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Food & Drink

Staff Pick

Best New Bar 

Chatawa

When Thomas Crone tells you that his new bar, Chatawa (3137 Morgan Ford Road), was inspired by his trips to New Orleans, he wants to make one thing clear: This is not a kitschy, Mardi Gras-themed caricature of the Big Easy with glitzy masks and plastic beads, but the sort of neighborhood bar you find far off the touristy path. However, Crone is not only focused on New Orleans but on the towns that dot the Mississippi River from St. Louis down to the Delta, weaving them together as a common culture linked by music, art, food and drink. His plan is to source as many things as possible from cities along this route, and he’s even linked up with chef Tony Collida who runs Grand Pied, the restaurant inside Chatawa, to create a menu of offerings that match his vision. It sounds cerebral, but what it amounts to is an inviting bar with that quintessential neighborhood feel that seems as if it’s been there for a lifetime, not merely a couple of weeks. —Cheryl Baehr

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