I’m in New Orleans spending a long weekend celebrating the old timers at the 9th edition of Ponderosa Stomp. I know the cost of drinking at House of Blues to be prohibitive so I come up with a plan where I’ll dash out between sets and hit some nearby bars where usury is not the business model.
Open since 1974, Chart Room straddles the divide between being a locals’ hangout as well as a tourists’ bar. It’s tricky territory but Chart Room appears to have settled in effortlessly in this strange land.
Far from an undiscovered gem, Chart Room has been recognized by Esquire magazine as being one of the top 100 bars in America.
Walking in on a recent Fall afternoon the sweet sounds of Chet Baker greet me as I approach the bar. The teevee is on but mercifully silent as some sport shenanigan or the other is happening.
A pint of High Life will set you back $1.50 at this haven for the working man. A well drink is $2.50. Even in New Orleans where prices are generally friendly for the ardent tippler this is a very attractive price point.
I step across the threshold taking care to avoid two gentleman up on ladders cleaning the rain gutters. Just as I settle in with my beverage one of the cleaners yells and comes down the ladder with a big fistful of cash that he’s found.
Some high roller was a few dollars short at the end of the evenings’ festivities the crowd agrees. Not sure how he managed to lose his money 8 feet up in the air but this being New Orleans and all….
Conversation begins to flow at the bar. One gentleman is outraged that bear baiting is still going on in Pakistan while another is excitedly discoursing on some rare red boudin he’s just scored.
Fall light courses in on a 60 year old who walks in in a Me First and the Gimme Gimme’s shirt yelling “Everyday’s a holiday”!
Dr John comes on the hi fi as a food delivery man wheels in carrying styrofoam cartons filled with red beans and rice, filling the air with the smell of smoked sausage and slow cooked kidney beans.
Just another afternoon at Chart Room I reckon.
300 Chartres St
New Orleans, Louisiana