The Hermes Bar is located in Antoine’s, the oldest restaurant in New Orleans and the second oldest restaurant in the United States. Dining at Antoine’s, a posh affair, requires the time to linger over many courses and a wallet to handle the bill. Drinking at the Hermes Bar is a perfect stand-in for those who lack the time or money to commit to a full-on dinner at Antoine’s but still want to bask in its old line Creole glow. People have been drinking here since 1840, a worthwhile reason to imbibe, if you need one. If you need another, check out the decor. The bar is named for one of the more upscale Mardi Gras krewes. Hermes (pronounced herm-eez in New Orleans) is the longest-running, night-parading krewe in the city, and its unofficial headquarters is Antoine’s. Glass cases of krewe memorabilia line the walls, full of photographs, crowns, scepters, and lovely historic invitations harkening back to days before Evite ruled our inboxes. Though the Hermes bar certainly exudes a posh air, late afternoons and evenings here can turn lively, even rowdy. Even the rich like to get drunk. The room fills with a healthy mix of tourists and locals. When the weather is warm, you can spot locals by their seersucker and tourists by their cargo shorts. You are in a historic bar, so try for the former if you decide to pay the bar a visit. It’s best to stick to classics like a Sazerac, a Side Car or, when summer approaches, to quaff a Pimm’s Cup. Whatever you choose, take a minute to sit back and enjoy the history. They’ve got it in spades.
Drinking among the Carnival jewels at the Hermes Bar