Blue Tavern develops a following

The Blue Tavern is on North Monroe Street. Photo courtesy: Ryan Mohorne

The Blue Tavern, a popular Midtown bar, shut down at the start of the pandemic but has reopened its doors for business.

The small community-oriented bar is under new management and has experienced a few changes since its re-opening earlier this year.

The new owner and operator, Carrie Hamby, said she bought The Blue Tavern from the previous owner after they shut down for six months due to the pandemic. Hamby said she wanted to keep the bar alive in the community.

“It’s kind of turning into a neighborhood bar, and I like that,” she said.

When Hamby re-opened the bar, she wanted to make a few changes to the building. The bar received new lighting throughout the building, and that helped set the vibe of the building.

They also added lights over the stage, to give it a better presence in the room, and added benches along the wall for more walking space.

The Blue Tavern has a few menu items. It has four soups, and three sandwiches including vegan options for both. It has brought back the famous Valence St. vegan soup. It is named after the street the founder of The Blue Tavern lived on in New Orleans.

Hamby says she also updated the recipe to the tomato soup after adding some new items to the menu.

“When we just opened up, we only had gumbo and red beans with rice,” Hamby said. “The tomato soup we used to have, I wasn’t a big fan. So, I came up with my own recipe, and people like it.”

Kirill Litvak, an employee at The Blue Tavern, works behind the bar and does prep in the kitchen. Litvak knows how to prepare most of the bar’s dishes.

The business is closed on Mondays, which they use to prepare the bar for the remainder of the week.

Customers who come to the bar for the first time enjoy the welcoming vibe. Ivory Denson, a resident from a nearby community, says she was surprised when she entered The Blue Tavern.

“The Blue Tavern is a great place if you’re looking for a chill, low-key vibe,” Denson said. “The vibe was calm, and they had a soothing instrumental band. It’s a great place to come and wind down and relax. They are also vegan friendly,” she said.

The Blue Tavern has live performances almost every night. Tuesday is for blues, Wednesday is open mic night, and on Thursday it celebrates music from around the world. On Fridays and Saturdays, it has a combination of everything. Litvak says the overall vibe depends on who’s at The Blue Tavern.

“I think it changes depending on who playing music,” he said. “There will be a completely different vibe, depending on who’s playing.”

While The Blue Tavern is keen on providing good vibes and food to its customers. It has initiated a give back campaign titled, “Giving Tuesday.” Every Tuesday there will be a jar sitting on the bar that anyone can put money in to donate to the homeless until November 30, which is the day to give back.

“Every Tuesday I donate 5% of out total receipts to the homeless coalition,” Hamby said. “If we keep doing better each Tuesday, we will have a chunk of change to give.”

Hamby says The Blue Tavern is planning to start a food pantry at the front of the building to help feed the hungry. She says she has hopes that things will continue to get better for her business as well.

“We just have to get through this last little phase of COVID stupidity,” she said. “We have to get through this last phase, and everything will be OK.”

For more information on The Blue Tavern, visit