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Come celebrate Pat O'Brien's 80th and stay awhile

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If you've never been to New Orleans, you might think a hurricane is only lower-case unless it comes before a name like Katrina. But 10 minutes on Bourbon Street and you're realizing where they really put the cane into the hurri.

Pat O'Brien's on St. Peter and Royal -- or just Pat O's as locals call it -- celebrates a remarkable 80 years as a centerpoint of fine drinking in this party-happy town. Before Dec. 3, 1933, during Prohibition the bar was known as Mr. O'Brien's Club Tipperary, and a password was required to get in.

That's no longer the case. Nowadays you just have to be thirsty, frisky and, uh, 21 (ahem).

Celebrating its post-Prohibition incarnation tomorrow with a big block party starting at 5 p.m., you won't want to miss it. You'll also enjoy a 1/2-price Hurricane ALL DAY LONG and be entertained by the Bucktown Allstars, playing from 7:30 to 10:30.

Rest assured you'll be purchasing your cocktail from a smiling, talented, knowledgeable chap who knows his way around a cocktail shaker. Finding a rude bartender in New Orleans is impossible, especially at a place like Pat O's.

For those neophytes, here's what's going into your authentic Pat O'Brien's Hurricane:

In a 26 oz. Hurricane glass, mix:

4 oz. of Pat O'Brien's Hurricane Rum or a good Amber/Gold Rum
4 oz. of Pat O'Brien's Hurricane Mix
Fill with crushed ice
Garnish with an orange and cherry

Other directions call for squeezing the juice from half a lime into your cocktail shaker; pouring the remaining ingredients into the cocktail shaker; then shaking well and straining into the Hurricane glass. There are many variations on the Hurricane, but remember, Pat O's is where it all began.

After that delicious cocktail (or two ... or three) you'll want to sleep close! Here are a few recommendations:

  • Dauphine Orleans at 415 Dauphine Street is close enough to stumble back to but far enough away to have some peace and quiet. And rumor has it there is a ghost or two!
  • Astor Crowne on Canal at Bourbon offers some of the most luxurious rooms in town at a hotel boasting a fine restaurant, bar and dramatic decor with high ceilings and chandeliers.
  • Courtyard Mariott French Quarter, at the intersection of Common and St. Charles, is a little more conservative sounding than some others, but you'll appreciate the cleanliness, attention to detail and superior furnishings. It's also very equipped to accommodate disabled travelers, so roll on in.

Remember, too, that you can always check the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau website for more ideas. Last minute, you might have to call around so do keep this information handy.

Laissez les bons Hurricanes, y'all!

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