I’d never seen a bar offering “Cocktails, barbecue, cupcakes, and good times” before, which is a real shame, because that’s a food pyramid pretty well guaranteed to keep me as content as a beloved pet bunny. (Well, plus ice cream. I love ice cream.) But then I stumbled upon Mid-City’s Twelve-Mile Limit. Off the beaten track, you can’t enter its nondescript building unless someone buzzes you in, giving it a sometimes sketchy, sometimes speakeasy feel. Owner T. Cole Newton, formerly of upscale Coquette, neatly explains such contradictions, which infuse Twelve-Mile: “I like high-end bartending, but I don’t like hanging out in high-end bars.” A-MEN.
I’m the kinda girl who wants to drink beer with her uncles, cocktails with her girlfriends and shots with strangers and wanderers. Twelve-Mile Limit gets that. It’s a dive bar with crafted cocktails, a neighborhood joint where cupcakes and barbecue cohabit, cocktail ingredients range from branca menta to hot sauce, and elegant purple wallpaper surrounds a well-loved pool table and one of the best jukeboxes in town.
Their cocktails, averaging $6, delight my student’s soul and my liver, as some of the cheapest and best in town. I wholeheartedly agree, it was indeed a “Great Idea” to combine vodka, zwak bitters, lemon and ginger beer: it’s light, tart, and hits you like a happy avalanche twenty minutes later, by which time you’ve already ordered your next off the chalkboard. For me next will probably be the Praying Mantis (rum agriole, branca menta, almond syrup, and lime), although I’ve promised The Baudin (bourbon, honey, lemon and hot sauce) a rendezvous shortly.
With half-hearted apologies to vegetarians, the truth is some God out there back in The Day said “Let There Be Meat With Alcohol, and It Will Be Good.” Twelve-Mile Limit remembers this decree. It also offers some of New Orleans’ best barbecue and let me tell you, as a Texan, I don’t say that lightly. I get fussed about barbecue, and Twelve-Mile Limit has the real deal. Dallas barbecue cook Tom Shortall, who runs the kitchen, understands meat is like love, something to be caressed and tended long and slow. In addition to pork or beef sliders, I rejoice in his cheese-stuffed, grilled jalapeno rockets wrapped in bacon. And I always check daily cupcake specials from Debbie Does Doberge. Personal favorite? Thirteen-layer, chocolate-covered Thin Mint, which would have Girl Scouts breaking all sorts of badge laws for a bite.
So hunker down, stuff your face with barbeque, cupcakes and cocktails and enjoy this unassuming New Orleans establishment of five star quality.