by Ian McNulty
The kitchen at the Deep South-meets-Creole diner High Hat Café prides itself on a handmade approach. So does the bar. Restaurant manager Ryan Iriarte is always mixing up new cocktail ingredients, cocktail recipes and even unique soft drinks.
Last fall, he and bartender Lauren Holton started a periodic series of cocktail events called High Hat After Hours, which basically turns the restaurant into a temporary craft cocktail bar for a night after the kitchen closes.
The next edition is scheduled for April 6, running from 10 p.m. to about 1 a.m.
“It’s not really a pop-up, because I’m not trying to develop this into my own bar, and it’s not a speakeasy, because I want everyone to come, so we decided to call it After Hours,” Iriarte says.
Walk right in (there’s no cover) and you’ll find people clustered around the bar or at tables in the dining room sampling specialty drinks concocted for the night.
Look for “the garden party,” made with, among other things, basil-infused vodka, tequila, tomato shrub (a fruit, sugar and vinegar concoction), cucumber bitters and hibiscus liqueur, which Iriarte describes as a more refreshing rendition of the bloody Mary. There’s even a cocktail riffing on “ants on a log,” the celery, peanut butter and raisin lunchbox treat.
The kitchen is closed (it is after hours, after all), though that doesn’t preclude a few basic bar snacks making the rounds. The restaurant’s regular drinks selection will also be available. High Hat After Hours editions come around on an irregular schedule, but you can find updates for future events on its Facebook page.
High Hat Café
4500 Freret St., (504) 754-1336