Those looking to grab a late night snack or happy hour drink downtown have an attractive new option in the ritzy "gastro-lounge" Cellardoor (916 Lafayette St., 504-383-5583; www.cellardoornola.com).
The crumbling facade of the three-story teal building on Lafayette Street looks grand and otherworldly, as if one has stepped back in time to the Gilded Age to mingle with robber barons and Gibson girls. Located in what's known as the Swoop-Duggins House (built circa 1850 and included on the National Register of Historic Places), the restaurant's tall ceilings, ample courtyard seating and expansive collection of contemporary art in neon colors help the space bridge the gap between polished and punk.
The menu contains small plates with cross-cultural flair, including comically large shrimp chips featuring tiger prawns fried in a batter of bean sprouts, carrots and shredded potatoes, and the restaurant's take on elote, Mexican roasted corn off the cob with queso blanco, lime juice and spices.
The cocktail menu features a mix of modern inventions and classics that have undergone a bit of tinkering. The Drink of Laughter and Forgetting is a refreshing, bright summer cocktail made with Cynar, lime, demerara rum, green Chartreuse and Angostura bitters.
Cellardoor opens at 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Lunch service begins Aug. 5.