Michael Stipe’s New Orleans Guide
This week we bring you a thoroughly researched piece on New Orleans by our very first guest editor, Michael Stipe. Aside from being the frontman in one of the most innovative and brilliant bands of all time, R.E.M., Michael is an obsessed foodie like the rest of us here at goop. Michael recently spent a good chunk of time in the Big Easy recording the band’s next album, and true to form, discovered his favorite culinary gems, which he has so graciously shared with us. My brother and father both attended Tulane in New Orleans and so the city has always been a special destination for our family. Now that we have Michael’s list I can expand from my usual route of Café du Monde, Mosca’s and my mother’s favorite, the old world Galatoires.
The “Michael-in” guide!
John Paul’s Bar940 Elysian Fields | 504.948.1888
My friend Reuben Cox, the amazing photographer, texted me while I was working in New Orleans to say that we had to go to this bar to see the drag show. He had photographed these lovely ladies a few years earlier and they ALL had stories to tell. It was a fun and surreal night watching them introduce the younger girls. A great beer stop and goodtime place.
Napoleon House500 Chartres St. | 504.524.9752
The Napoleon House is the tourist trap that is well worth the hassle to visit. Smack in the heart of the French Quarter, it is the enclave that was built for Napoleon had he ever arrived into New Orleans. He didn’t. The walls, the paintings, the bar, and the bar staff however, breathe history and realness. They have vegan beans and rice for lunch, and it’s worth the wait in line for the sweet tea alone. If you’re going to have a Sazerac in New Orleans, have it here. Have two, and don’t call me.
Kermit Ruffins at Bullet’s Sports Bar2441 A.P. Tureaud St.
Famed from the HBO series Treme, Kermit is the real thing, Bullet’s is the real thing, the waitress who steps up to the mic with her tray to sing a verse and chorus is the real thing. This is essential New Orleans. Brilliant.
Bar Tonique820 N. Rampart St. | 504.324.6045
Ok this is the real deal; easily my favorite return-to bar in New Orleans. This joint concocts drinks according to the recipe from the year the drink was invented. So you get lots of Pre-Civil War and 1920’s authentic recipes, made from rum and gin (I don’t drink gin, ever!…but I do here…) It’s basic, with little fanfare; no need to shout here, there’s enough of that 3 blocks away. This is real, carefully and lovingly prepared, super authentic, and reasonable. And, on Sundays, there are a couple of crock pots in the back booth with beans and rice to deaden or carb out the inevitable weekend hangover. It’s across the street from…
Coop’s1109 Decatur St. | 504.525.9053
You could walk by this place 60 times and not even break stride, with one glance you’ve got it; but don’t judge a book by its cover—a good rule of thumb in New Orleans. This French Quarter bar, with its placement across the street from Margaritaville and down the street from Café du Monde, is kind of in tourist central, meh; but these guys have the real deal in red beans and rice, gumbo, fried chicken, and super authentic local favorites. Also check out the side salad, with the BEST homemade Green Goddess dressing in town. The servers are sweet and super tattooed, the kitchen is basically in the outdoor courtyard, and next door is the fantastically alt-goth bar…