Loa are divine spirits in the Vodou faith tradition, but it is spirit of space and spirits in the glass that make loa the destination watering hole for New Orleans’ more creative artists, entrepreneurs and hotel guests alike. On any given evening, the lush room sparkles with style, gracious service and a full measure of the conviviality for which this city is known.
This downtown New Orleans bar is led by nationally recognized “Spirit Handler” Alan Walter, an eccentric classics buff, playwright, songwriter and 1965 Bonneville driver. He brings a fresh approach to cocktails - a drink form that originated in New Orleans - and honors his craft with both invention and tradition. He finds local ingredients, such as honeycomb, herbs and native flora with the help of curious purveyors, among them a beekeeper, a foraging botanist and a leader of the Houma Nation. He makes dozens of syrups, tinctures and aromatic bitters on site. Each drink is served in a vintage glass from his personal collection. And, with local citrus, bamboo, clover, Spanish moss and catnip taking customers on a sensory journey, Walter's apothecary-like operation is, well, catnip to the senses - an extravagant taste of this place, New Orleans.
Likewise, spirit is evident in every detail of LM Pagano’s design: In the flickering glow of candlelight which "softens not only the features but the defenses." In the ruined finery and sophisticated bohemia of her fabrics. In the exotic mix of European romance, Caribbean ways and African influences. And in the enchanting ceiling-scape hand crafted by Armenian-born lighting-meister Peter Manukyan in his studio.
Central to our vision is a celebration of the ritual, romance, passion and Nature’s gifts found here. Inspired muses. Rebels with a cause. “Zebras of the same stripe.” Artisan wine makers.
Small batch distillers. Craft brewmasters. Boutique growers. Uncommon purveyors of exceptional ingredients. Even gifted furniture makers. We love simple products made exceptionally well by passionate people who care way more than normal people do.
Add the quote by William Faulkner which graces each go-cup at loa and you have a joyful haven stoked nightly by Walter with great care. It reads, “Civilization begins with distillation.”
Musings on WINE
We believe the artistry of wine is about stewardship of the land where the grapes are grown and lives lived. The best wines are not concocted by winemakers. They essentially produce themselves under the direction of the winemaker and by the grace of nature’s favorable circumstances. Wine that really tells a story reflects deep connection and belonging to a place. Such wine is most often produced by a smaller, family-run operation, passionate folks who care way more than normal people do. Less marketing. More mysticism. Artisan wine makers, in the spirit of the Italian Galileo Galilei when he suggested that wine is “sunlight held together by water.” Enjoy and remember, strangers are just people who have yet to raise a glass together.
Musings on COCKTAILS
Steeped, percolated, and distilled for 300 years and counting, New Orleans culture is a joyful one of ritual and romance, food and drink unlike any other place. This menu draws from our region’s natural bounty and, from Sicily to Senegal, Venice to Vietnam, Haiti and Havana, it employs coastal ingredients and stories from the marvelous mosaic of humanity flavoring this city in every way. Our aim is to share with you an authentic taste of place.