French Quarter Hotel in New Orleans
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Make a Navy Grog at Home

We wouldn’t dare try to top famed bartender Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s recipes, which means two things: 1) You’ll have to try them for yourselves at Latitude 29 (it’s right inside our hotel!) and 2) we were fortunate enough to stumble upon an interview Berry did with Chicagoist where he shared the recipe for his famous Navy Grog, full of plenty of rum, honey, and fragrant notes of lime and grapefruit.

navy grog

The Navy Grog from Latitude 29. (Photo courtesy Trip Advisor)

The drink was almost lost to history for simply being a pain to make because of the ice cone ice cube, but through years of research, Berry not only recreated it to its original specs, but also manufactured an ice cone so that astute tiki enthusiasts everywhere can enjoy the Navy Grog just like Frank Sinatra did (supposedly it was his favorite drink).

Learn how to make it at home below. But we can pretty much guarantee his version will still taste better…

Navy Grog Recipe

Ingredients

  • Demerara rum
  • Dark Jamaican rum
  • Cuban or Puerto Rican white rum
  • Honey
  • Water
  • White grapefruit juice
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Club soda
  • Cocktail shaker
  • Navy Grog cone (optional; can use large ice cubes instead)

Recipe

First, make the honey mix: simply dissolve 1 part honey in 1 part of warm water. For a Navy Grog serving, you’ll need about a half-ounce of each to create 1 ounce of honey mix.

Place in your shaker 3/4 ounces each of fresh lime juice, white grapefruit juice, and club soda. Next, add in 1 ounce each of the gold Demerara rum, dark Jamaican rum, and white rum. Next, add 1 ounce honey mix. Shake well with plenty of ice. Strain into glass containing the ice cone or ice cubes.

Enjoy!

 

 

5 Historic Spots in the French Quarter: Go Explore!

We’re making French Quarter exploration a little easier with our list 5 historic spots (in a part of the city that’s full of them!). Whether you choose to explore them all in one day or take it a few at a time, we think you’ll enjoy learning more about New Orleans’ robust history through these picturesque examples of architecture.

Napoleon House.

Napoleon House. (Photo via Flickr user Todd Murray)

1. 1850 House (Inside the Lower Pontalba Building)

Located inside one of the historic Pontalba Buildings on St. Ann Street in Jackson Square, the 1850 House offers a glimpse of antebellum life in New Orleans. Part of the Louisiana State Museum collection, this beautiful spot right on Jackson Square replicates nineteenth-century Parisian architecture, a favorite style of Baroness Micaela Almonester de Pontalba, the woman who bought the property and commissioned the buildings (incidentally, her father helped finance other famous local architecture like The Cabildo and St. Louis Cathedral). Inside 1850 House, you can browse period-specific paintings, china, furnishing, and decor. Downstairs, there’s a well-appointed gift shop perfect for browsing for souvenirs.

Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
Cost: $3 for adults, $2 for seniors, students, and military (with ID), and free for children under 12

2. The Old U.S. Mint

In the past, all United States currency was printed at the Old U.S. Mint, which was built in 1838. The Mint today is equal parts historic museum and musical concert space: Music at the Mint features exhibitions and even live performances, while the Louisiana Historical Center has a more traditional museum exhibit feel. Located on Esplanade Avenue, this free museum has an architecture reflective of the Greek Revival style.

Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
Cost: Free

3. Old Ursuline Convent

Built on Chartres Street in 1752, Old Ursuline Convent is the oldest building in the Mississippi River Valley. It’s the oldest example of the French colonial period still standing in the United States, and for just $5 (or less), you can explore inside and marvel at details like a hand-crafted cypress staircase, oil paintings featuring past archbishops, religious statues, bronze busts, and more. The building has had many purposes over the centuries, whether used as a convent, an orphanage, and even a makeshift hospital. The self-guided tours let you reflect on all of these functions while gaining a deeper understanding of the building’s rich history. After your tour, go to the walled courtyard behind the main building. It’s a secluded and peaceful spot perfect for reflecting on the principles of the Ursuline Sisters who first founded the convent.

