For all the whiskey enthusiasts, food lovers and bar goers amongst us, or even those whom appreciate a little taste of Southern Hospitality; a slice of New Orleans and Louisiana is washing up in the city’s east end.
NOLA Adelaide, shorthand for ‘New Orleans Louisiana’, is the latest edition to the ever-growing cultural hub that is Ebenezer Place. Located 293-295 Rundle St (Entry of Vardon Avenue), NOLA is nestled just down from Mothervine in the recently renovated iconic Adelaide stables.
So, why the stables you ask? The team behind NOLA discovered the location’s potential when it was utilised as an artist’s bar, for a quick stint during the 2009 Fringe Club.
Circulating rumours that some year’s prior the space was used for a pop-up jazz club grounded this potential in the minds of winemaker Oliver Brown and aeronautical engineers/craft beer and whiskey enthusiasts Josh Talbot, Alex Marschall, and Matt Orman.
“The stables is probably the only space that could replicate the vibrancy and culture that is New Orleans, due to its rich heritage and character”, Josh explained.
Having been built originally in 1903, the space was once storage for the produce markets, but has now been left untouched for some time.
This however, did not make acquiring the historic building any easier. The space wasn’t advertised, nor up for lease, so the boys found themselves cold calling in the hopes of seeking out the owners of the location.
The search led the four to the father and son property team the Maras Group. Landlords of the establishment, Mark and Theo, however were not looking for tenants, resulting in the boys being on the sell, persuading the owners why NOLA, and why NOLA in this location alone.
Efforts however proved successful as, after some extensive convincing, the boys acquired the location late 2014, and have been restoring the space ever since.
Although a little unorthodox in hospitality, the boys engineering backgrounds have proved useful while project managing the site and assisting with the internal restructure of the build, having each played a hands on and incremental role in the constructing of NOLA Adelaide’s space.
Oliver’s prior experience running pop up wine bar Red Trousers in 2014, also came in use in the bar management and construction side of the project.
Alone however, they tell me, the final product taking form currently would not have been possible without designer/space-maker; Matiya Marovich of Sans-Arc-Studio, who’s reputation precedes him having worked with venues including Pink Moon Saloon and Gondola Gondola.
It is evident Adelaide’s East end is going to start growing, and coming mid-November, thanks to NOLA, so is the city’s craft beer and whiskey scene.
To begin with, NOLA Adelaide will be housing 70+ whiskeys sourced from both America and Australia alike, in conjunction with 16 taps of independently sourced craft beer. The boys behind NOLA answer our ever-growing cries for more locally sourced craft beers.
The conceptual basis for the bar was first discovered while Ollie was travelling through Louisiana when he fell in love with the culture that is New Orleans: a culture that Ollie inspires to replicate.
“Stepping out into the street, you’re met with friendly faces, conversations, kid’s tap dancing with cans on their feet, a sole man playing his sax down by the corner. You’re instantly immersed into an atmosphere of its own, an atmosphere I want to encapsulate here at NOLA Adelaide,” said Oliver.
While wandering the streets one day during his stay, he looked down at his side and saw atop one of the bin lids the imprint ‘NOLA City Council’, thinking to himself; “that would be a cool name for a bar.” And so goes – the rest is history.
Although acoustic engineering is still currently under way in gaining approval for live music, patrons can expect to be met with DJ’s spinning soul vinyl’s one night and two-piece jazz bands the next. There’s even some talk of the boys bringing in an old grand piano, if the space on the second floor decking allows.
The atmosphere at NOLA is evidently an Australian take on the New Orleans culture. NOLA Adelaide encompasses the rich New Orleans vibrancy in the colours on display within the space, met with the Australian heritage of the stables and the deep beiges of the original replenished stonewalls, complimenting the vanished timber found across the venue. NOLA works to create a perfectly matched partnership between the two conjoined cultures.
“Simply put, NOLA can be described as a place that successfully encapsulates the energy, vibe, food, and culture that is New Orleans, but with an Australian twist.”
Although starting out, NOLA will provide an impressive array of small batch regional American and Australian whiskeys, including those favourites: Tennessee whiskeys, Kentucky bourbons, and Southern ryes, along with an extensive Australian collection.
NOLA’s aim is to seasonally source a selection of hand picked whiskeys from different nominated nations, with both Japan and Scotland as potential candidates to start this rotation.
Beyond NOLA’s diverse range of stocked spirits is a notable cocktail spread, including an assortment of cocktails traditional in nature. You’ll be seeing common bar favourites such as whisky sours, sazeracs, and the cocktail forefather himself, the old fashion.
NOLA’s cocktail list will also host some less prominent concoctions including the New Orleans classic, ‘The Hurricane’ – and guys, this rum based fruit infusion will blow you away (nailed it).
Beyond an extensive spirit and cocktail range, NOLA’s beer selection will please any Australian’s palette. They seek to host 16 rotating beer taps containing hand sourced Australian craft beers selected from microbreweries that don’t typically get a look in within the Adelaide pub scene. NOLA certainly does not fail to impress.
The boys behind NOLA took their time on this one, searching Australia for its hidden gems by hand selecting and working directly with a range of small batch independent breweries from each of the seven states.
It is evident the boys haven’t held back on this one. Thanks to a campaign (Tipping for Taps) hosted on the crowed funding website, Pozible, they worked to connect NOLA, locals, and local small batch brewers alike, and build upon Adelaide’s craft beer community. The NOLA team were afforded the opportunity to bypass the standard procedure of being ‘bought out’ by larger companies, which results in the allocation of a proportion of bar taps to their products alone.
Rather, thanks to the campaign, the boys were able to allocate the 16 taps on a rotating basis to small batch outfits, some of which are not yet commercially available in Adelaide with others being locally sourced SA gems.
Further, the boys were able to rig up 3 nitrous lines out of the 16 taps which, for those less knowledgeable patrons (myself included), results in a noticeably smoother taste.
They also set up an infuser allowing the team to add different products into a glass tube which the beer runs through, extracting flavour from the different products and infusing it into the liquid. To begin with, the boys will be using smoked woodchips in this infuser to enrich one of NOLA’s stouts.
NOLA’s wine list will also rotate through locally sourced independents. However the list will be much more simplified than it’s beer selection. Consisting simply of a light, medium and heavy red and white.
Realistically, everything at NOLA is independent in some shape or form, with even the soft drink range steering clear of the ‘big guys.’
The food at NOLA will be more of an all day affair. Once again consisting of a short rotating menu, the cuisine is set to be Creole and Cajun inspired. To explain traditional New Orleans Creole and Cajun dishes we need to explain the culture.
For a time New Orleans had the biggest port in America, with a massive influx of immigration from nations including Italy, Vietnam, Germany, and France. The French settlers who came down the coast and settled in New Orleans were unable to get the holly trinity of spices and produce they needed for their French cuisine. So, in turn, they created some new flavours consisting of celery, bell pepper, and onion.
Although not yet finalised, the team say we can definitely expect to see New Orleans classics, Gumbo, Po Boys, and Jambalaya: a dish the team at NOLA tell us is a “German sausage made by French people, in Southern America.”
Open Tuesdays to Sundays until late, NOLA is going to be the place to be these warm, summery nights.
Update: In 2020, NOLA now boast over 200 whiskys and live music every Thursday night.