Summertime in New Orleans has always been a tempting time to escape the city's heat and humidity. That's quickly changing with a number of pools and rooftop bars opening to the public, most of which offer food and drink specials, so you never even have to leave the water. Add to that some stellar frozen drinks, ice cream treats and raw seafood options, and you've got yourself plenty of ways to beat the heat and spend the summer in the city.
600 Carondelet St., (504) 900-1180; www.acehotel.com/neworleans
Alto, the hotel's rooftop garden and pool lounge, is one of the most relaxing places to escape the heat and cool off — with a view. Two frozen daiquiri machines churn out a rotating mix of icy, boozy libations, which might include the East Bank, made with vodka, cucumber, lime and mint. Small plates and snacks from Josephine Estelle executive chef Ysaac Ramirez include a grilled kale dish with fried garlic, buttermilk, crispy shallots and lemon.
The Country Club
634 Louisa St., (504) 945-0742; www.thecountryclubneworleans.com
The Bywater restaurant, bar and pool's recent makeover has a Club Med-like appeal. The outside cabana bar and an outdoor kitchen feature new dishes from chef Chris Barbato. New summer cocktails include the spicy Ghost Pepper margarita — and it's always happy hour when it rains.
The Drifter Hotel
3522 Tulane Ave., (504) 605-4644; www.thedrifterhotel.com
The hottest new party spot in Mid-City is on Tulane Avenue on a stretch of the thoroughfare that's still fairly derelict. But behind the hotel's gates lies a mid-century modern paradise. Walk through the swanky lounge to the backyard and you'll find yourself in a Palms Springs-esque oasis, featuring a saltwater pool framed by lounge chairs and potted plants. Weekend parties often include DJ sets and plenty of bacchanalian fun. A clothing optional policy exists (for now). Whenever it rains, drink specials include house wines and beer-and-shot specials for $5. Weekly food specials are provided by food trucks and pop-ups.
333 Poydras St., (504) 525-9444; lemeridienneworleanshotel.com
The downtown hotel's posh rooftop pool and deck is open to locals from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends through Sept. 3. Admission to the pool is $15 and includes a complimentary drink. The party vibe heats up on Sunday afternoons, when a DJ holds court.
BARS WITH A BREEZE
2031 St. Charles Ave., (504) 323-1500; www.hottinbar.com
The elegant cocktail bar on top of the Pontchartrain Hotel boasts arguably the best 270-degree view of the city's skyline and the Mississippi River. The light and citrusy Skyliner cocktail features Cathead honeysuckle vodka, grapefruit, lime, Campari and habanero bitters.
1111 Gravier St., (504) 518-5600; www.monkeyboardnola.com
The breezy rooftop bar at the new Troubadour Hotel draws young professionals on weekdays and has a clubby atmosphere on weekends. The spacious wraparound rooftop features killer views, DJ sets Tuesday through Sunday and food truck-inspired snacks from chef Phillip Lopez. Cocktails include a Toronja Especial, a mix of Espolon reposado tequila, Campari, pamplemousse liqueur and soda.
ICE CREAM, YOU SCREAM
Roosevelt Hotel New Orleans
130 Roosevelt Way, (504) 648-1200; www.therooseveltneworleans.com
For the month of July, The Sazerac Bar's popular Southern Gentleman cocktail will be reimagined in ice cream form. Made with blackberries, lemon, mint and Buffalo Trace bourbon, the ice cream will be served at Teddy's Cafe in the hotel.
Turkey and The Wolf
739 Jackson Ave., (504) 218-7428; www.turkeyandthewolf.com
The Lower Garden District hot spot is best known for its whimsical sandwiches and creative cocktails, but the soft-serve ice cream is equally worthwhile, topped with everything from rainbow sprinkles to tahini with date molasses, to a version topped with graham crackers and Key lime pie chunks.
3607 Magazine St., (504) 509-7655; www.cavannola.com
Chef Nathan Richard's recent menu makeover features a seafood-heavy spread, including a poke and tartare hybrid, where sushi-grade tuna hunks are marinated and formed into a cylinder, garnished with bene seeds, avocado and chili purees.
916 Lafayette St., (504) 265-8392; www.cellardoornola.com
The Central Business District cocktail lair and gastropub features a tuna poke bowl made with popcorn rice, kimchi and pickled peppers. A Vietnamese-style hot sauce drizzle adds flavor and a sharp heat.
752 Tchoupitoulas St., (504) 581-7101; www.noshneworleans.com
The new Warehouse District lounge features a small plates menu full of selections from the raw bar, including an Ahi tuna poke with hijiki, avocado and edamame.
3341 Magazine St., (504) 309-9993; www.eatpokeloa.com
Build-your-own poke bowl at New Orleans' first restaurant to focus exclusively on the raw fish trend sweeping the country. Mix-and-match bowls include a number of fish proteins, toppings, sauces and extras, such as avocado or crumbled macadamia nuts. The assembly-line model means you can be on your way in no time.