Aptly located near the train tracks separating the Marigny from the Bywater, Junction was opened in 2015 by the same folks who own Molly’s at the Market in the French Quarter, a team that knows a thing or two about running a welcoming neighborhood bar. Railway prints and schedules adorn the walls, and the vibe is slightly railway depot, especially when the train passes and blows its horn. Junction features forty taps and specializes in Louisiana craft beers as well as those from breweries in Mississippi and Alabama. I love the beer menu at Junction: a plastic flip-chart with a graphic for each beer and a detailed explanation of its style and flavor. Though the focus here is on beer, the liquor selection, though small, offers enough choices to make a whiskey fan happy. Junction does a mean burger, as attested to by the steady stream of customers picking up to-go orders.
The bar fills up during their regular “Meet the Brewer” nights and when it screens classic flicks ranging from The Shining to King Creole. Also, I’m a total sucker for Junction’s walk-up window, where you can hang on the sidewalk with your smoker friends and never have to elbow your way to the bar to get a drink. Junction is a great spot for sampling Louisiana brews among locals. MARKEY’S BAR 640 Louisa St. • (504) 943-0785 www.faceblog. com/MarkeysBarNOLA HOURS 11 a.m-3 a.m. 7 days a week NO HAPPY HOUR
Originally a riverfront bar catering to dock workers (they opened at 6 a.m. and closed at 10 p.m), Markey’s transitioned to more traditional hours when the nearby wharves closed in the 1970s. It passed from Joe Markey, who opened it in 1947, to his son, Roy Markey Sr., who handed it to current owner, Roy Markey Jr. A good friend of mine, Steven Forster, told me a story about what Markey’s was like in the 1960s, when it still catered to the dockworkers crowd. Steven grew up in the neighborhood, and one day when he was about sixteen, he accompanied his father to Markey’s where he was meeting up with some friends. Steven stressed to me that his father was a very upright person who never cursed. Before they entered Markey’s, Steven’s dad turned to him and said, “You are going to hear the word ‘fuck’ in here.” And he sure did.
Not much has changed in that regard, though the clientele now features more baristas and artists and fewer blue-collar workers. Markey’s is Lee’s favorite neighborhood bar, and he has watched it change over the last eight years with interest. He approves of the added beer taps and the decent bar food but bemoans the absence of $2.50 High Life, no longer on draft but only available in a bottle.
For me, the bar feels much the same as it did when I moved to the Bywater in 2003. I usually run into someone I know, and the crowd feels full of locals. Tourists aren’t making the trek to Markey’s. Bar owner Roy agrees that Markey’s remains a true neighborhood bar. He told me that when the bar reopened after Katrina, people would leave notes taped to the building, letting friends know they were OK and seeking out loved ones whom they had not heard from In the aftermath of disaster, people came to a bar looking for each other. Markey’s still feels like a place where that could happen. It doesn’t get any more New Orleans than that.
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