Bobby Oakes | Southern Foodways Alliance arrow left envelope headphones search facebook instagram twitter flickr menu rss play circle itunes calendar

Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to

< Back to Oral History project: Bartenders of New Orleans


Bobby Oakes

Arnaud's Restaurant

With little experience under his belt, Bobby Oakes knocked on doors all over the French Quarter to find a bartending job he could work at night, so that he could go to college during the day. He eventually landed a gig at the famed Pat O’Brien’s, where he quickly learned the business of the cocktail—quantity, not quality. Less than a year later, Bobby made his way to Arnaud’s Restaurant and developed a whole new appreciation for the art of tending bar. Since 1996, Bobby has immersed himself in cocktail history, tradition, and service. These days he only works one night a week, but he takes that night very seriously. Bobby enjoys honoring the traditions of cocktails like the Sazerac and Ramos Gin Fizz, but he is also a connoisseur of good scotch and vintage ports. You’ll find him there on Saturday nights, passionate about drinks and serious about service.

Date of interview:

Amy Evans


Download Transcript

Other Project Interviews



The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


Alex Raij Txikito

Let’s Stay in Touch

Sign up for the SFA newsletter to have the latest content
delivered directly to your inbox.