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Why Hotel Monteleone’s Revolving Carousel Bar Makes Us Sing

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  Site Where: 214 Royal St. [map], New Orleans, LA, United States, 70130
May 11, 2012 at 11:49 AM | by | ()

Hotel Monteleone's Carousel Bar in one of it early incarnations, circa 1970

We’ve never denied our love for revolving restaurants, even in the face of risky business. But our love for revolving restos really extends to all things revolutionary at hotels, including bars (is there a better way to see all the liquor?). And our latest fixation took us to New Orleans where the Hotel Monteleone’s historic Carousel Bar and Lounge is now fresh as ever.

Earlier this year, the 63-year old Carousel Bar completed a huge renovation that basically blew out the dark and drab, and replaced it with fresh colors and updates, including a new pewter bar under a more brightly lit carousel top. It still rotates at a snails pace, but what are you gonna do? When drinking is involved, that seems just about the right speed.

The refreshed and forever rad Carousel Bar as seen more recently

The real sight to behold though is the addition of an entirely new and expansive lounge just beyond the Carousel Bar, a bright, euphoric pastel-meets-deep-color space where live, local music plays and giant windows hover one floor above the Royal Street action. Hotel Monteleone also added another bar inside the Carousel lounge, though this one is crescent-shaped and stationary – hardly a revolving bar and forever doomed the red-haired stepchild.

Peering out the windows there a few weeks ago, we couldn’t remember a time when we’d ever felt so close to the streets of the French Quarter and yet still so cool and swank (hardly the steamy NOLA street party we’d come to love). And then we were reminded we were sitting inside on posh, new lounge furniture under coffered ceilings and glass chandeliers, sipping cocktails and tapping our toes to some live R&B. The new lounge space beyond the Carousel Bar

Still, the best part about this entire renovation is that the spectacular kitsch of the Carousel bar -- it’s painted chairs, carnival art and lights, antique mirrors, and pure revolving delight – still remains, only now it’s surrounded by a big, modern lounge. If you visit, definitely start with a ride on the Carousel, then hop off to watch New Orleans from a cozy chair. Come May 23, you’ll also be able to stroll over to the new Criollo Restaurant for locally spun, Creole dishes.

Rates at the Hotel Monteleone currently start at $159 per night.

Photos: The Hotel Monteleone, Nina Kokotas Hahn

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