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Cost: $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for students (with ID), and free for children under 6
4. Hotel Monteleone

Our sister property Hotel Monteleone is one of the French Quarter’s historic gems. Built in 1886 in its same location on Royal Street, Hotel Monteleone offers a unique balance between historic detail and modern amenities. Literary figures like Truman Capote, Eudora Welty, and Tennessee Williams have a direct connection to the hotel, which even features literary suites designed to honor these authors. If you’re staying at Bienville House, you can walk over the Monteleone and note historic details throughout the hotel, like the grandfather clock in the lobby.

5. Napoleon House

Napoleon House was never actually a home for Napoleon Bonaparte, but the owner at the time offered up the historic building to Napoleon, if he needed it, as refuge during his exile. The building itself dates from 1797, and it’s been family-owned since 1914. Sit inside and enjoy the historic details or take your Pimm’s Cup outside to enjoy the beautiful outdoor courtyard. NOLA favorites like Sazeracs and muffulettas are also on the menu at this European-style bar and restaurant.

COOLinary is Here for the Month of August

Each year, COOLinary New Orleans offers up generous two- and three-course meals for unbeatable prix fixe prices all over the city. Whether you choose a two-course lunch option for $20 or a three-course brunch or dinner option for $39 (brunch is new this year!), you can enjoy some of New Orleans’ most noted restaurants for a small fraction of the normal price. You can find the whole list of restaurants here, but if you need help on where to start, we’ve collected a few best bets:

shrimp louis

Shrimp Louis from Criollo. (Photo courtesy Criollo Restaurant on Facebook)

Lunch

  • Criollo: This Creole-fusion restaurant is the on-site restaurant for our sister property, Hotel Monteleone. The lunch meal includes two courses for just $20; choose from an appetizer and an entree… but wait, there’s more: unlike many COOLinary lunch offerings, this one includes dessert. Try the Mile High Parfait with raspberry sauce.
  • Commander’s Palace: We’ll let you in on a local secret: martinis at lunch are just 25 cents with the purchase of an entree. They’ll stop you after 3, but trust us… you only need 3!
  • Grand Isle: You’ll taste fresh Gulf seafood and seasonal ingredients at Grand Isle in the Central Business District. The stuffed boudin balls are an awesome appetizer, and the chili butter baked fish salad is an ideal choice for lunch. 

Dinner

  • Meauxbar: Duck tian with blue corn grits is a gorgeous mix of contemporary cuisine and classic Southern fare. Steamed clams start the meal off right, while the chocolate cremeaux truffle dessert ends it on a sweet note.
  • Muriel’s Jackson Square: Find classic New Orleans cuisine right next to St. Louis Cathedral. Try the gumbo for starters, then move on to double-cut pork chops and pain perdu bread pudding for dessert.
  • Charcoal Gourmet Burger Bar: A tasty wild card for the dinner menu: try the Kobe beef burger. Another worthy choice is the Health Nut Salad overflowing with quinoa, grilled salmon, and vegetables. This menu also includes demi-portions of appetizers and  a full-size (and delicious) dessert.

Brunch

  • Restaurant R’Evolution: Eggs a la creme with Gulf fish meuniere… the perfect brunch, we think. Crave something sweet at brunch? Their COOLinary menu includes strawberry pain perdu.
  • St. Roch Market: This food and grocery market lets you choose from several vendors, including a fresh juice bar, seafood options, and much more.
  • Mizado Cocina: Mizado offers a Latin twist on brunch with dishes like Tres Leches French Toast, studded with sweet plantains. Since this brunch is extra-affordable (just $25), so you can order a cocktail, too!
August Events in New Orleans

Higher temperatures and longer days don’t discourage New Orleans from its usual fanfare and fun. August has four events worth attending, and we have all the details below!

White Linen Night

On Saturday, Aug. 1 at 6 p.m., White Linen Night kicks off. This outdoor art event and block party encourages all guests to wear white. All-white outfits aren’t required, but try to join in on the theme if you can!  Food, drinks, and live music entertainment give the street a festive vibe while you browse beautiful works from local artists.

white linen night

White Linen Night. (Photo via Flickr user John W. Schulze)

Dirty Linen Night

On Saturday, Aug. 8 at  6 p.m., Dirty Linen Night takes place in the French Quarter. Though similar to White Linen Night (it’s an art event that also features food and entertainment), Dirty Linen Night encourages patrons to wear the same white linen from the previous weekend now that it’s dirty or even a dirty red dress (more on that bel0w). Themed food and drink like dirty rice and dirty martinis are all part of the fun.

