The city of New Orleans has a past steeped in a seductive decadence that makes it a playground for politicians, athletes and celebrities from all over the world. So is it any wonder that actor and film producer Channing Tatum and longtime friend and business partner Keith Kurtz decided to open a restaurant and lounge called Saints & Sinners in The Big Easy?
"New Orleans is an amazing city," Kurtz said. "Channing's dad was also raised in the area, and Bourbon Street is one of the most famous streets in the world. Why wouldn't we want to open up here?"
Located at 627 Bourbon Street, Saints & Sinners opened in November 2012 and is modeled after the brothels of New Orleans during the Storyville era (1897-1917), when the areas inside North Robertson, Iberville, St. Louis and Basin streets were designated as the red-light district. With photographs of New Orleans madams, deep red walls and authentic adornments, Saints & Sinners flirtatiously winks at a time of opulence and excess in the city.
"We thought it was very historic and sexy at the same time," Kurtz said. "Our drinks and décor are modeled after that theme. The atmosphere is safe, friendly and beautiful, but fun."
From premium cocktails with names that will make a girl blush like Silk Panties and Sex on the Balcony to local New Orleans fare like red beans and rice named after two infamous Storyville madams, Saints & Sinners is enticing in every aspect.
"We are known for our specialty drinks and martinis," Kurtz said. "People have looked at us as just a restaurant when we really are more of a lounge that sells food, takes reservations and has a dance floor."
Recognizing Bourbon Street's lack of establishments that catered to women, Tatum and Kurtz wanted to create an environment for women that was alluring but also relaxing.
"We are also known for our atmosphere," Kurtz said, "which attracts mostly women. We cater to them and have been called a safe haven on Bourbon. I think our biggest compliment from locals is that they don't feel like they are on Bourbon Street when they are at Saints & Sinners."
If the drinks and atmosphere draw patrons in, the classic New Orleans cuisine and sinfully decadent desserts will keep them coming back. Customers enjoy local favorites like gumbo, crawfish etouffee and jambalaya for dinner and then indulge in Channing Tatum's favorite Red Hottie Velvet Cake or an order of Dix Sticks, beignet sticks named after Madam Gertrude Dix, for dessert.
"Depending on what is in season we cook and do crawfish boils right in front on street level," Kurtz said. "We will also be introducing a new menu after this summer."
There is always something interesting going on at Saints & Sinners. There is nowhere else in the city to grab a drink and get a Madam-named treat or eat boiled crawfish until the pots are empty.
"There are so many places in the neighborhood that are fun and entertaining," Kurtz said. "Ours is just easy to stop in, and you end up staying awhile. We have DJs and burlesque some nights. We also have Madam Mondays, margarita and wine specials on Wednesdays, and Thursday night is Ladies Night with the DJ."
Kurtz is not looking to slow down anytime soon. With such a provocative atmosphere, Saints & Sinners is becoming a top choice for bachelorette parties and other female-inspired events, and Kurtz can see nothing but growth for the future.
"Eventually we will have male burlesque shows, but we will start with themed parties and see how that goes," Kurtz said. "Come November, we will be open for a year, so we have really just been using this time to work out the kinks. The fun really hasn't started yet, and I imagine we will need a bigger place in another year."
The future starts now for Saints & Sinners as they present Eye Candy on Friday, June 21, and Saturday, June 22. Ladies can dance and party with the Saints & Sinners Eye Candy Boys and enjoy vintage cocktails served up by the shot boys. The kitchen will close early, so reservations for dinner should be made before 7 p.m. The DJ starts spinning at 9:30 p.m. Vintage attire is encouraged.
For more information on Saints & Sinners, visit their website at www.sandsnola.com.