Green Games Year 3: The Other Bar

DSC02359LifeCity is proud to spotlight the impressive initiatives one small bar on Freret Street is taking to set a tone of sustainability here in New Orleans. Other Bar’s owner, Michael Collins talks about the sustainable cocktail environment he has created. 

“I’d like to start briefly with some of the stuff we’ve had going on. My wife and I have been working for four years now to provide for ourselves, and obviously our dream bar on Freret. We’ve been planting and caring for satsumas, tangerines, calmondin, cumquats, mint, basil, ponderosa limes, lemons, key limes, lemons, Meyer lemons, grapefruits, bananas, blackberries, okra, and God knows what else. All of which have made their way in to the cocktail setting at the bar in one way or another. I consider these some of the basic ways we’ve tried to supply produce and flavor to our small enterprise.

Some of the more apparent approaches we’ve taken to exhibit our commitment to green development and sustainability would be exclusively offering select canned beer. We obviously have canned beer, only because it stays fresh that way, it’s easier to recycle here and abroad, and no one recycles glass in these parts in any feasible way. We also feature re-claimed lumber build out, from floor to ceiling; not to mention the found objects from the surrounding neighborhood that grace our walls.

We salvaged all of the old painted lumber from a couple of houses in the neighborhood on DSC02358Soniat around the corner. I’ve been remodeling with my company Blue Orleans in an effort to enforce sustainability within our rebuilding efforts and set an example in this small community we work in here, North of Freret. The bar tops, the benches, bar front, the moulding, wainscot, ceiling inlay, picnic table, etc., all came as reworked lumber from a former home at 2311 Soniat; destined to rise again with solar panels already installed and a myriad of efficiency upgrades underway! The bar also has low flow toilets and soy bean insulation.

If I were forced to say why I wanted to make my business “a green business,” I would feasibly say “why not?” one of my favorite questions. In terms of the bar service industry in particular, the most basic steps for improvement in terms of sustainability are endless; especially in a town like our own, if not others. The capacity for education and change here starts with small bars that choose to educate consumers about the ability of larger establishments to fill the venue with bottles and the landfills with plastic. We get our ice from a larger bar and drop our cans and plastic there too. We even wipe our butts with Seventh Generation toilet paper!

We try to highlight our M.O. to our constituency and we truly believe our thoughts will be disseminated. I am an archaeologist by training and a hoarder/ accumulator by nature, and plan to profess the value and utility in pre-used materials in a cocktail environment.”