anytime; go ahead and double fist, or walk into one bar with a drink from another. It's the laid back, no worries attitude that in turn makes it a crazy scene and I absolutely loved it. So, the beads! It is an obvious fun tradition to throw them from balconies above. But when they are thrown at unassuming tourists walking Bourbon, who have no idea beads are coming at them from all angles, its just plain funny. What just hit me in the head, oh there's another, and another, oh it's sets of beads! So no, you do not have to flash anyone for them. (Of course, people do and no one minds.) So we did what anyone else would do when faced with the question of "what's next?" after surveying the scene. We found ourselves a balcony! Up a brightly decoupaged, sparkling yellow walled stairwell.......more beads and jello shot syringes awaited. Seriously, what are these things? After taking many ridiculous photos, and shots, and throwing beads, we had our balcony fill. The Cats Meow is a lively karaoke bar that saw us in on more than one occasion.
Our first night here was somehow not our last.
Same goes for Razzoo's. It saw was us through many beers, dance parties, late nights and fun on their spacious patio. Be the nightlife as it is, Bourbon Street has just as much fun and fanfare to offer in the daylight, too! The next three bars came highly recommended to us and after the experience, I'd agree they are all must visits. Easily interchangeable as day or night spots, however I think we got a better feel for them being there in the daytime. They were generally less crowded and it was easier to score seats and take in the unique atmosphere. First up is Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar where we drank Voodoo Daiquiries, a vodka based icy grape slush concoction. Located further down from the bright lights and beaded madness it sits tucked away at 941 Bourbon Street. This bar has been around since the early 1700's, and is something of a legend around here. With a slate roof and old wood rafters, uneven floors and partially exposed brick walls, flickering candles and a small copper bar, it exudes a mysterious and deeply rooted old world feel. And the drinks are strong! Cheers, to always ordering the same thing and to being together in such a fun place! So if you visit, whatever you do, don't miss Lafitte's.
Later on we hit up Tropical Isle for live music and Hand Grenades. The Hand Grenade is another infamous drink of the Big Easy not to be missed. You can enjoy this melon liqueur based cocktail made with rum, vodka, gin and a whole lot of sugar on the rocks or frozen.

I preferred mine on the rocks.
The band played away as we sipped our sugary sweet grenades and put up with the ice and grenade throwing antics of the bartender. Apparently beads aren't the only thing appropriate to throw at people down here. Another must-do while in N'awlins is Pat O'Brien's. This is the bar that invented The Hurricane drink, so of course they make them better than any one else in town. We spent a few minutes drinking in the bar with the stein covered ceilings before making our way to the patio. The open courtyard scattered with lush green plants and fancy fountains was the perfect place to spend a few late afternoon hours. There are little bars tucked all about the courtyard so we settled right in.
They also advertise a Mint Julep and I couldn't pass one up.
The hurricane is a beast of a drink to put down and we had dinner reservations to freshen up for, so I took my Mint Julep to-go!Out on Bourbon "Oh When The Saint's Go Marching In" bellowed through the crowds. Did I mention it was 70-80 degrees and sunny everyday?! Did I mention how much I loved this place? Because it was and I did and I'm already nostalgic for our crazy times in The French Quarter. I've got such a busy week planned, but recaps of where and what we ate and what else we did in addition to the above madness (believe it or not, we didn't spend all our time in a bar!) to come.

Tropical Isle Original on UrbanspoonPat O'Brien's Courtyard Restaurant on Urbanspoon

20 comments:

Lizzy said...

Wow, what a vacation! I've never been to NEw Orleans but it looks like you girls had a blast. Look forward to more posts : )

Amber Blue Bird said...

wow $33 bucks for a cab ride, thats pricey! Looks like you ladies had quite the fun time in New Orleans. I have always wanted to visit there and your pics just make me wanna visit that much more. Oh and jello syringes?!? Hello toilet :)

Emily @ A Cambridge Story said...

Yea NOLA! So funny we were there at the same time! Looks like we hit some of the same places too ;) Hope you're recovering from the madness faster than me!

this free bird said...

I was watching your tweets and thinking holy mother she is tearing that place up!!

Jennifurla said...

oh wow, what a trip! so much fun...I am super jealous

Meghan@travelwinedine said...

This looks like SUCH fun time! I am dying to get to NOLA!

K. Fenton said...

A grenade & a hurricane ~ Wow! Can't wait for the food part of your Blog

Jaime @ La vie...J'aime said...

Great pics- awesome trip! I would love to go to New Orleans...next on my trip list. heading to nashville this weekend with friends, so pumped!

Kelly @ Cupcake Kellys said...

I love NOLA. I especially love the purple drink, whenever I visited my sister that's what we would always get first!

Megan said...

Looks like such a great time!! I love piano bars... and those jello shot syringes are crazy... had a bunch in Myrtle Beach a few years back.

Jen said...

What an awesome, whirlwind trip! Love the pictures - such a lively, busy, pretty city. The voodoo daiquiris look delicious! Mmmmm.

Tricia said...

GREAT post! Ahhh - we had so much fun :)

I need to get posting as well - why are there never enough hours in the day!?

In and Around Town said...

Looks like such a fun vacation - I have never been but have been dying to go!!

Melissa said...

I'm so jealous of this vacation. I want a hurricane!

Hatsie said...

So fun! Glad you had a good time!

Michelle Collins said...

Looks like a fantastic trip (so far)! I've always wanted to go to New Orleans - looking forward to hearing more about your trip!

Corinne said...

eeeeeee what a FABULOUS TIME! Love the pics and the drinks and the bar scene! :) What was your favorite bev!? I THINK there is a Howl at the Moon in Boston tooooo!

Di said...

This looks SO awesome!! I need to go there...like, soon.

Kristin @ Iowa Girl Eats said...

OMG I seriously want to sob looking over all these recaps!!! I am so obsessed with NOLA and it looks like you ladies hit up all the great spots! :D

Alicia said...

I miss NOLA so much! My favorite part is the 'anything goes' attitude! ....and the walking outside with drinks...
I love al fresco bevvies.