Antoine’s Hermes Bar

It’s celebrated for its storied dining rooms named after and decorated with memorabilia from some of New Orleans’ most staid carnival krewes. Antoine’s is expanding on its traditions with a new venue, next door to the hallowed restaurant: the Hermes Bar.


The bar’s grand opening was Friday, coinciding with the opening day of French Quarter Fest. I hadn’t heard anything about the bar, or the grand opening. What was great, and an “only in NOLA” moment, was that as I was leaving the festival and heading back to my car at Burgundy and Conti, I chose a fortuitous route up St. Louis St. There was a big crowd on the street in front of Antoine’s; everyone had champagne glasses and waiters were running around in the street with platters of soufflé potatoes and fried oysters and bottles of champagne.



After grabbing a potato from the platter pictured above (which had been piled high seconds before, it was like those films of piranhas stripping a capybara down to the bones in the Amazon), I asked the waiter what all the hubbub was. He explained it was the opening of the bar, Antoine’s is the oldest family restaurant, yada, yada, I stopped him, thanked him, told him I was a native and moved on inside.


There’s a fair selection of absinthe and a proper fountain, ready for dripping. I hope they don’t do the fire thing when they serve it. I would have ordered one, but, hey, the champagne was free.



It was just a super event to stumble upon and made the day absolutely perfect. The bar opens out onto the street and I hope they maintain an atmosphere like I found on Friday; a mix of elegantly dressed patrons happily mingling shoulder-to-shoulder with the casually dressed masses.

They’ll be serving a selection of appetizers and soups from the restaurant, including an Oysters Foch poboy. If you’re not familiar with Oysters Foch, it’s a dish normally consisting of a piece of toast, smeared with pâté de foie gras and topped with fried oysters and Colbert sauce. Reflecting the restaurant’s 150-plus year history, the dish is named in honor of France’s Field Marshal Foch; the pâté on the toast represents mud on his soldier’s shoes, the Colbert sauce their spilled blood. Dishes somehow just don’t seem to get that amount of inspiration anymore. The bar serves its version as a French bread po-boy, the only variation from the classic dish being it’s “dressed” with lettuce in addition to the pâté and sauce.

Ain’t New Orleans grand?

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4 Responses to Antoine’s Hermes Bar

  1. saintchick on April 19, 2009 at 10:39 am

    I need that flute… I have a little collection of things like that. Things that I have “accquired” at various places, for various events. You should see my Muriel’s glass. Looks like a very nice place with great people hanging out.. color me jealous !

  2. Nola on April 19, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    Wow! Can’t wait to imbibe there! And, yes, New Orleans IS great for just this type of “stumbling”!

  3. Sarabeth on April 20, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    It’s been open for a while, since Mardi Gras. We had a great evening there one Sunday night talking to the head bartender, Mike. He doesn’t do the flaming absinthe, thing. If you get a chance, chat with him. He’s a fount of information. We’ll go back.

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