Categories
Middle East

Azerbaijan opens trade, tourism office in Israel – Middle East Monitor

Azerbaijan opened its trade and tourism office in Tel Aviv yesterday, a move considered as a first step towards opening an embassy, announced the Israeli Ministry of Tourism.

The ceremony, attended by Minister of Economy of Azerbaijan Mikayil Jabbarov, comes 30 years after diplomatic relations were established between the two countries.

According to the Israeli Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov: “[the] launch of Azerbaijan’s official Trade and Tourism Representation in Tel Aviv represents another historic event in the warm relations between the countries.”

“Relations between Israel and Azerbaijan are of a strategic nature and are based on trust and mutual respect.”

READ: Azerbaijan, Turkey, Pakistan agree to boost cooperation

“I would like to congratulate President Ilham Aliyev on this important decision that will further strengthen the partnership between the two countries,” Razvozov continued. “It will definitely serve as the address for Israeli entrepreneurs in areas such as energy, medicine, water treatment, agriculture and investment.”

During the ceremony, Azerbaijan’s Jabbarov encouraged Israeli businesses to take advantage of the beneficial business atmosphere in Azerbaijan created to facilitate mutual investments and transactions.

According to the Times of Israel, the trade turnover was nearly $200 million last year excluding oil supplies. Israeli companies are represented in various sectors in Azerbaijan, including road construction, telecommunication and medicine.

Moreover, Israeli Foreign Minister Ashkenazi said Azerbaijan’s decision to open a tourism promotion and a trade office in Israel is a step towards adding Azerbaijan to the Abraham Accords normalisation agreement that already includes the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.

He said, “Azerbaijan is an ally, friend, and largest supplier of Israel’s energy resources. We will continue to work on the development of strategic ties with Azerbaijan and expand them in new areas.”

Categories
Middle East

Tunisia’s instability and coup are backed by the UAE, Saudi – Middle East Monitor

With Tunisian President Kais Saied seizing power, in what has been called a coup by the country’s largest political party, it seems that the last stronghold of democracy in Northern Africa, having emerged from the Arab Spring, is falling. Celebrated by some, such a transition could have its consequences especially with the involvement of Gulf dictatorships.

Tunisia is often held up as the one standing success story of the 2011 Arab Spring. Having overthrown former President and dictator Ben Ali, during the Jasmine Revolution, the people of Tunisia have experienced a bumpy ride since, but have maintained a democracy. This could all be changing soon with Gulf despots looking to pick up the pieces of any shattering of the nation’s democratic model.

Fears are now emerging, of a repeat of the affairs which transpired in Egypt, destroying the democratic system set up in the country and installing a military dictator. However we aren’t quite seeing such a dramatic shift and there are key differences between the move to dissolve parliament, fire the prime minister and consolidate power, in Tunisia, and the all out military coup which occurred in Egypt in 2013.

But, as there are differences between Egypt’s coup and Tunisia’s, there are also some alarmingly similar forces at work. In Egypt the target was the democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi, he represented the Muslim Brotherhood and in order to remove him, we now know that the UAE and Saudi Arabia both worked to bankroll his overthrow. In Tunisia, for years the UAE and Saudi Arabia have been working to oust the ruling Ennahda Party, which is connected to the Muslim Brotherhood.

READ: Tunisia slips into a dangerous pitfall

The two Gulf regimes have historically bankrolled the opposition to Ennahda and Abu Dhabi was even accused of attempting to organise a coup in Tunisia. As President Kais Saied took control, the office of Al Jazeera came under attack by his security forces who stormed the Qatari funded outlet’s building and forced its journalists out. This has been interpreted as a clear attack on the channel, due to its political leanings towards the side of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Last year it was also reported that Turkish intelligence had foiled an attempted coup plot inside Tunisia, which was allegedly coordinated by the United Arab Emirates. Around that time, a group of demonstrators calling themselves the ‘Salvation Front’ took to the streets of the capital to condemn the Ennahda Movement and its alignment of the Qatari/Turkish axis, it was later discovered that the facebook group for the movement was ran by two individuals based in the UAE.

Security forces take security measures around parliament building as supporters and opponents of coup gather in front of parliament building after Tunisian President Kais Saied announced late Sunday that he has fully assumed executive authority in addition to suspending parliament in Tunis, Tunisia on 26 July 2021. [Nacer Talel – Anadolu Agency]

The UAE may have well backed last year’s alleged coup attempt, after their anti-Muslim Brotherhood ally in Libya, Khalifa Haftar, was starting to suffer loses following the introduction of Turkish military aid to help the GNA forces of Fayez Al-Sarraj. Being involved in combating neighbouring Tunisia’s Ennahda Party, could be in part about securing a pro-Haftar dictator for the UAE. The UAE has a well known track record of anti-Muslim Brotherhood and anti-democracy action, having backed reactionary actors in countries like Libya, Egypt, Bahrain, Sudan and Yemen.

