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Sipping Smart

Two events mark the grand opening of Clever (3800 Orleans Ave., 483-6314; ), a new wine bar in Mid-City. On Tuesday, the bar hosts a free wine tasting with live music beginning at 6 p.m. and on Friday hot tapas will be served at 6 p.m. with live music at 8 p.m. Clever is attached to the wine shop Cork & Bottle, and is run by the same proprietor, Jon Smith. This means that in addition to the bar's list of 37 wines by the glass, patrons also have access to the shop's 400-label inventory, which Smith will open at the bar for a corkage fee added to the retail price. Clever also serves cheese boards and will soon offer gourmet meats. The wine bar's name references a quote attributed to the ancient Greek dramatist Aristophanes: "Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine so I may wet my mind and say something clever."

New in the Riverbend

A number of new casual restaurants opened recently in the Riverbend. Chill Out Café (729 Burdette St., 872-9628) is the most eclectic, with a menu mixing all-day breakfast service with Thai dishes in the afternoons and evenings. Try the sweet, nutty and strong Thai iced coffee with waffles or scallop dumplings and seafood stir-fry. Nearby, Pupuseria La Macarena Uptown (8120 Hampson St., 862-5252) is the expansion of a Metairie restaurant of the same name. It specializes in Honduran comfort food like pupusas (stuffed cornmeal patties) as well as tacos and Mexican dishes. Smoked meat is the highlight at Squeal Bar-B-Q (8400 Oak St., 302-7370), which took over the restaurant space previously occupied by Philip Chan's Asian-Cajun Bistro. Look for ribs, pulled pork and brisket cooked over hickory, and traditional barbecue joint side dishes.

Carding Pat O's

Pat O'Brien's (718 St Peter St., 525-4823; ) marks its 75th anniversary with a block party on Wednesday. The party begins outside its St. Peter Street entrance at 5 p.m. and features half-price specialty cocktails. The Bucktown Allstars take the outdoor stage for a concert at 7:30 p.m. Pat O'Brien's will sell silver anniversary editions of its famous glassware, with proceeds benefiting New Orleans police and firefighters. — McNulty

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