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Cocktail Culture


Hazelnut on Magazine Street (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Way Uptown there is a stretch of Magazine Street that has some pretty amazing shops that can only be found in New Orleans. The shining star among them is Hazelnut.

Hazelnut sells small home furnishings, the kind of things that you can easily throw into your carry-on bag or have them ship home for you. Locals love Hazelnut not only because it is filled to the brim with a stylish, eclectic blend of fine gifts and elegant home accessories, combined with the old-world charm of New Orleans, and a chic metropolitan twist, but also because it is owned by a beloved local guy named Bryan Batt, and his equally beloved partner Tom Cianfichi.

Bryan Batt is a Broadway, television, and movie actor, best selling author, and a star to us here in New Orleans. His recent televison role as Sal Romano on AMC’s Emmy winning series Mad Men has propelled Bryan into the national spotlight.

Bryan and Tom are stylish guys,  who both love design, entertaining, and giving just the right presents, so that’s why they opened their shop in 2003, focusing on gifts, furnishings, tabletop objects, and beautiful home accessories.

Bryan is a busy guy, crisscrossing the country on a book signing tour of his book She Ain’t Heavy She’s My Mother, and preparing for his new one man show opening in the fall, Batt on a Hot Tin Roof, at Feinstein’s in New York. He’s also been tapped to be in the movie, Sam, the debut writing effort of Mel Brooks’ son, Ed.

But he comes home to New Orleans whenever he can, and you will often find him in the shop with Tom. Don’t be surprised if they strike up a conversation with you. Bryan says, “I run from stores where salespeople act snooty! I want people to have a good time and be visually stimulated.”

Mad Men just started a new season, and there are home viewing parties happening everywhere, transformed into swell cocktail parties to match the retro settings in the show.

What better place to stock up on some swank cocktail ware than Hazelnut? They have everything you can think of to outfit your glam bar, except the libations. So take a trip Uptown to Hazelnut, it’s glam, it’s friendly, it’s chic — it’s New Orleans!

Until next time I am the Visual Vamp and Magazine Street is my beat.

5515 Magazine St.

Valorie Hart is an interior decorator, stylist, and event designer. She lives in the Irish Channel just off Magazine Street where she loves to walk and shop. She relocated to New Orleans from New York in the year 2000, and is affectionately known as a New New. She writes the popular blog Visual Vamp.

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