I recently took a trip to New Orleans – and although this is usually good for a Bud/Coors/Miller person, or someone who wants to see girls flashing their boobs for beads, it may be a little more worry-some for craft beer lovers. I was staying in the downtown area adjacent to Bourbon Street, and found it very easy to get lost in a random bar offering $6 32oz Abita Jockamo IPA’s, but after a week of doing this, I decided to take a trip to the Garden District and visit the legendary Avenue Pub.
Avenue Pub is located on St Charles street in the Garden District of New Orleans. It’s a part of New Orleans that doesn’t get as much attention as Bourbon Street, and appears to have a much slower, low key vibe. It’s my kind of place. The surrounding area is full of old houses, some of which being over 100 years old. The Avenue Pub is no different. It’s easy to drive by the pub, as it’s sitting casually on the corner. The architecture of the bar indicates that it may have been someone’s house at one point. The bar name isn’t very noticeable, so you’ll have to keep an eye out for it when trying to find it.
Upon entering, you’ll immediately notice that there are some smokers. Being from the NY/NJ area, I completely forgot what it’s like to have smoking allowed in bars, so this completely threw me off. The kitchen is located near the bar and is completely open and the food smells awesome. The atmosphere is casual and non-pretentious. I started a conversation with the bartender and he was not only friendly, but also knowledgeable about the beers he was serving. He gave me a menu and after scanning through it, was immediately impressed by the selection.
The tap menu was split into two separate sections – the first floor and the second floor. The bar has two floors which each offer different tap selections. The larger selection is on the bottom floor, but they’ll transfer your tab over to the top if you decided to rotate between the floors. The menu was heavy in Evil Twin, Clown Shoes, NOLA, and Stillwater. The also had some beers from the Brooklyn Brewery Reserve Series, Stone, and some seasonal beers. The bottle menu had just about anything you could imagine ranging from macro-lagers to geuze and from Miller Lite to Cantilion. Yes, Cantillion on the regular at a bar in New Orleans. I also noted that they will do growler fills of anything that they have on tap (a particularly good value for the Evil Twin and Stillwater beers).
I ordered an Imperial Biscotti Break from Evil Twin at the upstairs bar (I decided to venture upstairs because I’m not a fan of being in a smoky environment while trying to drink a beer). The bartender went into one of the refrigerators below the bar and handed me the bottle and a couple of tulip shaped glasses. Before I could even say “Thank You”, she explained that “the beer has been stored at the recommended temperature for stouts, and that it may feel a little bit warm”. I felt the bottle, and it appeared to be at a great temperature so I thanked her for the due care. She explained that they keep a few different refrigerators for the different beer styles so that they can all be served at the correct temps. You got to admire their attention to detail.
Although the bottom floor had a larger tap selection, I enjoyed the second floor a little bit more. October is a great time to visit New Orleans due to the lower humidity and temperatures, so I took advantage of that and sat on the outside balcony with some co workers to enjoy the night. We were so comfortable where we were, that we decided to order food from the bar and cancel our reservations. The day we visited was also a trivia night, so we got pretty wrapped up in the competition. The food menu isn’t very extensive, but it’s enough to satisfy most. It’s typical pub food (burgers, sandwiches, nachos) and my favorite part of their menu was their loaded fries.
Whenever going into the deep South I start to get worried about my beer bar options. Although the craft beer renaissance appears to be touching all parts of the country, antiquated laws in the South appear to be hindering some aspects of it in certain southern states. The existence of a beer bar of this caliber sets a new standard of what other bars in the surrounding areas should be doing. I was VERY happy to have visited this place and highly suggest it for all of those who long for more than just fizzy tasteless macro-lagers while visiting the Big Easy.
1732 St. Charles Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70130