GO: In a city packed to the gills with incredible, wacky dive bars, one of the greatest among them has to be Saturn Bar in the Bywater. The dusty wooden hole-in-the-wall, originally owned and operated by the late O’Neil Broyard, has become famous for its nutty pack-rat decor – think Aladdin’s Cave of Wonders, filled not with gold and jewels, but with faded old photographs, original artwork, an array of taxidermy, neon signs, and of course, a full bar.
With its splendidly ancient architecture and sweeter-than-sugar bartenders, Saturn is a joy to drink at – when it’s open. Its hours tend to be erratic, but playing hard to get is the oldest trick in the book. We love you, Saturn Bar, you old tease. 3067 St. Claude Ave.
EAT: The real question upon reaching the front of the line at Cake Cafe & Bakery to order your brunch feast is not what do you want, but what don’t you want? Cake’s menu is ruthlessly on-point – from the mammoth omelets laden with fresh veggies and oozing with cheese, to the chubby, triumphant cupcakes in halos of thick frosting, to the legendary crab sandwich, a messy, saucy mouthful of seafood genius.
It’s a perfect spot to kick back with friends for breakfast after a night out or a hefty snack after a morning bike ride. True to its namesake, cake also makes cakes to order and theKing Cake menu is a whole other story – their apple and goat cheese rendition will make you weak in the knees. 2440 Chartres St. Tuesday through Sunday, 7:00am – 3:00pm.
SEE: Recently reopened on Labor Day, The Alamo Underground in Bayou St. John is now screening free movies every Wednesday and Sunday. The bizarre entertainment space, designed to imitate the architectural style of the Alamo, will host a live benefit show for Pakistan featuring the angsty melodies of Les Sages on Wednesday night from 8:00pm to 11:00pm, and this Sunday’s featured flick is cult classic SLC Punk. Doors open at 6:00pm for some schmoozing and boozing before each screening – a cool scene for the droves of New Orleans twenty-somethings looking to kick it with their buddies on the cheap. 1547 Crete St. #2.
GO: Fringe theater is a tradition that started in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1947 when eight performing groups were excluded from the mainstream annual arts festival and decided to perform anyways. Today, that same anything-goes spirit drives fringe festivals around the world – and theNew Orleans Fringe Festival, sure to be one of the fringiest of them all, starts today. Performances will be held at venues all over the city, and with a week’s worth of “wild weird fresh original theater,” you’ll want to scope the lineup to make sure you don’t miss out on this freaky, funky, fantastical series of artistic experiments. November 17 – 21.
LAGNIAPPE: You’ve heard of speakeasy pizza, but now speakeasy bagels? Apparently craving New York staples is a punishable crime in the city of New Orleans, but if these bagels are wrong, we don’t want to be right. Laura Sugerman of Sugerman’s Bagels takes orders for her tasty dough rings by email, then sets up a time (usually on Wednesdays or Sundays) for you to retrieve your culinary contraband from her location in the Bywater. The bagels, still piping hot in their brown paper bag, are seriously addictive. Sugerman offers flavors like whole wheat rosemary, roasted garlic, pumpkin spice and satsuma, and is also open to offers for new flavors. She even delivers upon request. Bagels are $13 for a dozen, $8 for half a dozen.