It’s also no secret whose side the UAE, Saudi Arabia and even their allies like Egypt are on, having celebrated the political turmoil in Tunisia as the “final fall” of the Muslim Brotherhood. Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have also been using social media accounts to whip up anger online and drive the country further into chaos.

Prominent Saudi journalist, Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed, wrote a celebratory opinion piece in the kingdom’s Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper saying something quite rich for a supporter of Saudi Arabia’s regime: “It is not surprising that the “Brotherhood” has fallen in Tunisia now, but rather it is years later than was expected…they were associated with chaos, assassinations, and deliberate obstruction operations to thwart government action”.

READ: Egypt security officials present when Tunisia PM beaten until he resigned

The economic problems, government mismanagement, corruption and the anger over the mishandling of the current health crisis, are all real issues and Tunisia has risen up many times since 2011 to demand a change. None of these real issues should be undermined, nor should it be stated that there is no Muslim Brotherhood alliance. But when it comes to a domestically created group which engages in a democratic process and the power of foreign brutal dictatorships with some of the worst human rights records on earth, it’s clear which option is more detrimental.

It cannot be understated, the insidious role that the UAE and, to a lesser extent, Saudi Arabia, have been playing to stir up civil unrest in Tunisia. If President Kais Saied crowns himself dictator, aligning himself with Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia, this could have serious repercussions for the country. It is not as of now certain that we will see such a takeover, but regardless of what transpires, the UAE and the Saudi will not stop working to destabilise Tunisia in order to remove the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence.

Importantly, if the West, which claims to care so much about democracy, truly cared for it at all, it would quickly drop its alliances with the brutal regimes of Saudi’s Mohammed Bin Salman and the UAE’s Mohammed Bin Zayed. The destructive role of these Gulf actors and their strides towards crushing all Arab democracies, whilst remaining the best of friends with the self proclaimed “worldwide spreader of democracy” [the US] shows exactly which side the American government is truly on.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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Cruises

Odyssey of the Seas Departing on Inaugural Sailing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida

After multiple delays and setbacks, Odyssey of the Seas is setting sail on her first Caribbean cruise. The ship completed her test sailing only last week; today, the first guests are embarking on the ship in Port Everglades, Florida, for what will be eight days of fun in the sun.

The cruise ship’s first voyage will sail towards the southern Caribbean, where she will have two stops in the Dutch Antilles before sailing north again for a Perfect Day at CocoCay.

It Finally Begins!

When Odyssey of the Seas sets sail today, there will be a collective sigh of relief in the Royal Caribbean offices. The vessel has not had the easiest road to start sailing. Initially scheduled for a maiden season from Rome and Barcelona, this was later altered to Israel and again changed to Fort Lauderdale. After this, the cruise ship’s first cruise was postponed when several crew members tested positive for COVID-19 onboard.

Photo Courtesy: Royal Caribbean

Odyssey of the Seas departed on July 19 from Fort Lauderdale to perform her first test sailing. This means the ship can welcome all kids and teenagers on board, most of whom are not eligible yet for vaccinations; the cruise line has decided to take a different route than the main competitor, Carnival Cruise Line, which chose to sail with at least 95% of its guests vaccinated against COVID-19.

Michael Bayley, the Royal Caribbean International president, reflected on the decision to not require a mandatory vaccination onboard on his Facebook page:

“In a normal year the majority of our guests are families. At any time throughout the year we carry approx 10 per cent plus of our guests who are kids 12 and under and they of course travel with their family. Because of the kids we have been sailing at around 90 percent vaccinated and so we would not be able to operate at the CDC 95 / 95, and so, like Disney Cruises or MSC, we chose this path.”

There has been one significant change in recent days from Royal Caribbean, and that is a requirement to be tested before sailing, regardless of vaccination status. The move comes as the Delta variant infections have grown significantly over the last weeks.

Odyssey of the Seas in Fort Lauderdale
Photo Courtesy: Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Seas

Odyssey of the Seas is the fifth in Royal’s Quantum-class and the second Quantum-Ultra-Class ship. She will also be the first to be based at a Florida port and is the 25th ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet.

Also Read: Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Seas – Overview and Things to Do

Odyssey of the Seas departed today from Fort Lauderdale on an 8-night Southern Caribbean and Perfect Day Cruise. Her maiden voyage will sail to Oranjestad in Aruba, where she will arrive on Monday; she will then sail to Willemstad in Curaçao, followed by a call at Perfect Day at CocoCay in the Bahamas. The Southern Caribbean cruises will be mixed in with 6-night Western Caribbean cruises, also sailing from Port Everglades.

