Melius Bar and Cafe (1701 Lake Ave., Metairie, 828-9446) -- Melius has long been a locals' favorite because of its laid-back atmosphere that exudes the cozy comforts of Bucktown. A great spot, whether you're a neighborhood regular ready for an after-work beer or a refugee from the city seeking the salty lake air. Melius' kitchen also offers a number of seafood specialties.
Bud Rip's (900 Piety St., 945-5762) -- Bud Rip's made its name over the years as one of Bywater's true Irish pubs, where the Downtown Irish Club gathers for the St. Paddy's Day parade. Long a neighborhood fixture, Bud Rip's still draws folks from Chalmette who, along with their relatives who once lived here, return for a cheap drink.
Country Club (634 Louisa St., 945-0742, www.countryclubneworleans.com) -- Everyone knows the Country Club is one of the few Ninth Ward places with a pool, but not everyone notices the bar on the way to the pool. New ownership is trying to create more of a cabaret/nightclub feel. Right now the draw is cheap beer and cocktails, and premium music channels.
Leo's Food and Spirits (800 France St., 949-4004) -- Located in the former Lorenzo's Pizzeria (now inside Bywater BBQ), Leo's is like Bywater itself: earthy, funky and given to explosions of hipster cool. On the whole, it's a hole, but when WWOZ DJ Soul Sistah comes to spin her funk collection, it's an all-night party. More Leo's, MORE!
Markey's Bar (640 Louisa St., 943-0785) -- Roy Markey Jr.'s been running the family bar for years, and if you wanna Nint' Ward accent along with funky-punky chatter, this is the place. It's also a central gathering spot in the 'hood for Saints games and has some of the lowest tap prices around ($3 for a pint of Bass?!?).
Saturn Bar (3067 St. Claude Ave., 949-7532) -- He seems to be closing the legendary bar sooner and sooner these days (midnight at last count), but owner Neil Broyard can still be found there tending bar and watching TV with other folks caught in the glow of New Orleans' most organically decorated bar. Just check out the "junk room."
Vaughan's Lounge (800 Lesseps St., 947-5562) -- Thursday night in Bywater can only mean one thing: Kermit Ruffins at Vaughan's. It's one of those places locals take guests willing to stay up late for Kermit, his music, and his barbecue (whether swinging or smokin'). But that doesn't mean locals don't hang here the rest of the week, particularly during happy hour.
Club 360 (2 Canal St., World Trade Center, 33rd floor, 522-9795) -- Though this rotating club offers a fantastic view of the skyline and Mississippi River, your gaze may be more drawn to the happening clientele. The DJs, upscale cocktails and special events draw everyone from models to NBA stars. The dance- and hip-hop-inspired soundtrack keeps the dance floor moving.
Club Ampersand (1100 Tulane Ave., 587-3737, www.clubampersand.com) -- The sleek and stylish Club Ampersand seemingly transports you to another place, where dancing 'til dawn and DJs are the norm. A converted Whitney Bank building, Ampersand's spacious two-level setting provides VIP lounges, sitting rooms (including one in a former vault), two bars and a huge dance floor packed with party people.
Cajun Mike's Pub 'n' Grub (116 Baronne St., www.cajunmikes.com) -- With PBR on tap and longnecks typically the beers of choice, Cajun Mike's offers a rare casual chill-out spot in the CBD -- without downtown prices, especially on Wednesdays, when there's specials on drinks and food. Premium liquors are also served, and gumbo and po-boys are house specialties.
Cobalt (Hotel Monaco, 333 St. Charles Ave., 565-5595, www.monaco-neworleans.com) -- Cobalt exudes a soothing blue glow, a pleasant lighting that stems from the restaurant and bar's elegant, yet sleek and modern, atmosphere. With regular live music, a piano lounge and oyster bar, Cobalt is just as much a drinking destination as it is one of the city's top eateries.
Doc Smith's Lounge (1009 Poydras St., 561-0528) -- An offshoot of Smith & Wollensky, Doc Smith's came to town around the same time as the Hornets, and has become a popular spot before and after the games at the New Orleans Arena and Superdome. With an upscale sports-bar feel, Doc Smith's boasts multiple flat-screen TVs, and gourmet bites and entrees.
Harrah's Casino (512 S. Peters St., 533-6000, www.harrahs.com/our_casinos/nor/) -- While the obvious attraction at the plush and immense Harrah's is gambling, the casino holds a number of bars and lounges that never close -- perfect for a city that likes to party 24/7. Harrah's regularly offers live music, including free admission to jazz diva Topsy Chapman in the Jazz Court.
