The television show Cheers was a tremendous success for many reasons; but one of the biggest ones is we all want to go to that one place “where everyone knows your name and they’re always glad you came.”
In many cases for New Orleanians, that is your neighborhood (or favorite) bar. This is a safe refuge where you can be with friends, enjoy cocktails, and feel a little more free to be yourself. With the pandemic, I for one have so missed sitting at a bar having a delicious libation, people watching and talking to some of my favorite people – bartenders.
My Bartender of the Month for May works at such a local hangout. John Breaux is one of the favorites at Mags 940 located at 940 Elysian Fields Avenue. Originally from Lafayette, Louisiana, John moved to New Orleans in 2010 and started his bartending career at venues such as The Phoenix and Rawhide before moving to Mags two years ago. He moved to the Crescent City to start a new chapter in his life after a bad breakup and he has flourished in this industry. A natural behind the bar, John delivers amazing service quickly and accurately.
With an impressive liquor selection, freshly made mixers and fun garnishes, Mags 940 offers John a great opportunity to experiment with craft cocktails especially whiskey drinks. Learning under the craft cocktail goddess Princesse Stephaney, John honed his skills and has an impressive array of unique offerings. He loves making Mojitos and Bloody Marys, but when he goes out drinking his tastes are more seasonal – vodka in the spring and summer and whiskey in the fall and winter.
The industry as a whole has been affected by the onset of the COVID pandemic, but John made the best of a tough situation. He went through a yo-yo effect being closed down initially then re-opening for two months, closed again and then open back in September. When he opened up again for Decadence, they were the only gay bar open so it was a little chaos, but now things have started evening out.
One of the main reasons John loves being a bartender is meeting people from all over the world and also creating a great atmosphere for people to come, relax and talk. “Mags is a local bar, but on weekends we do get lots of tourists so it is a good balance.” His hard-working and hospitable attitude makes him stand out behind the bar. Ever the professional, John helps make Mags a NOLA version of Cheers. He works Friday through Monday 6 p.m. to closing at 1 a.m. and at the Four Seasons on Wednesday from 5 p.m to closing. So go enjoy some cocktails and conversation with John at Mags 940 in the Marigny.