Mid City Day Drinking
This weekend, Rhea and I had a spontaneous bar crawl with just the two of us through Mid City. I figured I’d whip up some thoughts on beer drinking through Mid City.
We started our tour on Saturday afternoon to catch the Marquette-Notre Dame basketball game with Rhea’s folks (her mom is a Marquette alum) at Bayou Beer Garden. As the name suggests, there is a quality list of beers. Their food is fantastic, including their burgers, tuna sandwich, and the all-important gravy cheese fries. Bartenders are pretty nice people, and they’re fairly knowledgeable of the beer they sell, at least enough to tell you what kind of beer it is.
Photo courtesy of becky n. on foursquare.
Most of their beers are bottled, but they have a decent set of taps. Guinness, Abita Amber, Smithwicks, a cider I can’t remember, NOLA Blonde and Hopitoulas. The bottled selection varies from your standard BMCs, to Killian’s Stout to Saint Arnold’s to Rogue Hazlenut. They’ve got a decidedly local lean with the Abita, NOLA, Bayou Teche, Covington, Tin Roof, and Saint Arnold selections. I started things off with a Rogue Dead Guy Ale, as it had been a while. Being in a bottle, I asked for a glass. Even though there was a huge stack of room temperature glasses on the bar, the bartender handed me a chilled glass from the cooler. I didn’t make a fuss about it, and just let the glass warm up some before pouring my beer into it.
Rhea’s stepdad Tom grabbed a Guinness and the bartender poured it pretty perfectly, though, and that’s a feat at which many bartenders fail.
My second round was the Hitachino Espresso Stout, which is a personal favorite of mine. It’s a little pricey - $8 for a 12oz bottle — but absolutely delicious. Knowing I like my beer in a glass, the bartender poured it in a glass for me without asking, which was nice. Unfortunately, it was a chilled glass again, which took away some of the flavor of the espresso. After getting to the table, Rhea pointed out that there was lipstick on the glass. The glass was definitely washed, but the lipstick wasn’t scrubbed off and that was pretty gross. Luckily, my glass from my Dead Guy Ale was still on the table and so I poured some water in it from a cup on the table to rinse it out, and then I transferred the Espresso Stout to the old glass. Crisis averted, but still not ideal. I’ll note that I’ve been to BBG dozens of times and this was the first time I ever got a dirty glass.
We started Sunday with a place we usually end up at after a long night of drinking when we need some late night food — Wit’s Inn. The food there is pretty great, especially for late night eating, like jalapeno barbecue sauce wings, pizzas, pressed sandwiches — not your typical bar food. The servers at Witt’s Inn are always polite and serve you pretty quickly. They’ve got a crazy list of specialty drinks, like the Witmaker, which is vodka, a bunch of fruit juices, and topped with champagne.
Their beer selection, however, is so-so. On tap, you’ve got your typical Miller Light and Budweiser, and they’ve also got Abita Amber Samuel Adams Boston Lager, and Guinness. Nothing earth-shattering, but it’s better than a lot of places.Their bottled beer selection is a little better, offering pretty much all of the Abitas, Covington Strawberry, and some other macro brews. The one main complaint I’ll share is that I don’t think their lines get cleaned that often. Their tap list never changes, so my assumption is that since they replace a keg with the same beer, they don’t clean the lines. The Sam Adams I had was only so-so, and more so-so than a Sam Adams usually tastes. However, it was poured in a Rickey Jackson glass, so that was cool.
We decided to go to another bar since my beer wasn’t that great at Wit’s, and so we decided to pick a bar neither of us had ever been to — Twelve Mile Limit. Twelve Mile Limit is (as Rhea described it) a hole in the wall, but nice. It’s in a iffy party of town (down the street from where Rhea grew up), but what place in New Orleans isn’t in an iffy part of town? The place was empty except for the bartenders, who were outside having a smoke because the bar is smoke free (!). They were as friendly as you’d expect in a place like this, but not rude at all. They also serve food, but we didn’t eat. They only had two functioning taps, one of which was NOLA Brewing’s Irish Channel Stout. I ordered that, while Rhea drank one of their specialty cocktails made with rye. My beer came out to me in a frosty mug, of all vessels. I guess when I saw Rhea’s cocktail in a tiny mason jar, I should’ve expected that. The beer did taste perfect though, so they definitely clean and take care of their system. I’d just be sure to ask for a room temperature glass when ordering.
TML’s prices are fantastic and their canned/bottled beer selection is pretty diverse, from PBR to Sierra Nevada to Young’s Double Chocolate Stout. I think the most expensive beer was $5. Can’t argue with that at all.