Herbsaint (701 St. Charles Ave., 524-4114, www.herbsaint.com) -- Swanky is the only word to describe this Susan Spicer spin-off restaurant. Sample the exquisite food and pleasing wine list at the bar, or dive in to a three-course meal. Here's a tip: the bartenders make a particularly fine Old Fashioned, and the eponymous Herbsaint cocktail is not to be missed.
Hytopps Sports Bar & Grill (Hyatt Regency Hotel, 500 Poydras St., 299-1169) -- Ranked among the top sports bars in the city by Gambit readers, Hytopps is clearly a favorite for visitors and locals. Offering all the usual sports-bar amenities and more, Hytopps is an ideal spot to kick off your Saints Sunday with a bloody Mary.
Joe's Bar (1500 Cleveland Ave., 581-9809) -- Situated near both Charity and Tulane hospitals for more than 50 years, Joe's Bar serves plenty of what the good doctor orders. With a full-range of drinks available, Joe's specializes in upscale beers, with a number of microbrews and imports not found at most spots.
Kabby's Sports Edition Grille (Hilton Hotel-Riverside, 2 Poydras St., 584-3880) -- Boasting more than 50 televisions -- all tuned to the day's biggest (and smallest) games -- Kabby's offers a grand view of the Mississippi River along with the best sports match-ups. Beers and cocktails are available at the bar, or you can sit, relax and order food from a kitchen.
Lenny's Piccadilly Lounge (116 University Place, 525-4083) -- Lenny's is the spot, whether you're in the mood to enjoy some raw oysters and watch the Saints, or hang out over cocktails after work. The bar stays open every night, with later hours on the weekends, though the morning is the best time to sample this bar's staple -- the bloody Mary.
Loa (221 Camp St., 553-9550) -- A respite fitting to the chic glamour of the International Hotel, Loa's mod sleekness is more New York than New Orleans, and thus is a big draw for scenesters (who appear along with the occasional celebrity spotting) looking to avoid the typical rough-and-tumble local bar. The crowd is stylish, and so are the drinks.
Loft 523 (523 Gravier St., 200-6523, www.loft523.com) -- Matching the intimate chic of its host hotel, Loft 523 offers an upscale, unique space to enjoy drinks with groups of friends, or one-on-one with that someone special. Huge, plush couches are tucked into multiple rooms (including a private grotto room). Floor pillows also abound.
Mint Julep Lounge (Hyatt Regency Hotel, 500 Poydras St., 561-1234, www.hyattneworleans.com) -- Located on the Hyatt's third floor in an atrium, the Mint Julep gives the feel of a classic New Orleans cocktail lounge. While the namesake drink is of course a house specialty, the bar also pours Sazeracs and hurricanes plus all the standards.
Nick's Bar (2400 Tulane Ave., 821-9128) -- Nick's gives off a blue-collar vibe that fits into both its location and history. However, it has become a favorite spot of both CBD suits looking to unwind after work, and Uptown college kids. The dark lighting and funky decor are appropriate to one of the last places still serving Dixie on tap.
Polo Lounge (Windsor Court Hotel, 300 Gravier St., 523-6000) -- The Polo Lounge matches the Windsor Court's standards of excellence, providing the cigar-and-martini crowd with a comfortable, yet elegant bar. A jazz trio plays Friday and Saturday nights, with a piano player entertaining other nights. A full wine list is available, along with specialty cocktails such as the Polo Martini.
Sazerac Bar (Fairmont Hotel, 123 Baronne St., 529-4733, www.fairmonthotel.com) -- The original home to one of New Orleans' signature drinks, the Sazerac Bar first gained international notice in the early 1900s when a bartender concocted its namesake drink. Still the most popular choice here, a Sazerac is an ideal drink to enjoy while you soak in the classy environs.
Whiskey Blue (W Hotel, 333 Poydras St., 525-9444, www.whotels.com) -- With hotels throughout the city looking to anchor their space with a stylish bar, the Whiskey Blue set the standard a few years back when it set up shop in the uber-trendy W Hotel. Fashion slaves enjoy well-prepared cocktails while taking in the ambient blue lighting and sleek decor.
Apple Barrel Bar (609 Frenchmen St., 949-9399) -- The trendier Frenchmen Street becomes, the grittier this one true neighborhood bar on the strip remains. Often a launching pad for Adolfo's restaurant above, Apple Barrel keeps many patrons firmly on the ground with its stiff drinks and familiar air. Just don't trip over the dog.
Blue Nile (523 Frenchmen St., 948-2583) -- Cacophonous, dark and spacious, the Blue Nile (formerly Jack Maheu's Tin Roof Café, formerly the Dream Palace) indeed emits a mood indigo for visitors who come for regular music acts such as Milonga Tango or Fredy Omar, or just a chance to duck in from the foot traffic outside.