The 16-deck vessel is 1,138 feet long and can hold 4,198 guests at double capacity, or a maximum of 5,498. While she isn’t the biggest cruise ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet, she’s also not the smallest at 169,300 gross tons.

Odyssey of the Seas Cruise Ship
Categories
Middle East

Israel killed 4 Palestinians, injured 1,090 in last 20 days – Middle East Monitor

Israeli occupation forces have killed four Palestinians, including two children, and wounded 1,090 others, including 141 children, during the previous 20 days, a United Nations (UN) report revealed on Saturday.

In the report, which covered the period between 8 and 28 July, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) stated that the Palestinians were killed and wounded in the occupied West Bank.

According to UNOCHA’s report, since the start of this year, Israeli occupation forces have killed 50 Palestinians, including 11 children, in the occupied West Bank.

During the same period, at least 11,232 other Palestinians have been wounded in the occupied West Bank, including 584 children.

READ: UN urges Israel to investigate killing of Palestine child in West Bank

One of the latest prominent flashpoints is the new illegal Israeli settlement outpost known as Evyatar, located in the village of Beita in the West Bank city of Nablus.

According to the UN report, out of the 11,232 Palestinians wounded during the reported period, 939 were injured by the Israeli occupation forces guarding the site of the illegal settlement.

The settlement was erected on Palestinian-owned land near Beita. While the settlers vacated the settlement on 2 July, Israeli forces have since been stationed to guard the buildings, awaiting the decision by Israeli authorities on whether the land can be classified as “state land” and whether a Jewish religious seminary can be established on the site.

The report added: “Since the establishment of the settlement in early May, Israeli forces have killed five Palestinians, including two children, and injured at least 3,077 others, including 381 children, in similar incidents.”

READ: Israel raids office of children’s rights group, confiscates computers, files

Categories
Middle East

US approves deal to supply 18 attack helicopters to Israel – Middle East Monitor

The US State Department has approved the potential sale of 18 heavy-lift helicopters to Israel in a deal valued at up to $3.4 billion, a statement issued on Friday revealed.

According to the statement, Israel will receive 18 CH-53K heavy-lift helicopters to replace the ageing Yasur squadron.

It will also include engines, navigation systems, weaponry, support equipment, spares and technical support.

Lockheed Martin Corp and Israeli General Electric Co are the prime contractors of the deal, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

“The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to US national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defence capability,” the US statement announced.

“It is also essential to the IDF’s ability to carry out a wide range of operational activities,” The Jerusalem Post reported Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz stating.

READ: Israel gives settlers thousands of dunams in West Bank to expand settlements

“The decision was made following a professional assessment that included test flights in all the proposed aircraft, as well as a thorough examination of the various alternatives in terms of engineering, technology, maintenance and other considerations,” Gantz added.

In February, Israel announced that it would purchase one squadron of CH-53K over Boeing’s CH-47, to replace its fleet of Yasur helicopters at Tel Nof Air Base.

On Wednesday, the US House of Representatives passed its fiscal year 2022 State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Act, providing funding for the US’ overseas interests for the upcoming year.

The Jewish News Syndicate reported that the bill, on which numerous pro-Israeli organisations advised, includes $3.3 billion in security assistance to Israel as one of its key provisions outlined in the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two countries.

READ: Israel defence to receive budget increase of $2.15bn in 2022

Categories
Travel lifestyle

10 Best Cocktail Bars in New Orleans

There’s perhaps no city in the US that knows how to party quite like New Orleans. Now I know New York can throw it down, and I realize they call Las Vegas Sin City for a reason, but you just can’t beat the Big Easy when it comes to nightlife.

There are so many awesome cocktail bars in New Orleans that you could go out every night for a year and not have a single repeat.

Think I’m joking?

As of the last count, New Orleans has the highest amount of bars per capita in the country!

In the French Quarter – and especially on Bourbon Street – it seems as if every other establishment is a bar. With so many choices, how do you choose where to wet their whistle?!

I’ve been to NOLA a few times now, and I spent a vast majority of my trips there bar-hopping with friends.

In one weekend, I managed to hit a swanky hotel rooftop bar, a heavy metal joint, and one of those New Orleans Bourbon Street bars where cocktails come in giant plastic tubes.

While the memories may be a tad bit fuzzy, rest assured I did proper research for this one!

If you’re planning a trip to the Big Easy and are wondering where to grab a drink, read on for a look at some of the best cocktial bars in New Orleans.

I’ve actually included some variety in this article to appease beer and wine drinkers as well — so there should be something for everyone in this guide. 

Here’s my list of the best 10 cocktail bars in New Orleans (+ a couple of wine and beer spots).

