Summertime Sip and Stroll

June 07, 2022
“Summertime, and the livin' is easy,” goes the first line of George Gershwin’s amazing 1934 aria “Summertime,” one of the most popular jazz standards of all time. Summer is a wonderful time for evening strolls to take in the sights and sounds of New Orleans, dipping in to cool your heels and treating yourself to a refreshing sip and live music now and then.

A good start to any stroll begins on Frenchmen Street to take in a variety of top-notch music from jazz to reggae to blues. Located on a quiet corner overlooking a public park, the newly reopened and renovated Frenchmen Hotel at 417 Frenchmen St. is a charming place to chill. Midnight Revival is their intimate in-house bar and live music venue that is perfect for relaxing and imbibing. The only thing more spirited than the music here are the New Orleans and Caribbean-inspired cocktails. Hosting jazz music multiple nights each week, this is the place to soak in the sounds of the city while sipping on an expertly-crafted cocktail. When you need some fresh air, there’s a place for you under the stars at their rooftop mezzanine bar. Try one of their signature tropical drinks including my favorite, the frozen, floral and refreshing, Garden Party. It has Rumhaven Coconut Rum, Chareau Aloe Vera, mint syrup, and lemon juice. You may think you are in Tahiti! Dr. Funk mixes together Myers’s Dark Rum, Don Q Silver, Herbsaint, fresh lemon and lime juice, and grenadine. The Privateer is a delightful combination of Pusser’s British Naval Rum, Giffard Banane du Bresil, St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram, simple syrup, and Bittermen’s Blackstrap bitters. The refreshing Decatur Street Spritz is another one of Midnight Revival’s signature cocktails. It features Peychaud’s Bitters, Malfy Blood Orange gin, simple syrup, prosecco, and lemon. Grab a cocktail, find a seat and take in the sights and rhythms that await. At Midnight Revival, the night is always young!

Effervescence is a sparkling wine lounge and restaurant located on the edge of the French Quarter at 1036 N. Rampart St. It combines the fun, vibrant spirit of New Orleans with the luxury of Champagne. Owner and Operator, Crystal Hinds, opened in 2017 as a way to bring her lifelong love for celebration and hospitality to fruition. The upscale casual dining room invites guests to come as they are to enjoy sparkling wine and celebrate the everyday!

The sparkling wine list spans the globe, and offers a curated list of exceptional bubbles at all price points from affordable sparklers to renowned Grande Marque Champagnes. The menu boasts over 200 sparkling wines by the bottle, more than 30 sparkling wines by the glass, and six unique sparkling flights that invite guests to explore regions, themes, styles or producers of bubbles. All sparkling by the glass selections are offered as full or half pours, to tempt guests with an indulgent taste of exceptional wines. Effervescence is focused on sparkling wines rather than exclusively Champagne to leave space for varieties from plenty of other regions and countries, including Spain, Italy, Germany and relative newcomer to the scene, Great Britain. Hinds sees this variety as essential; it allows for different price points and thus demographics. “Champagne is expensive. I want locals to be able to afford to come here on a regular basis,” she explains. “It’s the philosophy here: Celebrate every day.”

The cocktail program also features bubbles! All signature cocktails are topped with a sparkler from the list. Selections include original seasonal cocktails as well as classic sparkling cocktails. The full bar pours still wines, craft spirits, sherries, ciders, liqueurs, and naturally the Champagne of beers. The food menu features casually luxurious bites and sharing plates, tailored to pair with sparkling wine. In all of their Bubbles & Troubles craft cocktails this season, they are focusing on Japanese liquors! The spritz is their “Apertivo” Spritz offered during Happy Hour from 4–5 p.m. on Friday and Saturdays. Try the Yuzu Belong With Me! It features Roku Gin, Saint Germaine, Suze, and Yuzu juice shaken and served in a rocks glass then topped with Roger Goulart Cava and garnished with marigold petals. Sealed With a Kiwi shakes together Toki Whiskey, juiced kiwi, lemon juice, and Giffard orgeat syrup, served over crushed ice in a Tom Collins glass garnished with a lemon twist and cherry on a skewer. And Another Thing! is a perfect warm weather cocktail with Haku Vodka, lime juice, and strawberry simple syrup served in a martini glass that had a red absinthe wash with a splash of Mercat Rosé on top and strawberry garnish.

