“I worked at Twelve Mile Limit and Coquette, and this is a very different clientele [here at Bakery Bar]. We get a lot of women between 30 and 50. We’re not the mustache-twirliest bar in town. I try my best not to cover the cocktail menu in Italian words that no one’s heard before. Even as a professional I can sometimes order a drink off a menu and say, ‘I think I know what that’s going to taste like,’ but then I get surprised. And if I get surprised—what’s going to happen to people who don’t even know what those words mean? So we try and be approachable. We’re not using black sea salt here, and we don’t pour amaros into everything.
We serve doberge cake here, a traditional New Orleans birthday cake. All of them are by Debbie Does Doberge, which has been around for years, but they never had a storefront until now. Since we’re a cake bar, we get a lot of birthday parties and engagements. We’re here for celebrations, but also if you want to come have just a drink or dessert after dinner. You know how you have dinner at a place and then just really need to go? Maybe you want dessert, but you just don’t want to sit anymore. So you get up, stretch your legs and come here. You could go to an ice cream bar, of course—but if you want an adult beverage, this is the place.
Lionel Robinson—I basically just discovered this song because I picked up a New Orleans soul collection by Soul Jazz Records and it had this whole history in it about the New Orleans recording industry at the time, about Cosimo Matassa’s studio, stuff like that. Basically, Lionel Robinson recorded just this song and an instrumental version. And that’s about it. But listening to it—this is like the catchiest song in the world! It describes a moment that a lot of people have in New Orleans when you’re getting ready to go out for a big night or Mardi Gras or whatever and you get dressed, get your costume on and you’re like, ‘Alright! I’m feeling it. Let’s go!’ It really captures that kind of mental swagger you can have sometimes. ‘My costume looks great. I feel great. Let’s get nuts.’
It also reminds me a lot of my favorite Ernie K-Doe song, ‘Here Come the Girls.’ To me, it doesn’t sound like something that’s 60 or 70 years old. This sounds modern—Bruno Mars could sing this song, and it has innocence to it too. It’s about a guy who’s really feeling himself as he’s going out to party.
Mirroring that purpose, this cocktail matches coffee with bourbon for a drink that should pep you up for the start of a big night. This is a drink that’s going to make you feel more energized. In my mind, this is the drink Lionel Robinson has in his hand.”