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Where to Drink Malort in New Orleans

Find Chicago’s hometown hero in these local bars

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When it comes to drinking, the city of Chicago may have many crowning achievements, but we’re still trying to figure out why it’s instigated a national cult-like following for Malort — the wormwood-based liqueur of Swedish origin that is arguably the most unsavory, palate-contorting spirit a drinker dares to down.

The most popular and recognizable version is Jeppson’s Malört, named after its Swedish immigrant creator Carl Jeppson, who came up with the concoction in 1930s Chicago. Sold as “medicinal alcohol”, it survived Prohibition and was the only legal wormwood product in America until the lift of the absinthe ban in 2008.

One thing is certain: it is unyielding in character as it is in flavor. Accordingly, New Orleans has embraced Malort with mouths wide open. Here are the New Orleans bars that serve the bold libation, drinker be warned.

Did we miss a bar that serves Malort? Email the tipline.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Verret's Lounge

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1738 Washington Ave
New Orleans, LA 70113
(504) 895-9640

Malort made its way to this Central City institution of the debauch when bartender Voddy got tired of having to answer the drunken inquiry of “what’s a strong shot I can have?” As a joke, he brought in a bottle one day to quell this necessity, and to his surprise and astonishment, has made fans out of many patrons. 

2. Roosevelt Hotel Bar

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116 Roosevelt Way
New Orleans, LA 70112
(504) 338-3892
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Don’t be confused by the name, even though it is attached to the prestigious Hotel — RHB is a well-known hang out for post-shift drinks for industry folks that work in the area. “I originally brought it in for my fellow Chicago bar buddies” shares bartender Roxanne Roberson. They in turn began inviting other patrons to join them in the merriment and now it’s one of the bar’s staples. 

3. Black Penny

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700 N Rampart St
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 304-4779
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This Rampart favorite is where they say bartender Giovanni Miano begun spreading the gospel of Malort some years back. Miano is the kind of bartender that hates these lists, and come to think of it, probably most of the patrons he’s poured Malort to since his quest began (always accompanied by a demand to down it with “pinkies up”). Regardless, if it weren’t for his steadfast dedication, the ardor in which it currently spreads through the city’s favorite watering holes would have died off long ago, and this map would not be a thing.

Black Penny on N. Rampart
Black Penny/Facebook

4. Erin Rose

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811 Conti St
New Orleans, LA 70112
(504) 522-3573
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Having been lauded by multiple institutions as one of the most important dive bars in the United States, a staple for locals and visitors alike, the Rose wouldn’t be the ever-welcoming joint it is reputed for being if it didn’t cater to all tastes. After sampling some Malort, cleanse the palate with a frozen Irish coffee or one of the famous Killer Po Boys from the back window. 

5. Backspace Bar & Kitchen

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139 Chartres St
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 322-2245
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For a while Malort was probably the best bet at this literary-influenced bar, but a change in management and new additions to the team have yielded a new cocktail menu that will make the visit worthwhile. No worries though; it seems it hasn’t shaken the days of yore just yet. Kitchen manager Daniel Warsaw has been experimenting with an in-house Malort hot sauce to go with his delicious bar grub, and for the nippy weather, bartender Waites Laseter likes to “spike Hot Toddies with Malort to give it some attitude.”

6. Compère Lapin

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535 Tchoupitoulas St
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 599-2119
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Malort seekers likely weren’t expecting to find a James Beard Award winning restaurant here — also winner of the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award for Best Hotel Bar this year — but alas, Malort discriminates none. The bar manager tends to hide the bottle so it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb amongst the hefty refined collection of spirits they carry. But trust us, we’ve seen the bottle with our very own eyes. 

The bar at Compère Lapin
Compere Lapin/Facebook

7. Longway Tavern

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719 Toulouse St
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 962-9696
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Unlike other craft cocktail establishments, Longway doesn’t take itself too seriously. The bottle is visible front and center, and the bar even offers a Malort shot special with a Slim Jim back (wink wink). The much-lauded food menu changed recently, but it still has the popular, luscious steak sandwich; just the sort of thing needed to bring that special down. 