Red Dress Run

Another NOLA tradition happens the same day as Dirty Linen Night (Aug. 8) starting at 12:30 p.m. The Red Dress Run is a friendly competitive race for men and women alike where all the runners dress up in, you guessed it, red dresses. Proceeds benefit dozens of charities in the city, so you can register for $70 online knowing it’s for a good cause.

COOLinary

Of all the New Orleans August events, COOLinary is definitely the most delicious. Running from Aug. 1 through Aug. 31, COOLinary allows guests to dine at more than 80 incredible restaurants around town for prix fixe meals. Choose from a three-course brunch ($39 or less), a two-course lunch ($20 or less), or a three-course dinner ($39) from a huge list of restaurants. We suggest the Criollo COOLinary menu for its seasonal ingredients and proximity to our hotel.

Satchmo SummerFest is Almost Here

New Orleans most famous son is Louis Armstrong, the iconic musician, actor, and lasting cultural icon who was born and raised in New Orleans. And in New Orleans, we celebrate Satchmo with his very own festival. Satchmo SummerFest runs from July 31- Aug. 2. Take a look at what’s happening during this fun, affordable ($5) festival located just blocks from our hotel.

louis_armstrong_photoThe Music

The fest features more than 100 artists on two stages, most of which are local brass bands as or jazz performers (both contemporary and traditional). And if music makes you want to dance? No problem. Take advantage of free swing dance lessons happening twice-daily at the Cornet Chop Suey Stage on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. and 3 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. 

Start your Satchmo journey on Friday, July 31, with performers like Ellis Marsalis, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Preservation Hall Brass Band, Deacon John, and Donald Harrison’s All Star Louis Armstrong Tribute.

On Saturday, August 1, The Ella and Louis Tribute Band takes the stage, along with Treme Brass Band, Charmaine Neville, Bill Summers, and many others.

Sunday, August 2, is the last day of the festival, where you can hear singers like Robin Barnes. If you can’t make the festival, no worries!  Barnes often performs at the Carousel Bar & Lounge at our sister property, Hotel Monteleone.

What to Eat

New Orleans festival food is always a great excuse to chow down. Choose from classic dishes like red beans and rice, crawfish bread, fish beignets, po-boys and many other dishes to choose from. You can also wash it all down with a mango daiquiri (head over to Latitude 29 for even more tropical concoctions.

Other Happenings

In addition to exciting music programming, you can attend several special events going on during the festival. Head to the Old U.S. Mint (it’s right next to the music stages) for a new exhibit called “Satchmo: His Life in New Orleans” that explores Armstrong’s formative years in New Orleans and his lasting connection to the city. On Friday at noon on the third floor of the Mint, visitors can attend a lecture dedicated to “Musical First Responders,” the people who made sure New Orleans historic music scene stayed top of mind in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

How to Get There

All of Satchmo SummerFest (including two stages, food, exhibits, and more) happens in and around the Old U.S. Mint next to the French Market on Decatur Street. It’s a straight shot from our hotel and full of scenic sights, like Jackson Square, along the way.

Take Part in Tales of the Cocktail Restaurant Week

Don’t let the name fool you: Tales of the Cocktail isn’t just about cocktails, although they are definitely in the spotlight. Other events happening during this festival include Tales Restaurant Week, an opportunity for visitors to test out prix fixe menus created especially to pair with specific spirits and liqueurs. Our own restaurant Latitude 29 isn’t participating in Tales Restaurant Week (though we still recommend stopping in for a drink!), but you can explore our top three picks, all of which are just a short walking distance from Bienville House. We’ve got all the details below.

Criollo

Choose from lunch for $35 or dinner for $65 with dishes that pair beautifully with the Bolivian liqueur Rujero Singani. View the full menu here, which includes pan-seared scallops,  corn salad, and caramel flan with macerated peaches.

blistered corn salad

The blistered corn salad at Criollo, part of Tales of the Cocktail Restaurant Week. (Photo courtesy Criollo on Facebook)

Doris Metropolitan

Known for its aged steaks and its cocktails, Doris Metropolitan is an upscale destination during Restaurant Week. The menu is $165 for dishes that all pair with Martin Miller’s Gin. Cured amberjack and Japanese wagyu tenderloin are two standout items; you’ll also enjoy fresh peach brulee with a Ramos Gin Fizz for dessert. Check out the full menu here.

