Deep below the streets of New Orleans, the city’s newest bar is hidden. Double Dealer, an homage to the speakeasy type of bar of the Prohibition Era, is tucked under the famed Orpheum Theater at 129 Roosevelt Way. Here you will find a different kind of drinking and socialization experience. Named after a New Orleans literary journal from the 1920s, Double Dealer keeps a respect for history, while creating a social space for the modern era.
The space, which was originally used to hold animals for shows during the Vaudeville era, has been completely redone and converted into a place where anyone, whether they are attending a show at The Orpheum or not, can come an enjoy a craft cocktail in a space that has that little something extra.
Walking down the stairs and down the long ramp to the bar itself, you first think you might be in the wrong place. Once your trust your instincts, you are greeted with the wall of “house rules” reminding performers to return house props and costumes, and to raise a toast to Barry, the ghost said to haunt this space.
Upon entering the place itself, you’re welcomed with warm lighting and colors. The gorgeous bar is a nod to the art-deco period and a waitress brings you drink menus as soon as you sit down. On either side of the bar are “snugs”– booths where patrons can sit and drink, unbothered, away from the fray of the crowd. The velvet curtains, which can be pulled for more privacy, are actually repurposed vintage stage curtains, adding a touch of authenticity, as well as a nod of respect to the theater above. When in the snugs, a switch can be flipped that illuminates a red light, indicating to the bartender that you’re ready for another round.
If it’s even more privacy you seek, snugs positioned behind the bar are secluded and are perfect for late-night chats and trading secrets. In these special booths is a small window that opens to the bar. When you illuminate your light, your drink will be served to you through the window.
One of the most gorgeous parts of Double Dealer is what the managers have dubbed the “VIP Room.” The first thing you notice about it is the beautiful bar and the selection of liquor on hand. The walls are adorned with original painted stage canvas. There is a small seating area which includes a large sofa and chairs, which lends itself well to intimate conversations. No detail is ignored, and even old stage pulleys accent the light fixture which hangs overhead.
Just when you think you’ve seen everything that Double Dealer has to offer, you look closely at the custom infinity mirrors and realize they are actually hidden revolving doors that give way to the Green Room. This is the real heart of the bar where Double Dealer hosts performances. The stage is small and sized perfectly for acts of all kinds. The managers here see the Green Room as a conceptual event venue and plan to host shows here nightly. The room is also decorated with gorgeous vintage costumes from the Vaudeville era (size 6), which act as another wink at what this sacred venue used to hold.
The cocktails at Double Dealer are in a class by themselves. I was fortunate enough to sample a few and one of my favorites was Cables of Cobweb, a refreshing rum cocktail that was crisp and subtle. Another drink I found to be delicious was Blind Viking; made with Mezcal, Aperol, sweet vermouth and bitters, it had a smoky after taste and just enough bite. If classic cocktails are more your thing, Double Dealer offers tasty favorites such as the Old Fashioned, the Sidecar and the old standby the Daiquiri. Drinks are wonderfully priced and no cocktail is more than $12. Considering how well-crafted these drinks are (and how easily they go down), that’s quite the steal!
Double Dealer is available to host parties of all kinds and the goal of the managers is to create a place that encourages interaction and conversation. You can have a drink anywhere, but the Double Dealer is a full experience, which you won’t soon forget.