Old Absinthe House
Photography by diffordsguide.com
240 Bourbon Street (corner Bienville St), French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana, 70130, United States
Tel: +1 504 523 3181
Website: View bar's website
Hours: Mon-Sun 9:30am-4am
Door: Open door
Style: Cafe bar
Recommended for: Fun/atmosphere, Historic interest
Price guide: Value
Food: Full menu
Built in 1806, this building was originally a warehouse then a corner shop but in 1815, the ground floor was converted into a saloon known as 'Aleix's Coffee House'. Here in 1874 Cayetano Ferrer created the Absinthe Frappé, which became so popular that in 1890 he christened the saloon 'The Absinthe Room'.
During Prohibition a Federal judge enforcing the Volstead Act ordered the saloon's contents to be sold at public auction. The original bar counter ended up at 400 Bourbon Street as the centre piece of The Absinthe House Bar but has now returned to No. 240, albeit in a back room. It's still worth a look for its authentic marble fountains and the brass faucets once used to drip cool water over sugar cubes into glasses of absinthe.
Business cards cover the walls, football helmets dangle from the exposed cypress beams and antique chandeliers hang over the old island bar. Absinth features heavily in the cocktails offered here but in our experience the quality of these drinks is poor. That sad we always end up drinking here.