Johnny Sanchez

What else but Cruz Tequila would pair with the modern Mexican offerings at Johnny Sanchez in the Central Business District? The menu relies on flavorful ingredients like jalapeno peppers and cilantro to add south-of-the-border flair to dishes like wood-grilled swordfish and local heirloom tomato salad. Wash it down with the Sol de la Playa (playfully translating to “Sun of the Beach”): a mix of Cruz reposado, agave nectar, hibiscus, and orange.

 

A Spirited Event: Tales of the Cocktail

Really good cocktails tell a story: a story of a reward at the end of a long day, a story of a perfect date night, a story of a long-overdue vacation. It’s this story in mind that created Tales of the Cocktail, a festival-meets-convention that celebrates those spirited drinks with appropriate pomp. Whether you participate in Tales firsthand or are simply using the dates (July 15-19) as a way to get your drink on, here’s what’s happening at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail:

cocktail

Photo courtesy Latitude 29 on Instagram.

Tales Restaurant Week

Tales of the Cocktail’s restaurant week happens all week leading up to and during the event. This means you can check out a host of restaurants around town for specific spirits: think El Dorado Rum at Cane and Table, Cruz Tequila at Johnny Sanchez, and many others. Our on-site bar, Latitude 29, is also a great place to indulge in a cocktail; the lead bartender and owner, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, is a star at Tales of the Cocktail.

Spirit-Focused Seminars

Tales has myriad speakers, panels, and seminars aimed at educating people about the cocktail. From the “Meet the Maker” series, where people can get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what it takes to make a specific spirit, to discussions on sustainable agave practices, providing stylish service, and an overview of indie spirits, Tales has a robust lineup of intriguing and educational panels. And… tasting is involved!

Taste of the Cocktail

Perhaps we’re a bit biased, but personally, we’re partial to Latitude 29 for unforgettable tiki-inspired cocktails. Jeff Berry’s celebrity status in the cocktail community is an added perk… and you’ll immediately know why he’s so lauded once you sip on one of his drinks. The bar is open every day except Wednesday, so plan to pop in during Tales!

 

Craving a Cocktail? Try Five Nearby Spots

Vacation and cocktails go hand in hand. The time of the year? The time of the day? It really doesn’t matter. We’ve rounded up five nearby spots worth checking out for a well-deserved libation.

Latitude 29

Distance from Bienville House: Not applicable. It’s right inside our hotel!

What You’ll Find: A tiki vibe and incredible cocktails from an internationally famous bartender, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry. Paired with Asian-fusion cuisine, these bold and fruity cocktails are truly a vacation in a glass.

Best Bets: Our vote is for the Pontchartrain Pearl Diver, a frothy, passionfruit-laced drink that comes in a cup modeled after a vintage design. The cups were especially made for Latitude 29 (although now you can buy them online in an exclusive collection from Jeff Berry).

paniolo

The Paniolo from Latitude 29. (Photo courtesy Latitude 29 on Facebook)

Napoleon House

Distance from Bienville House: 0.2 miles. Make a right onto Chartres Street from Bienville Street, and you’ll see it on the right. Check out the map!

What You’ll Find: A major dose of history and charm all in one space. The building dates from the 1700s, and Napoleon would’ve stayed there (it’s how the space got its name) if he weren’t, um, busy in France.

Best Bets: The Sazerac comes in a souvenir cup, but our vote is for the Pimm’s Cup, a refreshing choice any time of year. Drink it in the courtyard outside.

napoleon house

Napoleon House. (Photo via Flickr user jshyun)

Carousel Bar & Lounge

Distance from Bienville House: 0.2 miles. Take Bienville Street, make a right on Royal Street, make another right on Iberville Street, and you’ll see it on the right. Here’s the map.

What You’ll Find: An iconic spinning carousel is at the center of this bar, lushly appointed with elegant decor, live jazz, and an impressive list of cocktails, beers, wine, and small plates.