Introduction to New Orleans Bars

Bars in New Orleans run the gamut from grungy dive bars to classy cocktail lounges. The city has secret speakeasies, craft breweries, fancy wine bars, and everything in between.

Whether you’re looking for a casual night out or you want to end up dancing on tables, there’s a bar for you here.

One interesting thing about New Orleans bars is that they can stay open 24/7. The phrase “last call” might as well be in a foreign language here! Oh yeah, and did I mention that you can take your drinks to go here as well?

New Orleans is one of very few places in the US that has no open container laws. Just make sure you’re not drinking out of glass on the street and you’re good to go!

Another really cool thing about the bars in New Orleans is that you can try several cocktails in the very bar where they were invented.

It’s pretty amazing to pull up a stool at a bar that’s hundreds of years old and try a famous cocktail in its birthplace. Be sure to check out this post on New Orleans cocktails so you can familiarize yourself with the city’s most popular adult beverages.

It’s always a good idea to put some food in your belly before a big night out, and there’s plenty to eat in this foodie haven. Speaking of food, be sure to bookmark this post on the best New Orleans food to try when you’re in town. 

Alright, let’s get this party started. There are so many awesome cocktail bars in New Orleans bars that it’s near impossible compiling a definitive “best of list,” but I sure tried.

1. Sazerac Bar

  • Must-Try: A Sazerac, of course! 
  • Prices: $7-8 for beer, $9-18 for wine, $12-21 for cocktails (a Sazerac is $18)
  • Hours: Friday – Sunday from noon – 11 pm. Monday – Thursday from 4 – 10 pm
  • Location: 130 Roosevelt Way (in the Roosevelt Hotel)

Our tour of the best cocktail bars in New Orleans begins at Sazerac.

There’s a lot of history at this place, as it’s named after what some consider to be the first real cocktail. The classic Sazerac dates back to the 1830s, and it’s been a go-to cocktail for New Orleanians ever since.

best bars in new orleans sazerac bar

Legendary former governor of Louisiana Huey Long used to hang out here, Ramos Gin Fizz in hand, chatting it up with his constituents. These days, you’ll find a mix of locals and tourists, who flock here to enjoy their creative cocktails. 

The Sazerac is definitely one of the classiest of the many New Orleans cocktail bars.

Recent renovations here uncovered some 1930s murals by painter Paul Ninas, which you can admire while sitting on one of their elegant bar stools. It’s especially lovely here in December when the hotel lobby transforms into a veritable winter wonderland. 

2. The Carousel Bar & Lounge

  • Must-Try: The Vieux Carre is the signature drink here; the Fleur de Lis was also created here
  • Prices: $12-15 for cocktails
  • Hours: 7 days a week from noon – 12
  • Location: 214 Royal Street (inside the Monteleone Hotel)

One of the most quintessential New Orleans bars is definitely the Carousel.

In case you’re wondering, that’s not just a clever name — the bar is an actual, fully functional carousel here. Thankfully they replaced the animals with proper bar stools, so you don’t need to straddle a horse to get a drink here.

While the thought of drinking while spinning around in circles may seem nauseating, rest assured that it’s a pleasant experience.

The carousel takes about 15 minutes to make a rotation, so you’ll barely even notice it. You’ll be too busy chatting it up with the expert mixologists here and trying their classic cocktails. 

Fun fact, the famous Vieux Carre cocktail was actually invented here!

Sip on one of these as you enjoy the sounds of some live jazz, as they usually have live music from Wednesday to Saturday. It’s often crowded, but it’s worth the wait to have this classic New Orleans drinking experience. Find out about their daily events here.

3. Lafitte’s Blacksmith Bar & Shop

  • Must-Try: Frozen daiquiris are popular here, but most just drink standard cocktails or beers
  • Prices: $5 and up for everything
  • Hours: 7 days a week from 10AM-3AM
  • Location: 941 Bourbon Street

It’s not every day that you get to drink in a bar that’s 300 years old. That’s precisely what you can do at Lafitte’s Blacksmith, which tops the list of oldest bars in New Orleans. It’s actually said to be the oldest building used as a bar in the country!

laffittes blacksmith bar new orleans bars

This historic bar is named after Jean Lafitte, a 19th-century French pirate.

It’s said that he once hid out here when he needed a safe place to smuggle his pirated goods. Whether or not that’s true, he would most likely approve of the cheap, strong drinks that they pour here.

While this bar is in fact located on Bourbon Street, it’s pretty far removed from the chaos.

Personally, I’m not a big fan of New Orleans Bourbon Street bars, but this one is a winner. It’s candle-lit and one of the very few piano bars in the city, making for a very fun atmosphere. 

