Remembering Seven of Our Favorite Watering Holes on Bartender Appreciation Day

Heather sips her first hurricane at Pat O’Brien’s Bar in New Orleans. (Photo by Jathan Fink, Jadeworks Entertainment)

Happy Bartender Appreciation Day! Although we’re stuck at home in the midst of a pandemic, it’s a great day to meander down memory lane and remember all those great watering holes we’ve discovered over the years as we travelled from one coast to the other. Each one of them holds wonderful memories for us, always punctuated by yummy drinks and a bartender with a liberal pour. Read on to find out if your favorites made the list.

The Blind Lemon is a Cincinnati institution. (Photo courtesy The Blind Lemon/Facebook)

The Blind Lemon
936 Hatch Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 241-3885

When we think of The Blind Lemon, we remember sitting in the courtyard nursing our drinks on cool nights with fires blazing as we listened to live music and laughed with good friends. Located on historic Mt. Adams, it’s the perfect place to unwind on a Friday night under the stars. If you want to warm up, you can go inside and belly up to the bar. But we could usually be found wherever the music is, and they always seemed to bring in the best talent. They’ve been there for more than 60 years, so we hope to go back when we can travel again!

Los Ojos Restaurant and Saloon is the perfect place to finish a relaxing day in Jemez Springs. (Photo courtesy Los Ojos Restaurant and Saloon/Facebook)

Los Ojos Restaurant and Saloon
NM-4
Jemez Springs, NM 87025
(575) 829-3547

If you ever find yourself in New Mexico, you simply have to plan a stop in Jemez Springs. It’s a tiny little town, but definitely worth a visit. There you can explore the ruins at the Jemez Historic Site to learn a little history about the area, stay at the charming Canon del Rio Inn and Spa, or soak in the rustic tubs at the Jemez Springs Bath House. But whatever you do, you absolutely have to end the day at Los Ojos Restaurant and Saloon! When we go we always relax at the bath house first to release all those nasty toxins from our system. Then we get dressed, cross the road and dine on burgers as big as your face and the best (and biggest) margaritas we’ve ever seen. They are incredible. Just be glad everything is within walking distance after you imbibe!

The North Woods Inn never seems to change, and that’s exactly the way we like it. (Photo courtesy Clearman’s North Woods Inn, Covina/Facebook)

Clearman’s North Woods Inn
540 N Azusa Avenue
Covina, CA 91722
(626) 331-7444

Anytime we are in Southern California visiting friends, we inevitably seem to end up at the North Woods Inn. It’s been a family favorite for as long as I can remember, because the food is great, the portions are massive, and the drinks are delish. The service and the staff are incredibly friendly too, and every time we visit we’re made to feel like family. You can’t miss the restaurant either. It’s the one that looks like a lodge with snow on the roof, even on a day hot enough to hit the beach!

You can’t go wrong with Pat O’Brien’s signature rum cocktail, the Hurricane. Just eat first! (Photo courtesy Pat O’Brien’s/Facebook)

Pat O’Brien’s
718 St. Peter Street
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 525-4823

Pat O’Brien’s was the very first bar I ever went to in New Orleans back in 1993. I’d flown in for my buddy’s wedding and he and his wife took me there for hurricanes. No one told me just how potent they were, which is easily overlooked since they go down smooth and sweet. But I really should have eaten something before I tossed one back! I was feeling no pain, let me tell you. The next time I was there was when I took my own wife many years later (see main photo). We enjoyed a great meal first, then I introduced her to the hurricane and she loved it too. It truly is the best way to start your first NOLA experience!

Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar is the oldest structure used as a bar in the US. (Photo by Jathan Fink, Jadeworks Entertainment)

Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar
941 Bourbon Street
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 593-9761

It should come as no surprise that our other two favorite Louisiana bars are also located in New Orleans. After all, the city really is the party capital of the nation. When you visit, we highly recommend you take a history tour. In fact, take two, one during the day and one at night. While there are plenty to choose from, if you take the one that starts in front of the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum, your guide will most likely take you to Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar before the night is over. Built in 1722, it has survived decades of disasters, is reputed to be haunted (which the proprietors chalk up to legend and lore), and remains one of the most popular establishments in the French Quarter.

You can’t leave New Orleans without attending a jam session at Maison Bourbon. (Photo by Jathan Fink, Jadeworks Entertainment)

Maison Bourbon
641 Bourbon Street
New Orleans, LA 70112
(504) 522-8818

Our last stop in New Orleans is at Maison Bourbon, one of Bourbon Street’s oldest live jazz clubs. It’s been the launchpad for loads of famed musicians, including Harry Connick, Jr., so you never know who you’re going to hear here. The space is intimate, so the doors are often thrown open while the band jams, and you should expect to wait in line for a table, but it is definitely worth it. The drinks are good and the wait staff is on point. Just don’t try to film a performance. The musicians will call you out!

Located on historic Purchase Street in downtown New Bedford, Pour Farm Tavern has a great selection of craft beers. (Photo courtesy Pour Farm Tavern/Facebook)

Pour Farm Tavern
780 Purchase Street
New Bedford, MA 02740
(508) 990-1123

When we lived in New Bedford, Massachusetts, there was no shortage of great dining establishments to try. But one of the places I came to like most was Pour Farm Tavern. The bartenders were friendly, sandwiches like their Cubano and Beef Brisket Cheese Steak were out of this world, and they also offered a fantastic selection of craft beer, interesting art, and live music. It made for a cool place to meet friends after a hectic day spent working at the radio station and we always wound up meeting colorful local characters there too.

Now that’s seven of our favorite watering holes. What are some of yours? Tell us in the comments! We’re always on the lookout for great new places to try. Just be sure to tell us where they are located and what you like best about them.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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