Mixologist Neal Bodenheimer of Cure - Biography
New Orleans, LA
In a not uncommon move among teenagers, Neal Bodenheimer left his hometown of New Orleans at 18. His first stop was college in Austin, Texas; his next stop: the world (sort of). Like most young wayfarers, Bodenheimer wasn’t hot air-ballooning from Monaco to Marseilles; he was budget-traveling to sate wanderlust. What he hadn’t guessed was that while slaking one thirst, he’d stoked another, cultivating an appreciation for fine cocktails from stop to cosmopolitan stop.
Once more stateside, Bodenheimer crossed another item off the youth bucket list, living in New York City. And that’s where he first tested his cocktail passion, stepping behind the bar at the Atlantic Grill on the Upper East Side and realizing he’d found his career. After building a foundation, he returned to New Orleans in 2006. But Bodenheimer wasn’t just going home to work; he was going home to rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Bodenheimer partnered up with Matthew Kohnke and Kirk Estopinal to open Cure on Freret Street in 2009, helping spur area redevelopment as pockets of New Orleans continued to grow. The trio took a massive leap of faith that involved jumping over bureaucratic obstacles and battling to obtain permits. Despite all obstacles, it was a successful leap—Freret Street is buzzing with culture and business, and Cure is one of its modern mainstays. With that under his belt, Bodenheimer and team recently opened cocktail lounge Bellocq, located in Klaus Ortlieb’s sassy-sophisticated Hotel Modern, bringing the cobbler cocktail to his increasingly thirsty and enthralled NOLA audience.