The team behind Quixotic Projects has been known for creative cocktail and restaurant concepts like Candelaria, Le Mary Celeste, and Hero — all of which are in Paris.
Today, the group opens its first spot outside of France, inside Maison de la Luz, a luxury guesthouse from Ace Atelier, the creative agency that runs the Ace Hotel brand.
Bar Marilou opens in the former law library of the old City Hall Annex at 544 Carondelet St. Hotel guests can enter through the hotel, and the bar’s main entrance is outside.
The team behind the new spot — Joshua Fontaine, Carina Soto Velasquez and Adam Tsou — said they decided on New Orleans for the first U.S.-based project after a series of trips to the city, including a visit to Tales of the Cocktail, the New Orleans-based cocktail conference that has built an international following.
The luxe lounge space, designed by Los Angeles-based design firm Studio Shamshiri, features bright red walls and bookshelves, towering ceilings and a custom-designed carpet, which Fontaine playfully describes as “leopard lightning,” that stretches across the yawning space.
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Tall bar stools upholstered with the same fabric surround the brightly decorated bar area, framed by smoked mirrors and bold-pattern floral wallpaper. The space can accommodate roughly 100 patrons and includes a secluded “speakeasy” tucked behind a bookcase door that seats 12.
The cocktail program is inspired by European aperitif culture as well New Orleans’ cocktail history and a rum-heavy spirits list draws much from the Caribbean. The list's 18 cocktails include low-alcohol drinks and large-format drinks for sharing and will feature two frozen concoctions. Cocktails include the The Holy Mountain, a light quaff that mixes Suze, Creme de Cassis and lemon shrub. The Sea, Sex and Sun is made with frozen rose, mezcal, agave, lime and absinthe salt. The Monarca is made with Oaxaca rum, mezcal, Martini Bitter Riserva and sweet vermouth.
The predominantly French wine list is heavy on natural and organic selections, and includes cheeky descriptors like “could drink while playing video games” or “the weird arty cousin of burgundy."
Chef Jonas Helgesson, who helms the kitchen at Le Marie Celeste, created the menu, which is designed to pair with Marilou's drinks. Dishes on the opening menu include pommes Marilou, which are fried potatoes served with crème fraiche and bowfin caviar. Salted cod fritters are served with ginger-scallion salsa. There also is foie gras, pork and chicken liver terrine with pickles, pistachios and dried figs, and a burger topped with cantal and tomme de brebis cheeses, pickled cucumber, lettuce and onion.
Bar Marilou will be open daily, with "Aperitif Hour" specials from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The bar is open from 4 p.m to midnight Sunday through Wednesday and from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.
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