A wood bar on the right is lined with blue-topped stools; a column of four booth lines the left wall
The bar at Longway Tavern
Katherine Kimball/Eater NOLA

8. Johnny White's Bar

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733 St Peter
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 281-4829

The unassuming dive bar in the heart of the French Quarter goes through about case a month, apparently. But fret not, sustainability practices have been put in use. Spot the vintage lamp by the door crafted out of one of the many empty bottles consumed since the bar’s popularity peaked amongst our city’s most classy. 

Johnny White’s Hole in the Wall on Bourbon Street
Johnny White’s Bar/Official Photo
515 St Philip St
New Orleans, LA 70116
(225) 614-6164

One of the qualifying characteristics of the spirit is that it feels like a punch in the mouth, and tastes like “heartbreak and disappointment.” Considering come Sundays MRB’s becomes the go-to hub for all kinds of football fans, Who Dats and imports alike, it seems appropriate to have it handy — especially for those Chicago Bears fans. They’ve probably been hitting it hard this season. 

10. The Abbey

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1123 Decatur St
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 523-7177

Similar to Malort, it has been said that the Lower D corridor is where hopes and dreams come to die. Many like to credit Chicago bartender Michael Polino for introducing his cultural staple into the fitting lifestyle of this 24-hour watering hole where night-walkers gather after the city has called it quits. The fan slogan “drink Malort, it’s easier than telling people you have nothing to live for” is akin to watching the sunrise from a barstool at the Abbey, so just embrace it. 

11. Lost Love Lounge

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2529 Dauphine St
New Orleans, LA 70117
(504) 949-2009
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Dark and divey and popular with locals, it’s easy to get lost at Lost Love Lounge, one of Eater’s favorite bars. It serves the classic, Jeppsen’s, and fear not: this Marigny corner bar also has a kitchen in the back that currently rotates between a Philly cheesesteak menu (called Brotherly Love) and hosting pop-ups twice a week that have recently included Indian, vegan, and barbecue.

A cut-out iron sign hanging from a telephone pole reads Lost Love Lounge
Lost Love Lounge
Lost Love Lounge/Facebook

1. Verret's Lounge

1738 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70113

Malort made its way to this Central City institution of the debauch when bartender Voddy got tired of having to answer the drunken inquiry of “what’s a strong shot I can have?” As a joke, he brought in a bottle one day to quell this necessity, and to his surprise and astonishment, has made fans out of many patrons. 

1738 Washington Ave
New Orleans, LA 70113

2. Roosevelt Hotel Bar

116 Roosevelt Way, New Orleans, LA 70112

Don’t be confused by the name, even though it is attached to the prestigious Hotel — RHB is a well-known hang out for post-shift drinks for industry folks that work in the area. “I originally brought it in for my fellow Chicago bar buddies” shares bartender Roxanne Roberson. They in turn began inviting other patrons to join them in the merriment and now it’s one of the bar’s staples. 

116 Roosevelt Way
New Orleans, LA 70112

3. Black Penny

700 N Rampart St, New Orleans, LA 70116
Black Penny on N. Rampart
Black Penny/Facebook

This Rampart favorite is where they say bartender Giovanni Miano begun spreading the gospel of Malort some years back. Miano is the kind of bartender that hates these lists, and come to think of it, probably most of the patrons he’s poured Malort to since his quest began (always accompanied by a demand to down it with “pinkies up”). Regardless, if it weren’t for his steadfast dedication, the ardor in which it currently spreads through the city’s favorite watering holes would have died off long ago, and this map would not be a thing.

700 N Rampart St
New Orleans, LA 70116

4. Erin Rose

811 Conti St, New Orleans, LA 70112

Having been lauded by multiple institutions as one of the most important dive bars in the United States, a staple for locals and visitors alike, the Rose wouldn’t be the ever-welcoming joint it is reputed for being if it didn’t cater to all tastes. After sampling some Malort, cleanse the palate with a frozen Irish coffee or one of the famous Killer Po Boys from the back window. 

