Mid City is getting a fresh dousing of whiskey and fine cocktails with the impending opening of SideBar, brought to you by service industry vet Keith Magruder. Located close to courthouses, police headquarters, bail bondsmen, and the district attorney's office, not to mention LSU medical center, it's poised to become a potential new post-shift hangout for an eclectic group of drinkers.
For the cocktail menu, Magruder enlisted the help of mixologist Amanda Thomas, who currently hangs her hat at Kingfish in the Quarter. He explains that the drink selection will be whiskey-focused, but the menu "will hopefully have something for everyone" — including punches and a sippable tribute to Nick's Big Train Bar, a drinking institution on Tulane Ave. dating back to the 1960s that was wiped out by the storm. Many of the drinks are still being tweaked, but trial runs have included a concoction of single-malt scotch, Benedictine, egg white, lemon juice, and orange bitters called Sadistic Laughter; and one named for Thomas Holley (the inventor of the legal pad, and a fitting drink name for an establishment likely to be frequented by lawyers) with rye, dry curacao, grapefruit, and sage syrup.
There won't be any food served just yet — Magruder says that will be part of "phase two" for SideBar — but future offerings would likely include light bites like cheese and charcuterie plates, fresh oysters, and ceviche or crudo. (For now, there's always the ridiculously decadent strawberry and Nutella-stuffed beignet sandwich at The Big Cheezy right around the corner.)
SideBar is only planning to be open Monday through Friday to cater to the post-work crowds, though Magruder says he wouldn't hesitate to open weekends if the demand was there. He plans to begin regular hours at the bar on Monday, starting at 2 p.m.