Celebrities: They're Just Like Us!" is a regular feature in Us Weekly, the magazine that never seems to get over the fact famous people go to the supermarket and drink coffee as if they were actual human beings — just like us! In New Orleans, our celebrities drink coffee, make groceries and stand in line at the ATM ... plus they like to go out for a drink once in a while. Just like us! We asked a few of them where they like to go. (Only two of them told us to buzz off.)
Wendell Pierce, actor (Treme, The Wire, Ray), radio host of Jazz at Lincoln Center, and New Orleans native: "Ray's on Bienville and Rendon (Inn) in Mid-City. I grew up with Ray. He has always been a Renaissance man with a great collection of friends. We follow him everywhere. No sign out front, a working man's lunch ($4), inexpensive drinks and great people. What I remember as what it means to 'hang out on the corner' in New Orleans. A classic neighborhood barroom."
Sidney "Trashanova" Torres IV, president of SDT Waste & Debris Services: "My favorite bar is the Maple Leaf. It has always been a place where locals could hear great local musicians. I love seeing and hearing the Rebirth Brass Band on Tuesday nights."
Kristin Diable, folk-country songstress and Marilyn Monroe doppelganger: "The Chart Room. You can't get a cocktail here to save your life and they might kick you out for asking for one, but that's the charm of this locals' hole in the wall. The drinks are cheap, the bartenders don't take shit and the jukebox is pretty decent (jukebox is key). It's the kind of place you can go for a nightcap and next thing you know, it's morning. Plus this is the spot where my boyfriend's Pops used to shoot the shit over drinks with Keith Richards and Mick Jagger when they'd hang around town back in the day. I'm always waiting for 'Keef' to stop in."
Kristin Gisleson Palmer, city councilwoman, District C: "(My favorite bar) depends on my mood; there are lots of different moods. It also depends on the drink. I like Bar Tonique on Rampart Street for a Dark & Stormy — it's my favorite drink. If I want to hang out in the neighborhood, I go to the Crown & Anchor or Old Point Bar; those are just good neighborhood bars. If I want to listen to music, I go to d.b.a. or the Spotted Cat."
Chet Pourciau, interior designer, owner of Chet Pourciau Design and "mocktail" aficionado: "Baru (Bistro & Tapas) — they have a great pineapple and mango spritzer, and since I'm a designer, I love the ambience. Dante's Kitchen is my neighborhood restaurant and bar. I love their mocktails because they grow their own fruit. This makes the drink nutritious and delicious. Felipe's Bar & Grill — one of my latest obsessions is pink berries, and they have three amazing pink berry cocktails. Lilette has a mocktail called Jason 4 which contains muddled mint and orange slices. I am also in love with the decor because it's hip, chic and fresh. Cure also makes an amazing mocktail."
Walt Leger III, attorney and state representative: "What's my favorite bar? That's a tough question for a guy like me. Fat Harry's has been a favorite of mine for so long, but over the past several years I've also enjoyed mojitos at the Bridge Lounge. It's always inviting and cool on hot New Orleans afternoons. It's hard to beat Henry's, Cure or the Columns — even though each is completely different from the others. One of the best new bars is Bouligny Tavern on Magazine Street. I think one of the truly great bars, and one of my favorites, is the Old Absinthe House. There's just something about the mood and vibe there. You can imagine people having drinks in there for over 200 years — truly unique."
Chris DeBarr, chef/owner, The Green Goddess: "I like to go see Chris Hannah (at Arnaud's French 75). He makes falernums — they're syrups with spices used in tiki drinks. He made a good blueberry one. One of the more interesting things I have tried was by Alan Walter (when he was at Iris). He made a Northshore pine needle infusion. I have seen a bottled Douglas fir eau de vie. We use that as a float on top of one of (Green Goddess') drinks, a Gentle Giant — with gin, chartreuse, herbal tea and lime."
Shamarr Allen, bandleader, trumpeter and vocalist of Shamarr Allen & the Underdawgs: "My favorites are Maison and Irvin Mayfield's Jazz Playhouse. I don't drink alcohol, but those are the two clubs that have very, very beautiful women — all the time."
Susan Guidry, city councilwoman, District A: "Maple Leaf Bar is my longtime favorite. It's down-home New Orleans funky. All of the best local musicians have played there. I've had 20-plus years of memorable evenings there, dancing the night away."
George Rodrigue, painter: "My favorite bar is at Eleven 79. It carries the classic New Orleans vibe that appeals to the Dean Martin set. I relish spending time with owner Joe Segreto and characters like Bob Wright, Justin O'Rourke and Clancy Dupepe. My wife Wendy gets a good martini, so we're both happy."
Scott Satchfield, WWL-TV reporter: "The Rusty Nail is my favorite spot in New Orleans for numerous reasons — the staff, crowd, prices, excellent sandwiches from CG's Cafe (inside the bar) and just the atmosphere in general. When you walk in, there's a good chance you'll meet co-owners Ivan and David — both friendly, welcoming guys. From open-mic Tuesdays to jazz sets by Jenn Howard and a diverse lineup of local musicians, The Rusty Nail is a neighborhood bar with citywide appeal. Molly's at the Market is always a good time — a venue where three words reign supreme for me: frozen Irish coffee. Mimi's (in the Marigny) is consistently great throughout the week, and when it comes to regularly scheduled events in the city, in my opinion nothing beats Saturday Hustle! with DJ Soul Sister. Capdeville is a CBD favorite of mine for drinks, local pints and food. Highly recommended: steak frites or truffled mac and cheese. The Saint for Tikioke Tuesdays and bounce nights. Want a unique experience? Check out The Saint."