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Bruno's Tavern: 75 Years 

click to enlarge Bruno's Tavern has welcomed thirsty patrons for 75 years.
  • Bruno's Tavern has welcomed thirsty patrons for 75 years.

Bruno's Tavern's signature Boudreaux Fries — a hodgepodge of sweet potato fries, blue cheese, sugared pecans, roast beef and golden raisins — sounds like a concoction only a pregnant woman with a serious craving could love. But manager Leslie Crossen says the fries are one of Bruno's most popular appetizers: "They're a very sweet and filling meal. Almost like a dessert."

  Other dishes at the Uptown sports bar (7538 Maple St., 861-7615; www.brunostavern.com), such as the Ponchatoula chicken salad, fried shrimp po-boy and Creole seasoned fries, seem geared toward the thrill-seeking palates of South Louisiana tailgaters. The mere description of the Flaming Bruno Burger is sweat-inducing: 8 ounces of beef dipped in Crystal hot sauce and piled with jalapenos and banana peppers.

  "It's funny to watch people eat [the Flaming Bruno Burger], because it has a bite," Crossen says. "Which is great for us, because they keep ordering more beer."

  Uptowners have been quaffing booze at Bruno's since 1934. This month marks the bar's 75th anniversary. During the week of September 14-19, patrons can celebrate with giveaways and music. Bruno's also recently launched a happy hour (5 p.m. to 8 p.m.) when all appetizers are half-price, and well drinks cost $2.

  While the bar may be a septuagenarian, its remains popular with diverse age groups.

  "We draw a younger crowd at night — law students, young professionals," says co-owner David Melius. "But we aren't just a crazy college hangout. We have regulars that have been here for 40, 50 years. This is a nice place to come, whether you're 18 or 80."

  Melius has worked to preserve the bar's heritage. When Bruno's changed locations in 2003, he salvaged the antique cypress doors and used them to build the bar front. So Bruno's is literally built on remnants of its past.

  "We've been doing this for 75 years," Melius says. "Hopefully, we'll do another 75."

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