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Bottoms Up! The Bar Guide 

Gambit's look at the New Orleans bar scene: happy hours, food, music, smoking policies and much more.

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BYWATER | CBD / WAREHOUSE | CITY WIDE / MARIGNY | QUARTER | LAKEVIEW| MID-CITY | RIVERBEND / CARROLLTON / UNIVERSITY | TREME / UPTOWN | JEFFERSON PARISH | NORTHSHORE | WESTBANK |


CBD/ Warehouse District

7 on Fulton

This restaurant bar always has a drink special: the weekly lineup is $5 Jose Cuervo margaritas, $5 Tito vodka martinis, a wine and cheese plate special, two-for-one cocktails, $12 French 75s, $12 pitchers of Sangria, and $5 Tito Bloody Marys. The restaurant menu is available to fuel you for watching sports and surfing the Internet. Open daily. Smoking: patio only. 700 Fulton St., 525-7555; www.7onfulton.com-

12 Bar

A huge guitar painted on the wall hints at the music club's focus on blues, jazz, R&B, funk and rock 'n' roll. Named after the 12-bar blues, the bar features live music Thursday through Saturday. An antebellum-style ultra-lounge features acoustic acts. Tuesday features comedy acts. Open daily. Smoking: yes. TV sports, free Wi-Fi. 608 Fulton St., 212-6476; www.12barnola.com

American Sector

Vintage World War II decor and a clean, roomy space make this a comfortable place to meet friends for a drink. Sit on the front patio or in a glassed-in patio and drink specialty beers P-40 "Falstaff" Warhawk or P-51 Mustang, brewed just for this bar. John Besh's WWII-inspired American cuisine is available until 9 p.m. weekdays and 10 p.m. weekends. Open daily. Smoking: no. 945 Magazine St., 528-1940; www.nationalww2museum.org/american-sector

Bar Noir

Imagine a cozy Broadway-theater district bar transplanted to St. Charles Avenue, down to lipstick-red walls, black-and-white tile floors and a menu of highballs, martinis and good wines. Bar Noir is the "front of the house" of the cabaret Le Chat Noir, and it opens one hour before showtime on nights or afternoons before a show. Closing varies, but local actors head there on Saturdays after final curtain and stay late. 715 St. Charles Ave., 581-5812, www.cabaretlechatnoir.com

Bar UnCommon

Designed in a bold style, this bar inside the Renaissance Pere Marquette Hotel looks like a lounge from the future. When veteran bartender Chris McMillian is on duty, however, expect classic New Orleans drinks served with a dose of cocktail history. Upscale bar snacks, sandwiches and other dishes are available. Open daily. Smoking: no. 817 Common St., 525-1111; www.baruncommon.com

The Bricks Courtyard Bar & Grill

The laid-back atmosphere, large courtyard and prime location just six blocks from the Louisiana Superdome and New Orleans Arena make this beer pub a good spot for tailgating. There are 55 different imported and domestic beers on tap and the bartender pours the popular John Daly (iced tea, lemonade and vodka) as well as other cocktails. Drink specials abound, and a kitchen will open soon. Smoking: yes. 735 St. Joseph St., 525-2396

Cajun Mike's Pub

It's a neighborhood bar with a passion for sports, offering cheap drinks all day Saturday and plenty of sports memorabilia to get you in the mood for watching games. Play Nintendo Wii on Wednesday, or go for trivia games and video poker. Cuban sandwiches, red beans and other bar eats are available. Open daily. Smoking: yes. 116 Baronne St., 566-0055; www.cajunmikes.com

Capdeville

Tucked away on a side street behind the federal court buildings is this sleek modern pub. There's a rock vibe with posters and rock star portraits on the walls. A creative menu makes it a busy lunch spot, and food is available late on Friday and Saturday. Look for specials on local drinks during weekday happy hour. from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and noon to 7 p.m. Friday. Open daily. Smoking: no. 520 Capdeville St., 371-5161; www.capdevillenola.com

Dino's Bar and Grill

Signature martinis and steak night on Tuesday (an 8-ounce steak with potatoes and vegetables is $12.95) are among the things that draw in regulars. There also is live music most Fridays and happy hour prices for women from 9 p.m. to midnight Thursday during ladies night. Hamburgers, chicken tenders, tuna, wraps and salads are on the menu. Open daily. Smoking: yes. Happy hour 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Fri. 1128 Tchoupitoulas St., 558-0900; www.facebook.com/dinos

