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A Tour of Louisiana Watering Holes
When you’re visiting the state that invented America’s first cocktail, the Sazerac, you’ve got to set aside some time to wet your whistle. Here, we take a look at some of the best, unique bars and music clubs in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and Shreveport, plus a dive into Louisiana’s incredible array of homegrown beers, wines, and spirits. NEW ORLEANS Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29 (Courtesy @latitude29nola.Instagram)Bacchanal Fine Wine & Spirits has a rather humble brick exterior, but once you step inside you’re entranced by sweet design, great food (tapas style!), and a fine selection of wines, beers, and signature cocktails like the King Jukebox (gin, mint, lime, yellow Chartreuse, celery, and Topo Chico). Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29 wears its namesake owner’s affection for tiki culture and tropical drinks on its sleeve. Try the multicultural Sean & Juan (Tequila and Irish whiskey, lemon, guava, and crème de cacao). Le Bon Temps Roule is the place to be when you want to hear up-and-coming NOLA bands and sip reasonably priced beer or elaborately (and we mean elaborately) garnished Bloody Marys. The Spotted Cat is your escape from the, um, rowdier variety of NOLA tourist. You’ll hear real jazz and blues in the company of other people who appreciate authentic American roots music. The Three Muses features an entertaining mix of rising musicians, plus an exceptional menu of short ribs, jerk duck, and other specialties. Signature cocktails evolve daily — order the “Today's Riff" drink special of the day. Bullet's Sports Bar sure looks like an average dive until you realize it was featured in the HBO series Treme and it is an authentic spot to down a cold beer while grooving to live R&B, jazz, and blues. Hungry? Order the charbroiled oysters. BATON ROUGE Radio Bar is literally shaped like an old-timey radio, a harbinger of good times to be had inside. The joint has an industrial feel – for instance, to get to the patio you have to pass through garage doors. While a great selection of beers is available, the bartenders also stir up cocktails like the Aperol Spritz (Aperol, Prosecco, and soda water). Olive or Twist deserves a shout just for its subtly Dickens-inspired moniker, and its mixologists get high marks for their Ramos Gin Fizz, Sazerac, and the classic bourbon- based Old Fashioned. LAFAYETTE Artmosphere Bistro will please thirsty art lovers with its in-house gallery, brunch mimosas, and nightly live music. SHREVEPORT Strange Brew is a reliable choice for its massive beer selection, exceptional live music, and games like billiards. Bear’s not only boasts the full drink menu you’d expect from a popular Shreveport watering hole, but also hosts karaoke, burlesque night, and other games and activities that keep visitors and locals alike flocking back. Straycat gets raves for its ample patio and friendly bartenders. It’s a sweet spot to kick back with friends after seeing the sights. CRAFT BEER Abita Beer ready to taste. (Courtesy @abitabeer/Instagram) Louisiana’s deep devotion to cuisine and hospitality have led to an explosion of brewing, from small towns to big cities across the state. Abita Brewing Company in charming Abita Springs, which kicked off Louisiana’s current craft beer scene back in 1986, is now one of the largest craft brewers in the U.S. It’s in good company with other Pelican State brewers such as Parish Brewing Company in Broussard, Bayou Teche Brewing in Arnaudville, Broken Wheel Brewery at Fresh Catch Bistreaux in Marksville, Tin Roof Brewing Company in Baton Rouge, Covington Brewhouse in Covington, Chafunkta Brewing Company in Mandeville, Old Rail Brewing in Abita Springs, Flying Tiger in Monroe, and New Orleans’ NOLA Brewing Company and Courtyard Brewery. Learn more about these and other tasty Louisiana craft brewers at libations.louisianatravel.com. WINE You may not have realized that Louisiana is also home to a vibrant and growing wine industry, with vineyards hosting tastings and live music events, such as Landry Vineyards, in West Monroe, with its popular series of outdoor concerts. The annual New Orleans Wine and Food Experience provides a chance to get up-to-the-minute news about this up-and- coming wine region with its Vino Stroll, Grand Tastings, and other offerings. SPIRITS Louisiana also boasts a vibrant distillery scene. Locally grown sugarcane is transformed into world-class rum, and a variety of other spirits are distilled statewide. We suggest you begin your exploration of Louisiana spirits with a tour of a sugarcane plantation to learn the process from field to glass. Try Bayou Rum in Laccasine, Atelier Vie for a taste of real Louisiana absinthe in NOLA, and Caneland Distilling in Baton Rouge.
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Monroe (historically French: Poste-du-Ouachita) is the eighth-largest city in the U.S. state of Louisiana, and parish seat of Ouachita Parish. With a 2020 census-tabulated population of 47,702, it is the principal city of the Monroe metropolitan statistical area, the second-largest metropolitan area in North Louisiana.
Ruston is a small city and the parish seat of Lincoln Parish, Louisiana, United States. It is the largest city in the Eastern Ark-La-Tex region. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 21,859, reflecting an increase of 6.4 percent from the count of 20,546 counted in the 2000 Census. Ruston is near the eastern border of the Ark-La-Tex region and is the home of Louisiana Tech University. Its economy is therefore based on its college population. Ruston hosts the annual Peach Festival. Ruston is the principal city of the Ruston Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Lincoln Parish.
El Dorado is a city in, and the county seat of, Union County, on the southern border of Arkansas, United States. According to the 2010 census, the population of the city is 18,884.El Dorado is headquarters of the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission as well as Murphy USA, Deltic Timber Corporation and a DelekUS oil refinery. The city has a nationally-recognized downtown arts district, the Murphy Arts District (MAD); a community college, South Arkansas Community College (SouthArk); and a multi-cultural arts center, South Arkansas Arts Center (SAAC). El Dorado is the population, cultural and business center of south central Arkansas. The city was the heart of the 1920s oil boom in the area. During World War II, it became a center of the chemical industry, which still plays a part in the economy, as do oil and timber. El Dorado is located approximately 120 miles (190 km) from the state capital of Little Rock.
Webster Parish (French: Paroisse de Webster) is a parish located in the northwestern section of the U.S. state of Louisiana. The seat of the parish is Minden.As of the 2010 census, the Webster Parish population was 41,207. In 2018, the population estimate was 38,798. Public officials who have long sought to increase the industrial potential of the parish, expressed concern over the decline. Jim Bonsall, the president of the Webster Parish Police Jury, the parish governing body, cited the ending of the Haynesville Shale boom as the primary reason for the population losses. The parish has long depended on jobs in the petroleum and natural gas fields.The parish is named for 19th-century American statesman Daniel Webster of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. It was created on February 27, 1871 from lands formerly belonging to Bienville, Bossier, and Claiborne parishes. The parish centennial celebration was held in May 1971. Speakers included Police jury president Leland Garland Mims and Judge Enos McClendon of the Louisiana 26th Judicial District Court, who gave a biographical sketch of Daniel Webster. Many officials and parish employees dressed in period costume of the 1870s for the event.Webster Parish is part of the Shreveport-Bossier City, LA Metropolitan Statistical Area. Among the first settlers in Webster Parish was Newett Drew, a native of Virginia, who about 1818 established a grist mill at the former Overton community near Minden. At this time the area was Natchitoches Parish and later Overton became the Parish Seat of Claiborne Parish in 1836 until it moved in 1848. His son, Richard Maxwell Drew was born in Overton and served as a district judge and state representative prior to his death in 1850 at the age of twenty-eight. R. M. Drew's descendants held judicial or legislative positions in Webster Parish as well, Richard Cleveland Drew, Harmon Caldwell Drew, R. Harmon Drew, Sr., and Harmon Drew, Jr.