Literary bar opens in New Orleans French Quarter
by Lynn Lofton
Published: November 16,2012
Listen up book lovers who like to visit New Orleans. Here’s an idea whose time has come. This city of notable bars now has one for readers and it pays homage to literary tradition and history. It’s Backspace Bar & Kitchen, which opened Nov. 9, and is located at 139 Chartres in the French Quarter at the former site of Evelyn’s Place.
With Backspace Bar & Kitchen, local businessman Robert Watters is expanding his presence in the French Quarter and shifting his focus to the development of a traditional bar and grill that uses famous authors to frame the full-service bar with lunch specials from the kitchen.
“Backspace Bar is the product of a personal desire to highlight the New Orleans of the past,” Watters said. “The city has a long, colorful history with some of the greatest writers in the world. Many of these artists found their inspiration in comfy chairs, among friendly faces who served strong drinks. We are trying to bring that New Orleans back with Backspace.”
Two of the most famous writers who spent time in New Orleans were Mississippians William Faulkner and Tennessee Williams. These luminaries and other greats such as Ernest Hemingway and Truman Capote are spotlighted at Backspace. In addition to the traditional offerings of a full bar, this bar will serve specialty cocktails named for literary legends, such as the Hemingway Cuba Libre and the Truman Capote Orange Drink Screwdriver.
After fully restoring the historical building that Backspace occupies, Watters put in a new kitchen to serve a lunch menu of culinary classics to pair with the cocktail classics from the bar. Among the specials is a grown up grilled cheese with a blend of cheddar, Swiss and gruyere and the Whitman roast beef sandwich with fried oysters served on ciabatta with au jus.
Backspace will also have a cookie of the day, which customers can order anytime to go along with a glass of milk or an Irish coffee. Is that a James Joyce Irish coffee, we wonder? And which writer, pray tell, does the glass of milk honor? At any rate, it sounds like a fun place for readers wanting to soak up some New Orleans history while enjoying a good book, libations and a cookie or sandwich.
“Robert has gone out of his way to make sure folks coming in from out of town will feel comfortable and welcome,” said Watters’ spokesman Bryan Davis. “We invite everyone from Mississippi to come join us.”
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