New Orleans-inspired bar NOLA to make London comeback

Penicillin Hurricane NOLA

Much-loved bar NOLA is to return to London with a new site in Bethnal Green, serving up a New Orleans-inspired combination of cocktails and food.

One of the original founders, James Triffo, has taken on new premises in a Georgian-era building on Roman Road after the original NOLA above Bedroom Bar in Rivington Street, Shoreditch, closed in 2016 due to redevelopment of the building.

The new venue will have up to 70 covers, including a restaurant serving traditional New Orleans cuisine, developed with chef “Dom” Dominique.

Due to open on March 1, it will have exposed brickwork, original fireplaces, vintage panelled walls and Tiffany lamps with a soundtrack of blues and jazz.

The new bar will delve deeper into the history of classic New Orleans cocktails to offer a drinks list dating back to the early 1800s through to the present day.

It will include an extended Hurricane menu created by NOLA’s bar team led by head bartender Thomas Auger, previously at NOLA in Shoreditch as well as Discount Suit Company in Spitalfields and The Curtain hotel, restaurant and members club in Shoreditch. Examples will include the Penicillin Hurricane (pictured), combining two classics in one.

There will be a selection of modern classics curated by award-winning New Orleans bartenders and authors including Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, Nick Detrich and Chris Hannah.

The newly developed “Sans Alcohol Y’All” section aims to replicate classic NOLA cocktails as zero-ABV contemporaries.

Triffo said: “Bringing NOLA back was never a question. Realising the effort to locate the perfect space while including the ideas and improvements I’ve had since opening the first bar in Shoreditch was the tricky bit.

“Thankfully, the building I found in Bethnal Green last April had everything I was looking for and more. It took nearly a year of renovating a ramshackle Second World War-damaged, ex-Thai restaurant back into something special.

“It’s been an uphill journey to achieve my long-held desire of a stand-alone bar. I’m so happy NOLA has finally reached this exciting milestone. I believe our effort really shows in the quality of the finished product.”

Operations will continue to be handled by Ben Clark, who was previously at NOLA in Rivington Street as well as general manager at The Zetter Townhouse in London and Rumpus Rooms at Mondrian London.

Drawing inspiration from the finest restaurants in New Orleans, chef Dom has prepared a menu in the traditions of Cajun and Creole cuisine that pays homage to the city’s storied past while bringing his understanding and training in classical French cuisine to the forefront.

Dom was raised in Tokyo and trained as a chef in Austria. In London, his career has taken him from The Ivy to The Ebury and he spent the past four years refining his skills as head chef for Bruno Loubet’s Bistro at The Zetter hotel in Clerkenwell and The Grain Store in King’s Cross.

The original NOLA Bar was awarded the Seal of the Sazerac by the New Orleans Culinary Cultural Preservation Society in 2013 and was nominated as one of the top four for best new international cocktail bar in Tales of the Cocktail’s Spirited Awards in 2014.

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