Photo courtesy Sean M. on foursquare
On the way to TML, we passed St. Patrick’s playground, where the KOCC kickball Mid City vs. Uptown game was taking place. Since we know some kickballers, and Mid City Yacht Club is right across the street from the field, we decided to move on that way to say “hi” to our friends, and try another bar neither of us had ever been to.
Mid City Yacht Club is a pretty ironic name, being right next to I-10 and not near water or yachts at all, and that’s funny to me. The inside of the bar looks brand new. They make their own infused vodkas like Skittles and Red Hots, but also vegetable. Their tap list is mostly local with NOLA and Abita brews on tap. I didn’t get a good look at their canned and bottled selection, but if their taps are of any indication, it’s probably a nice selection.
The bartenders were friendly, but not overly attentive and grabbing their attention took a few tries, though the place was full of kickballers, so that probably contributed. I got an Irish Channel Stout again and this time it wasn’t served in a chilled glass, but it was served in a plastic cup. I don’t know if this is normal, or if that’s how they serve their beer when they’re busy like that. (Update: Rhea comments that the plastic was probably due to the water boil advisory NOLA was under, since they couldn’t wash their glassware) The beer was served perfectly though, and it’s obvious they take care of their lines and entire system. Their prices weren’t terrible, but not as cheap as Twelve Mile Limit. Though, that’s tough.
Photo courtesy Debbie L. on foursquare
Update: My friend Jacob Mayer fills me in on MCYC:
Mid City Yacht Club derives its name from all the water that was in the building for Katrina. That also explains why it seems relatively new, because it is. They’ve also got an ambitious renovation planned. They’re going to build a big deck in the back and eventually make the inside smoke-free.
After our drink at Mid City Yacht Club, we headed over to Finn McCool’s since it’s practically down the street. We have never been there to drink I don’t think — we went to go eat the fried mac-and-cheese burger I helped name — so we figured we’d give it a shot. Unfortunately, it was absolutely packed. So packed that we could barely move and there was no where to sit. We ended up using their bathroom and leaving. Being a Sunday afternoon, we kind of wanted something quiet and leisurely and Finn’s just wasn’t that on Sunday. We’ll definitely make a return though.
As we were heading back home, we decided to make our final stop at The Bulldog. Having been here dozens of times, I knew I could grab a decent beer here. The bar was busy, but not packed or loud, so it served our purposes well. The Bulldog has like 50 beers on tap and more in bottles, but the taps have always been so-so. Usually a bunch of local stuff (about 50% local, by my count) and then a few national craft breweries, and then a few “fake craft beers” from the macros. However, lately they’ve been adding some more interesting stuff (Goose Island before A-B bought them, for instance, along with Unibroue). They’ve even added a few beers requiring a 10oz pour in proper glassware! And much to my surprise, The Bulldog in March of 2013 had Stone 10.10.10 on tap. I was pleasantly surprised. I obviously ordered that. It was poured properly, in a room temperature glass, and tasted beautifully. I feel like The Bulldog is trying to buy into the craft beer scene a bit more than they used to, focusing a bit more on quality of the beers they sell over the quantity of beers.
Photo courtesy Robert D. on foursquare
My one major complaint with The Bulldog is their prices. I feel like their beers are 50 cents to a $1 higher than everywhere else, and they’ve just recently increased all the prices on their food (which is delicious, by the way). Their bartenders are pretty knowledgeable and if you have a question about a beer, or can’t pick one, they’re pretty good at helping you. I think some of their bartenders actually like this over their normal clientele that just ask for a pitcher of Blue Moon all the time. Oh, and I’d probably complain about the clientele in general here, but, I don’t want to be a prick about it. Suffice it to say, despite their selection of beer, I tend to shy away from The Bulldog, especially on Friday or Saturday nights, and definitely Wednesdays for Free Pint Night. But day drinking at The Bulldog is actually quite nice, especially on their patio on a beautiful day like we had all weekend.
But, as I said, I’ve always felt the Bulldog was a regular-bar-in-beer-bar’s-clothing, but within the last year or so, I feel like they’re trying to up the ante and become a bit more legit. Maybe to be like Avenue Pub, maybe to buy into a trend, or maybe because they genuinely care about the beer. No matter the reason, aside from their price changes, they’re doing a good job of getting better.
We didn’t even make it to all of the bars in Mid City, but it’s a fair statement to say that if you’re looking to day drink, Mid CIty is the laid back place to do it. Other notable favorites of mine in Mid City include Mick’s and The Holy Ground; both have the same beers on tap (Guinnes, Abita Amber, Smithwick’s, and Magic Hat #9) but Mick’s has a much larger and varied bottled beer selection, with a lot of cider options.
All of the bars have outdoor seating, so that was nice.
I went ahead and created a Foursquare list called Mid City Drinkin’ to list the best places to grab a drink in Mid City, including a few not mentioned in this post.