Leave it to a cocktail lounge to kick off a resurgence of food and entertainment. In this case, even its name — “Cure” — is apt. The opening of Cure in 2008 was the springboard for a Freret Street renaissance between Napoleon Avenue and Jefferson Avenue. Today, the area is home to numerous restaurants, galleries, shopping, live music, and yes, that cocktail lounge. Watch the video for all the ways you can indulge in Freret Street fun.
Video Transcript: Freret Street Fun
Fresh Johnson: Whether you’re looking for restaurants, galleries, shopping, music, or — New Orleans being New Orleans — one or two more restaurants just to be safe, Freret Street is the place to go!
Freret packs a lot of variety into just a few blocks, which gives it a character all its own but still gives you that New Orleans feel. You might want to grab some caffeine because we’ve got a lot to see.
Freret runs all through Uptown New Orleans, but the restaurant and entertainment district (from Napoleon to Jefferson [avenues]) is home to a busy commercial strip that’s definitely worth a visit. All of the activity here is actually pretty new. In 2008 when the cocktail lounge Cure first opened its doors, this was mostly a quiet residential area not quite back on its feet after Hurricane Katrina. Since then it’s had a real rebirth into this bustling corridor.
Michael Casey: There are many multi-generational families in this neighborhood that really kind of hold it together. In my opinion that makes whatever business is going to be here really focus on the community. And so we are much more local here: and when I say local I mean immediately local. All of my employees walk to work. Most of the employees at the other restaurants walk or bike to work.
Jones: Good neighborhood, good neighbors. Everybody’s so friendly. It’s always … Freret’s always been like that.
Johnson: Mealtimes on Freret, you’ve got a lot of options. But for a quick lunch you can’t beat Freret Street Poboy & Donut Shop. As you can imagine, they make Poboys and Donuts, but you can also get so many of the New Orleans classics here from gumbo to red beans and rice.
About 8 blocks long, Freret Street is totally walkable – and that’s very important after meals like that. You can stroll up and down, taking in all the strip has to offer: Bloomin’ Deals is a thrift store with a charitable mission. There’s beauty salons, there’s a bike shop, and a little bit of everything in between.
And that makes it just about time for happy hour. Cure was one of the first new businesses on the strip and it’s still a very necessary stop. One of the top rated bars in the country, their cocktails are unmissable. From unique originals to timeless classics, the daily happy hour is a great time to try them all. Of course, happy hour at Wayfare down the street is no joke either. And Bar Frances gives the serious wine drinkers out there an option of their own.
When it comes to dinner time, you’re going to need more than a day to work your way through Freret Street.
Casey: Some people are a little more hip … a little more New Orleansy gritty, like Dat Dog, but some of them are super refined. It all kind of meshes together and everyone’s really focused on high end food served in a really kind of relaxed atmosphere. Honestly, that’s why I call it Uptown’s food court, really.
Jones: It’s real nice to go up and down the street at nighttime and all that jazz. And have a real nice time.
Johnson: There’s Southern Cuisine, Tacos, Sushi, Sandwiches, Woodfired Pizza and Deepdish Pizza: basically anything and everything your heart could desire. But there are a few places I’ve got to single out: like The Company Burger, which is pretty consistently called the best burger in the city. And watching Ancora’s pizza come out of their mosaic-covered oven is definitely a mouthwatering experience.
After a delicious plate of food, music is definitely on the menu. And GasaGasa is a great place to hear some on Freret. They host local and touring groups from all genres in this slick venue pretty much every night of the week. And if tonight’s gig isn’t for you, try The Other Bar just up the street. There’s loads of beers and cocktails to choose from, and who’s going to argue with a free game of skeeball?
Beyond the restaurants and shops, Freret Street offers a monthly farmer’s market and an annual street festival. A day on Freret means getting to know an alternative to the famous French Quarter spots. It’s a self-contained community with a variety of things to offer. Wrapping up another episode of GoNOLA TV, I’m Fresh Johnson. Later!