They really don’t make ’em like Henry’s anymore, mainly because Henry’s Uptown Bar was made in 1900. Henry’s is the fourth oldest bar in New Orleans and the oldest outside of downtown. Opened by Irish immigrants James Lee and Margaret Tully Lee, Henry’s Uptown Bar has remained under family ownership since its inception.
While a few neighborhood bars in New Orleans decorate their walls with political memorabilia from past decades, Henry’s takes this practice to another level, and I have a particular fondness for their collection. The post announcing a rally for Earl K. Long always makes me smile. Like his older brother Huey, Earl Long was known for his political antics and insalubrious love life (he dated stripper Blaze Starr). He was governor twice, from 1948-52 and 1956-60, and he rankled many of the more conservative politicians, who attempted to oust him from office by declaring him mentally unfit to govern. Long savvily fired the director of all state mental hospitals, (which was in his power to do) and filled the position with a crony. He was then pronounced fit to remain.
Above Earl are portraits of Fats Domino (signed) and JFK (unsigned), holding equal prominence. Photos of the bar owners, their families, and patrons also pepper the walls, spanning the decades from the 1940s to the present. Requisite Saints paraphernalia abounds, and the Times-Picayune front page announcing their Super Bowl win hangs next to the Times-Picayune front page announcing the surrender of Germany in World War II. Interestingly, none of it feels haphazard or jumbled, and the room is not so full that you can’t enjoy scanning it for the next new surprise.
HENRY’S NEW ORLEANS Photo Gallery
Henry’s is full of regulars whose ages, like the newspaper covers on display, span the decades. Thirty-somethings sip house-made sangria next to ladies “of a certain age” sipping Taaka and soda. It’s a bar I would love to drink in with my mother; we would both feel equally at home. The drinks are cheap, the beers are cold, and the company is warm Afer all, their slogan is “Serving beer before you were born,” and they don’t appear to be stopping anytime soon.