When tourist opt to visit the historic Houmas House mansion, they arrive with the expectation of seeing the wrap around porches, the commanding columns and the 500 year old moss-draped Live Oak trees across the front lawn. The guided tour begins next to the Burnside Oak, named after one of the most charismatic owners of the estate. Also at this site is a small hexagonal building known as a Garconniere. It's perfectly nestled under the low-lying branch of the Burnside Oak and more commonly known as The Turtle Bar. Upon further inspection, this very unassuming structure is one of the favorite spots for both locals and tourists alike. With only 8 barstools in the original structure, this "hole in the wall" tavern is home to over 250 whiskies from 16 different countries. And it is also accompanied by the second largest wine cellar in the state of Louisiana.
Although Houmas House has become a premier destination to visit in Louisiana, the Turtle Bar is far from a tourist trap. It's here, locals gather after work or on weekends before settling in for dinner in one of two restaurants. It's a favorite spot to impress out of town guests, first dates, or small groups of friends. And you never know what celebrity will walk through the doors for break from the paparazzi.
And only in the Turtle Bar will you find some of the most rare and fine spirits. And don't forget the expertly crafted cocktails made with fresh ingredients from the Houmas House gardens. Throughout the year the bartenders can be found rushing to the gardens to grab fresh mint, figs, satsumas or kumquats from the nearby gardens and trees to create a refreshing cocktail made to order.
The Turtle Bar is usually manned by John, who has over 20 years’ experience creating perfectly crafted cocktails . His favorite part of every day is sharing his knowledge of rare spirits and introducing them to his patrons.
The mission at the Houmas House Estate is to always give guests a reason to visit again. With so much to experience on one property, it's necessary to come multiple times to fully appreciate everything Houmas House offers. Hopefully the Turtle Bar will entice you to return to this Estate in 2021.