COCKTAIL BAR AT WINDSOR COURT NEW ORLEANS

Kent Westmoreland at the Windsor Court Cocktail Bar

Every time I enter the lobby of the Windsor Court, I think, “Man, this place smells so good.” Then I see the tremendous floral arrangements placed around the room and think, “Wow, those flowers are gorgeous.” Then I remember I came here to drink. The Windsor Court Hotel is elegant and formal, every facet tasteful, considered, and intentional, an equally apt description for the drinks they serve at the Cocktail Bar. The Cocktail Bar is headed by Kurt Westmorland, who was named 2015’s Mixologist of the Year by New Orleans magazine and is singularly focused on creating the most perfect version of a cocktail that he can. His Vieux Carre is certainly a testament to that desire, as are his efforts to revive interest in some forgotten favorites such as the Queen’s Cousin and the Corpse Reviver 2. As the head mixologist of the Windsor Court, he oversees the cocktail programs of both the Polo Club and the Cocktail Bar.

The Polo Club, on the second floor of the hotel, is a wonderful lounge, all dark wood and overstuffed chairs, best enjoyed while sipping old, expensive Scotch. Though they don’t require jackets anymore, you might want to spruce up before grabbing a drink here, if only to match the surroundings. Anais St. John, a talented jazz chanteuse, performs there most weekends, and her silky, sultry voice is a perfect foil to the clubby English feel of the bar. It is a small, intimate, dim venue. In contrast, the Cocktail Bar, housed in the lobby, is open and spacious, and it doesn’t take much to start seeing the whole space as your bar. When the Polo Club fills up, which it often does on weekends, it can be hard to find a seat and even harder to visit above the din. You’ll have no such problems at the Cocktail Bar, where the entire lobby is at your disposal. Westmoreland has worked to transform the lobby bar from the Polo Club’s “frumpy little sister” into a spot that is as welcoming to locals getting off work as it is for visitors seeking a nightcap. Even if you aren’t a guest of the hotel, for a round or two, it feels like you are.

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