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Pandemic Loophole: Some Local Bars Remain Open by Operating as Restaurants

10:00 July 22, 2020
By: Clara Lacey

While the state ordered Louisiana bars to close last week in response to recent spikes in COVID-19 cases across the state, some bars remain open and are now operating as restaurants. State licenses, known as "restaurant conditional permits," allow these bars to operate as restaurants, having table service only and requiring food purchases to drink. This also means that you don't have to be 21 to go in and get table service at some of these bars.

Restaurant conditional permits are not new; some bars and taverns in the area have had them for years, so that they could operate as restaurants during most of the day. However, the expansion of this strategy to bars during the pandemic is an interesting solution, in order to allow a bar to maintain some business rather than shutting down altogether. While some of these establishments do usually operate basically as restaurants and are known for their food or table service, others include large patio bars, blurring the lines even more between restaurants and bars. Here are some bars in New Orleans now operating as restaurants with restaurant conditional permits.

Cooter Browns

Cooter Brown's opened with just takeout in early May, but later added a limited dine-in service in mid-May. With its restaurant conditional permit allowing it to stay in business during the pandemic, it has followed the state phase requirements. Cooter Brown's actually shut off their bar service and required table service before the city required it, according to NOLA.com. They're still open with all of their usual good food, such as the Irish Channel special, bacon ranch fries, and, of course, oysters that are half-priced from 3 p.m. to close.

Check out their dine-in table service from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day, or order delivery or takeout from cooterbrowns.com.-509 S Carrollton Ave.

The Tchoup Yard

The Tchoup Yard is open Wednesdays through Sundays, with table service only and food purchases required for seating. But with the outdoor ambiance, great drinks, and Karibu Kitchen food, including the Crunchwrap Supreme, you'll still experience some good summer vibes.

They are open 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday to Friday, and noon to 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Reservations are required and can be made by email to tchoupyard@gmail.com or by calling 504-571-9273. Due to limited socially distanced seating, there is a two-hour limit on seating. -405 Third St.

Fat Harry's

Fat Harry's has held a restaurant conditional permit for years and is now open with table service for food and drinks. They have a weekly Monday Night Wings special that now continues with table service or takeout. This week, the tavern closed to clean and sanitize the space and take extra precautions while awaiting the test results of one team member who had one of the symptoms of COVID-19. Fans of the restaurant seemed to appreciate this transparency. Hopefully Fat Harry's will be up and running again soon, with its legendary Happy Hours and specials. -4330 St. Charles Ave.

Bouligny Tavern

Bouligny Tavern is open again, operating as a restaurant under the Phase Two guidelines, with socially distanced tables both inside and out, no bar seating, and required food purchases. Accompany one of their signature cocktails with snacks such as their ginger and garlic-brined chicken wings or Vietnamese short ribs.

They are open 4 p.m. - 10 p.m. on Monday to Wednesday and 4:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday. Reservations are not required but are recommended, to manage the limited seating. -3641 Magazine St.


The Uptown bar and lounge is open at 25 percent capacity, with reservations required for their usual table service. Try one of their Frozens of the Day or classic cocktails and some food, like the deviled eggs "cacio e pepe" or one of their different regional charcuterie boards.

They are also offering a limited to-go menu and online ordering. Make a reservation on OpenTable for dine-in service. -4905 Freret St.

Wrong Iron on the Greenway

The Mid-City New Orleans-style beer garden opened again July 15 under the restaurant conditional provision, allowing it to operate like a restaurant. Customers must stay at their table, wear a mask when entering and when not at your table, and purchase food in order to drink. You can get food there from Rem's Hoochie Coochie Grill pop-up, and the food trucks will eventually be reintroduced during Phase Three. They are also going contactless with menus, instead having them available on their website for phone access with some supplementary paper menus.

The large patio bar plans on adjusting over time to online table reservations, but for now, they will give you an estimated time if they cannot seat you. Happy Hour is Monday to Friday, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., with double mixed drinks for the price of a single, a 9-ounce glass of wine on tap for the price of a 6-ounce, and $1 off draft beer pints. -3532 Toulouse St.

The Bulldog

Both the Mid-city and Uptown locations of The Bulldog are open and operating as restaurants. Enjoy the famous beer-tap fountain on the patio with social distancing and 48 fine draft beers, along with some bar food that was voted the best in New Orleans. Try their half-pound Angus burgers, Crawfish Banditos, healthy salads, and Tex-Mex Eggrolls.

Both locations are open daily, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Happy Hours are Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Mid-City, and 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Uptown. Bulldog Mid-City: 5235 Canal Blvd.; Bulldog Uptown: 3236 Magazine St.

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