Mimi’s in the Marigny
Located at the corner of Franklin and Royal, Mimi’s is a local hub of Marigny drinking. The downstairs bar is one spacious room, the abundance of wood making the space both warm and welcoming. High-top tables and stools placed adjacent to open windows allow patrons perched on them to enjoy the summer breeze, and the sounds of the street mingle with their conversations. For a good while, Mimi’s was the only place in the neighborhood for those who wanted something more refined than a whiskey and soda or a Bud. I ordered my first Chimay here in the mid-1990s and was surprised when it was served in a specially branded glass. Although there are now other bars nearby with better beer lists, the wine selection remains reliable, with a solid glass of Spanish red still a remarkable $5. If that doesn’t say neighborhood bar, nothing else will. I met some tourists who had been to Mimi’s and loved it, though they kept calling it a dive bar. Dive bars don’t have goat cheese on the menu or bartenders who can articulate the difference between a glass of Borsao and Rioja.
It takes a lot of folks to make the downstairs feel crowded. The high ceilings keep the room open, even when the room fills up and people have to sip their drinks around the pool table, dodging cues as players call shots. Upstairs is usually more tranquil, with low tables and sofas for cozy conversation. If you need to smoke or take a breather, step outside on a balcony, a rare rooftop view of the Marigny.