4. Courtyard Brewery

  • Must-Try: Beer – they have over 30 beers on tap here
  • Prices: $3 and up
  • Hours: Friday – Sunday from 11am – 1am. Monday – Thursday from 4pm – 12am
  • Location: 1020 Erato Street

When most people think of New Orleans bars, they picture people slamming down sugary Hurricane drinks and mass-produced beers. While there’s certainly plenty of that going on, the city is also home to a burgeoning craft beer scene.

One of the best bars in New Orleans to get your hop fix is Courtyard Brewery.

They have an impressive selection of draft beer that’s made in-house as well as quite a few guest taps. Whether you fancy an IPA, stout, or sour, they’ve got a brew for you here.

They don’t have a restaurant, but they do host rotating food trucks for when you need something to soak up the booze. Courtyard also hosts an annual craft beer and food festival called Hopfest, so you might want to check that out if you’re in town at the same time.

New Orleans is famous for its epic festivals and events, don’t miss this one.

5. Arnaud’s French 75 Bar

  • Must-Try: The French 75 (a mix of champagne and cognac)
  • Prices: Cocktails from $12.50-14
  • Hours: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday from 5:30pm – 10:30pm. Sunday from 10:30am – 1am. 
  • Location: 813 Bienville Street

Not only is this one of the best cocktail bars in New Orleans, but Esquire Magazine named French 75 one of the top five bars in the country.

Originally a “gentlemen only” place, these days everyone can enjoy this classy bar. This is the kind of place where the servers wear tuxedos, so you may want to dress up a bit for this one.

The current incarnation of this legendary NOLA drinking establishment focuses on making classic cocktails with premium spirits. As the name would suggest, the French 75 is their signature drink. There are lots of other excellent options on the menu, though.

Even if you don’t plan to have dinner at the restaurant next door, you can still enjoy some of the food. From 6-10PM, the bar serves a varied snack menu featuring oysters en brochette, cheese puffs stuffed with prosciutto, and much more. 

After all this drinking, you might be ready to do something outside of a bar! Don’t miss these popular swamp tours in New Orleans.

6. Bacchanal Wine

  • Must-Try: Wine and cheese! Take your pick from countless varieties.
  • Prices: Very reasonable (retail prices for wine)
  • Hours: Friday – Sunday from noon – 11pm. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday from 5 – 10pm
  • Location: 600 Poland Ave

After sampling so many cocktails, maybe it’s time to switch to a wine bar. 

Wine lovers will absolutely love Bacchanal, which bills itself as the city’s “backyard party.” The city shut them down due to a lack of permits, but thanks to local support they managed to bring their wine-fueled shindigs back to the city’s Bywater district.

At first glance, Bacchanal doesn’t look like much. From the outside, it just looks like a regular old storefront.

baccanel wine house in new orleans

Head in and purchase a bottle of wine (at retail price!) and then head out into their lovely courtyard where there’s live music seven days a week (weather permitting). As it’s in the Bywater, you’ll find way more locals than boozed-up tourists here.

One reason that Bacchanal is definitely one of the top New Orleans bars is that they do a bi-weekly free wine tasting. These happen on Wednesday from 1-3PM and Saturday from 3-5. Oh yeah, and it was even featured on the HBO series Treme! How cool is that?

I’m not a huge wine drinker, but even I can admit that Bacchanal is one of the coolest New Orleans bars around.

7. Pat O’Brien’s

  • Must-Try: The Hurricane cocktail is the signature drink here
  • Prices: $6-8.50 for their cocktails (Hurricanes cost $8.50)
  • Hours: Wednesday – Monday from 12pm – 12am 
  • Location: 718 St. Peter

The Hurricane is one of the most famous New Orleans cocktails, and you can try one in the very bar where it was created!

As the story goes, the owner of Pat O’Brien’s once found himself with an excess of rum. At the time, distributors made bar owners buy vast quantities of rum before they would sell them more desirable liquors like bourbon. 

In an effort to get rid of this abundance of rum, he mixed it in with passion fruit syrup and lime juice.

He poured the new concoction into a glass that resembled a hurricane lamp, and the rest is history. While most New Orleans bars serve Hurricanes, you’ve got to try one in the original spot where it was made.

Pat O’Brien’s is actually three bars in one.

There’s the main bar where you can catch sporting events on TV, the patio centered around their famous “Flaming Fountain,” and even a dueling piano lounge. This place is fun any day of the week, but it’s especially lively on St. Patrick’s Day.

8. Napoleon House

  • Must-Try: They’re famous for their Pimm’s Cup (gin, lemonade & 7-up)
  • Prices: $4.50-7 beer, $7-12 for wine & cocktails 
  • Hours: Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday from 11am – 9pm. Friday and Saturday 11am – 10 pm. 
  • Location: 500 Charles Street

One of the oldest bars in New Orleans is the famous Napoleon House.

napolean house best new orleans bars

This historic building dates back over 200 years. Back in those days, then-mayor Nicholas Girod was living here. He offered the house to none other than Napoleon Bonaparte during his exile. 

