The Carousel Bar in Hotel Monteleone is the only revolving bar in New Orleans. Decked out in classic merry-go-round fashion, it has been slowly spinning since 1949, and has long been a hotspot for locals and visitors, including plenty of A-list celebrities.
The 25 seats of the bar slowly rotate at one revolution every 15 minutes. The circus-style bar is pulled by a chain, driven by a one-quarter-horsepower motor, which smoothly turns the structure on 2,000 large steel rollers.
It might all sound thoroughly gimmicky, but this carnivalesque watering hole has more than enough class to offset the cheese. The likes of Vogue Living and Food & Wine have ranked it among their best bars in the world, and plenty of famous faces have given it their seal of approval over the decades.
Liberace used to perform at the hotel’s Swan Room nightclub and often hit the bar after a show, quite possibly being one of the only patrons to ever look more flashy than the bar itself. Other notable patrons have included Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, and Truman Capote. More recently, Michael Jordan and Dennis Quaid have been seen knocking back a drink while taking a spin on the carousel.
Bartenders at the Carousel have also invented two signature cocktails. There’s the Vieux Carré Cocktail, with equal parts rye whiskey, cognac, and sweet vermouth, and The Goody, a heady mix of dark rum, light rum, orgeat, pineapple juice, and orange juice.
Know Before You Go
The Carousel Bar is one of the most popular bars in the French Quarter, so be prepared to wait for a seat at the bar itself. Plenty of other stationary tables and chairs surround the carousel, so you should be able to find somewhere to sit while you wait. You do not have to be a guest at the hotel to drink at the bar, and there's no dress code. But feel free to dress like Liberace for the full effect.