I’ve been meeting friends for drinks at Bouligny Tavern for years, but until I wrote this blog, I had always done my drinking here near the end of the evening, when my booze-blurred eyesight was probably not helped by the dim lighting. Until I came during the day, I never really appreciated what a visually appealing spot the Bouligny Tavern is. Their website describes the vibe as “your father’s den with your grandparents’ furniture and your cool uncle’s record collection,” which is spot on. The furniture is an eclectic mix of Mad Men castoffs, a little scruffy but in a comfortable way. Sunburst lamps adorn the walls, and patrons lounge on banquettes under the rays of a star-shaped chandelier.
Or at least they can “lounge” during happy hour. If you come here at night, the crowd fills the room, and you would be lucky to make eye contact with a server, much less find a seat. But today, the room is empty, save for a few drinkers at the bar seated on Marcel Breuer barstools. A record player sits behind the bar with stacks of vintage vinyl propped against it. The exhortations of Nancy Sinatra fill the room and by my second drink I am in total accord with her that my boots are indeed made for walking, though maybe not just yet. Though I choose to stay inside and enjoy the 1960s vibe, the heated patio with its couches (more lounging!) calls my name, even on this chilly winter day.
Bouligny Tavern is my new favorite Uptown happy hour. The discounted snacks prepared under the eagle eyes of famed Chef John Harris of Lilette are enough to merit the trek Uptown. My bartender also served me a daiquiri that can stand alongside anything the craft rum bars in the Quarter are serving. I’ll be crossing Canal to visit Bouligny Tavern again soon.