The corner bar across from Touro Infirmary has a different vibe since owner-operator Peter Syverson took over in July 2012. The Prytania Bar (3445 Prytania St., 504-891-5773; www.theprytaniabar.-com) had former incarnations as Cafe Banquette and then Cafe Prytania, which catered to a college crowd. Now the bar draws a more local and diverse set of regulars and music lovers who want to see a good show.
"Prytania Bar is closer for most Uptowners compared to Magazine Street bars and our prices are better, so we'd like to be the place for the locals who'd rather walk or bike over," Syverson says.
Originally from the suburbs of Washington, D.C., Syverson moved to New Orleans to pursue a master of fine arts degree in creative writing. He managed Cafe Rani on Magazine Street before he got the opportunity to open his own bar. He jumped at the challenge.
"We've been working very hard to curate a clientele," Syverson says. "We have nurses and doctors from Touro, lawyers, construction workers, waiters and other bartenders."
The 360-degree bar, which has seating for 40, has expanded its operations into a music venue with performances by local rock, jazz, hip-hop and brass bands on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. "Our venue can hold 200-plus so it's great for intimate shows," Syverson says.
During Carnival, the bar hosted Rebirth Brass Band, Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes, Happy Talk Band and Katey Red. Free happy hour shows by Billy Franklin and Tri-Fi are offered on Thursdays, and Fridays feature the John Dobry Group.
Milk Bar, the restaurant that shares the building with the Prytania Bar, offers its menu to bar patrons. On Sundays, the bar hosts a free brunch at noon. "We've done breakfast tacos, biscuits and gravy, and shrimp and grits," Syverson says. The Prytania Bar's Facebook (www.facebook.com/theprytaniabar) and Twitter (@theprytaniabar) accounts keep customers posted regarding free food and crawfish boils.
The taps feature local craft beers, as well as seasonal beers from NOLA Brewing and Abita Brewery. Regulars appreciate the $2 High Life, Rolling Rock and PBR and the weekday happy hour.
Syverson seeks to provide customers with a clean bar and affordable drinks served by a friendly staff. He also offers offer something for everyone. Gay happy hour is 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays, Tuesday is dart league night, and Wednesday is trivia night.
"Prytania strives to be your local bar," Syverson says. "If you want a cold beer or a good bourbon served to you by a fun bartender who can tell a funny story, we're the place for you."