At SideBar (611 S. White St., 504-324-3838; www.sidebarnola.com), prosecutors rub elbows with defense attorneys, cops pop in for a nightcap and jurors shake off a long day of duty with a beer or two.
The new cocktail and whiskey bar from Keith Magruder sits across the street from the Orleans Parish Criminal District courthouse and is a stone's throw from the Orleans Parish District Attorney's offices, New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) headquarters and Orleans Parish Prison.
"What I gather, from being in the few courtrooms that I have, is that it's all business in the courtroom, but once they get out they're all friends, or at least acquaintances," Magruder says. "I've gotten defense attorneys, investigators, detectives, NOPD, sheriff's (deputies) — everyone's been over here."
Formerly home to a bar called Night Court, the space was vacant for years. Magruder, a service industry veteran who spent the past year working at Atchafalaya, lives in the neighborhood and says he was driving home one night and noticed the spot.
The craft cocktail list was developed with Amanda Thomas, a bartender at Kingfish restaurant. Several drinks reference the legal profession, including the Thomas Holley, named after the inventor of the legal pad. It's made with rye, dry curacao, fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice and sage syrup and is garnished with a sage leaf and a sea salt and sugar rim.
The bar stocks a healthy selection of Scotch, bourbon and rye. Magruder plans to add snacks and cold dishes by the end of the month, including cheese and charcuterie plates.
Sidebar is open Monday through Friday beginning at 3 p.m.