Well-loved local bartender Paul Gustings was behind the stick at Decatur Street stop Tujague’s—the city’s second oldest restaurant—for years. Now he’s serving simple and refined creations at the recently renovated Empire Bar inside Broussard’s. The restaurant’s long marble bar and wispy courtyard are both equally charming, with New Orleans classics and a collection of often-forgotten punches (like Nuremberg Punch and English Milk Punch) living merrily side-by-side with Gusting’s own concoctions. Empire Bar also boasts a full roster of impressive “tropical” cocktails created by Gustings, including the Leite de Oncha which turns cachaça, toasted coconut shavings, pineapple syrup, heavy cream, condensed milk and Mexican chocolate into an indulgent concoction.
The Drink to Drink: The “improved” Pimm’s Cup, which triples up on the cocktail’s fruit offerings by adding blueberries and blackberries alongside the strawberries.
Know Before You Go: A happy hour menu featuring a variety of mussel preparations is a particularly satisfying retreat from the New Orleans heat.