The official blog of American Veteran Magazine, the national quarterly publication of AMVETS.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Must-sees in the Big Easy: Pat O'Brien's

Bourbon Street may be a bit daunting to a first-timer in the French Quarter. However, there's one nook just off of Bourbon that every visitor to the Big Easy should experience: Pat O'Brien's.

Pat O'Brien's originally opened at the end of prohibition, when proprietor Pat O'Brien converted his small speakeasy on St. Peter Street into a legitimate bar. After a few short years, Pat O'Brien's outgrew its humble beginnings and moved up the block to its current location at 718 St. Peter Street.

Just off of Bourbon Street, Pat O'Brien's features a dueling piano bar, a patio lounge, and a main bar. The atmosphere hasn't changed much since its humble beginnings, with classic French Quarter archetecture dating back to the 1700s.

Each night, the piano bar offers live music and the players take requests. The patio bar, lined with palm trees and a mezmerizing fire foundation, is an oasis in the middle of a bustling French Quarter.

But it's not the atmosphere or the music that made Pat O'Brien's legendery. The bar, which now dominates the corner of Bourbon Street and St. Peter, is best known for its specialty drinks, like the world-famous Hurricane.

The original Hurricane was born out of necessity in the 1940s, when rum was plentiful, but other liquor was more difficult to come by. According to Pat O'Brien's, bar owners had to purchase 50 cases of rum at a time in order to purchase other kinds of liquor. Pat O'Brien's unique concoction created the drink visitors love today.

The Hurricane is not for the faint of heart, and contains roughly four ounces of rum per drink. At a modest price of $6 in the main bar, it's a small price to pay compared to other local watering holes, and it certainly won't let you down.

For a couple of dollars more, you can purchase a Hurricane in the signature glass, shaped like a hurricane lamp, that gave the drink its name.

Check back throughout the week for more "must-sees" in New Orleans. Tomorrow we'll highlight the Acme Oyster House on Iberville Street.

(Photos: Top: Pat O'Brien's sign over the main entrance on St. Peter Street. Bottom: Pat O'Brien's world famour Hurricane. Photo by Luis Jimenez.)

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