Inspiration in a glass

by Mary Tutwiler

The Times-Picayune printed their most important issue of the year. No, it's not the Saint's schedule. The annual Bar Guide came out over the weekend, detailing where to get the best of what you're thirsting for, be it microbrew on draft, a glass of bubbly or one of the inspired cocktails the city is duly famous for.

I just happened to be in town, so I did a bit of imbibing, based mostly on what neighborhood I found myself in when the sun sunk over the yardarm. Here's the highlights from my dip into the alcoholic arts.

Best place for a cold one: Delachaise. The long narrow building seems like it was designed to be a bar, although when I was growing up, it was a dress shop. There's a huge wine-by-the-glass menu but the beer taps are just as deep. Pull one of NOLA breweries's finest, the herb heavy Hopitoulas and carry it out to the new patio right on St. Charles Avenue. Late evening, the breeze picks up, the streetcar clangs by and all is well in the City that Care Forgot, at least for the moment.

When it's wine wine wine, my bar of choice is as low key as it gets: Bacchanal, way down by the river in the upper nine is a wine shop cum backyard hangout. Buy your bottle, it's much cheaper than by the glass. You get glasses and an ice bucket to carry outside, the big patio is full of tables and often there's live music. Bacchanal's kitchen serves a quirky limited menu, or go across the street and pick up the best barbecue in town, at The Joint. Like I said, it's the closest thing to drinking in your own backyard.

The art of the cocktail: Tonique, hands down, is my favorite cocktail bar. Off the beaten path on Rampart Street, everything at Tonique is hand crafted, right down to the bitters and tonic water. Small, intimate, no pretense, just great concocting. This is the place where I had my first Dark and Stormy (with homemade gingerbeer of course), my first Aviation, my first Corpse Reviver ... you get the point.

New Orleans weekly Gambit, however has topped the TP when it comes to news you can use. Gambit has created an app for Happy Hours in the Crescent City. How's that for useful information? Happy all the time is just a click away.