Only the actual bar and seats revolve at this venerable New Orleans landmark hotel in the French Quarter. The service area in the center of the carousel (and the rest of the room) remain stationary. Unless you’re aware of this fact, you will feel more than a little tipsy if you leave your seat to hit the restroom and return to find your place at the bar along with your drink — and your date – taken over by strangers. That’s because the thing moves imperceptibly slowly, completing a single revolution every 15 minutes. The revolving bar was installed at the hotel bar in 1949 in a simple red-and-white striped circus design; a more elaborate version was created during a 1992 renovation. Louis Prima and Liberace played the room back in the day. Now, sassy bands and jazz trios keep the lounge jumping Thursdays through Saturdays.
The 1886 grand dame Hotel Monteleone was a favorite haunt of Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner and Eudora Welty. Truman Capote used to boast that he was born in the Monteleone (false: his mother stayed here for a while when she was expecting). It is one of three U.S. hotels designated as Official Literary Landmarks by the Friends of the Library Association — The Plaza and Algonquin in New York City are the other two.
The Vieux Carré cocktail was created here in 1938 by Walter Bergeron, the hotel’s head bartender.
Head Mixologist Marvin Allen takes us on a private tour of New Orleans’s renowned Carousel Bar in this video:
214 Royal St., New Orleans, LA 70130
Photo: By Chris.j.cook – Own work, CC