Just steps away from the dizzying village of colored lights that constitute Bourbon Street lies an Irish Pub with a French Quarter look and feel. From its green French-shutters and balcony fenced with wrought iron, The Erin Rose is everything that a bar in downtown New Orleans looks like it should be.
“The Rose,” located at 811 Conti Street, has two rooms within the establishment. The area in the front has a wall-length bar with just enough space leftover for stools, a few tables by the windows, and a Juke Box in the rear. A back room contains another bar, which is usually only staffed when the crowd is more dense. Thankfully, the bar utilizes almost all of its space (less the Video Poker machines) to serve cold drinks. Don’t come to the Erin Rose looking for dinner: while you can order a few bar staples like cheese sticks or pizza rolls, the menu is limited to only a few appetizers. This is, after all, a bar.
Thankfully, New Orleans bars aren’t defined by the trans fat content of their snacks, the quality of their chairs, or the type of vodka on the shelf. Instead they are, to use a local cliché, a “gumbo” mixed by locals and bartenders, tourists and students. Sure, many consider the Erin Rose to be an Irish Pub. But just as many will tell you it’s a neighborhood hangout; a place where French Quarter residents can relax close enough to Bourbon Street to feel a part of the action but still watch a baseball game on TV while sucking down a drink. It’s that last quality, the chaotic action surrounding “The Rose” that rarely chokes the bar itself that continues to draw me in.
So the next time that you’re wandering through the neon maze of Bourbon, thirsting for a respite from the crowds, stop in at the Erin Rose for a pint of Guinness. You’ll be glad that you stepped out of the lights and into the charm of old New Orleans.