811 Conti St
New Orleans, LA 70112

5. Backspace Bar & Kitchen

139 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130

For a while Malort was probably the best bet at this literary-influenced bar, but a change in management and new additions to the team have yielded a new cocktail menu that will make the visit worthwhile. No worries though; it seems it hasn’t shaken the days of yore just yet. Kitchen manager Daniel Warsaw has been experimenting with an in-house Malort hot sauce to go with his delicious bar grub, and for the nippy weather, bartender Waites Laseter likes to “spike Hot Toddies with Malort to give it some attitude.”

139 Chartres St
New Orleans, LA 70130

6. Compère Lapin

535 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70130
The bar at Compère Lapin
Compere Lapin/Facebook

Malort seekers likely weren’t expecting to find a James Beard Award winning restaurant here — also winner of the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award for Best Hotel Bar this year — but alas, Malort discriminates none. The bar manager tends to hide the bottle so it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb amongst the hefty refined collection of spirits they carry. But trust us, we’ve seen the bottle with our very own eyes. 

535 Tchoupitoulas St
New Orleans, LA 70130

7. Longway Tavern

719 Toulouse St, New Orleans, LA 70130
A wood bar on the right is lined with blue-topped stools; a column of four booth lines the left wall
The bar at Longway Tavern
Katherine Kimball/Eater NOLA

Unlike other craft cocktail establishments, Longway doesn’t take itself too seriously. The bottle is visible front and center, and the bar even offers a Malort shot special with a Slim Jim back (wink wink). The much-lauded food menu changed recently, but it still has the popular, luscious steak sandwich; just the sort of thing needed to bring that special down. 

719 Toulouse St
New Orleans, LA 70130

8. Johnny White's Bar

733 St Peter, New Orleans, LA 70116
Johnny White’s Hole in the Wall on Bourbon Street
Johnny White’s Bar/Official Photo

The unassuming dive bar in the heart of the French Quarter goes through about case a month, apparently. But fret not, sustainability practices have been put in use. Spot the vintage lamp by the door crafted out of one of the many empty bottles consumed since the bar’s popularity peaked amongst our city’s most classy. 

733 St Peter
New Orleans, LA 70116

9. MRB

515 St Philip St, New Orleans, LA 70116

One of the qualifying characteristics of the spirit is that it feels like a punch in the mouth, and tastes like “heartbreak and disappointment.” Considering come Sundays MRB’s becomes the go-to hub for all kinds of football fans, Who Dats and imports alike, it seems appropriate to have it handy — especially for those Chicago Bears fans. They’ve probably been hitting it hard this season. 

515 St Philip St
New Orleans, LA 70116

10. The Abbey

1123 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116

Similar to Malort, it has been said that the Lower D corridor is where hopes and dreams come to die. Many like to credit Chicago bartender Michael Polino for introducing his cultural staple into the fitting lifestyle of this 24-hour watering hole where night-walkers gather after the city has called it quits. The fan slogan “drink Malort, it’s easier than telling people you have nothing to live for” is akin to watching the sunrise from a barstool at the Abbey, so just embrace it. 

1123 Decatur St
New Orleans, LA 70116

11. Lost Love Lounge

2529 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70117
A cut-out iron sign hanging from a telephone pole reads Lost Love Lounge
Lost Love Lounge
Lost Love Lounge/Facebook

Dark and divey and popular with locals, it’s easy to get lost at Lost Love Lounge, one of Eater’s favorite bars. It serves the classic, Jeppsen’s, and fear not: this Marigny corner bar also has a kitchen in the back that currently rotates between a Philly cheesesteak menu (called Brotherly Love) and hosting pop-ups twice a week that have recently included Indian, vegan, and barbecue.

2529 Dauphine St
New Orleans, LA 70117

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