Monday, October 19, 2009

Refuge in the Quarter at Johnny White's

Johnny White's
733 St. Peter St., New Orleans [Map]
Total Spent: $? (It's difficult to say after my 10th beer.)
Post by Koshi

Not Just OK, Encouraged

In most bars on Bourbon Street you'll readily find a fine selection of cheap shitty beer, rancid well booze, drunk frat boys, and the ever-present smell of puke. You'll also find the latest and greatest digital jukebox bringing you, on demand, every cliché song about Bourbon Street at the tap of a screen (see post on digital jukeboxes). And while I love The Grateful Dead's "Truckin'," you need not hear it more than once to get your fill of it.

Johnny's Jukebox

Johnny White's is not most bars. It's a place to find Chartreuse and refuge from the Bourbon Street fray. It's coincidentally owned by a local guy from Hawaii and features an old school Local Motion sticker on the front door (to help you find it after that first night drinking til 6a). Not only is it free of the Bourbon Street riffraff, it is staffed with bartenders who will keep your beer full and have your back if you're about to be in a lot of trouble (not that we would be doing anything to get us in trouble, thanks Treg!). Keith and Paul aren't just friendly faces, they're local favorites among the other bartenders who surface there after shifts.

Sabbath vs. The Doors

Paul actually let us in on a few interesting bits about the life of a bartender in the Quarter. As a cash-driven town, it's no surprise that personal security can quickly become an issue for a bartender after 12 days of tips and pay during Mardi Gras. As a result, there are a good deal of "carrying" workers in the service industry. I suppose it's no surprise that New Orleans always tops the murder rate charts. Perhaps the danger lends itself to the authenticity, but it also just scares the crap out of me. I always felt safe at Johnny White's but am in no hurry to move to New Orleans.

Paul from Phila

Like the Zeitgeist here in SF, Johnny White's is not a bar you'd ever find yourself standing behind no matter how well you knew the bartender; and like the Zeitgeist, it's not just popular among locals, it's a staple in the Quarter and its jukebox is decidedly non-digital. Of course it's filled with the requisite staples including the Staple Singers, The Grateful Dead, The Doors, The Rolling Stones, and Led Zeppelin among others, but also contains a slew of bartender mixes, and a few obscurities like Richard Cheese. After four consecutive days here, it was no surprise to have heard everything from David Bowie to Vanessa Carlton. Somebody played Huey Lewis and the News at some point. Thankfully, Jess didn't have a gun.

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