It was 2:30 PM on a Monday afternoon when I strolled into the Mid-City Yacht Club with a friend, expecting to find that we would be the only customers inside. After all, people do work during the day in New Orleans…right? Of course, I was wrong. Ten other patrons sat watching “The Usual Suspects” as loud as possible on the Yacht Clubs’ eight HDTVs.
“Something special going on today?” I asked the bartender as she brought over our NOLA drafts.
“Today’s Matinee Monday. You guys want some popcorn?”
Such familiarity makes the Yacht Club seem like it’s a neighborhood institution. But the bar is only a few years old. In fact, a good amount of the wood paneling lining the walls came from the owners house that was soaked during Hurricane Katrina. Then there’s the name, “Mid-City Yacht Club,” which does not imply marine proximity, which I learned from experience when the only person wearing boat shoes at the bar was, embarrassingly, myself.
Inside the Yacht Club, you’ll find the necessary toys that comprise most good bars; a pool table, darts, and a second-to-none jukebox that contained music from as many New Orleans legends (Soul Rebels Brass Band and Galactic) as it did radio rock icons (Lou Reed and David Bowie). And any Saints fans finding themselves without a ticket to the Dome can feel comfortable at the Yacht Club watching the “Black and Gold.” Every game-day, patrons cook a dish and bring it by the bar. Throughout the game, customers vote on the best meal. The overall vote winner for the day gets a $20 bar tab and their name on “The Golden Oar,” which is a wooden paddle affixed to the wall.
We were sitting at the corner of the bar, watching Kevin Spacey start to walk out of Chazz Palminteri’s office on TV when our bartender lined up two small plastic cups filled with clear liquid.
“What is it?” my friend asked.
“Cake Vodka,” she cheerfully replied. “On the house.” She turned around and began distributing shots to the other patrons. “Uh… I like cake,” someone acknowledged.
As the patrons waited expectantly, our bartender walked back behind the bar, held up her own shot and, pausing for a beat, said, “to a happy Monday!”
Happy Monday, indeed.
Mid-City Yacht Club
440 S. St. Patrick Street
New Orleans, LA 70119