Situated slightly off the beaten path in the heart of New Orleans hides a surreal cabinet of fantasy and bountiful libations within Maison de la Luz – a recent facet of Atelier Ace (Ace Hotels). Harnessing the culture and history of the city itself, while injecting some of its own colorful influence, Bar Marilou serves French-inspired fare alongside unforgettable cocktails that are bound to have you rapt with delight.
OUR ARTICLEBY: Dakota Nate Contributing writer
Whether you find yourself trotting along the cobblestone streets of New Orleans for its vibrant history, the spirit tours, the beignets, or the whole kitten caboodle, you have to pause during your circuit and smell the roses at some point, right? NOLA is also famous for its cocktail culture, after all. Less than a mile from the historic French Quarter sits a small palace where bygone luxuries of the past and the stylistic integrity of the present blend together in true harmony with a deep, red ruby in its heart. Nestled within Maison de la Luz, Bar Marilou is only the second project in the United States by genre-bending and culture-blending Parisian hospitality group team Quixotic Projects, who brought projects like Candelaria, a colorful, authentic Mexican Taqueria, AND Glass, a Korean cocktail bar, to the streets of Paris. While this group is known for gracefully mixing and matching, you wouldn’t be surprised at the hall of juxtaposition that is Bar Marilou.
Like the crimson belly of a stylish and sophisticated beast, framed with rich, crown molding and floor-length curtains to match, Marilou holds a certain je ne sais quoi that reads a lot like if Marie Antoinette and David Lynch paired up to design a bar. Fringe, mixed velvet, and loud carpet (oh my) call for a surprisingly mellow atmosphere to share space and imbibe. Animal print accents and spiderleg light fixtures may seem like a clash on paper, but lounge-side, it’s all gravy, baby.
Classic meets contemporary, Marilou’s cocktail list stands out even against a backdrop of prolific mixology culture. Massively approachable frozen goodies like their blushing pink Femme Fatale cool you down with hints of strawberry and floral decadence, while Toyko Record melts the complexity of Japanese whisky with nutty sherry and hints of elderflower and vanilla. A refined beer list and fine French wines are posed at reasonable prices, while neat spirits by the pour are always encouraged. From our findings, it typically pays off to jump out of your comfort zone in The Big Easy.
A delightfully continental food menu offers a variety of caviar, charcuterie, and other French-inspired bar bites, with beverage pairing suggestions right on the page. Bar Marilou also boasts an Aperitif Hour every day from 4 pm-6 pm that entails a lengthy selection of giggle water meant to entice your palate, served over ice with fresh-cut fruit – in addition to bites like mussels and fried chickpeas to rev you up for your next leg of the evening. A pro-tip: Though it may not always be on the menu, if you’re looking for a nightcap, look no further for the best espresso martini you’d ever had the pleasure of sipping. We also would be remiss if we didn’t mention that if you have the pleasure of staying at Maison de la Luz, you are welcome to enjoy the exclusive, speakeasy-Esque lounge within Marilou where you can feel a part of your own secret society. You don’t need a hotel key to have a good time, however. Open every day of the week except Tuesday from 4 pm on, slip on your smoking jacket and your favorite loafers and sink into a dream at Bar Marilou. We dare you.