New Late-Night Cocktail Bar NightBloom Opens in New Orleans’ Bywater Neighborhood

New Late-Night Cocktail Bar NightBloom Opens in New Orleans' Bywater Neighborhood

NightBloom is a recently unveiled gem in New Orleans, emerging as a “cool, calm, and collected” cocktail bar that nestles comfortably within the vibrant Bywater neighborhood. Founded by Joaquin Rodas, Adrian Mendez, and Justin “Juice” LeClair—figures well-versed in the art of hospitality from their celebrated tenure at Bacchanal and Bar Tonique—NightBloom offers a sharp yet unpretentious contrast to the dynamic New Orleans bar scene.

Just a short distance from Bacchanal, NightBloom occupies a quaint corner building at 3100 St. Claude Avenue. If you were to stroll past on any given night, you’d be greeted by the soft glow of votive candles and the soothing tunes of artists like Sade and Erykah Badu emanating from the dim interior. With an ambiance designed to invite relaxation, it’s a haven where patrons can let the stresses of the day melt away amidst an unmarked, whispering elegance of dusty pink, muted teal, and grandma-chic curtains.

The bar itself is a masterstroke of craftsmanship, a creation of designer Matthew Holdren featuring striking sinker cypress and turquoise-painted siding, topped with luminous red light panels. Minimalist by design yet rich in character, the space is adorned with bulkhead-style light sconces, mirrors, artwork, and an array of plants, forming a cozy yet stylish retreat for discerning adults.

Behind the bar, Justin LeClair crafts a seasonally evolving menu of roughly eight cocktails. These feature a balanced mix of timeless classics and innovative creations, each one priced between $10 and $15. His selections include a mix of women-owned, BIPOC-owned, and single-family distillers, such as Exclave Spirits’ whiskey and La Gritona’s reposado tequila. Signature cocktails like the Miss Vanjie—an invigorating blend of mezcal, tequila, cilantro, mint, jalapeño, pineapple, lime, agave, and salt—or the Underneath the Purple Rain, with its lavender-infused gin and Chareau aloe liqueur foundation, epitomize the thoughtful approach to crafting drinks that are much more than just refreshment. Complementing the cocktails, the bar also offers select wines by the glass and a few thoughtfully chosen beers.

The eclectic nature of NightBloom spills into its events, regularly hosting bar takeovers by leading local bartenders and food pop-ups, such as Marlon Green’s Filipino Creole and barbecue concept, Barbekyu, which serves every Friday. Vinyl nights and guest DJ sets add to the vibrant yet relaxed atmosphere, with music selections tailored to the mood of the crowd. For LeClair, winding down the night is an art form, often transitioning to the soothing sounds of Luther Vandross or Anita Baker to bring his guests gently down to earth—a ritual he fondly refers to as “landing the plane.”

Operating every night from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., NightBloom stands as a refuge for those seeking a laid-back yet sophisticated drinking experience, enriching Bywater with something refreshingly new while paying homage to the area’s unpretentious charm.

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