Few entrepreneurs could hope for the commercial and critical success that the purveyors of Freret Street hotspot Cure have enjoyed.
The cocktail lounge in the renovated firehouse, which has anchored Freret Street’s post-Katrina Renaissance, has been recognized by GQ Magazine, Bon Apetit, Esquire, Food & Wine, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Playboy, and New York Magazine, among others.
Or, in the words of Neal Bodenheimer, one of Cure’s founding partners, “It’s been a good run.”
So it was no surprise that when renowned hotelier Klaus Ortlieb wanted to do a lounge/cocktail bar in his newly remodeled Hotel Modern (the former Hotel Le Cirque on Lee Circle), they went to Bodenheimer and partners Matthew Kohnke and Kirk Estopinal.
And it was good timing.
“We were interested in expanding and chasing this new interest of ours, and the hotel came to us,” said Bodenheimer. “It was really a no brainer. We realized it would be a really cool opportunity to get to work with a really experienced hotelier. [Ortlieb] has a tremendous track record. He used to work with Ian Schrager…just very, very accomplished.”
Opening in a hotel has proven to be a completely different experience, Bodenheimer said, but in a good way.
“Number one, there’s much more help. At Cure, we have a very small core group of people who are knocking things off the list, whereas at the hotel, we’ve got enough resources to sometimes do the things you can’t do with a small business.”
That relationship produced Bellocq. Modeled after a 19th-century New Orleans parlor, Bellocq is named for and inspired by the work of E.J. Bellocq, a 19th-century local marine photographer who became more famous for his photos of prostitutes in Storyville, New Orleans’ bygone red light district.
After a series of soft openings, Bellocq celebrated its Grand Opening Thursday night. Sunday, it will host indie duo The Two as part of the Hotel Modern’s music series at 8:00 p.m., free of charge.
Bellocq at The Hotel Modern
936 Saint Charles Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70130