A swanky, new lounge adds a touch of romantic and rebellious French flair to the New Orleans bar scene in the Central Business District.
Bar Marilou, a spirited new sanctuary for craft cocktails, natural wines and French-inflected fare, recently opened in mid-May. The richly-detailed lounge sits inside the Maison de la Luz boutique hotel at 544 Carondelet Street.
Located in the former law library of the old City Hall Annex, Bar Marilou pays tribute to its history with an extensive, curated selection of books ranging in genre and edition.
The bar exudes a French-inspired salon culture with elements like coral and red walls, dark wood, oil paintings, custom lighting fixtures and eclectic curiosities from global travels. The 100-person bar even has a secluded private “speakeasy” room tucked behind a secret bookcase door.
There’s even a no-fuss door policy: “First come, first served. No guest list, no velvet rope, no bottle service.”
Bar Marilou was opened by award-winning Parisian hospitality group Quixotic Projects. This is Quixotic Projects’ first bar in the U.S. and a partnership with creative agency Atelier Ace, the team behind Ace Hotel.
The menu is the brainchild of the partners of Quixotic Projects, Joshua Fontaine, Adam Tsou and Carina Soto Velasquez. Bar Marilou marries their French roots with their love of New Orleans’ legendary cocktail history, European apéritif culture and the warmth of Caribbean spirit and flavor.
The drink menu offers a variety of specialty cocktails offered in three different sizes for solo sipping or large-format libations to share. Varieties include low-ABV sessionable drinks, a selection of curated natural wines and craft beer.
Cocktail menu highlights include cocktails like “The Holy Mountain” (Suze, Crème de Cassis, lemon shrub), “Gallic Spritz” (Pineau des Charentes, Martini Bitter Riserva, Marolo Grappa, tonic water) and “Monarca” (Oaxaca rum, mezcal, Martini Bitter Riserva, sweet vermouth).
Small plates and snacks fill the food menu. A few seasonal bites on offer are Pommes Marilou, crispy potatoes with crème fraîche and bowfin caviar; Saint Jacques, seared scallops with steamed broccoli rabe and white miso dressing; Fresh Peas with radish, ricotta salata, rye crunch and mint; and the Bar Burger with Cantal and Tomme de brebis cheeses, pickled cucumber, lettuce and onion.
Bar Marilou opens daily to the public. Hours are Sunday to Wed from 4 p.m. to midnight and Thursday to Saturday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. The bar also offers a daily Apertif Hour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. with food and drink specials.