There's inspiration just about everywhere you look in New Orleans, but there's nothing more inspiring than a strong drink. The Carousel Piano Bar & Lounge in the city's French Quarter is proof-- it's been a favorite of writers pretty much since it opened in 1949. Hemingway, Faulkner, Capote, Tennessee Williams, even the guy who wrote Forrest Gump have frequented the establishment. The bar also used to be home to the Swan Room, where famed artists like Liberace would regularly perform (and have a drink after the show, of course).

It's not hard to see why people like it so much; the fact that it has an opulent, rotating, carousel-themed bar in the center of the room really sets it apart from other bars in the French Quarter. It rotates at a leisurely rate of about one revolution per every 15 minutes (because we all know that booze and spinning around too fast is a deadly combination) but there are also booths and tables for those who would rather not spin around while they're getting the spins.

The Carousel Bar is located in the famed Hotel Monteleone, which is a literary landmark in its own right. It appears in works from Tennessee Williams, Ernest Hemingway, Eudora Welty, and more, and it has hosted authors like William Faulkner, John Grisham, Anne Rice, and more. Truman Capote once even claimed he was born there (which, in true Capote fashion, is an embellishment-- his mother did stay there while pregnant with him, though). The Hotel Monteleone is one of the few long-standing, family-owned hotels in the country, having been opened in 1886. It's managed to keep its unique charm and character for over 100 years-- and if that doesn't inspire you, I don't know what will!


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Header via Flickr/vxla