Buffa's (1001 Esplanade Ave., 949-0038) -- Edward Hopper would've found his Nighthawks at Buffa's, framing them through the egg-shaped window underneath a neon sign. Buffa's is one of those safe dives, less threatening than it seems -- but noirish enough to have the 2001 disaster Tempted (starring Burt Reynolds but lacking distribution) shot there.
Cafe Brasil (2100 Chartres St., 949-0851) -- A club so cool its evasive owner rarely uses the local media to advertise shows. Cafe Brasil not only covers the African Diaspora with its lineup of Caribbean-meets-second line music spectrum, but also features a bar for passersby on the other side of the main room.
Cafe Negril (606 Frenchmen St., 944-4744) -- Jamaican in every way, Cafe Negril is the (kitchen) home to Chef Cecil Palmer and welcomes everyone to eat or just sit at the bar and nurse a Caribbean drink while soaking in the Technicolor murals. The music is decidedly reggae with plenty of jazz and funk thrown in.
Check Point Charlie's (501 Esplanade Ave., 947-0979) -- The bookend of the Frenchmen Street bar crawl, Check Point can seduce with the aroma of its burgers or offend with sonic punk rock bands onstage. Drinks are cheap, the laundry is nearby, and the bands are loud, fun, and plentiful. Few other clubs give as much opportunity to local acts.
Cowpokes (2240 St. Claude Ave., 947-0505) -- If you're an Urban Cowboy but lean more toward John Travolta than Debra Winger, Cowpokes is the de facto gay country-western bar in the area. The DJ blasts hits and classics, and the line dancing gets crowded. The bar serves as a conversation station after the theater productions in the next room.
d.b.a. (616 Frenchmen St., 942-3731, www.drinkgoodstuff.com) -- A downtown bar with citywide appeal, d.b.a. has people talking about its New York City roots (and vibe), top-shelf liquors and some 20 beer taps. Live music made the place even louder than normal, but who's complaining? And yes, that's a live feed of the East Village bar (remember to wave).
Dragon's Den (435 Esplanade Ave., 949-1750) -- It's open, it's closed, it's open, it's closed. This time, we're betting the Dragon's Den, atop the Siam Cafe, is here to stay. And it really is a den, providing an ashram vibe perfect for sweating to bands like the New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars (who should by now have stock in the place).
Friendly Bar (2301 Chartres St.) -- Home of one the better Bloody Marys in the city, the Friendly Bar is just that: a gay neighborhood bar with a mellow clientele, TV on the walls, video poker machines and a pool table. The square interior is a study in simplicity, while happy hours have their share of barbecue fun.
Hi-Ho Lounge (2239 St. Claude Ave., 947-9344, www.hiholounge.com) -- Last year, the Hi-Ho underwent a scrub-down that removed only a few layers of funk but kept its Ninth Ward appeal. A true punk-rock oasis, the Hi-Ho has been much more aggressive in booking bands, and also beefed up its drink specials (happy hour is too cheap to miss).
Iggy's Bar (1943 N. Rampart St., 949-4485) -- The buzz of Frenchmen means that cozy neighborhood nooks like Iggy's can continue to fly under the radar. This is the quintessential spot for an afternoon cocktail or a late-night beer -- or is that early-morning?
Kim's 940 Bar and Lounge (940 Elysian Fields Ave., 944-4888, www.kims940.com) -- After a strong start, Kim's 940 is reaching for an even more diverse and eclectic crowd as one of the few places for dance music downriver from the Quarter. Specialty dance nights with DJs are featured on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursday's popular '80s Night, and through the weekend.
The Marigny Brasserie (640 Frenchmen St., 945-4472) -- The bar inside The Marigny Brasserie provides the perfect bookend/counterpoint to Check Point Charlie's; it's as swank as Check Point is earthy. With a variety of top-shelf drinks (including one of the better mojitos in town), it's a great place to play dress-up.
Mimi's (2601 Royal St., 942-0690) -- Is there a better new bar downriver from the French Quarter? We doubt it. Mimi's, with ties to d.b.a., opened under the radar this summer and immediately grabbed a calm but cool local crowd that eschews the sudden-impact vibe of Frenchmen. Mimi's has a light, breezy feel about it.
R Bar & Inn (1431 Royal St., 948-7499, www.royalstreetinn.com) -- It's funny how a bar with such trendy trappings can still feel so organically unpretentious. The airline seat/flight-attendant/barber-chair in one corner, the crowned hand of cards in the other, flaming-red walls and a motorcycle over the bar don't mask an impressive bottled-beer selection and rocking jukebox.
Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro (626 Frenchmen St., 949-0696, www.snugjazz.com) -- If not for the humidity, you'd think you'd slunk into an East Village jazz club when you enter Snug Harbor's bar. It's dark, and there's always a modest crowd waiting for the next set or enjoying the music from the current one. Regular performers include Ellis Marsalis and Charmaine Neville.
The Spotted Cat (623 Frenchmen St., 943-3887, www.thespottedcat.com) -- After a brief stumble out of the gate a couple years ago, The Cat clawed its way to respectability as a great place for young musicians interpreting older roots music. Pub crawlers turn into music fans while they sweat to regular performers such as the New Orleans Jazz Vipers.
Sweet Lorraine's (1931 St. Claude Ave., 945-9654, sweetlorrainesjazzclub.com) -- Jazz clubs are virtually nonexistent downriver from the French Quarter, so thank the deity of your choosing for Sweet Lorraine's. Its masculine vibe with an art-deco ring makes Lorraine's one of the swankier spots along St. Claude. The music lineup features some of New Orleans' best jazz musicians.
The John (2040 Burgundy St., 942-7159) -- Two blocks away from the heavy action along Frenchmen, The John has a distinct off-the-beaten-path feel, even if it is only a couple years old. And it's called The John for a reason; check out the "terlets." The kind of place where morning joggers are surprised by exiting barflies, and vice-versa.
201 Restaurant and Bar (201 Decatur St., 561-0007, www.201restaurant.com) -- 201 is a bar to remember. Its sophisticated ambience still has a laid-back atmosphere with its jazz music selection, large windows for people-watching, and velvet walls. Check out its signature Chocolate Martini and the 20 different types of single-malt whiskeys.
735 Club (735 Bourbon St., 581-6740, www.club735.com) -- Pack your glowsticks for a trip to 735, where trendy young folks show off their moves. Legwarmers are the newest fashion statement here, as the defunct Shim Sham Club's popular 1984 night took up residence this summer.
The Abbey (1123 Decatur St., 523-7150) -- Don't let the name fool you, for this is no saintly cloister. A rocked-out jukebox, damnation and drinking 'til dawn await all who enter this sanctuary. The Abbey is one of the more forgiving haunts on Decatur's tavern row, and only the seriously belligerent get kicked out.
The Alibi (811 Iberville St., 522-9187) -- The Alibi is a favorite hangout for locals wanting to brush up on their pool game or sink their teeth into a late-night hamburger. More than 150 beer options and a fully stocked jukebox can easily keep you out all night.
Angeli on Decatur (1141 Decatur St., 566-0077) -- Angeli's is a meeting ground for all types of Decatur Street scenesters, with goths, trannies, and assorted regulars meeting for a late-night pizza and a quiet drink. A comfortable restaurant atmosphere sets it apart from the barrooms and pubs that populate Decatur.
Bacco (310 Chartres St., 522-2426) -- This famous Italian eatery has a great bar to boot. Its trendy setting possibly reflects its proximity to the W Hotel, but make no mistake -- the bar has a great atmosphere and delicious drinks. Gaze in awe at the large mural of Bacchus, the god of wine, painted on the ceiling.
Bayona (430 Dauphine St., 525-4455) -- The picturesque cottage that houses the bar has old-world charm with nouveau sophistication. The worldly atmosphere will have you reeling with delight, but make sure you get there early or get reservations -- to avoid the tourists and the locals who swarm here for Chef Susan Spicer's creations.
Big Daddy's Gentlemen's Club (522 Bourbon St., 581-7167) -- Big Daddy's is the local landmark with mechanical legs swinging out the front window, and they've got more than just great gams inside. At this venerable strip club ladies who are topless, bottomless, and everything else will dance for your dollars.
Bombay Club (830 Conti St., 586-0972, www.thebombayclub.com) -- Tucked into the first story of the Prince Conti Hotel, the Bombay Club appeals to sleek and successful people with elegant dining, nightly piano music, and a menu of 115 martinis. It's the perfect spot to impress a date or woo business clients.
Bourbon House (201 Royal St., 522-0111) -- One of the Brennan family's latest additions is centrally located on one of the less tawdry sections of Bourbon Street. The classy decor mixes well with the enormous windows, which allows patrons to watch the revelers out on the street. It's a great bar for a romantic evening.
Bourbon Pub/Parade (801 Bourbon St., 529-2107, www.bourbonpub.com) -- This gay bar has a split identity, with a video bar downstairs in the pub and a dance club upstairs at Parade. It's one of the most popular places to sweat under the lights and watch hard bodies gyrate.