Actually, Napoleon never made it, but his name did. The bar has been here since 1914, and it feels as if time stood still here. Find out more about the cocktail bar’s history here

With its peeling walls, multiple paintings of Napoleon, and classical music playing, it feels like stepping back in time. You’ll often hear Beethoven’s Eroica, which was actually composed for Napoleon. 

There’s no way to top the description of Napoleon House than what they have on their website: “exudes a European charm that is a mecca for civilized drinking and eating.”

Order up a Pimm’s Cup and a classic Muffuletta and settle in for an evening at one of the best bars in New Orleans.

9. 21st Amendment Bar at La Louisiane

  • Must-Try: The La Louisiane is their signature cocktail (rye, vermouth, bitters)
  • Prices: cocktails are $13
  • Hours: Thursday – Saturday from 4pm – 11pm
  • Location: 725 Iberville Street

For those who flunked (or never took) American History, the 21st Amendment officially repealed Prohibition and made the consumption of alcohol legal again.

When he signed it, President Franklin Roosevelt exclaimed, “What America needs now is a drink!” With the stroke of a pen, he did away with one of the least popular amendments in American history.

The 21st Amendment Bar is a tribute to the Prohibition era when underground speakeasies flourished and mobsters ran the alcohol trade.

Look around the bar and you’ll spot pictures of many of them. As a matter of fact, the place was actually run by mobsters for many years when it was a hotel & restaurant.

These days, 21st Amendment is a popular hangout for both locals and tourists alike.

They mix up hand-crafted cocktails here and there’s live music every day of the week. Be sure to check their calendar to see what’s playing and add 21st Amendment Bar to your list of must-visit New Orleans cocktail bars.

10. Espíritu Mezcal Bar

  • Must-Try: It’s all things Mezcal here! Try the Mezcal with cucumber, or the Mezcal Mule
  • Prices: cocktails are from $9
  • Hours: Tuesday – Thursday from 11:30am – 9pm. Friday 11:30am – 10pm. Saturday 4pm – 10pm
  • Location: 520 Capdeville St.

If you’re craving a bit of Mexico in New Orleans, Espíritu is the place to go. Sustainably sourced mezcal and fantastic Mexican cuisine are on the menu here. 

Whether it’s National Tequila Day or just “Tasting Thursdays”, there’s always something fun going on at this cocktail bar in New Orleans. Visit Espíritu and learn about smoky mezcal, while dining on yummy tacos, tortas, ceviche and guacamole. 

Mezcal has become a popular drink over the past few years, don’t miss the signature cocktails which include Mezcal with cucumbers, peppers, and lime, or Mezcal with lemon, mint, and basil. Salud! 

Bonus! Snake & Jake’s 

  • Must Try: Cheap beers and standard cocktails are tops here
  • Prices: $2-4 for beer, $5 and up for wine, $4-6 for cocktails
  • Hours: 7 days a week from 7pm – 7am
  • Location: 7612 Oak Street

No list of New Orleans bars would be complete without the city’s most infamous dive. It’s Christmas year-round at Snake & Jake’s, as they’re like your neighbors who never take the lights down. 

This is often called the “diviest of dive bars,” and that’s a pretty fitting description for this late-night haunt.

From the street, it looks like the kind of place your mom told you never to frequent. Inside, however, you’ll find jovial bartenders and a few furry friends roaming about. You’ll also find some of the cheapest drinks in town, especially during their nightly Happy Hour from 7-10.

On your bucket-list of booze-fueled things to do in New Orleans, you should definitely add a nightcap at Snake & Jake’s. They stay open until 7am, which always makes for an entertaining scene. 

Ready to Hit The New Orleans Cocktail Bars?

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to party after getting through this post! It really is amazing just how many unique New Orleans cocktail bars (and wine and beer joints) there are.

Once you get past the tourist traps pouring cheap, excessively sugary drinks, there’s an abundance of excellent drinking establishments in the Big Easy.

Just think about all the history behind the walls of these bars in New Orleans. Where else in the world can you drink at a place named after Napoleon and another one named after a 19th-century French pirate? Or try famous cocktails right where they were created? 

The variety of bars in New Orleans is quite impressive as well.

With a few nights in the city, you can experience a bacchanal backyard party, sample some of the city’s finest craft beers, and sip on a historic cocktail while riding a carousel. And that’s only just the beginning.

There are so many fantastic New Orleans cocktail bars that couldn’t fit into this condensed list. 

