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Friendly LGBT Bartenders in New Orleans Share Their Favorite Spots

Good Friends
Good Friends in the French Quarter is a neighborhood favorite. (Photo: Rebecca Tod)

New Orleans is known for its vibrant nightlife, with live music and a bar on nearly every corner. One thing you never have to worry about here is being thirsty. Each year, the city hosts Tales of the Cocktail, one of the world’s premier cocktail festivals, as well as several other food and drink events, like the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience and NOLA on Tap. Below, meet some of the friendly local LGBT bartenders who are sharing their favorite places to go, things to do, and why they love their city. Cheers!

Photo credit: Kat Sampson

Zach Hunt (700 Club)

Years as a bartender: 8+
Favorite drink to make: Vodka soda–Ha!
Favorite drink to drink: Like any man, the simpler the better!

What is your favorite thing about working at 700 Club?

I love going to work and seeing regular customers who have become my friends. We’re a locals gay bar that is inclusive of everyone and we are very lucky to have an amazing group of customers that come in once and continue to come back. I love hearing their stories while making our own.

What is the best part about the New Orleans LGBT nightlife scene?

If you go out by yourself, you won’t stay by yourself for long. We start conversations with our neighbors, we look up from our phones, and we engage with one another in a way that I don’t see often in many other cities.

Where are a few of your favorite places to hang out around town?

I’m a huge fan of neighborhood joints. If in the Marigny, I love grabbing a drink and seeing Karla at Friendly Bar, seeing Adam at Phoenix or seeing what delicious food my friend Ed has over at Paladar 511. I live Uptown so I enjoy walking over to Mayfair Lounge off of St. Charles, grabbing a margarita at Superior Bar & Grill (Happy Hour is from 3:30-6p.m.) and I’m a huge fan of comfort food so I regularly go to Joey K’s on Magazine.

Why is New Orleans such a great place for LGBT tourists?

Where else can you see and experience such an appreciation for life and the beauty that is constantly surrounding us? We have an abundance of cultural riches that are reflective of our city’s history that we can partake in – from our holiday festivities such as the Gay Easter Parade and Mardi Gras to celebrations such as Southern Decadence and the Red Dress Run. Everyone is welcome. You can go anywhere without feeling fear or hesitancy in being your true self.

Photo credit: Estevan Chavez/Instagram

Estevan Chavez (Kingfish)

Years as a bartender: 18-ish
Favorite drink to make: Old Fashioned
Favorite drink to drink: WhistlePig…neat!

What is your favorite thing about working at Kingfish?

I enjoy working in a bar that has a solid, cocktail list (bar program) but doesn’t exude a stuffy ambiance. I can be me, while still making great drinks!

Where are a few of your favorite places to hang out around the city and why?

When I have the schedule to enjoy the activities of a “day walker” I go to Sylvain or Doris. The Black Penny is my go-to spot for after-work drinking. And I hang out at Cafe Lafitte In Exile when I want to get into trouble. But the Erin Rose will always be my home bar. When I first came to New Orleans in 2007, it was where all my co-workers went. The vibe was chill, the people were great, and the bartenders remember your name.

Why is New Orleans such a great place for LGBT tourists?

Anything goes! It’s open to just about anything. Just look at our convention lineup. We’ve got teachers, doctors, lawyers, swingers, and many other groups that come here for the fun. You’re not LGBT, you’re just another visitor. And all you just gotta do is “Be Nice Or Leave.”

What is one signature New Orleans cocktail every tourist must try when they visit the city?

Just one?!? A hand grenade…everyone needs to make that mistake just once.

Photo credit: Mark David

Mark David (Oz)

Years as a bartender: 10
Favorite drink to make: I have a drink I’ve dubbed “Green Drink.”
Favorite drink to drink: Whisky with water.

What is your favorite thing about working at Oz?

The music is great and I get to wear (or not wear) whatever I want. Where else can I get paid to bop around half naked behind a bar? We always have fun events going on, like our Monday night karaoke party. I have gotten to meet people from all over the world and have also made some pretty awesome friends.

What is the best part about the New Orleans LGBT nightlife scene?

It never ends! Bars don’t have to close and the party can go on in the streets. There’s always something going on and the entertainment never ends. The drag scene in New Orleans is very diverse as well. There’s always an adventure to be had!

Where are a few of your favorite places to hang out around town?

I always like going to Good Friends and seeing my best friend, Tim behind the bar. I’m a huge fan of the pierogis at Siberia Lounge and the roast beef sandwich at 700 Club. I love just riding my bike around the city, especially through City Park. Window shopping for art down Royal Street is always fun too.

Why is New Orleans such a great place for LGBT tourists?

We have the 4th highest gay population per capita in the US. The population here is very inclusive and focused on community. I also like how people in this city are very chill and open-minded. No one cares about your socioeconomic status here, they just want to have a good time!

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