Aug 29, 2014

A night at the Kerry Irish Pub, New Orleans

In my previous blog post, I wrote about the Chart Room, a French Quarter dive bar which I love to go for day drinking.  Now, it’s time to look at another French Quarter dive bar which I love to visit for late night drinking – the Kerry Irish Pub.  And so it came to be that on the same Monday in late April that my friends and I started at the Chart Room, we finished at the Kerry. 

We were all fortunate to have gotten our second wind because we did not want to miss a chance to see good live, local music.  After all, we were in town specifically to check out local music during Jazz Fest After Dark, and the Kerry’s choice seemed as good as any – Kim Carson and the Real Deal. I had no idea who Kim Carson was prior to that evening, but she and her band left a lasting impression.  More on that in a bit. 

The Kerry is, obviously, equally suitable for day drinking, too, but every time I've been to the Kerry, they always seem much busier at night.  I’m sure that has a lot to do with the fact that they have live music every night, ranging from traditional Irish music to metal, punk, classic country and the occasional acoustic solo singer-songwriter, and I've never known them to charge a cover. 

The Kerry is very much an Irish bar with a local crowd (and sprinkle in a few knowledgeable tourists).  Of course, you’ll find Guinness on tap, and they know how to deliver a proper pour.  You’ll also find Murphy’s, a favorite of mine, and a good selection of Irish whiskeys. 

It almost feels wrong to come here and not have at least one Guinness and a Jameson shot or drink.  And on this night, several of my friends felt the same way.  I eventually branched out to a couple of Southern Comfort drinks for variety, but I had to pay homage to the bar’s Irish roots first. 

You’ll also notice the Kerry is decorated in the true dive bar traditions with a mish-mash of old photographs and memorabilia, as well as countless dollar bills pinned to the ceiling. But I wouldn't recommend trying to pull any down to pay for your drinks.  The bartenders seem a little surlier than the Chart Room, for example (maybe it’s a night shift phenomenon), but the drinks are always poured well.  And if the bathrooms weren't so darned hot and stuffy, the graffiti on their walls would keep you entertained for quite some time.  The Kerry’s regulars seem to be a creative bunch.    

The bar, naturally, was already lined with patrons by the time we arrived, so we settled along the rail on the opposite side.  Just past the bar, several tables of additional seating filled quickly while we were there.  The pool table had already been appropriately covered with plywood in anticipation of the night’s show.  

The back of the bar somehow holds a small stage where on this night Kim Carson and the Real Deal were getting ready to perform.

And it was one heck of a good performance!  Admittedly, my memory is a little fuzzy after so much time elapsing, but it was a fun set of classic country, rockabilly and country-rock originals, many with a New Orleans flair, with a few covers sprinkled in for the newbies like us (e.g., I seem to recall Creedence Clearwater Revival and Johnny Cash among the covers, if my memory is correct).  I think her website appropriately sums it up:   Honky Tonk plus Rockabilly equals Tonkabilly.  

You’ll find the Kerry at 331 Decatur Street, near the corner with Conti, in the French Quarter.  It’s actually less than a two-block walk from the Chart Room.  And, if you can’t get enough of dive bars nearby, walk a block toward Canal Street and check out Ryan’s Irish Pub, too (and try to sit on the saddle stool).    

No comments:

A commoner dines at Baumgartner’s Cheese Store and Tavern, Monroe, Wis.

I wasn’t sure a place existed that could be the perfect representation of Wisconsin life, but then I traveled through Monroe, Wis., one week...