Owner and tiki archaeologist Jeff “Beachbum” Berry spent the better part of three decades researching early tiki drinks—he’s noted for unearthing the once-thought-lost recipe for zombies (dating back to 1934). He’s also the author of eight books about tiki drinks and culture, and he and his wife set down roots in New Orleans a few years ago to share some potable history with guests. Latitude 29 is more austere and understated than the original Polynesian pop palaces, but the drinks are every bit as elaborate. Sample faithful re-creations like that original zombie—or maybe a mai tai or a Navy Grog. He’s also got a smattering of delicious originals, crafted using nontraditional spirits like bourbon and vodka. The food provides welcome ballast—the pork ribs and dumpling burger rarely fail to satisfy.
An authentic tiki bar for rum cocktails and more
Who doesn’t love a good tiki bar? A recent addition to the Big Easy’s bar scene, Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29 is located inside the Bienville House Hotel in the French Quarter, with a direct entrance on North Peters Street. I found the bar to be quite out of place with this elegant boutique hotel since the building itself is a centuries-old French manor house, and reputedly haunted at that. The last thing I expected upon walking inside was to be “transported” to Polynesia! But the bar was brimming with kitschy atmosphere and after a few sips of its namesake drink, the Latitude 29, I was fully immersed in a tropical lull. The food and drink menus offer up concoctions for both the timid and the adventurous. Rum barrel anyone?