Last Call: 45 Tchoup and the Legend of the Deuce
Atmosphere: Dark on the inside, a neighborhood bar through and through.
Drinks: Not overly pricey, features a Happy Hour that qualifies as a quarter of the day.
Clientele: Regulars and neighborhood types. Friendly to the last person.
Best Time to Go: Stumble over on Fridays after Tipintina’s Free Music Friday shows. Anytime “the Deuce” is tending bar, you are sure to enjoy your stay.
I’ll be honest, 45 Tchoup was never a place that interested me. Located near Tipintina’s Uptown, it always seemed like just another bar along that desolate stretch of Tchoupitoulas where no one ever seemed to go. I cannot place where this perception came from, it has always been there. Last week, this changed.
After a late lunch at Chef John Besh’s Domenica (a restaurant attached to the Roosevelt Hotel featuring a truly magnificent happy hour food and drink special), I, along with a gang of fellow cocktail-consuming compatriots, ventured onwards and upwards in the general direction home, near Tulane University. Taking Tchoupitoulas all the way from the quarter, we maintained constant chatter, although it could easily be misconstrued as bickering, about where our next destination should be. Upon passing Tip’s, Jamie, a dashing young fellow student, suggested 45 Tchoup as the best place to slake our growing thirst. Given that no other viable alternatives had presented themselves, we took a quick right on Valence and parked.
Walking into 45 Tchoup, the décor was just about what I expected. It was dark and moody. A few tables littered the floor while a smallish wooden bar housed a single bartender serving up drinks at a lackadaisical but steady pace. “Deuce,” our bartender for the evening welcomed us with a warm smile and a quick note on what the specials were for the evening. Featuring a happy hour from 2-8 pm daily, almost everything could be considered a “special,” but her recommendations were her own blueberry mojitos and martinis.
Never passing up the chance to try my most beloved of concoctions, my friend Robyn and I immediately asked for two blueberry martinis. Upon ordering, I believe her exact words were, “I’m just trying to stay healthy one alcoholic beverage at a time.” While I doubt that there was anything healthy about either of our two blueberry beverages (any antioxidants that may have been in the blueberries were surely denatured after meeting the gin), they were delicious. After lauding “Deuce’s” skills, Jamie (a man who is surprisingly quotable after a few jack and cokes) promptly stated, “Don’t doubt the Deuce!”
The drinks were stellar. Best of all, they cost a meager $3.50 a piece. The regular call drinks were only $2.50 and domestics were $2. A gentleman could walk into 45 Tchoup with nothing more than a Hamilton in his wallet and stumble out a perfectly happy man.
Perhaps the most pleasant aspect of 45 Tchoup and given the circumstances, most necessary, was the free grub that was set up in the bar for anyone’s consumption. One of the bartenders took it upon herself to treat all who entered 45 Tchoup’s doors to homemade pulled pork tacos with coleslaw dressing. I believe it was called “Mexican Tuesdays,” though martinis and memories do not always mix well. This treat fit perfectly with the discounted Mexican beer that was being offered and really filled the belly exceptionally well.
Having to leave 45 Tchoup due to work commitments and other similar excuses from our merry band was not something I enjoyed doing. The night was still young and I felt as though this bar had many more experiences to offer me if only I had stayed a bit longer. Nevertheless, it was departing time and I had to say farewell to 45 Tchoup hoping only that I could someday join that collective known as “regulars.” To boot, I even asked “Deuce” what it would take to be deemed such an exclusive member of the bar scene. Her response was as good as the evening had been: “Come three nights in a row, then we’ll talk about calling you a regular.” Thank you “Deuce,” I hope your words of wisdom never fail me.