Last years Gulf Coast oil spill threatened to muck up a revitalization movement that had been building in New Orleans since 2005, when Hurricane Katrina first galvanized the citys creative class to help rebuild. Yet, with characteristic resilience, the city continued to surge ahead, and since last summer, three exceptional nightspots have opened, with keen visionaries at their helms.
Folks whove been coming to Oak Street since the inception of the New Orleans Po-Boy Preservation Festival in 2007 have witnessed the rebirth of a neighborhood one eclectic new boutique, eatery, and gelateria at a time. Take Oak (pictured above), a notable addition to the streetscape, which local lawyer Katie Winters opened last summer.
Nearby Mainstay: Maple Leaf, one of the citys most popular music joints, features live jazz and funk.
Ste. Marie, Central Business District
Nearby Mainstay: Emerils New Orleans, chef Emeril Lagasses classic Creole flagship, celebrated 20 years in 2010.
Eiffel Society, Garden District
A steel cage that once sat atop the Eiffel Tower in Paris is now home to a lively lounge and restaurant, Eiffel Society. [It] was our way of contributing to the regrowth of the city, says managing partner Jeff Gapultos. The underlying theme we used to inspire us was transformation. Before Eiffel Society officially opened in September, the owners invited artists to live in the space on voluntary lockdown for 30 days. During this stretch, the resident artists produced custom installations for the interior and created a biodynamic farm, whose pea shoots and radish sprouts now complement the chefs grilled shrimp skewers. Theres no fence around our garden, so we dont mind if people want to take some of the produce, says Gapultos. In that same generous spirit, no menu items not even the plantain tostones with smoked pork or the tasty Filipino lumpias (both Gapultoss top picks) cost more than $20. 504/525-2951; eiffelsociety.com
Nearby Mainstay: The legendary Commanders Palace still serves some of the citys best Creole cuisine.
From the Spring/Summer issue of Smart Luxury Travel magazine by ShermansTravel.com.
For general trip-planning information, see our New Orleans Travel Guide.