More than in most years, the New Orleans’ drinking scene reflected national trends in 2014. We saw a continued explosion in the craft-beer movement, a surge in whiskey (both making and drinking) and an overall desire to innovate in the ways we make and consume beverages. And then there was the noise.
Here’s a list of our top five stories when it comes to drinks in New Orleans, with lagniappe thrown in at the end:
Bars, neighbors continue to battle of noise issues
The tension between New Orleans bars and their neighbors did not die down in 2014. The clamor for action from both sides remains at a high volume, whether it’s Sidney V. Torres’ ongoing battle with Buffa’s Lounge, Mimi’s in the Marigny taking the summer off before a quiet return to live music, or the battle between Jackson Brewery Bistro Bar and French Quarter neighbors. How the city, its bars and their neighbors will navigate this tricky issue will be one of the key nightlife stories to (continue to) follow in 2015.
Proving once again that the sun no longer rises and sets on Abita, craft breweries continued to expand their presence in south Louisiana, whether it was the nano-brewery Courtyard Brewery in the Lower Garden District, Arpent 40 in Arabi and Mudbug Brewery in Thibodaux, or the expanded version of Gnarly Barley Brewing in Hammond and Chafunkta Brewing in Mandeville hitting the New Orleans market.
The ceremony in late September dedicated the museum’s new home on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, continuing a revitalization of the Central City area that also features Cafe Reconcile as well as the future home of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. The museum, headed by Liz Williams, will also incorporates the Museum of the American Cocktail, which showcases mixology from its origins to the present day. The museum also will include educational programs and in-house restaurant, allowing visitors the opportunity to eat and drink as they learn.
Todd A. Price writes: “Berry, who fell in love with tiki’s tropical fantasy as a child of 1960s California, tracked down the former bartenders from Trader Vic’s and Don the Beachcomber. He cracked the code that kept Donn Beachcomber’s concoctions secret for decades. And he wrote a half-dozen books revealing what he learned. While tiki ultimately descended into syrupy drinks with umbrella garnishes, the original cocktails were balanced, layered and more tart than sweet. There are now serious tiki bars in Chicago, San Francisco, London and Berlin. Most of their drinks use classic recipes from Berry’s books. ‘I created my own competition,’ he said.”
Bars coming, going, and changing
The opening of Barrel Proof (in the old Bridge Lounge space) by the owners of Sylvain was a major event in the bar scene, if for no other reason than the bar’s passion for brown liquors. With more than 200 bottles in stock, Barrel Proof dominated the competition in our panel of bartenders/judges’ ratings of the best places for whiskey and bourbon in New Orleans in our recent “mini-bar guide.” We also bid a tearful farewell to an old favorite, Flanagan’s Pub in the lower Quarter, a pain tempered somewhat by news that co-owner Drew Allen and Cindi Richardson, owner of French Quarter Phantoms, a ghost-tour company that runs out of Flanagan’s, bought the VooDoo Lounge at 718 N. Rampart St. Also, the ownership of the R Bar took over the venerable Bywater dive Bud Rip’s.
Also in the news: Louisiana distilleries add whiskey making to their repertoire … Local bartenders craft their own tools of the trade with a DIY flare … Owners of Jackson Brewery Bistro Bar, residents clash over noise issues … Tiny liquor bottles now legal in Louisiana … Gov. Bobby Jindal signs bill expanding alcohol sales in movie theaters … Tiki Tolteca wins Food & Wine readers’ poll for “Best New Bar” … Bourbon House (for the third consecutive year) makes Bourbon Review’s list of the 55 Best Bourbon Bars … Avenue Pub named one of the “33 Best Beer Bars” by Thrillist.
thanks to original post:http://www.nola.com/drink/index.ssf/2014/12/top_5_new_orleans_drinks_stori.html