Capulet, located at 3014 Dauphine St. on the corner of Montegut in the Bywater neighborhood, is named for its Shakespearean-themed intersection. Just ten blocks away from the French Quarter, the warehouse offers a warm, inviting ambience that embodies the city's rich culture.

Downstairs hosts live music in a spacious area with great ambience and acoustics. The menu offers large portions and vegan options. The upstairs is a romantic rooftop that is highly recommended for date night dining. Capulet features many tasty specialty cocktails. The Tom Yum Club is a semi-sweet and herbaceous cocktail that combines lemongrass infused vodka muddled with Thai basil, cilantro, and Szechuan peppercorn, then shaken with lime, ginger, and cream of coconut. Fight Like a Girl mixes gin and Cocchi Americano Rosa with grapefruit, lemon, and filled with lychee popping boba. Tammy Brown (Miss Brown to You) is a delightful whiskey sour with tamarind, spiced bitters, aquafaba and lime leaf.

Capulet is open to the public Monday through Thursday from 4–10:30 p.m. Enjoy live entertainment each weeknight and elevated bar food compatible with all types of dietary restrictions. They host private events on Friday through Sunday.

Slip away from the hustle and bustle of the Vieux Carré with one of the unique cocktails at our beloved speakeasy, The Bombay Club. Set back from the entrance of the Prince Conti Hotel, this cozy specialty cocktail bar is the perfect hideaway to relax and enjoy handcrafted drinks made by the brightest torchbearers of New Orleans’ cocktail tradition. Known for a craft cocktail and cigar culture with gastropub fare, one can savor small bites, live music, impeccable service, and drinks as intoxicating as the Crescent City herself. A charming and delicious destination in the heart of the French Quarter, The Bombay Club specializes in craft cocktails, single malt scotches, ports, reserved bourbons, and premium cigars. Just steps from Bourbon Street, it feels like a world away! You can escape to a lush, quiet and cool courtyard with a soothing fountain or relax inside.

My favorite summertime cocktail is The Blackout Bramble with muddled blackberries, gin, lime juice, Crème de Cassius, crushed ice, and simple syrup. The Bramble is a bit like an adult blackberry snowball! If you prefer bourbon, try Meet Your Maker with Maker's Mark Bourbon, Sweet Vermouth, Luxardo Liqueur, all topped off with a Luxardo Cherry. If you love martinis, The Bombay Club Martini may suit you well. Gin, Sweet Vermouth Luxardo Liqueur, and Orange Bitters are combined for a classic craft martini.

The Bombay Club, located at 830 Conti St., is open every day except Monday from 4 p.m. until midnight. They offer live music on Friday and Saturday nights from 8–11 p.m., and a scrumptious Brunch on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Don’t miss their Happy Hour every day from 4–7 p.m.

On the balmy banks of the Mighty Mississippi, the French Quarter has long been a port of call for folks in search of a good time and a great story. Perpetually inebriated Bourbon Street runs across its waist like a strand of cheap ribbon tied around an otherwise pretty and impressively well-kept vintage dress. Throughout the rest of the Quarter, brightly colored Victorian homes and businesses, famously done up with wrought-iron features, provide a distinct and immediately recognizable backdrop for all varieties of food, fun, and drink. At any given moment in this historic riverside setting, some of America’s finest meals are being cooked, the most potent and unique cocktails are being mixed, and jazz is performed in the heart of the city where it was born. Remember, our glass is neither half empty nor half full … It just needs to be topped off!

Cheers to Summertime in New Orleans!