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Nick's Original Big Train Bar Is The Comeback Tulane Avenue Needs

Building plans go before the Planning Commission this week.

The rebuild for the potential upcoming Nick's Original Big Train Bar will look vastly different than the Nick's of yore, Ian McNulty reports, but that could be a very good thing for Tulane Avenue.

Owner Albert Kattine's grandfather Nick Castrogiovanni— a local bar legend known as the 'Italian man in Mid-City who will pour you a 32-layer cocktail'— ran the longtime landmark at 2400 Tulane (dating back to 1918) watching it go from a beer garden attached to his family's grocery to midcentury cocktail hub to a medical student hangout with a lengthy list of signature cocktails.

Now Kattine hopes to reinvent the landmark lost to Katrina flooding. The design plans & request for a conditional use permit go before the City Planning Commission tomorrow.

This would be all new construction as the lot is currently vacant:

  • A long bar "designed along the contours of the old Nick's"
  • Beer garden with a small stage
  • Kitchen & bar food
  • Coffee shop with drive-thru
  • Second floor for private events
  • Rooftop patio and bar

Della Hasselle also reports that eight off-street parking spaces are proposed, along with storm water management and some landscaping.

It's a comeback that could usher in a new era for Tulane Avenue, the street of dreams turned neglected thoroughfare that's been getting a new life thanks to a huge medical corridor,  a $10 million streetscape project including a neutral ground and bike lanes, and the addition of some new and established restaurants and bars investing in the Miracle Mile's return including Avery's Po' Boys, Namese, Treo, and the anticipated Pho Tau Bay.

What are your thoughts on Nick's comeback? Leave a comment and tell Eater what you think.