Robert Morgan, the owner of Shoolbred’s, has one of the best absinthe collections in the city sitting on the back bar at his East Village tavern. He intends to feature an equally impressive selection at his new bar, Ninth Ward, opening in early spring.
“Everyone is doing classic cocktails,” he says. “We do it here [at Shoolbred’s], but we’re not shoving it people’s faces.”
Morgan got approval in December to open Ninth Ward at 180 Second Avenue, across the street from his current bar, and construction is already underway. He says the new place will have an 1890s’ New Orleans feel, with absinthe drips and classic cocktails, much like Laffite’s or the Old Absinthe House on Bourbon Street.
Some food — Cajun standards — will be served. Morgan, who owned the now-defunct gay bars Uncle Ming’s and The Hose, says he is particularly partial to that most quintessential of New Orleans quaffs: the Sazerac. While he expressed exasperation with the craft cocktail craze spearheaded by lounges like PDT and Pegu Club, he acknowledged that such bars have helped to educate the average tippler.
“People are coming here and asking for a Sazerac because they had one there,” he says. “And that’s cool.”