Cafe Lafitte in Exile (901 Bourbon St., 522-8397, www.lafittes.com) -- The granddaddy of New Orleans gay bars was once a favorite retreat of Tennessee Williams. The video bar downstairs and the balcony and pool tables upstairs cater to the more mature gay crowd. Queer As Folk viewings are on Monday nights.
Cafe Pontalba (546 St. Peter St., 522-1180) -- Offering a casual and soothing atmosphere in one of the city's most historic buildings, Cafe Pontalba serves local cuisine specialties throughout the day. The full-service bar pours everything from draft beers and bloody Marys (popular with Saints fans on Sunday mornings) to specialties such as mint juleps, daiquiris and hurricanes.
Carousel Bar (214 Royal St., 523-3341, www.hotelmonteleone.com) -- Take a seat at the beautiful 24-seat carousel bar as it slowly rotates, and grab a cocktail from the bartender in the center as you pass by. It may not sound like a good idea to drink while spinning, but in these classy surroundings it's surprisingly relaxing.
Cats Meow (701 Bourbon St., 523-1157, www.catsmeow-neworleans.com) -- It calls itself the best karaoke bar in America and boasts of plenty of good clean fun. Bring your friends and watch them thoroughly embarrass themselves, singing along to anything from 50's doo-wop to the latest hip-hop.
The Chart Room (300 Chartres St., 522-1708) -- There aren't many attractions here besides the eclectic crowd of locals that gather here amidst the nautical paraphernalia, but that's plenty. Settle down with a beer, enjoy the conversational eddies, and don't hoist anchor 'til you're two sheets to the wind and your keel's full of bilge water.
Chris Owens Club (500 Bourbon St., 523-6400, www.chrisowensclub.com) -- Every tourist and local eventually comes to see the French Quarter dynamo at work. Owens entertains the multitudes with Latin dancing, jazz, R&B, and country acts. She's been at it for more than 30 years, and shows no signs of stopping.
Club Decatur (240 Decatur St., 581-6969) -- By day, tourists wander into this unpretentious watering hole for the all-day happy hour. At night, it becomes a service-industry hot spot, as waiters and bartenders finish their shifts and come in for the excellent selection of microbrews and specialty beers.
Club Ritz (201 Chartres St., 522-7729) -- On a budget and want to see some lovely ladies disrobing for your pleasure? Then come on down to Club Ritz, where the blacked-over windows and unassuming façade guarantee a discreet encounter with salaried nudism. In the words of Motley Crüe, "girls, girls, girls."
Coop's Place (1109 Decatur St., 525-9053, www.coopsplace.net) -- Coop's boasts one of the best bowls of jambalaya in the Quarter. With a full menu of Cajun offerings, plenty of beer, and the spankin' new and surprisingly high-tech addition of free wireless access, an eclectic crowd of epicures, locals and computer geeks meet here.
Cosimo's (1201 Burgundy St., 522-9715) -- Tucked away in the residential Quarter, Cosimo's is a favorite for those in the know for its relaxed atmosphere and free jukebox. It conjures a bygone era with a spacious poolroom and comfy couches. Attached is Hell's Kitchen, which serves up the best bar food in the Quarter.
Coyote Ugly Saloon (225 N. Peters St., 561-0003, www.coyoteuglysaloon.com/neworleans) -- This honky-tonk is a constant party, where you can count on the sexy and adventurous bartenders to start the fun by lighting the bar on fire and pouring a round of body shots. It's the closest you'll get to being served by an amorous Tyra Banks.
Crescent City Brewhouse (527 Decatur St., 522-0571, www.crescentcitybrewhouse.com) -- This microbrewery is a sit-down and relax kind of place, with four house brews and one seasonal concoction that will thrill even the most jaded tastebuds. Tasty food, a pleasant courtyard and live jazz add up to a great dining experience.
Deja Vu Bar & Restaurant (400 Dauphine St., 523-1931) -- Deja Vu is a reliable 24-hour diner and drinking establishment, with comfortable booths and a very relaxed atmosphere. There's nothing like eggs over easy and a game of pool at 3 in the morning to set you straight.
Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse (716 Iberville St., 522-2467) -- This place is better known for its famous steaks, but the bar might be the real place to be. It's got all the classy ambience and New Orleans charm of the restaurant but with equally great bartenders. Have a Sazerac.
Donna's Bar & Grill (800 N. Rampart St., 596-6914, www.donnasbarandgrill.com) -- Donna's is the uncontested home of some of the best brass bands and BBQ in New Orleans. The room's small, but you'll like the people you're squeezed up against. Trumpeter LeRoy Jones often plays on Monday nights, and it's a favorite pit stop for social and pleasure club paraders.
El Matador (504 Esplanade Ave., 569-8361) -- This hipster hangout hosts some of the best local rock, jazz and Latin bands, and occasionally welcomes touring out-of-towners. Even the White Stripes were here back in 2001, before they made it. A good place to see and be seen.
