JusTini’s Offers Fresh Take on Cocktails and Bar Fare at New Bywater Bar

Source: JusTini’s

JusTini’s, located at 3162 Dauphine St. in the building that used to be home to Oxalis, is a new Bywater cocktail bar that is the perfect respite on long, hot summer days.

Owner Jessica Robinson was born and raised in New Orleans East. She attended St. Mary’s Academy and then Southern University in Baton Rouge. It was in Baton Rouge that Robinson got her start bartending. When she moved home to New Orleans, she turned her passion for bartending into a career.

Source: JusTini’s

“I would make drinks by the gallon for different events and parties,” she said. “That’s how my business took off; it was built on word-of-mouth.”

From there, Robinson honed her skills at bars throughout the city, gaining a loyal clientele wherever she worked. In addition to bar jobs, Robinson kept herself busy bartending weddings and other events until her business grew to the point where she needed help. She hired friends and trained them to bartend with her, building a mobile bar and cocktail business specializing in events for big-name brands like Google, Nike, Jack Daniel’s, and Red Bull.

“I wanted to do something creative with my cocktails and not just offer simple things like Crown and Coke,” she explained about her mobile business. “I started creating signature cocktails for weddings and events, and people liked that. When it comes to corporate events, these companies want to hire someone who can do everything.”

JusTini’s, the culmination of Robinson’s dream of owning her own bar, opened in May in a spot that had been all but abandoned since Oxalis closed in 2017.

She said, “I used the mobile business to get me here; the goal was always to have my own bar and keep my brand going.”

JusTini’s is a beautiful space that Robinson has made her own. In the restaurant’s courtyard is a mural by artist Jarrad McKay that honors the owners of ninth-ward bars, Seal’s Class Act, and Bertha’s Place. It was important to Robinson to honor two women who paved the way for her to open JusTini’s.

“We have murals all over New Orleans, but not a lot of them are of Black women,” she explained. “I wanted to honor them, because their bars have been around for over thirty years and I aspire for my business to be around over thirty years.”

Source: Marielle Songy

 The cocktail menu reflects upscale tastes with an approachable twist. Some familiar drinks on JusTini’s menu are recognizable to any cocktail lover, such as an Old Fashioned, French 75, Lemon Drop, and Side Car. However, JusTini’s personality shines through in the bar’s signature cocktails that have been perfected through years of Robinsons’ handiwork.

Blues in the Cup, made with Veil blueberry vodka, lemon, and fresh blueberry puree, is a tribute to blues music and is perfect for the summer. Doo Ya Thang, made with Empress gin, JusTini Lavender Syrup, lemon, and champagne, was crafted in honor of Robinson’s friend who did the calligraphy work for the bar. 

As for the menu, JusTini’s serves what Robinson refers to as “elevated bar food”—small plates that are perfectly paired with cocktails and great for eating before a night out on the town. The menu’s dishes are named after streets in the ninth ward and include Desire Street Hot Sausage Tacos made with lean ground beef, New Orleans hot sausage, fresh cilantro, diced onions, shredded cheese, and tomatoes;  Catfish Dauphine, a catfish filet topped with a garlic cream sauce, and served on a bed of mixed greens and blackened shrimp; and Burgundy Street Seafood Tacos filled with grilled shrimp and crawfish tails and topped with fresh cilantro, diced onions, baby spinach, roasted corn, jalapeños with garlic butter on the side.

Source: JusTini’s

When the weekend comes, JusTini’s is ready to add its name to the local brunch scene. Menu selections include St. Claude Truffle Fries seasoned with house blend spices, drizzled with truffle oil, and topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and parsley; Piety Street Blackened Shrimp Salad made with mixed greens, shrimp, creamy feta cheese crumbles, shredded sweet carrots, red onions, crispy cucumbers, baby heirloom tomatoes, and candied vanilla walnuts with Sweet Onion Vidalia dressing on the side; and Sweet Royal Street Thai Chili Wings fried golden brown and infused with exotic spices and Thai chili sauce.

JusTini’s happy hour is Tuesday through Friday, 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., and includes $7 French 75s and Lemon Drops, discounted beer, and $3 hot sausage tacos, $4 seafood tacos, $5 truffle fries, and $7 fish tenders and fries.

JusTini’s is open Tuesday through Thursday, 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Friday, 12:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m., Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m., and Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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