Two major socio-culinary forces are highly active on Tchoupitoulas Street as it enters the Warehouse District. The first is a large population of young professional adults looking for a place to have a drink and a supper of something like bar food. The other is the nova-like explosion in popularity of the all-powerful hamburger. Which, we have seen, is attracting not only people who ought to be interested in something more interesting, but the attention of major chefs who also have better things to do.
The two forces swirled around one another to form a particularly large mass underneath a parking garage. Barcadia is big and cool-looking enough to attract enough people to spill across the sidewalk most nights. And it has major hamburgers. Not gimmickburgers (the current issue of Esquire describes these as praised "largely on how much crap restaurants pile on top"), but first-class beef and dressings on house-made buns, grilled with some excitement.
If you work downtown, or are attending a meeting at the Convention Center, it is inevitable that you will wind up one of these days at Barcadia. The attraction is a great hamburger and even better fries. You can get both of those in lots of other grills hereabouts, but Barcadia's are the best downtown. Beyond that, the place has an extensive lineup of beers, good cocktails, and two walls lined with very old arcade games, the kind you played when you were in your teens.
Barcadia opened just before Mardi Gras in 2013, the third in a small chain (the others are in Dallas and Forth Worth). It is generally managed by Miles Tully Jr., and the owner is Stanton Ripp, who also is involved in Generations Hall.
Barcadia occupies about a third of the first floor of a large parking garage (no put-down; so is Mr. B's). The walls and floors are intentionally distressed, for that warehouse feel. If you walk to the back (or enter on Lafayette Street) you find a much quieter, more sophisticated bar called Ohm. The service staff is quick and full of good ideas. The music is geared to the young end of the client spectrum.
The menu includes many spicy dishes, some of them unexpected (the fried pickles, for example). These are the best food in the house.