Fahy's Irish Pub (540 Burgundy St., 586-9806) -- A friendly neighborhood pub featuring the regular Irish fare of Guinness and Jameson, Fahy's is a good place to stop by for a beer and a bit o' chat on your way from North Rampart to Decatur.
Fiorella's Cafe (45 French Market Place, 528-9566) -- Fiorella's has attracted a devoted following by hosting the eclectic band Bingo! on Thursday nights. It's almost impossible to overstate the entertainment value of this event, with vintage bingo cards, home movies, a saxophone and a dancing girl all part of the mix.
French Quarter Bar at the Ritz-Carlton (921 Canal St., 524-1331) -- Come up to the third floor for an appropriately ritzy experience. The Sunday jazz brunch is a delightfully decadent spectacle that's bound to impress with seven different kinds of bloody Marys. Top-notch jazz acts Tuesday through Sunday offer a sedate New Orleans experience.
Fritzel's European Jazz Club (733 Bourbon St., 561-0432) -- Fritzel's offers classic Bourbon Street fare: traditional live jazz, plenty o' beer, and a 22-oz. concoction known as the "handjob," which will put stars in your eyes for only $6. A selection of ice-cold schnapps pays homage to the club's European roots.
Funky Butt (714 N. Rampart St., 558-0872, www.funkybutt.com) -- The music never stops at the Funky Butt, where some of the best, and liveliest, jazz and funk bands tear it up with several sets a night. Hear a trombone growling? That means it's Sunday night, and Big Sam's Funky Nation is throwing the party.
Funky Pirate (727 Bourbon St., 523-1960) -- With plenty of rollicking blues and zydeco to dance to, the Funky Pirate is a popular pick-up spot for the 30-something crowd. Slurp down a Hand Grenade if you need help losing your inhibitions, then hit the dance floor.
Gennifer Flowers Kelsto Club (720 St. Louis St., 524-1111) -- Torch songs and a whiff of yesterday's scandals mix with lavender and a nostalgic décor at this piano bar. Ms. Gennifer Flowers occasionally sings: you may remember her as the classiest of the triumvirate of Bill Clinton's paramours.
Gold Club (727 Iberville St., 524-4354, www.goldclubno.com) -- Like the 1970s and want to get a taste of the Boogie Nights environment? Stop by this strip club where the strobe lights are always flashing and the party's always on. The annual G-String Awards, just after Mardi Gras, honor the women of stage, screen and magazine page.
Gold Mine Saloon (705 Dauphine St., 586-0745) -- Popular with 18-year-old curfew breakers and anyone hungry for an action-packed dance floor, the DJs at this weekend-only dance club spin everything from house to Latin to hip-hop. The flaming Dr. Pepper shot goes down surprisingly easy, and the thumping bass will carry you through the night.
Good Friends Bar (740 Dauphine St., 566-7191, www.goodfriendsbar.com) -- This convivial gay bar offers "kocktail karaoke" on Tuesdays, with $2.50 Absolut shots to loosen your vocal cords. The Queen's Head Pub upstairs is a cozy place to hang out with friends around the piano.
The Gumbo Shop (630 St. Peter St., 525-1486, www.gumboshop.com) -- Popular among tourists and locals alike, the Gumbo Shop is a lesson not only in quality, but history as well. People who drop by for a drink in the back courtyard have clearly learned something.
Harry's Corner (900 Chartres St., 524-1107) -- With the Chart Room and Johnny White's, Harry's Corner forms the third corner a triangle of affiliated bars. If you're looking for a mission for the evening but don't want too much pressure, try swinging by all three deliciously seedy establishments in one evening.
Hooters (301 N. Peters St., 522-9222, www.hooters.com) -- Tons of specials on your favorite beers, famous buffalo wings, a strong emphasis on love of sports, and hot chicks in short shorts. What else could a working man ask for? No, really, what else?
House of Blues (225 Decatur St., 529-2583, www.hob.com) -- The legendary franchise hosts a wide array of well-produced events, from the gospel brunch on Sundays to the big-name musical acts that come through town. A backyard patio bar and the more intimate The Parish upstairs complete this mega-venue.
Howl at the Moon (127 Bourbon St., (410-9000) -- The sound of a honky-tonk piano lures in tourists and Bourbon Street revelers to this saloon, where the dirty jokes and booze drip from the tongues of the assembled.
Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville (1104 Decatur St., 592-2565, www.margaritaville.com) -- Don your favorite Hawaiian shirt and come down on Friday evening for Happy Hour Live, broadcast on Radio Margaritaville and presenting local musicians and celebrities. A full menu of Cajun and Caribbean treats offers a convincing reason to stick around.
