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New Orleans Report: Round and Round the Carousel Bar Goes

Ground zero for Tales of the Cocktail was the Hotel Monteleone, which is where most of the seminars took place and where most everybody stayed (I did not). But ground zero of ground zero was definitely the Carousel Bar, right off the old lobby. As you can see from the place’s publicity shot (below), it's built of an old circus piece.




The next shot (below) is what it looks like when you're sitting at it, which I and almost everyone at the conference spent more than a few hours doing at some point or other during the four-day event.



The gimmick is that the bar and stools really do rotate at a slow but relentless pace right around the central hub. This is at best surreal, as the room literally starts spinning from the moment you sit down. At worst, it's annoying, because anyone not sitting at the bar but trying to talk to someone who is has to promenade every few seconds just to remain in the conversation. It occurred to me that the bar in Purgatory probably rotates like this. The prevailing feeling as you slowly catch a buzz and circumnavigate the room is that time doesn't matter at all. And suddenly, five Pimm's Cups later, you realize you were wrong.