New underground speakeasy, Double Dealer, opens under the historic Orpheum Theater

An interesting new addition to the historic Orpheum Theater — an underground speakeasy — opens under the iconic performance venue in the Central Business District.

The Double Dealer, a basement-level bar and lounge, hopes to add a new element to the New Orleans bar scene by tapping into prohibition-era history.

Photo credit: Michael Palumbo

Accessed through an unmarked side entrance of the Orpheum, opposite the Roosevelt Hotel, the Double Dealer “pays homage to ​New Orleans’ vibrant counterculture and love affair with all things debaucherous,” according to a release announcing the opening.

Guests can explore and engage with four distinct rooms inside the new underground venue. Creators say they hope to create a “one-of-a-kind nightlife experience,” combining a well-curated bar program with intentional design elements and entertainment that tap into the venue’s speakeasy theme.

Photo credit: Michael Palumbo

The venue is the latest venture of ​ERG Enterprises​, an investment company founded by Dr. Eric George, with assets also including the Pontchartrain Hotel and the Pythian.

“We’re always looking to maximize value for our patrons and community. We saw an opportunity to utilize a part of the Orpheum Theater that was dormant. So, we set out to create a venue that would capture the mystique and energy of the theater’s past, while embracing aspects of the present and future,” George said. “Ever since we acquired the theater in 2014, we’ve been focused on enhancing its experience and accessibility. Credit to our team for getting that done.”

Double Dealer boasts a celebration of “inclusivity and spontaneity for theatre-goers and non theatre-goers alike,” according to a release. The venue’s name hails from an influential 20th century literary journal that was circulated throughout New Orleans and published the likes of Hemingway and Faulkner.

Photo credit: Michael Palumbo

Guests first enter the ​Main Bar​, an expansive room anchored by a 13-seat bar. Other seating options feature intimate, snug-style booths concealed behind vintage theater curtains.

​The VIP Room​, a secondary bar area, offers patrons a more lounge-like environment.

​The Poker Room​, accessed through an unassuming vault-style door, introduces a secret space to indulge in its namesake.

Finally, through a set of eye-catching double doors ​adorned with an infinity mirror feature, revelers will find ​the Green Room​, the nucleus of the Double Dealer’s entertainment program. On any given night, the Green Room’s stage will play host to a variety of eclectic acts and performances including French Quarter street performers, musicians and sideshow acts.

See also: New restaurant, The Parlor, opening inside Hotel Chloe on St. Charles Avenue in Spring 2020

Photo credit: Michael Palumbo

The Double Dealer’s cocktail program, curated by Bar Director Miki Nikolic, is centered around fresh and homemade ingredients, local products and modern techniques while paying homage to the 1920’s drinking culture through well-balanced, unpretentious cocktails.

The menu, designed to emulate an original issue of ​The Double Dealer, consists of a selection of classic cocktails and “Double Dealer Concoctions.”

These “Double Dealer Concoctions” are Nikolic’s signature creations, each named for a literary work that once graced the magazine’s pages. One cocktail called “The Shining Pyramid​” features ​tequila, prickly pear puree, maraschino, hibiscus syrup, lime juice.

Photo credit: Michael Palumbo

“We want every type of imbiber to be able to walk into the Double Dealer and find something that sparks joy,” Nikolic said. “That’s why we designed a playful menu that inspires and encourages interaction between guests and bartenders.”

There’s even an interesting aspect for indecisive drinkers: Guests can toss a twenty-sided die for a little drink inspiration with prompts like “something shaken,” “make it tropical” or “bubbles included.”

“These aren’t meant to decide for the guest, merely to inspire a dialogue that leads them to a delicious drink,” Nikolic said.

Spearheaded by locally-based architecture and design practice ​Farouki Farouki (Justine, Saffron NOLA), the Double Dealer’s Art Nouveau-inspired design plays on juxtaposition with layers of raw and refined materials, from exposed concrete to plush velvet.

Double Dealer
Photo credit: Michael Palumbo

The space features a variety of reclaimed items found in the backstage area of a theater, including original vintage theater curtains and a hand-painted 1930s theater backdrop. A stunning collection of vintage stage costumes adorn the venue’s walls, inspiring a sense of wonder and nostalgia.

The door policy is first come, first served. No reservations accepted.

Double Dealer, located at 129 Roosevelt Way in New Orleans, will open Tuesday through Thursday from 4 p.m to midnight and Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.

For more information, visit the website at www.Doubledealernola.com​ or follow along on social at @doubledealernola.


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