Johnny White's Pub & Grill (718 Bourbon St., 581-9200) -- This dim, no-frills local bar is a favorite biker hangout. There's often an enthusiastic crowd gathered under the four TVs, rooting on various teams and engaging in some friendly trash talking.
Kerry Irish Pub (331 Decatur St., 527-5954) -- Live folk and Irish music are sure to prick up your ears and get your toes twitching at the Kerry Pub. A great place to sit back while enjoying the company of friends and the taste of a smooth pint.
Lafitte's Blacksmith Bar (941 Bourbon St., 522-9377) -- Historians dispute Lafitte's claim to be the oldest bar in the country, but all agree that the building, built in 1795, is one of the most unique places to get a drink in the city. Admire the architecture while you sit under the banana trees in the summer or cuddle by the fire in the winter.
Larry Flynt's Hustler Club (225 Bourbon St., 524-0010) -- It's Hustler magazine brought to life! Larry Flynt's premier nightclub has all the busty bombshells you'd expect in the pages of that bawdy magazine coveted by teenage boys and their dads alike. Nothing pornographic, just good clean stripping fun.
Library Lounge (Ritz-Carlton Hotel, 921 Canal St., 524-1331) -- With a walk-in humidor for the menfolk and a cart of free and delectable chocolates for the ladies, spending an evening at this bar feels like a weekend in a manor house. The bartender specializes in authentic New Orleans libations: if you want the best mint julep in the city, look no further.
Lounge Lizards (200 Decatur St., 598-1500) -- Offering live rock, blues and roots music and late hours, Lounge Lizards has become a popular retreat after the House Of Blues across the street closes its door. Couches, velvet curtains and mirrors give it the comfortable feel of your eccentric aunt's house.
Lucille's Golden Lantern (1239 Royal St., 529-2860) -- The highlight of the year at this friendly neighborhood gay bar is the annual Southern Decadence parade, which starts at the Golden Lantern's front door. The annual drag show held here is one of the top fashion events of the year.
Molly's at the Market (1107 Decatur St., 525-5169) -- A nice dive bar for the young locals and cognoscenti of Decatur Street, Molly's features a bar and a half with a rear residential courtyard moonlighting as a bar at night. The apartments and roofline above the back courtyard blend with the bar to create an architecture known only in New Orleans.
Molly's on Toulouse (732 Toulouse St., 568-1915) -- The sister ship of the more famous Molly's, the Toulouse location offers a quiet haven for locals just half a block off the madness of Bourbon Street, with the same dependable jukebox selection of alt, indie and classic rock.
Monaghan's Erin Rose (811 Conti St., 299-8496) -- With the comfortable feel of a Dublin neighborhood pub, Monaghan's collects an assortment of regulars who assemble every afternoon to talk the sun down from the sky. Come here after the St. Patrick's Day parade for an authentic end to your day.
Napoleon House Bar & Cafe (500 Chartres St., 524-9752, www.napoleonhouse.com) -- Cool off with a Pimm's Cup, a lemony British concoction that's garnished with a cucumber, as you take in the nearly 200-year-old building and enchanting courtyard. Classical music and first-rate muffalettas add to a casually elegant experience.
O'Flaherty's Irish Channel Pub (508 Toulouse St., 529-1317) -- O'Flaherty's offers a breath of fresh air in our jazz-dominated city, with Irish music on a stage in the back. A gift shop in the courtyard behind the pub sells Irish novelties, and jigging is not only allowed, it's encouraged.
Old Absinthe House (240 Bourbon St., 523-3181, www.oldabsinthehouse.com) -- Football helmets dangle from the ceiling, and the TVs are ready for the next Saints game. The bar's been around since 1807, but it lost most of its Old World ambience when the old bar and absinthe drippers were removed during Prohibition.
Ol'Toone's Saloon (233 Decatur St., 529-3422) -- If you're looking for the perfect local dive, and if your favorite ambience is the eerie glow of neon beer signs, then Ol'Toone's is for you. Situated next to The Parish at House of Blues, it's a good place to hang out before or after a show.
Orleans Grapevine (718 Orleans Ave., 523-1930) -- A stylish place to sample the fruit of Bacchus, the Grapevine offers a selection of 250 wines, with 60 available by the glass. Add in the excellent fusion cuisine and cozy French Quarter digs and you've got a versatile place that your date or your parents would love.
Oz (800 Bourbon St., 593-9491, www.ozneworleans.com) -- There's a healthy mixture of rainbows and leather here, where it's Southern Decadence every night. The parties get rather wild, and if you're lucky there'll be a pretty boy dancing on the bar in his underwear.
