Mid -City played an important role in the city’s creation. One of its most defining features is Bayou St. John, and today you can find folks paddling kayaks down its shallow waters or strolling along its banks with cocktails in hand. But back in the eighteenth century, it was an important waterway for Native Americans who used it to access other aquatic arteries throughout the southern part of what is now Louisiana. Though the Bayou did not adjoin the Mississippi River, it was near enough that natives could pick up their canoes and carry them to the river to trade on a larger scale. This path, called a portage in French, was shown to the French explorers who saw the possibilities it created and decided to build their new city at the junction of the road and the Mississippi River. This pathway, now called Bayou Road, connects with Esplanade Avenue and ultimately the French Quarter. It’s why the first Louisiana governor’s house, the Pitot House, was built along the bayou. Now seemingly far from the action of the city, back then this house lay in the thick of trade. The other dominant feature of Mid-City is City Park, laid out by Frederick Law Olmsted, the man responsible for New York’s Central Park. Its 1,300-plus verdant acres merit a trip and offer a natural green escape from bustling downtown.
Mid-City’s vibe today reflects its slight distance from downtown, and many of its restaurants and bars are low-key, relaxed neighborhood establishments that cater to a local clientele.
BAYOU BEER GARDEN
Located on opposite sides of the same block, the Bayou Beer Garden and Bayou Wine Garden are technically two different bars. However, a wonderful courtyard connects them, and between the two they offer something for every kind of drinker. From the Jefferson Davis side of the block, you will find the Bayou Beer Garden. The bar boasts a robust selection of local, regional and national craft brews on a rotating list of taps. While the inside is a convivial space, don’t neglect the outside. If it’s sunny, grab a chair in the shade on the covered section of the massive deck. Or, in cooler weather, move to the exterior section of the deck and soak up some Vitamin D with your brew. The beer garden’s many tables accommodate large groups, but the patio itself is so big that even when it’s crowded, you never feel like you’re joining someone else’s party.
Just a portion of the large outdoor seating at Bayou Beer and Wine Gardens
Beer not your thing? No worry, just keep walking through the back of the beer garden into the newly added wine garden, where you can choose a glass from over 150 wines, many on tap. The patio wine bar usually has twelve wines on tap with more available inside the wine bar. While the beer garden mostly serves pub-style fare, the wine bar serves more posh items like meats cured in-house and cheese plates. This end of the patio is also a little more upscale. Expansive awnings shade patrons, and a handsome brick fountain offers additional seating while serving as a decorative water feature.
If rain comes, as it often does in New Orleans, you can escape to the lovely wine bar adjacent to the patio.
There’s the old saying that you can’t be everything to everyone, but I gotta tell ya, the Bayou Beer/Wine Garden empire comes close. You can happily drink inside or out. You can bring your dog. If you plan your drinking accordingly, it’s not expensive. It’s the kind of place where you go for a round and before you know it, day has turned to night.
Mid-City Bar of NEW ORLEANS Photo Gallery
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