If you’ve been out in the Big Easy and have a recommendation for a great bar or two, drop a comment below and let us know about it!

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Categories
Cruises

After Months of Delays, the Newest Carnival Cruise Ship Finally Begins Operations

It has been four years and ten months since Carnival Cruise Line first announced building a new class of ships. Today at 6:00 PM, Mardi Gras is departing from Terminal 3 at her homeport of Port Canaveral on her first voyage.

It has been a memorable couple of days for Carnival Cruise Line, and of course, for the thousands of guests who have the honor of being onboard right now. Yesterday hundreds of travel agents and media had the chance to visit Mardi Gras with appearances from all the main players. Today was the day that Mardi Gras opened its doors to those who have been waiting for many months, the guests.

Mardi Gras Begins Seven-Day Itineraries from Port Canaveral

Mardi Gras’ cruise today is the first of a series of seven-day cruises from Port Canaveral. Mardi Gras will be at sea for two full days, giving guests all the time in the world to explore the 180,000 gross ton vessel.

Photo Credit: Marc Mayntz

The first port of call will be San Juan in Puerto Rico, followed by a day at Carnival’s Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic, where she will be from 9 AM to 6 PM. After another day at sea, the vessel will call at Nassau in the Bahamas. The next day the vessel will return to Port Canaveral.

“Mardi Gras has been five years in the making so to finally welcome guests on board to experience this one-of-a-kind ship is something that we’ve been looking forward to for a very long time,” Carnival President Christine Duffy said. “Not only is Mardi Gras providing a truly unique vacation experience to our guests, it’s so gratifying to be able to play a role helping the local community by providing much-needed jobs and a boost to the economy.”  

Carnival Mardi Gras
Photo Credit: Marc Mayntz

The first cruise is not the official maiden voyage for Mardi Gras. Due to the ongoing issues the pandemic is throwing at Carnival Cruise Line, the company decided to postpone the official christening by Miss Dominican Republic Kimberly Jiménez. The ‘official’ maiden voyage will be set on a later date. The cruise line calls Mardi Gras’ voyages to the Eastern and Western Caribbean pre-inaugural cruises.

“We are very excited to finally welcome guests on Mardi Gras,said Duffy, earlier this year.  “With our desire to preserve summer vacations for our Mardi Gras guests, we are going to find a later date to formally christen her so that we can operate these pre-inaugural sailings just as soon as we can.”

The other itineraries for Mardi Gras include Western-Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral to Cozumel and Costa Maya in Mexico, and Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan, Honduras. Other Eastern-Caribbean cruises see Nassau being replaced by Grand Turk.

The First-Ever Embarkation Day

The first-ever embarkation day for Carnival’s Mardi Gras started in Terminal 3 today as Carnival welcomed the first guests inside around 1:00 PM. It follows a “Back to Fun” ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially welcome guests on board. All guests had been required to arrive at a specific timeslot for arrival to ensure the terminal would not be too crowded. The new ship is setting sail at 6:00 PM.

Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony
Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony (Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line)

Mardi Gras Captain Giuseppe Giusa added, “Today was a truly emotional moment for our entire Mardi Gras team. Having the distinction as the flagship of Carnival Cruise Line is a great honor and our entire team is ready to provide our guests with the vacation they have been so patiently waiting for. We are ready to get back to fun!”

Guests Welcomed On Board Mardi Gras
Guests Welcomed On Board Mardi Gras (Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line)

Carnival’s protocols on board have been designed to keep everyone safe but ensure all guests have an experience that is the same as they have had onboard Carnival’s ship before the pandemic. The ship has a minimum of 95% of the guests vaccinated, while that number is significantly higher for crew members onboard.

Also Read: Which Carnival Cruise Ships Have Resumed Operations?

Guests do not need to worry about social distancing, and neither is wearing a mask on board required for the 95% of guests with a vaccinated status. And, as we’ve seen this week, there is more than enough to do onboard.

Mardi Gras features the first-ever roller coaster on board, a range of familiar and new restaurant concepts, including Shaq’s Big Chicken and a seafood restaurant by Rudi Sodamin. Carnival has also introduced a new premier suite class called the Excel suites, a new premium retreat called Loft 19, and a whole range of new and exciting bars and entertainment venues.

Carnival Mardi Gras Cruise Ship

Categories
Middle East

Israel killed 4 Palestinians, injured 1,090 in last 20 days – Middle East Monitor

Israeli occupation forces have killed four Palestinians, including two children, and wounded 1,090 others, including 141 children, during the previous 20 days, a United Nations (UN) report revealed on Saturday.

In the report, which covered the period between 8 and 28 July, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) stated that the Palestinians were killed and wounded in the occupied West Bank.

According to UNOCHA’s report, since the start of this year, Israeli occupation forces have killed 50 Palestinians, including 11 children, in the occupied West Bank.

