A Night on Freret Street
Photo courtesy of Cure NOLA on Facebook
Once a sleepy neighborhood thoroughfare bordering Tulane University, Freret Street has undergone a revival over the past ten years, becoming a food and entertainment destination in its own right. From Japanese to Southern soul food, there’s a cuisine for almost everyone–and Freret Street is only two blocks from the Alder Hotel. Another plus? Freret’s Uptown location means it attracts a smaller, more local crowd–which equals shorter waits at excellent, off-the-beaten-path bars and eateries.
The Rook Cafe (4516 Freret Street)
Looking for a quiet locals’ hangout with vegan pastries, locally roasted coffee, free wi-fi and a vibe that encourages you to settle in for a few hours with a game of chess or a good book? The Rook is the place. The cozy coffee shop also hosts frequent gamers’ nights and pop-ups.
Cure (4905 Freret Street)
The owners of Cure were at the forefront of Freret Street’s revitalization when they opened this chic craft cocktail bar in 2009. Located in a 1903 fire station, Cure is sleek, dimly lit and filled with stylish nine-to-fivers, especially during its happy hour from 5-7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 3- 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday. The Washington Post, Eater, The New York Times, Travel + Leisure and many other publications have listed Cure among their picks for top U.S. bars. Get a classic or custom craft cocktail, a cheese plate, and enjoy both on a leafy, secluded patio to start the night.
High Hat Cafe (4500 Freret Street)
Part old-fashioned diner, part neighborhood bar and part Deep South food destination, High Hat Cafe is a great place to grab a plate of fried catfish, a bowl of chicken and andouille gumbo or a shrimp po-boy. Huge glass windows offer a prime opportunity to people-watch while eating a slice of house-made pie, which is considered among New Orleans’ best by Eater magazine. (Save room for a snack at the next Freret Street destination.)
Piccolo Gelateria (4525 Freret Street)
This husband-and-wife dessert stop offers crepes, piadina flatbread and coffee, but the menu’s standout (and the restaurant’s focus) is small-batch, handcrafted Italian gelato. Made without preservatives or artificial ingredients, the dense, creamy frozen dessert comes in classic and experimental flavors including bananas Foster, caramelized fig and pistachio.
Gasa Gasa (4920 Freret Street)
You’ll know you’ve arrived at this hip music venue when you see the psychedelic, black-and-white mural by Berlin graffiti artist MTO outside. Take a quick Instagram photo before heading inside to check out a show. Depending on the night, local or touring musical acts, comedy shows, burlesque performances or movie screenings may be on the roster. The patio is a comfortable place to relax with a beer, and if a hunger pang strikes, a food truck is never far away.
If you’re at the Alder Hotel on the first Saturday of the month, do yourself a favor and check out the Freret Market from noon to 5 p.m. Located at the intersection of Freret Street and Napoleon Avenue, the art market offers crafts, soaps, jewelry, food and other items handmade by local artisans. It’s a great place to pick up a souvenir. Note: The market shuts down during hot summer months (July and August).