Between hoops, sports fans will search out drinks, eats and fun. Here are 10 picks all about a mile or less from the game and the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Be sure to call ahead to make sure the VIP set hasn't booked up your favorite spot.
Erin Rose/Killer Poboys
811 Conti St., (504) 522-3573: www.erinrosebar.com and www.killerpoboys.com
Out-of-town regulars (they exist) and residents mingle easily in this locals' nook off Bourbon Street, where drinking goes nearly all night. Bartenders here are known for their frozen Irish coffees and from-scratch Bloody Marys (the secret ingredient? Guinness). Hungry fans head to the back room for Killer Poboys' cheeky sandwiches, like rum-braised pork belly or whiskey-spiked grilled cheese.
600 Fulton St., (504) 208-5569; www.fultonalley.com
Still thumping your chest after the Jam Session? Challenge your friends to a bowling match at these luxe lanes, where craft cocktails, beer and shareable Southern plates arrive while you play. On Fridays, happy hour runs 11 a.m.-7 p.m., with select $6 cocktails and half-off bar snacks. All ages are welcome 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; other hours it's 21 and over, and you should probably reserve your lane on weekends.
Howlin' Wolf Den
901 S. Peters St. (504) 529-5844; www.thehowlinwolf.com/the-den
The bare-bones den next door to the main venue showcases Southern-style pub grub such as meat pies, fried pickles, jambalaya chimichangas and bacon-jalapeno cheddar beignets. Try them with any of the dozens of beers on the list.
337 Chartres St., (504) 598-5005; www.cocktailbarnew- orleans.com
Mardi Gras parades begin Saturday, Feb. 15, when the racy Krewe du Vieux rolls in the Faubourg Marigny and French Quarter. Throughout Carnival, Chef Greg Sonnier and master barman Chris McMillian offer a themed tasting menu: $50 includes a specialty cocktail and three courses, with options like fried and baked oysters draped with crab ravigote, and king cake for dessert.
857 Fulton St., (504) 525-8205; www.labocasteaks.com and www.milkfishnola.com
Rebound from the running around with a steak dinner at La Boca, where Argentine cuts result in generous portions (reservations are a must). Sundays at this address belong to Milkfish, a pop-up serving Filipino fare from noon to 10 p.m. Try the traditional breakfast, a plate stacked with garlic-fried rice, sausage, pork belly and fried egg, or the mango-tangy ceviche.
515 Baronne St., (504) 529-5825; www.luckyrooster-nola.com
Chef Neal Swidler's Asian-inspired dishes are soul food for the globe-trotting set. There are plump dumplings, fluffy bao and specials — recently, hot wings with coconut-mango salad. On the drinks side are sherry flights, sparked sodas and cocktails with Asian twists (here, the gin fizz calls for basil seed syrup). Insider tip: Ask for the secret "36 Chambers", a kicked-up list featuring exotic spirits.
Tivoli & Lee
Hotel Modern, 936 St. Charles Ave., (504) 962-0909; www.tivoliandlee.com
Chef Marcus Woodham's got game — turtle and duck, that is, along with pork and lamb in his modern South Louisiana dishes. At brunch, he spins eggs Benedict with crisp pigs' feet, specialty tots and a nutty banana pancake dedicated to Elvis. Whiskey evangelist Kimberly Patton-Bragg plays along with smart specialty cocktails. During All-Star weekend, she'll stock brunch's build-your-own Bloody Mary bar ($15 unlimited) with her own infusions: roasted poblano tequila, arugula-basil gin, and "trinity" vodka steeped with celery, onion and pepper.
339 Baronne St., (504) 522-8664; www.victorynola.com
Once you're greeted with a complimentary three-ounce cocktail (the daily house special), stay on for Evan Baldwin's All-Star special Triple Double, a shake of Cognac and citrus laced with mole bitters. Or do a flaming Gas Mask shot of green Chartreuse. The kitchen — which serves hand-tossed pizzas and teriyaki-glazed scallops — is open until 1 a.m. on weekends.
1009 Poydras St., (504) 309-6530; www.walk-ons.com
If you plan to watch the All-Star events on TNT, bounce into this sports bar for its more than 50 TVs and table taps offering direct lines to quality brews. (Sitting at the bar? Try the strawberry-jalapeno margarita.) A wide range of bar food includes burgers, waffle-fried nachos, boudin-stuffed quesadillas, and a decadent skillet cookie sundae. A smoke-free dining room makes it a friendly place for kids.
W Hotel, 333 Poydras St., (504) 207-5016www.gerberbars.com/whiskey-blue-new-orleans
Beautiful people gather at this splashy club, where "bottle service" also describes general manager Sam Skydell's full-scale bottled cocktail program, with his takes on the margarita, Aviation, and Moscow Mule. Whiskey Blue offers the traditional tableside service, too, and carries rare bottles of whiskey and Scotch.