the Cocktail issue

Old Metairie Cocktail Club by John Cruse

I have a standalone two-car garage that sets to the back of my lot. There are no cars in it; they wouldn’t fit. 19 years ago I converted the space into a shot-and-beer bar, a spot to watch football. I dubbed it the Pavilion.Over the years the Pavilion became more pub, less beer joint. There’s an L-shaped wooden bar that’s part relic from the old Jefferson Downs horse track in Kenner, part hired workmanship. I also added vintage décor and accoutrements from shops along the Highway 61 corridor between Baton Rouge and Natchez, Mississippi. My wife, Melissa, and I scoured these stores for vintage cocktail items and early 20 th  century items that would work as accents or even practical use.    Mine is a tight-knit neighborhood. We get together for barbecues,

crawfish boils and to watch football. Once a month, eleven of us gather in the Pavilion to “Contemplate, Debate, and Celebrate” a classic cocktail.  We’d dreamed up the idea of the Old Metairie Cocktail Club over Manhattans at a neighborhood barbecue Joe Messina was hosting. Another neighbor, Tommy Barbier, mentioned that he used to be a bartender. Our plan quickly unfolded from there. Our first meeting was less than auspicious, though. It was the Thursday night before Katrina. We wrote our mission statement, some bylaws, planned out membership, and drank a Pimm’s Cup. It would be awhile before our next meting.



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