The Uptown neighborhood bar marks its anniversary with regulars and a couple of nights of music.

kingpin sign photo
The Kingpin

Fifteen years ago, I was part of a throng who helped open The Kingpin Uptown. Those invited to the opening night were asked to bring a CD for the jukebox, so I contributed The Best of Faces: Good Boys When They’re Asleep. It’s no longer on the jukebox—I’m not sure that anything from the original batch is, with the possible exception of a swamp pop comp—but the K&B Vitamin Center I also donated remains over the beer cooler.

Since it opened, it has been the definition of a neighborhood bar. When I took artist and poet Kenneth Goldsmith there, he observed that if he could find a place like that in New York, he’d hang out in bars again. During the Saints’ Super Bowl year and those around it, there was no question for many of where we’d spend Sunday afternoons. I held my only Grammy--and tried to balance it on my head--when BeauSoleil's David Doucet brought his in after winniing one in 2009. The bar isn’t unique, but it’s a reminder that neighborhood bars remain community hubs in New Orleans. When Anthony Bourdain was in New Orleans to shoot an episode of his show The Layover, he ended up in The Kingpin with Donald Link drinking and eating late night tacos from Taceaux Loceaux.

The Kingpin will celebrate its 15th anniversary the next two weekend. On Saturday night, the bar will host a talent-optional talent show at 8 p.m. and a performance by Houston’s Light Rock Express—a yacht rock cover band—at 10. On December 12, The Lush Tones will perform with Clockwork Elvis, which celebrates Elvis Presley’s birth and death days yearly at The Kingpin.