The Maroon

Trendy venue opens on Freret

MICAH HEBERT

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 New Orleans’ newest bar and music venue brings big city chic to the Big Easy, with a little local lagniappe flavor too.

The Publiq House, Freret Street’s most recent opening, is a new pub that is as ambitious in style as it is in size. Converted from a historic supermarket, the building is expansive. The structure houses a wide beer selection beside a stage. Details like the bathrooms’ antique shutter woodwork and the vintage World War II jeep that serves as the DJ table further help set the tone.

“Have you had dinner? Let me treat you,” Demetri Melekos The Publiq House’s greeter and doorman said as he served up a complimentary bag of freshly-cooked popcorn. It was Melekos’ idea to sell low-end liquor in a high-end way. Describing the 40 ounce malt liquor bottles, which are sold in iced buckets and require a 35 cent popping fee, Demetri said. “We want to serve them like champagne. Do it to the point of absurdity,” he said.

In addition to the 40 ounces, they have multiple daiquiri machines, an extensive bottled beer selection, and 22 beers on tap, ranging from local brews to Japanese imports, along with the expected range of mixed cocktail drinks.

For those seeking a new venue to watch sports games, there are nine big screens and an HD projector; when it isn’t football season you can expect to see them playing a mix of vintage cartoons or other unexpected clips on mute as background visuals.

Rhett Briggs, Publiq House’s owner and operator, has high expectations for his new business.

“We hope to progressively build a unique audio-visual experience. We even plan on playing 1920s early silent film comedies,” Briggs said. “We don’t want this to be the kind of place where you come in for a beer and see the latest ‘C.S.I.’ playing. We want it to always be unique.”

When asked to describe the type of music they hope to attract, Briggs was adamant.

“Quality acts,” Briggs said. “We’re trying to really stick to our guns and have it be 50 percent music venue, 50 percent bar.”

While food is not offered yet, free popcorn is doled out of an antique machine that provides small batches for those wanting to snack. The staff hopes to eventually sell five flavored popcorn varieties in the coming months. Also, The Publiq House has agreements with several food trucks that will sell food while parked out front, so while the snacks aren’t in-house, everything else certainly is.

Excitement amongst students for the venue is growing.

“I think it’s nice that there is a large venue Uptown that is hosting Loyola and Tulane bands,” mass communication sophomore and member of the band Children Kristen Wallace said. “There will be national acts but the local focus right now is cool with me.”

Even non-musicians are feeling the zeitgeist.

“I like the fact that it’s a springboard for the rest of the night. People head there before F&M’s and other places,” mass communication sophomore Ana Gabriela Gomez said. “It’s perfect for us.”

Micah Hebert can be reached at [email protected]      

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Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola
Trendy venue opens on Freret