A straight shot down Elysian Fields Avenue brings you into the Marigny, a neighborhood bordering NOLA‘s French Quarter. Here you’ll find some of the city’s best jazz along Frenchmen Street, cozy sidewalk cafes and colorful homes with jasmine flowing off the side. This same road leads to Hotel Peter & Paul and its Elysian Bar—housed in the hotel’s rectory building. The hotel and its food and beverage outlets are the creation of both ASH NYC and Nathalie Jordi, a New Orleanian and Marigny resident. While Elysian Fields Avenue (and its role in A Streetcar Named Desire) played a part when naming the bar, ASH NYC partners Ari Heckman and Will Cooper also reference folklore as an inspiration, citing the Elysian Fields as “the final resting place of the soul in Greek mythology.”
For the hotel’s food and beverage partner, ASH NYC and Nathalie Jordi tapped the James-Beard-nominated Bacchanal Fine Wine and Spirits team to help bring their vision to life—with the entire team focused on quality, community and respect. Opening in late 2018, the Elysian has chef Alex Harrell and general manager Lisa Nguyen at the helm and an opening menu that favors local, seasonal produce, pulling in plenty of New Orleans and French inspiration. Highlights include roasted gulf shrimp, grilled okra, fried brussels sprouts and plenty more.
The guests are a mix of locals and travelers alike, with many diners hailing right from the Marigny. The atmosphere is convivial and exploratory; each room holds its own unique design and walking through the space feels a bit like discovering the delights of a labyrinth.
Stepping inside The Elysian’s rectory door, you’ll find yourself in an entryway, not unlike a well-kept foyer of a historic New Orleans home. To the right is a small nook, housing a coffee shop and pastry counter. Coffee is sourced from Congregation Coffee (a local roaster situated across the river in Algiers Point) and the baked goods are overseen by Bacchanal’s Bronwen Wyatt. Antique blue and white delft tiles hint to the space’s inspiration—a tent outside a French castle.
To the left of the coffee shop lie the Elysian’s twin sitting rooms. Upon first glance, you’ll be instantly swept up in the visual fantasy, from the mustard yellow floor to ceiling drapes, upholstered chairs in matching gingham, and a duo of fireplaces—one the original Italianate marble mantle and the other its antique match. Meant to serve double-duty as a hotel lobby and a space to enjoy the small plates and specialty cocktails from the Elysian, these rooms were intended to embrace the “austere, but warm” atmosphere found so often in Swedish architecture.
Moving deeper inside the building, the patterned floor gives way to cheerful yellow walls adorned with hanging greens, framed by bistro tables and gingham-covered chairs. Here in the breakfast nook and dining room, guests have more seating options to choose from. (This seems to be a theme throughout—the hunt for the perfect chair—as the options are endless.)
Views from the dining room look out onto a private courtyard, where a burbling fountain plays music against the sounds of the wind rustling through the potted palms. If the heat of the New Orleans day is enough to deter you from the outdoor oasis, however, the piece de resistance of the venue lies in its bar.
A riff on the bald cypress (Louisiana’s state tree) with its distinctly recognizable roots and bayou presence, the back of the bar curves up in gleaming wood with narrow, root-like legs trickling down.
The effect is a warm halo, enveloping the room in its embrace, cushioned by the palette of yellows and pops of red, a cheeky show of irreverence in this former House of God. Saddle up to the bar, claim a crimson topped bar stool and peruse the expansive Bacchanal-approved wine list. If it’s past noon in New Orleans, it’s high time for a drink.
Images courtesy of Hotel Peter & Paul