July 21st, 2010

When everyone else is at Tales


This year, I decided to skip the enlightening, invigorating and exhausting bit of debauchery known as Tales of the Cocktail, for which everyone in the drinks industry converges on New Orleans each July. I admit that it’s bittersweet to watch most of the city’s top bar workforce board planes heading south this week. And then there are all the Facebook and Twitter updates. “There were 40 of us on the flight — so fun!” “First round of Pimm’s Cups!” “I’m at a seminar on blending whiskey!” “About to board the Beefeater party bus!” “Dancing to Kermit Ruffins at Vaughan’s!” “Doing shots of Chartreuse at the Old Absinthe House!” “Running naked down Frenchmen Street!” “Woooooo!….Zzzzzz….”

No, really, I’m cool with my decision (sniff). Actually, I’m impressed that more Boston bar industry folk are attending Tales this year than ever before. This is not only good for New Orleans — Beantowners have an affinity for the place, and Tales tends to inspire return trips — but good for Boston as well. These men and women will be surrounded by a few thousand people who are truly passionate about their profession, and they will return charged up with ideas about how to make their good establishments even better.

In the meantime, if you, like me, are hanging around town this week wondering how to approximate the fun you’d be having if you were in New Orleans, here is a list of activities common during Tales, with their rough Boston equivalents.

  • A Sazerac served by prickly old pro Paul Gustings at Tujagues = A martini served by prickly old pro Reggie St. Paul at the Blue Room.
  • Well-crafted cocktails at a tasting room in the Hotel Monteleone = Well-crafted cocktails at Craigie on Main.
  • Kermit Ruffins’ jazz band at Vaughan’s = Jazz at Wally’s or a rock show in Central Square.
  • Beignets at Cafe du Monde = Pastry at Cafe Vittoria in the North End.
  • Fried chicken and Abita at Coop’s Place = Fried chicken and High Life at Trina’s Starlite Lounge.
  • Oyster po’ boy anywhere in NOLA = Oysters on the half shell anywhere in Boston.
  • The French 75 Bar at Arnaud’s = The bar at Locke-Ober.
  • A Vieux Carre at the Carousel Bar = A Vieux Carre in a flask on the Rose Kennedy Greenway Carousel.
  • A 4:00 a.m. party in a suite at the Monteleone = A 4:00 a.m. party on your friend’s porch in Somerville.

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12 Responses to “When everyone else is at Tales”

  1. robmarais

    Re the French 75 Bar at Antoine’s: If you’re looking for a fine French 75 in Boston, check out Sel de la Terre in Back Bay. Gruet (an excellent French-style bubbly from New Mexico) is used as the base, along with gin (instead of brandy, which some use). The best I’ve had in this town.

  2. MattS

    Oh the humanity….

    I’m still very jealous of the fun being had & disappointed to be missing out on the knowledge being shared 1st hand in Orleans.
    Next Year Baby, next year!

  3. ljclark

    Nice tip, robmarais. MattS, see you there next year!

  4. k.

    I notice there’s no substitute for the Napoleon House though!

  5. ljclark

    k., you are correct about that, sir.

  6. CJM

    And don’t forget the Worcester-ites that are there representing. My good friends and colleagues Dave and Kevin have been sending updates…I’m so jealous. Well, i know where I am going next summer for vacation. And vote for Dave while he is competing down there…




  7. jackson

    “A Vieux Carre in a flask on the Rose Kennedy Greenway Carousel…”

    LC, i’m back, anything left in that flask?

  8. Adam

    Vieux Carre in a flask! Perfect, and how very classy to boot!


    sorry LC… y’all know i love Boston…but there just ain’t no substitute for 6040s in NOLA itself 😉
    Thanks once again to everyone from Boston who first showed me the real NOLA & made me fall in love with it again & again year after year…

  10. ljclark

    Ditto that, Keeb.

  11. Count Hannah

    Umm…are your lot trying to hurt me heart?
    French 75 Bar is in Arnauds, not Antoines. Antoines, thought I love the restaurant, has a cantina called Hermes and just as the Restaurants shouldn’t be equally compared…niether should the bars (just sayin).
    That’s like saying Josie Packard, John Gertsen, Misty Kalkofen and Cali Platnum work at Locke-Ober…and that the shoe-makers who shake manhattans peddle their spirits at a tavern called Drink.
    Feelin me?

  12. ljclark

    Oopsie. No harm intended. Thanks for the correction! As for the comparison between the two bars… well, let’s just say it’s loose.

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