Pompano's French Quarter Bar & Grill Offers a Taste of New Orleans
Here in sunny South Florida, we have the privilege of visiting the beach, with its white sands, surrounding palm trees, turquoise waters, and scantily-clad sunbathers every day of the year.
But sometimes (especially with the recent uncharacteristic cold!) even we need a change of scenery. This week, Night Watch scoped out a couple nightspot replicas of legendary party places. Think New Orleans and Key West too are too far to drive to for a few drinks? Get the same experience without racking up the mileage.
First stop: French Quarter Bar & Grill (2341 N Federal Hwy, Pompano Beach Call 954-781-5222, or visit frenchquarterbarandgrill.com).
The exterior walls of the quaint, reconstruction-era-structured French Quarter are beautifully adorned with a sunset-hued jazz mural. We passed through the doors, into the Old South-style restaurant/bar and grabbed a spot at a high, wooden table. Black and white photos of N'Awlins--the Mississippi River and plenty of Bourbon Street shots--festooned the walls; fake plants and street-style lanterns jazzed up the décor, and a collection of petite, pony-tailed blondes served up jambalaya and Bourbon milk punch to the visiting collection of Vieux Carre-lovers.
I grabbed a drink menu and checked the options--between the island-inspired drinks with names like "Tropical Storm" (not as strong as a Hurricane), "Voodoo Cherry Kiss Cosmo" (the only gris-gris you'll need) and "Cool Brees #9" (in honor of the New Orleans Saints' QB), there were enough fruit-tastic liquor options to wash down a meal of rice, red roasted potatoes, and sweet, sticky, cornbread.
Leaving my friend Beard to lick the plastic basket the cornbread came in, I approached the bar, with its token altar of liquor bottles and beer taps. The bar itself was reminiscent of a trolley station, with brass columned bars, a sizable cherry-wood awning, and a bunch of folks all packed together. A grey-haired gentleman leaned over to kiss his blond, slightly younger wife; single, middle-aged women talked raucously; and more than a few young ladies sipped Hurricanes, the French Quarter's signature drink. I finally pinned down bar manager Ashley, a blond in a prim flowered top and sparkly jewelry.
I found out that the owner himself was straight from N'Awlins; the place had only been open since December 14, 2008; it stays open until 2 AM; and Monday -- Friday happy hours boast plentiful 2-for-1s.
"We're really trying to develop the nightlife," Ashley said. "We want to play up the fact that it's a bar. We have live music on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and plenty of room to dance."
"Nice," I said. "What about for football fans?"
"Well, if the Saints go to the Super Bowl, there's going to be a big party," she said.
"Not the way they've been playing," I said bitterly. (Drew Brees was my Fantasy Football QB in the New Times league. He let me down in the first round of the playoffs.)
I beelined from Ashley to a trio of barely-legal kiddos huddled at a small table. Alex had chestnut hair, huge Bambi eyes and a velour sweatshirt; Ryan was compact and blonde; Victor was dark-haired in an oversized hoodie.
I pointed to Alex's drink: sticky-sweet, ruby-red, practically congealing before my very eyes. This was the infamous Hurricane, made famous by Pat O'Brien's in New Orleans and responsible for many a forgotten/regretted night.
"How's the drink?"
"Oh, it's good," Alex said. "No flavor is too overpowering; it all melds together very nicely." Well-said for a girl who looked barely out of high school.
"I've got the New Orleans tea," Victor said stoically. "On a scale of 1 to 10, it's an 8."
"So, any new year's resolutions?" I asked.
"Yes," said Ryan. "Continue drinking a lot."