Badass Babes: A Q&A with Crystal Hinds

🍾 Everyday is a good day for champagne 🍾

Crystal Hinds was born into a French and Italian family in Louisiana in the 1960’s. She has always associated champagne and sparkling wine with celebration, happiness, family, and friends. As she and her husband raised their three children, they continued that tradition.

Crystal began traveling touring wineries in France and the United States and realized the many affordable options out there when it comes to bubbles. She thought, why should we wait for a special occasion or birthday to hear that “pop”, let the “fizz” tickle your lips, and “clink” glasses with those you cherish? Isn’t today special enough? At 56 years old, she decided it was! With very little restaurant or bar experience, she ordered “Champagne for Dummies”, hired the best people she could find, and started on the journey to opening New Orleans’ only champagne bar Effervescence.

Just the pop or sigh of the cork brings a smile to my face and lifts my spirit- anytime, anywhere.

What’s your favorite inexpensive bottle of champagne (or sparkling wine)? Your favorite splurge?

I am loving the Nicole Chanrion’s “Effervescence,” a sparkling Gamay blend from Beaujolais, France (happens to have our name!). It is so popular we have been out of it most of the summer. A new shipment has just arrived so we are excited to have it back on our menu this week. For a splurge, I have to say Salon “Le Mesnil” Blanc de Blanc Brut ’04 from Reims, France….only made in the very best years. I am excited to say we sell it by the glass ($120.00) and the half glass ($60.00) which is much more approachable than a bottle!

Your favorite restaurant in New Orleans besides your own of course?

If I am staying in the French Quarter where I live and work I would say Doris Metropolitan (eating at the bar) or Italian Barrel (eating outside) or Eat (eating on a weeknight). I also love Namese and Lola in Mid-City; and Crepe Nanou or Tito’s Pisco and Ceviche Uptown.

What’s the biggest challenge you have faced a woman restaurant and bar owner so far?

That’s a really hard question because this is all new to me. Whether one is a  man or woman, it would have been way challenging. I guess I would say whenever my husband is around often other men will address any business questions to him. I love it when he says, “ this is her baby, ask her!” ((SWOON)) 

 

What’s the most rewarding thing about owning a business in New Orleans?

Getting to know our guests, especially our neighbors, has been such a rewarding benefit of opening effervescence. I really wanted to be a New Orleans place where locals would come and we are getting there. I often say every night is like a wedding reception….one never knows who they will run into!

 

What was the inspiration behind the beautiful interior design at Effervescence?

First and foremost, the house itself dictated the style. Being a beautiful 1890’s Victorian Center Hall Cottage was inspiration enough. All I had to do was embellish, which was easy with help from my architect, Corbett Scott and Interior Decorator, Kelly Sutton. We based the design on an Anna Kincaide painting I purchased while walking my dog Lola in the Quarter. The moment I saw it in the window I told a friend, “This is what I want effervescence to feel like!” We followed an elegant modern French Bistro motif.

Your favorite menu item at effervescence?

The Bowfin Cajun Caviar with pepper mash potato chips, creme fraiche and chives that I always share with my two .year old grandson, Luca. The entire dish seems so special and extravagant but you are actually eating caviar on a potato chip. How fun is that?? Luca licks the caviar pedestal at the end!

cajun caviar

Is there a woman entrepreneur who has inspired you?

 The women of Champagne have been a huge inspiration for me and have even challenged me to follow my dream today as they follow their passions in a time which did not value women in the working world. Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin “Le Veuve (widow) Clicquot” invented the process of remage or riddling and turned a fledgling vine century yard into a global success. She along with other women (widows) of the early 19th century influenced great Champagne houses such as Bollinger, Laurent-Perrier, and Pommery. Their uniqueness inspired me to move forward with my visions of a place where someone could toast and celebrate the day.

 

Your favorite quote or piece of advice?

My Dad always told me growing up when things were getting me upset or down…”This too shall pass…” that advice has always helped me weather the struggles and realize they are only short term and tomorrow will look different.

 

Are there any exciting events or happenings coming up at Effervescence?

We always have exciting events and happenings at effervescence! Remember, we toast there everyday. Every Wednesday we pour glasses table side from a different magnum of Champagne. It is a great way to taste some amazing and unique growers and big houses without breaking the bank. At Happy Hour, we offer $5.00 glasses of sparkling brut, sparkling rose, still red, still white and still rose on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday till 6pm. On Sundays, we open from 1pm to 8pm and offer “Brunch Bites” along with our regular menu. We also have live music 2:30-5:30 and 1/2 price bottles of PET NATS (natural wines). Outdoor movies, wine classes, tastings, picnics, specialty pairing dinners and our over the top New Year’s Eve Dinner are just a small sample of current happenings. Check our website www.nolabubbles.com for up to date events, hours, and menus. Something is always popping at effervescence.

champagne bar
Babes & Beignets

Babes & Beignets is the go-to resource for the twenty-something babe livin’ la vida NOLA. For lovers of happy hour, entertaining, brunch, local shopping, the hottest events, the occasional venture outside of the city & more - it’s all here! Sharing our love of New Orleans, and connecting with those who share that love is what we are most passionate about.

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