French Quarter residents have a shiny new neighborhood bar with the arrival of The Black Penny (700 N. Rampart St.). Located in the former home of The Ninth Circle (a dive bar known for thumping techno music), The Black Penny space was renovated by project partners Bert West, a former manager of Erin Rose (811 Conti St., 504-522-3573; www.erinrosebar.com), and Ed Diaz, owner of Bar Tonique (820 N. Rampart St., 504-324-6045; www.bartonique.com).
"We completely gutted the space and spent months working on it," West says. "The only thing that we left in tact was the bar. We exposed the beams and brick, fixed all the plumbing. When people from the neighborhood walk in now, they're excited."
The Black Penny is still developing its menu and will focus on simple cocktails and beers. Currently, it offers 42 craft beers — all in cans — and has set a goal of 50.
"We want it to be a casual place for the neighborhood," West says.
The bar is open from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. daily.