During the same period, at least 11,232 other Palestinians have been wounded in the occupied West Bank, including 584 children.

READ: UN urges Israel to investigate killing of Palestine child in West Bank

One of the latest prominent flashpoints is the new illegal Israeli settlement outpost known as Evyatar, located in the village of Beita in the West Bank city of Nablus.

According to the UN report, out of the 11,232 Palestinians wounded during the reported period, 939 were injured by the Israeli occupation forces guarding the site of the illegal settlement.

The settlement was erected on Palestinian-owned land near Beita. While the settlers vacated the settlement on 2 July, Israeli forces have since been stationed to guard the buildings, awaiting the decision by Israeli authorities on whether the land can be classified as “state land” and whether a Jewish religious seminary can be established on the site.

The report added: “Since the establishment of the settlement in early May, Israeli forces have killed five Palestinians, including two children, and injured at least 3,077 others, including 381 children, in similar incidents.”

READ: Israel raids office of children’s rights group, confiscates computers, files

Categories
Cruises

Mardi Gras, Carnival Cruise Line’s Newest and Most Innovative Ship, Departs on Maiden Voyage from Port Canaveral This Afternoon – Carnival Cruise Line News

To celebrate Carnival Cruise Line’s maiden voyage of its newest and most innovative ship, Mardi Gras, Carnival President Christine Duffy and Mardi Gras Captain Giuseppe Giusa led a “Back to Fun” ribbon-cutting ceremony officially welcoming guests on board.

Mardi Gras is the first cruise ship to set sail with guests from Port Canaveral since the industry-wide pause in operations 16 months ago.

As the line’s newest flagship, Mardi Gras is the first cruise ship in the Americas to be powered by eco-friendly Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and the first to feature a roller coaster.  The 180,000-ton ship boasts six distinct themed zones with a variety of food, beverage and entertainment options, including dining venues from Emeril Lagasse, Guy Fieri, Rudi Sodamin and its Chief Fun Officer Shaquille O’Neal.

Mardi Gras has been five years in the making so to finally welcome guests on board to experience this one-of-a-kind ship is something that we’ve been looking forward to for a very long time,” Duffy said.  “Not only is Mardi Gras providing a truly unique vacation experience to our guests, it’s so gratifying to be able to play a role helping the local community by providing much-needed jobs and a boost to the economy.”

Added Giusa, “Today was a truly emotional moment for our entire Mardi Gras team.  Having the distinction as the flagship of Carnival Cruise Line is a great honor and our entire team is ready to provide our guests with the vacation they have been so patiently waiting for. We are ready to get back to fun!”

Mardi Gras will set sail this afternoon at 6 p.m. from Port Canaveral’s Cruise Terminal 3 for a weeklong cruise with stops in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Amber Cove, Dominican Republic and Nassau, The Bahamas.

Mardi Gras is the fifth Carnival Cruise Line ship to resume service with additional vessels set to restart operations soon.  By October, 15 Carnival ships will be sailing – more than half its fleet.

Carnival Cruise Line has been sailing from Port Canaveral for more than 30 years and during that time the line has carried millions of satisfied guests.

For additional information on Carnival Cruise Line and to book a cruise vacation, call 1-800-CARNIVAL, visit www.carnival.com, or contact your favorite travel advisor or online travel site.

Categories
Middle East

Miles of Smiles sends humanitarian, medical aid to Gaza Strip – Middle East Monitor

The Miles of Smiles convoy announced the arrival of humanitarian and medical aid to the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing, while ambulances are expected to arrive within the next month after obtaining approval from Egyptian authorities.

Dr Essam Youssef, general coordinator of the convoy, said in a press statement yesterday that the convoy submitted a request to the Egyptian Foreign Ministry detailing the list of people who are supporting the convoy and urged the Egyptian authorities to approve the entry of these delegations at the appropriate time.

Youssef pointed out that the aid that has arrived includes medicines, medical equipment and assistive devices for persons with special needs, in addition to relief aid for poor families.

The convoy coordinator thanked the Egyptian authorities for allowing the delivery of aid and approving the entry of ambulances, noting that this has been transported in coordination with the Sons of Sinai Company and the Tahya Misr Fund.

Youssef said there are 25 fully equipped ambulances waiting to enter the Strip.

Youssef stressed the need to continue relief work to support the Gaza Strip, which suffers from high poverty and unemployment rates due to the occupation and the continuous Israeli siege which has been ongoing for 14 years, in addition to the significant shortage of medicines and medical supplies, and the state of exhaustion experienced by the medical sector as a result of the blockade, successive wars and the repercussions of the coronavirus.

READ: The Big Ride for Palestine 2021 is heading for London