The District

An old industrial space reclaimed as a neighborhood watering hole, The District's heritage shows in its weathered brick walls and cypress woodwork. The kitchen turns out Kobe beef sliders, crawfish cakes, wings and quesadillas to keep everyone on an even keel. Open daily. Smoking: no. Happy hour 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Fri. Dog friendly. 711 Tchoupitoulas St., 301-1476; www.districtnola.com

Dominic's

Cozy up to the long bar and gaze at the decoratively carved wood wall at this renovated 1920s building that draws locals and visitors from the two hotels and apartment complex nearby to enjoy a large drink selection. An 8-foot screen shows sports and movies, and there's live music every other Tuesday. Open daily. Smoking: yes. Video poker, free Wi-Fi. 219 Carondelet St., 566-1876

Ernst Cafe

With a history dating back more than a century, the Ernst Cafe exudes old New Orleans character, from its soaring ceilings to its wrap-around gallery. But it's the energy that draws patrons after work or when the Saints or Hornets are playing at home. Open daily. Smoking: no. Happy hour 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Tue.-Fri. 600 S. Peters St., 525-8544; www.ernstcafe.net

Extreme Sports Bar and Grille

This new bar makes no bones about its hard-driving sports mania. Big screens broadcast all the games, high-tops autographed by Hornets players adorn the walls and miniature goalposts bookend the bar. Patrons play the Madden NFL video game on a 9-foot screen on Wednesday. There's also a boxing machine, air hockey, darts and pool. Open daily. Smoking: yes. Happy hour 4 p.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Fri. Dog friendly. 535 Tchoupitoulas St., 581-6999

Howlin' Wolf

A Michalopoulos mural covering Howlin' Wolf's exterior tells a tale of New Orleans music. Inside, today's performers add new chapters to the story on stage. Top local acts and touring bands play in a spacious room lined by facades salvaged from old shotgun houses. Open daily. Smoking: yes. 907 S. Peters St., 522-9653; www.thehowlinwolf.com

Howlin' Wolf Den

The sister club to the Howlin' Wolf has a kitchen serving tacos and barbecue, and a busy weekly calendar of diverse acts. Acoustic night on Monday is followed by simmering burlesque on Tuesday. Thursday brings Comedy Gumbeaux with local stand-up, and the Hot 8 Brass Band performs on Sunday. Open daily. Smoking: yes. 901 S. Peters St., 529-5844; www.thehowlinwolf.com

LePhare

Hidden down a quiet side street in the boutique hotel Loft 523, LePhare has a stylish design, mellow lighting and hip DJ sounds. Tuesday is salsa night with dance lessons and Latin music starting at 8 p.m., while Friday's ladies night features free Champagne until midnight. Open Tue. and Thu.-Sun. Smoking: no. 523 Gravier St., 636-1890; www.lepharenola.com

Loa

Absolut Kurant, a splash of sparkling wine and orange and pineapple juices comprise the signature Loatini at the refined and spirited Loa bar in the International House Hotel. Original craft cocktails and premium spirits highlight the regular offerings, and there are free tastings on the first Friday of every month and during Wednesday happy hour (5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) December through February. Some bar snacks are available from the kitchen of Rambla. Open daily. Smoking: no. 221 Camp St., 200-6525. www.ihhotel.com

Lucy's Retired Surfers Bar & Restaurant

The laid-back attitude of southwestern California is embodied in this Warehouse District haunt that serves "global surf cuisine" (read: Mexican) and draws weekend crowds ready to party in the street or on the patio. Monday Night Football offers 50-cent wings, and there are $1 tacos 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday. There's live music for special events. Open daily. Smoking: patio only. Happy hour 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Fri. 701 Tchoupitoulas St., 523-8995; www.lucysretiredsurfers.com

Masquerade

Set in the middle of Harrah's casino, Masquerade is equipped with a 34-foot-long ice bar to keep drinks chilled and a 42-foot media tower for light shows. There are Coors Light giveaways during Saints and LSU games, shown on large-screen TVs. Masquerade dancers perform on weekends, along with DJs, and there is periodic live jazz. Open daily. Smoking: yes. Happy hour 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Fri. Harrah's New Orleans, 228 Poydras St., 533-6000; www.harrahsneworleans.com

