4301 Burgundy St., 945-9256
Most patrons at this longtime dive bar are from the surrounding Upper 9th Ward neighborhood, but if you get buzzed in, you'll be welcomed warmly. It's always happy hour, and you can play pool at a table with a full-scale racecar hanging over it, or lounge on couches and listen to live music by Little Freddie King and King James and the Special Men. Wednesday features plate dinners. Open daily. Smoking allowed.
600 Poland Ave., 948-911
Cheese plates and international cuisine are on the menu when Chef Joaquin Rodas cooks Wednesday-Sunday. Guest chefs cover the menu Sunday. There is plenty of seating in the courtyard. Open daily. Smoking allowed.
900 Piety St., 945-5762
Among New Orleans' less storied century-plus-old institutions is this humble Bywater corner bar, named for former owner Edward "Bud Rip" Ripoll. Pressed tin ceiling tiles attest to decor that has weathered quite a few decades. It's a casual neighborhood spot where regulars stick to inexpensive draft beer. There is a pool table, dartboard and video poker for amusement. Open daily. Smoking allowed.
The Country Club
634 Louisa St., 945-0742
It's a lush, tiki torch-studded, clothing-optional swimming hole, a swinging gay bar and a happening spot to watch a Saints game or Treme episode. It's also among the best eateries in the Bywater. Chef Coy LeBeau serves up a full menu seven days a week. Open daily. Smoking allowed. Food: restaurant menu. Happy hour 5 p.m.-8 p.m. daily — and when it's raining.
J and J's Sports Lounge
800 France St., 942-8877
MFL and MLB game packages make this bar a reliable spot to watch your favorite team on large-screen TVs. Of course, Saints fans have an edge and can participate in the potluck put out during games. There's $2 Tecate on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Bloody Marys and the selection of beer are always popular. The bar also has dartboards, a pool table, free Wi-Fi and video poker, and it's dog friendly. Open daily. Smoking allowed.
640 Louisa St., 943-0785
Markey's Bar is the kind of unpretentious neighborhood pub that feels instantly familiar, like an old couch with a well-worn groove. Multiple flat-screen TVs broadcasting sports games encourage patrons to sit and relax for a while. Open daily. Smoking allowed. Food: restaurant menu.
Patio Bar & Secret Garden
3162 Dauphine St., 944-4445
Relax in a garden setting while munching on barbecue available from the adjoining Bywater Bar-B-Que. There are taco specials on Tuesdays, a mimosa special on the weekends and Thursdays are movie nights. You can watch sports on TV, play darts or surf the Internet with free Wi-Fi. Open Thu.-Tue. Smoking allowed on patio. Food: restaurant menu. Happy hour 5 p.m.-7 p.m.
4229 Dauphine St., 947-5562
For years, Kermit Ruffins' free-wheeling Thursday night jazz jams have been the beacon drawing New Orleanians to this Bywater corner bar. Vaughan's offers free red beans and rice for those shows. There's plenty of local music on the jukebox, and local characters may be what's propping up the sagging roof and sidewalk overhang at this neighborhood institution. Open daily. Smoking allowed.