Best Bets: The French 007. It’s a uniquely Carousel Bar take on the French 75 and includes delicate pear and pomegranate liqueurs… plus sparkling wine.

carousel bar detail

A detail of the real carousel at the Carousel Bar. (Photo via Flickr user dutchbaby)

Cane and Table

Distance from Bienville House: 0.5 miles. Just head straight down Decatur Street away from downtown, and you’ll see it on the left. We’ve also got a map…

What You’ll Find: The bar focuses on “proto Tiki,” the era just before Tiki drinks became wildly popular in the United States. There’s a distinctly Hemingway vibe here, and plenty of worthy cocktails.

Best Bets: The Royal Fizz. Stemming from a 1935 recipe, this spin on the gin fizz is silky and light.

cane and table

A proto-tiki drink from Cane and Table. (Photo via Flickr user Kevin O’Mara)

Bar Tonique

Distance from Bienville House: 0.8 miles. Best to just check out the map on this one.

What You’ll Find: A gorgeous, U-shaped bar that offers cocktails of the classic and modern varieties.

Best Bets: A Moscow Mule. Theirs are tart and sweet… and generous on the vodka.

bar tonique

Bar Tonique. (Photo via Flickr user Kevin Tao)

 

Happy Fourth! And Third! Celebrate America’s Birthday in NOLA

Celebrating comes easy in New Orleans, so perhaps it’s no surprise that our Fourth of July parties start early. Take a look at how to celebrate the Fourth of July AND the Third of July in New Orleans:

Third of July

City Park gets the party started early with its annual “Happy 3rd of July” event. The Marine Corps Band plays on the Goldring/Woldenberg Great Lawn at 7:15 with fireworks following at the Peristyle. Don’t forget to wear your red, white, and blue, and bring cash – concessions like wine, beer, and New Orleans’ summertime favorite, snowballs, are all available for purchase. You can take the streetcar all the way down Canal Street and toward City Park for a scenic ride to the location.

Fourth of July

We’re partial to the Fourth of July celebrations rather than the third for one reason: proximity. The New Orleans riverfront is central to Fourth of July activities, which means all the action is just a short distance from our hotel.

fireworks2

Fireworks over New Orleans. (Photo courtesy Flickr user Praline3001)

The not-to-be-missed event of the holiday is the “dueling barges” fireworks spectacular, wherein two barges will try to out-do each other by shooting off incredible, colorful fireworks over the Mississippi River. The best views of this gorgeous event are from Woldenberg Park in between Spanish Plaza and the Governor Nicholls Street Wharf – but we’ve got a suggestion on how to really get up close and personal:

Make reservations on either the Natchez or Creole Queen steamboats, both of which are offering cruises that evening. You’ll be on the river as the fireworks are going off! What a way to celebrate the country’s birthday.

All Weekend

In the CBD at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome ESSENCE Festival brings the best of live music and entertainment from July 2-5. The ‘Dome is just a short walk from our hotel, and if summer storms crop up – no worries! It’s just a quick cab ride, and the Superdome is fully enclosed.

Summer Hours at Latitude 29

The only thing that says “summer” more than a delicious tiki cocktail? Summer hours! Latitude 29 is embracing the season with adjusted hours. From now until Tales of the Cocktail, which starts July 15, Latitude 29 will have the following hours:

But adjusted hours aren’t all the Polynesian restaurant has been up to lately. Take a look at just a few of the exciting developments surrounding this buzzed-about bar right in our hotel:

Beachbum Berry Barware

Like so many of Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s drinks, the Pontchartrain Pearl Diver, a creamy, delectable cocktail, comes with a story. Berry modeled the glass it’s served in after a vintage design in his personal collection, and he created a slew of these cylindrical glasses especially for Latitude 29 at Bienville House. And now, they’re available en masse. Berry developed his own line of tiki serve ware for Cocktail Kingdom, which includes the Pearl Diver glass in addition to skull bar spoons, boi lele swizzle sticks, and more.

aquadesiac

The Aquedesiac. (Photo courtesy Latitude 29 on Facebook)

One of the Best Bars in America

In May, Esquire magazine released its “Hall of Fame of bars” divvied up by geographical region. Guess who made the list in the south? Latitude 29 boasts tiki drinks that are “the best of their kind,” in Esquire’s words. We might be biased, but we can’t help but agree.

A Tales of the Cocktail Nomination

The premier convention for cocktail professionals, Tales of the Cocktail features an awards ceremony with categories like “Best New Bar.” Within that category, Latitude 29 is nominated, putting it within the company of bars across the country in areas like New York City, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Stay tuned to see who wins!