Culture / Restaurants

A New Heights Bar and Restaurant Brings a New Orleans Flair

Get Ready for Redneck Sliders and Inventive Drinks

BY // 05.23.16

Food possesses the power to call forth some of our fondest memories. Take the pie from your favorite bakery that transports you back to grandma’s kitchen, or a succulent burger reminiscent of childhood barbecues. I recently experienced this phenomenon at southern eatery Harold’s Restaurant, Bar and Terrace, stationed in the flurry of unique outposts on The Heights’ W. 19th Street.

Devouring a spread that included buttermilk biscuits, fried catfish and collard greens, I was whisked back to my grandparents’ dining room, where my Louisiana-bred grandmother served sprawling suppers full of Southern flavor.

The discovery that Antoine Ware, who mans Harold’s kitchen, is a New Orleans native explained the Creole flair. (Ware, who did stints at Houston’s Catalan and Brennan’s in Louisiana, was installed at Harold’s by owner Alli Jarrett in 2013.)

He’s created a seasonally changing, locally sourced menu that includes New Orleans-inspired classics like cornmeal-crusted catfish atop roasted red potatoes, kale and a Crystal hot sauce butter; shrimp étouffée balls; chicken and sausage gumbo; and twice-brined fried chicken, a dish inspired by his grandmother.

Now, Harold’s signature Southern fare can be experienced in the restaurant’s new downstairs addition — Harold’s Tap Room, a bar concept located in what was previously a specialty grocery store.

“Like most of the restaurants on the street and our upstairs space (Harold’s Restaurant, Bar and Terrace), we’re a restaurant first and a bar second. We wanted downstairs to be a bar first and focus on the food second,” explains Jarrett. “We want it to be the same quality food that you would expect from the upstairs restaurant, but it’s still bar food.”

The Harold's Tap Room Team — Owner Alli Jarrett, Bar Manager Lauren Muse and executive chef Antoine Ware. (Courtesy photo)
The Harold’s Tap Room team — owner Alli Jarrett, bar manager Lauren Muse, and executive chef Antoine Ware. (Courtesy photo)

The 1,300-square-foot space has been completely renovated and is now outfitted with wood sourced from an 1800s cotton barn in South Carolina (Jarrett’s home state); a bar top covered in delicate fabric — a tribute to clothier Harold Wiesenthal, the building’s former tenant; and a houndstooth mural that greets patrons at the venue’s entrance.

Beverage director Lauren Muse has created a whimsical infused cocktail menu, which features appearances from cocktails like the Southern Roots, a blend of orange and vanilla infused whiskey, bar-made sweet cream, Herbsaint, root beer and a Twizzler garnish; the Not So Old Fashioned, which showcases a peach-infused bourbon and peach and angostura bitters; and the Thread the Needle, a michelada made with Tajin and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. A mix of beers and wines on tap are also available.

“I carried Alli’s idea of keeping everything Southern, local and fresh to the downstairs bar menu. So all of the infusions are done with seasonal fruits, and sometimes veggies when we can get our hands on them. We wanted to make sure the flavors are really different from the upstairs cocktail menu,” says Muse. “Upstairs it’s a little more craft cocktail and more refined, whereas downstairs is a lot more playful and fun.”

As for the food, Ware is applying his meticulous palate to the bar bites menu. Expect items like Slow Dough pretzel sticks; Red Neck Sliders — fried bologna sandwiches topped with American cheese and yellow mustard served on a Hawaiian bun; and the Big Ass Meatball, which is topped with a spicy tomato sauce and crusty bread.

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