Not long after Tujague’s owner, Steven Latter, passed away in February, we began hearing rumors that the bar/restaurant might be closing.
Naturally, we dismissed such talk as complete nonsense. Tujague’s is ancient. It predates the Civil War (which is ancient in the U.S.). Heck, it opened in the 1850s: it predates much of America. In a city like New Orleans, so devoted to its iconic institutions, there’s no way Tujague’s is going to close.
But now we’re not so sure. When Gambit Weekly asked Latter’s son, Mark Latter, about those rumors, he dodged the question, complaining about the number of “variables” that go into making such a decision. Which does not sound promising AT ALL.
Look, we know that as a restaurant, Tujague’s has seen better days. If you want solid Creole fare, there are plenty of other options in New Orleans. (Although their brisket with horseradish is several bites of heaven.)
But as bars go, there’s nothing like Tujague’s. It’s in a great location, and it’s got a great look: there are no chairs at the bar itself, just a brass bar running along the bottom for tipplers to prop up a foot. It’s not the sort of place we long to spend hours in, like, say, Napoleon House or Cosimo’s — but it doesn’t have to be. Tujague’s is the place we can pop in for a quickie en route to a party, the place where we can seek refuge from inclement weather (or from hordes of frat boys and sorority girls) while sipping a smart cocktail. It’s unique to the city and its drinking landscape.
Yes, we understand the demands of business, and we appreciate the fact that businesses should never outlast their moment (cf. telegraph operators, bromide manufacturers, MySpace). But Tujague’s seems so timeless, it would be hard to let go.