Arnaud’s Restaurant and the French 75 bar have been serving food and drink to the well-heeled masses for over a century. But it’s only under the watchful eye and deft hand of head bartender Chris Hannah that the restaurant’s drink program has soared. A recent finalist for a James Beard Award for best bar program, French 75’s polished charm, kitschy animal print seating and lounge-like vibe attracts hordes of visitors and locals alike looking for the kind of genteel imbibing experience that feels like a trip back in time. The Ellipses and Dash is a particularly smooth crowd pleaser, with Mount Gay and El Dorado rums, allspice dram, falernum, orange, lime and Angostura bitters swirled together into a citrus-forward sipper.
The Drink To Drink: Yes, you could—and should—drink a French 75. Also, the colorful, sugar-rimmed Brandy Crusta reclaims a spirit type too long relegated to snifter-swinging old men.
Know Before You Go: Cigars were once a large part of the culture at French 75, but New Orleans’ recent smoking ban put a damper on the practice. If you’re going to light up, it’s now a bring-your-own scenario.