magazine | Food & Drinks | New Restaurant Openings
It’s Joie de Vivre at This Totally Chic New French Bar in NOLA
Erica Nichols
byErica Nichols

When it comes to bucket list spots in New Orleans, the Big Easy has no shortage of can’t-miss restaurants, bars, stays and sights to scour. Newest on the block is Bar Marilou, a collaborative project between Parisian hospitality group Quixotic Projects and boutique hotel Maison de la Luz. A French-inspired sanctuary for craft cocktails and light bites, the bar is an artsy and eclectic hangout that encourages its visitors to relax, converse and watch the night go by. We’ve got all the details you need to know, including what’s behind that secret bookcase door.

Photography: Stephen Kent Johnson

First Impressions

Before you step foot inside, Bar Marilou makes a statement outdoors with lush plants, iron gates and the bar’s nom de plume lit in pink neon letters. Once inside, you’ll enter into a scarlet dream inspired by the lavishly-decorated French salons of years part. Housed in the former library of City Hall Annex, Bar Marilou carries a stylishly unique ambiance with book-lined walls, eccentric accent decor and regal, romantic details. When it comes to date night, there’s no better lounge to spend the evening. But Bar Marilou also impresses with a secluded, private speakeasy hidden behind a bookcase door. The exclusive hideout seats 12 for when you’re celebrating something special.

Photography: Stephen Kent Johnson

What to Order

Marilou's menu incorporates the very best of French and New Orleans cultures for an experience that feels effortless and positively Parisian. Craft cocktails are the main feature here as a love story to New Orleans’s long and legendary history in the cocktail scene. On the menu you’ll find thoughtfully curated sips like “The Holy Mountain,” which is Suze, Creme de Cassis and lemon shrub, along with the “Monarca” made with Oaxaca rum, mezcal and sweet vermouth. Order up a cocktail or two for yourself, or look over their larger libations which are meant for sharing, along with a selection of natural wines and craft beers to satisfy everyone in the group. To nosh, the bar offers seasonal small plates rich in flavor and French flair.

Photography: Rush Jagoe

Maison de la Luz

Bar Marilou is just a taste of the joie de vivre you’ll experience as a guest at Maison de la Luz. The luxury guest house from creative agency Atelier Ace transports guests into an eclectic and elegant world of southern reverie you can only find in New Orleans. There are 67 boutique rooms on site, and guests can enjoy exclusive perks, like a private entrance to Bar Marilou from the hotel’s reception area.

Photography: Rush Jagoe

Get the full guide to New Orleans from a local →

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