The Metropolitan Nightclub

This exclusive dance club is only open on Saturday nights and has an upscale dress code, as well as table and bottle service, VIP accommodations and music by DJs. It bills itself as "the place to see and be seen," and hosts large Halloween and New Year's Eve parties. Open Sat. Smoking: yes. 310 Andrew Higgins Drive, 568-1702; www.themetropolitannightclub.com

NOLA Tropical Winery

New Orleans' only tropical winery serves 38 varieties of non-grape-based wines, and hosts free wine tastings all day every day. Popular drinks include wine smoothies, Category 5 white sangria, dry blueberry wine and Sinfully Noble muscadine. Open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Sat. and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun. Smoking: patio only. Riverwalk Marketplace, 1 Poydras St., Suite 25, 561-6010; www.nolatropicalwinery.com

Rock-N-Sake

This restaurant bar promises loud music, lots of sake, beer and cocktails, plus a full menu of Japanese cuisine — all without breaking the bank. Sake hour from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and Sunday offers half-price large hot sake, Kirin beers, sake cocktails and appetizers. For added entertainment, watch sushi chefs prepare your food. Open daily. Smoking: patio only. 823 Fulton St., 581-7253; www.rocknsake.com

The Roosevelt Hotel Bar

It describes itself as New Orleans' rock 'n' roll gastro dive, with DJs spinning music. (The bar plans to stage live music in the future.) Women get $1 Cosmopolitans Thursday until 11 p.m., and everyone gets free shots of Jameson when the Saints score a touchdown. Open daily. Smoking: yes. Happy hour: two-for-one drinks till 8 p.m. Mon.-Fri. 116 University Place, 566-9444

Rusty Nail

With its bare wood walls and vintage feel, this well-hidden bar is worth seeking out. Catch open mic night on Tuesday, or give the shuffleboard table a spin any night. Visit on Thursday during "Cocktails for a Cause," and $1 from each drink benefits a local charity. Open daily. Smoking: no. Happy hour 4:30 p.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Fri. 1100 Constance St., 525-5515; www.therustynail.org

The Sazerac Bar

Reopened in 2009 following a complete restoration of the Roosevelt Hotel that houses it, The Sazerac Bar retained its elegant woodwork and Art Deco-style murals painted by artist Paul Ninas in the 1930s. Though best known for its Sazerac and Ramos Gin Fizz, invented at the bar, there is a full cocktail menu and comfortable seating. Open daily. Smoking: no. The Roosevelt New Orleans, 123 Baronne St., 648-1200; www.therooseveltneworleans.com

Swizzle Stick

The bar at the quirky Cafe Adelaide honors the Saints with the Who Dat Punch, which includes "a little bit of this, a little bit of that and a whole lot of love." The bar offers $5 drink specials daily and live music from local entertainers from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Open daily. Smoking: no. Loews New Orleans Hotel, 300 Poydras St, 595-3305; www.cafeadelaide.com

Tommy's Wine Bar

Leather chairs, comfortable couches and a wood interior provide an inviting, upscale atmosphere for enjoying the 20 wines available by the glass, the 150 bottles on the menu or cognac, Scotch and bourbon. Snack on cheese and pate or order from the menu at Tommy's Cuisine. Live music Friday and Saturday gets you deep into the weekend mood. Open Mon.-Sat. Smoking: no. Happy hour 5 p.m.-7 p.m. daily. 752 Tchoupitoulas St., 525-4790; www.tommysneworleans.com

Whiskey Blue

The elegant mahogany bar with amber lighting on the front and deep blue walls, leather chairs, banquette couches, dim lighting and large common table invite an upscale crowd of W Hotel visitors and local luminaries. Jazz, blues and rock 'n' roll photographs by Jim Marshall add a music theme, while DJs spin tunes. Craft cocktails and standards like the Sazerac fill the drink menu. Open 5 p.m. Mon.-Sat. Smoking: yes. Flat-screen TVs. W Hotel, 333 Poydras St., 207-5016; www.starwoodhotels.com/whotels

Wine Institute of New Orleans

Part wine bar and part wine shop, W.I.N.O. is built around innovative self-service devices that dispense portion-controlled pours. Customers can sample to their hearts' content from 120 wines and try fine vintages rarely available by the glass elsewhere. Get a sandwich or cheese plate to round out things. Open daily. Smoking: no. Wine classes available. 610 Tchoupitoulas St., 324-8000; www.winoschool.com

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