March 9, 2010
Thankfully made it to the Sazerac Bar in the historic Roosevelt Hotel. We weren’t going to have enough time to go, but I managed to sneak in on my last day in town. The space is just so majestic and enchanting!
The hotel itself has quite a history. Opened in 1893 as “The Grunewald”, it was followed by an expansion and name change to “The Roosevelt”. Bought by the Fairmont in the 60s (another name change), then closed indefinitely due to Katrina in 2005. After a major redesign to bring it back to its original 30s vibe, it reopened in recent years as The Roosevelt, and is now a part of the Waldorf-Astoria empire.
Pardon me if I am wrong, but from my reading I am getting that the Sazerac Bar started elsewhere in New Orleans, and did not move into the Roosevelt until 1949.
The actual bar itself is original, made of African walnut. The dark wood walls, plush furniture and floor tiles definitely transports you back in time– such vaudeville grandeur!
Original murals by Paul Niman, painted in the 1930s. Stunning.
Even the garnishes were sliced to perfection.
The Sazerac cocktail is popularly lauded as THE original cocktail (although Paystyle disputed this in his Happy Hour post), comprised of rye, bitters, absinthe, and a sugar cube.
But I have a confession to make. I did not have a Sazerac at the Sazerac Bar. SHAME ON ME. Again, my time in NOLA was running out, and I had just had a Sazerac for lunch, so I went with at Pimm’s Cup. Paystyle, forgive me.
I can’t quite figure out the relationship between the Sazerac Bar, and the Sazerac liquor company (are they related?) but there was a wall dedicated to the famous brown stuff. A bottle of this will make you real poor, real quick. Whenever I see this bottle at any bar, I get a drink with it.
Geekout Time: here’s the original bar menu. Super neat! No Sazerac, but the Ramon Gin Fizz seems to have been all the rage. Also make sure to watch the little video of the history of the bar on the website.
The Roosevelt Hotel
123 Baronne Street
New Orleans, LA