I went to The Business Bar on Freret Street. It’s not a place that many tourists visit because it is somewhat out of the way but Freret Street is a very nice street full of restaurants and a few interesting shops. There is a bewildering hardware store, a comic book shop that is only open on weekends but it’s the only shop in town with a football field of quarter bins, and there is a tuxedo rental shop. Here is a review of The Business Bar.
I have been going to The Business Bar on Tuesdays, for reasons all my own and this is what happened the other day when I was there. If I hadn’t been there, I would be telling a story about some other place. I am happy I stopped into The Business Bar this past Tuesday. Armani was tending bar.
REVIEW OF THE BUSINESS BAR, NEW ORLEANS
The whole idea behind The Business Bar is that it’s like a coffee shop where you can get some work done, and, it is also a bar. I dislike frittering away my time in coffee shops but I do enjoy reading the Wall Street Journal every day in a bar, as been my habit since the pandemic. I read the paper edition which gets delivered to our inn every day.
As an innkeeper, I am a businessperson of a sort. Frau Schmitt and I own the inn and we both operate the inn as an army of two. Frau Schmitt is the better half of this operation. Everybody thinks we are retired. We are not retired.
Innkeepers work the opposite kind of hours than most people. We work in the morning when you are getting ready to go to work, and we work in the evening when you are going home from work. The middle of our day is filled with nothing to do. We make good use of that time. I read the Wall Street Journal every day. I figure that makes me a good fit at The Business Bar.
There was a couple next to me at the bar at The Business Bar this past Tuesday and the lady half of the couple asked Armani a question. Armani is the bartender, as I mentioned earlier in this review of The Business Bar in New Orleans. The lady asked Armani what she thought about the sangria that is on The Business Bar’s “Signature Cocktail Menu.” Armani is a very good bartender, at least during the times when I’m around the bar at The Business Bar.
According to the menu, the “Sangria Success” consists of a “refreshing rosé wine cocktail muddled with crushed berries. They talked back and forth, customer-to-bartender, and, after assessing the lady’s tastes, Armani told the lady what she, personally thought about the signature sangria and then she told the lady she could make her something similar but somewhat better. The lady agreed, so she got an Armani special, no extra charge. Have I mentioned that Armani is a very good bartender?
The Armani special comes in a tulip glass garnished with an oversized plump black raspberry. I didn’t ask Armani what she puts in her special sangria. I figure it is none of my business since sangria at The Business Bar is something I would probably never order anyway.
The best sangria in New Orleans is at Lola’s. The second-best sangria in New Orleans is across the street at Santa Fe. We are talking about Esplanade Avenue now, the street where La Belle Esplanade is.
The male member of the couple seated next to me ordered “The CEO,” which is a frozen drink. He didn’t discuss it with Armani. He was confident in his choice. The CEO is served in goblet. It comes garnished with a generous slice of seedless watermelon. The CEO is a “frozen watermelon frosé,” whatever that may be. I think it’s frozen rosé wine.
There are a lot of rosé options on the menu at The Business Bar. It’s a full restaurant-bar-workstation. I see people working in there every Tuesday that I go. Some people meet—and I’m talking business people, both professional types and entrepreneurs. I read the article in the Times-Picayune that reviewed The Business Bar soon after they had opened. It sounded like a place I might like.
I have since talked with the owners, Jade Newman and Jessica Robinson. Their vision of what The Business Bar could be is fulfilled according to plan. You don’t see that happen very often. It’s a good vision. Mission accomplished. RESTAURANT-BAR-WORKSTATION. We may as well put in all capital letters since that’s what it’s all about.
They have a new frozen cocktail at The Business Bar since the last time I was here. It is called The Side Hustle.
Everything on the menu at The Business Bar has a “clever” business-themed name. Someone thought this was a good idea. I wasn’t asked. That decision was made before I started coming on Tuesdays, not that I would expect them to ask me any branding questions. I don’t know anything about being clever.
The Side Hustle isn’t on the menu yet but it still has a business-themed name. It is a frozen mix of cognac, rum, and piña colada. I have’t seen anyone order it today. Armani gave me a taste. It is very sweet.
I couldn’t tell the relationship between the man and the woman sitting next to me at the bar at The Business Bar. It seemed to be all business, no romance. Here is what they had to eat:
Shrimp tacos. $16.00
Grilled crawfish flatbread. 21.00
Lamb chops with French fries 26.00
The CEO 13.00
I don’t remember what the official Business Bar menu names are for the food they ordered. I’ll look it up next Tuesday.
The couple’s total bill came to $89.00 plus tax and tip the way I figured it in my head. He paid.
They left The Business Bar with a couple of leftover pieces of the flatbread in a single styrofoam clamshell box. There was nothing edible left on their plates when they left. The woman had even gnawed the lamb bones clean. There wasn’t even a bit of gristle. Only a dog or a wolf would eat those leftover bones.
When you want to visit New Orleans like you live here, there really is only one place to stay. Talk to two certified New Orleans goodwill ambassadors every morning. We know wha it means to be in love with New Orleans. There is more to New Orleans than you will find in a guide book. There is more to New Orleans than what a chain hotel concierge will tell you. There is more to New Orleans than what you expect. New Orleans is better.
La Belle Esplanade. When you are ready, we will be here. Make a reservation today. As a tiny artisanal hotel, we only have five suites. During busy seasons we fill up early. Not everyone can stay at La Belle Esplanade. This isn’t the Hilton or the Marriott or the Sheraton. La Belle Esplanade is like the Ritz, if the Ritz was run by only two people.
Visit New Orleans like you belong here. You belong at La Belle Esplanade.