Even though New Orleans is a fabulous place to visit anytime; June, July, August, and September can be humid and hot. How hot? Frying eggs on the sidewalk kind of hot. New Orleans is a place like no other, so if you want to experience a few venues with a different vibe, you've come to the right city. You will want to stay hydrated so aside from walking around with a bottle of water, you may want to chill in some favorite watering holes where you can cool off while enjoying our magical city. Some are places you will probably experience only in New Orleans, and some are said to be haunted.
1. Igor’s Bar Gameroom and Laundromat
A streetcar ride down St. Charles Avenue through the Garden District is a must. If you get off at 2133 St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans’ Lower Garden District, you will find yourself in front of one of the most unique bars you will ever stumble across. I mean where else can you do your laundry while you sip on a cold brew or a Bloody Mary?
Open 24/7, Igor’s serves a great burger any time of the day or night. You can sit at one of their outdoor tables and relax while you take in the sights and sounds of the Avenue, or you can enjoy a game of pool or video poker to an eclectic blend of music from the jukebox while you’re waiting for those clothes to dry. No laundry, no problem! Have fun anyway. I've always found it a great place to get together with friends.
Igor’s has been one of my favorite hangouts since 1999, and finding your picture in the collages on the wall in more than one location could be an indication you may have been there a little too often.
2. The Napoleon House
Located at 500 Chartres Street in New Orleans’ French Quarter, The Napoleon House is the home of the famous cocktail, the Pimm’s Cup. Born in London and reengineered in New Orleans, the Pimm’s Cup is the signature drink of this iconic establishment.
Built in 1797, the Napoleon House was originally the home of New Orleans Mayor Nicholas Girod. Girod offered his home to the emperor Napoleon Bonaparte in 1821 as a refuge during his exile. Napoleon never made it to New Orleans, but the name stuck. The Napoleon House has been a favorite hangout for artists and writers since the early twentieth century.
Owned by the Impastato family since 1914 and purchased by Ralph Brennan in 2015, the Napoleon House is a perfect place to enjoy lunch on a hot summer day. Their signature muffuletta is always a treat. When you step into the two-hundred-year-old building, the classical music and ambiance make you feel as if you are stepping back in time.
Many ghosts are rumored to haunt the Napoleon House including an old lady who sweeps the floors late at night. Hmm. A ghost who sweeps. I wonder how I could get her to come to my house.
3. The Hermes Bar at Antoine's
I usually find myself stopping in at 725 St. Louis Street after a day in the French Quarter. It’s a perfect place to relax with a cocktail and enjoy some delicious food including Antoine's bar burger, seafood gumbo, or charbroiled oysters. The walls are adorned with Mardi Gras memorabilia from the Krewe of Hermes. To add to the charm, the building is said to be haunted.
4. Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar, located at 941 Bourbon on the corner of Bourbon and St. Phillip is one of the oldest buildings in the French Quarter. It was built in the 1770’s and is one of the oldest surviving structures.
The bar is named after Jean and Pierre Lafitte, the original owners of the building. They were notorious smugglers and privateers of the early 19th Century. Pierre was a blacksmith and the building was used for that purpose, but it was also a front for their other illegal endeavors.
The building is rumored to be one of the most haunted in the French Quarter. Even though Pierre died somewhere off the Yucatan Peninsula, many patrons have seen his full-body apparition in the bar.
In the later 19th Century, the upstairs area was supposedly rented out to a mysterious woman who ended up committing suicide there. Many patrons have reported encounters with her.
The most sinister sighting is a pair of disembodied piercing red eyes, a possible indicator of demonic haunting. The red eyes have allegedly been seen in the darker corners of the room. When someone notices them and turns to meet their stare, they fade away.
I can’t vouch for any of this, but whether you experience anything paranormal or not, it’s a cool place to experience the ambiance of days gone by and enjoy a drink.
5. Potions Lounge
Potions Lounge is a vampire speakeasy where the drinks are as tasty to a human as the clientele is to a vampire. It is located in a secret place in the heart of the French Quarter. I can't tell you where, but I can tell you how to get there. As well as the location, you must know the password to get in. To find out how to be invited, you must visit Boutique Du Vampyre, a vampire shop at 709 St. Ann Street.
My drink recommendation: The Blood Drop Martini is to die for.
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