Palm Court Jazz Cafe (1204 Decatur St., 525-0200, www.palmcourtjazz.com) -- The Palm Court showcases traditional New Orleans jazz and cuisine, with reasonably priced menu items including shrimp remoulade and crawfish pie. If there's a break in the live music, ask the staff to put on one of the old records scattered around the bar.
Pat O'Brien's (718 St. Peter St., 525-4823, www.patobriens.com) -- With the legendary flaming fountain, a piano bar, a lively patio and the surprisingly powerful Hurricane served up at each bar, Pat O's is a New Orleans institution. If you're not averse to crowds and lots of out-of-towners, this could be an exciting diversion.
Pirates Alley Cafe (722 Pirate Alley, 586-0468) -- This bohemian cafe creates a Parisian atmosphere with sidewalk tables overlooking the lush park behind the St. Louis Cathedral. Sipping a cocktail while admiring the Art Deco absinthe posters on the wall, it's easy to imagine yourself rubbing elbows with Degas or getting harangued by Ignatius J. Reilly.
Rawhide Lounge (740 Burgundy St., 525-8106, www.rawhide2010.com) -- No last calls here! Rawhide, the only leather bar in the French Quarter, is open 24 hours. Subtle it ain't: specialty drinks include the Slippery Dick, and holiday events range from lube wrestling to hot dog-eating contests. Monday night pool tournaments pack in the regulars.
Red Rhino (241 Bourbon St., 566-1341) -- Another Bourbon Street club with an emphasis on -- who'd have guessed? -- partying hard. There's plenty of booze to go around, and plenty of room on the dance floor. If things get crowded, just climb up on the bar and shake your booty.
Rick's Cabaret (315 Bourbon St., 524-4222) -- Perhaps the snazziest strip club on Bourbon Street, Rick's caters to the upper crust with polished burlesque acts and voluptuous vamps. Rick's girls will take especially good care of you in the Champagne Room.
Rock-n-Sake Bar and Sushi (823 Fulton St., 581-7253, www.rocknsake.com) -- Rock n' roll on the stereo and a plate of smoked salmon tacos in front of you? Must be another moment of Zen at this inventive sushi house. The drink menu is equally exciting: try a sake screwdriver or some plum wine.
Ryan's Irish Pub (241 Decatur St., 523-3500) -- In a country blithely ignorant of English football fandom, what's an ex-pat Brit to do when Manchester United takes the field? Settle into a booth at Ryan's, that's what, where the pints flow freely and the TV is always tuned to English Premier Football.
Samurai Sushi (239 Decatur St., 525-9595) -- The many devotees of Samurai rave about the sashimi assortment, baked mussels, and tofu steak, and Japanese beer is available to wash down the wasabi. Its convenient location next to House of Blues makes for a winning dinner-and-a-show date combination.
Scarlett's Cabaret (423 Bourbon St., 571-6340) -- Another posh spot where Southern belles take it off. There are XXX movies for those who prefer celluloid ladies, and a deluxe VIP room upstairs for those who have enough cash to spend some one-on-one time with a spicy dame.
Stage Door (601 Chartres St., 523-0794) -- Housed in a 19th-century Spanish colonial building near Jackson Square, the Stage Door collects an odd assortment of locals and travelers who've wandered off Bourbon Street in search of more peaceful climes.
Stationhouse Bar & Grille (329 Decatur St., 587-0079) -- Rub elbows with the firemen from the station next door at this manly bar, where beer is the drink of choice and french fries are a necessity. A good place to sit down over a plate of smothered pork chops and discuss the pros and cons of buying a Dodge Ram.
Temptations (327 Bourbon St., 525-4470, www.temptationsclub.net) -- A far classier gentleman's club than the usual Bourbon Street booty rooms, this is a good place to throw a bachelor party for your college buddy or console your recently divorced dad. With its antebellum interior, Temptations delivers the goods of a strip club with the décor of a more refined age.
Tonix (216 Bourbon Street, 299-3900, www.clubtonix.com) -- The action at this dance club has the feel of a Vegas sideshow, with fire-breathing go-go girls, bondage displays and cage dancing to entertain the customers on various evenings. The music is trance, techno, house and retro, with celebrity DJs making occasional appearances.
Tricou House Restaurant (711 Bourbon St., 525-8379, www.711bourbon.com) -- It's got a happening balcony upstairs, with all the bead-tossing and shirt-raising you'd expect. Downstairs, a menu of Cajun classics and a schedule of live jazz and blues guarantee the New Orleans experience to all comers.
Tropical Isle (721 Bourbon St., 529-4109, 738 Toulouse St., 525-1689, www.tropicalisle.com) -- Grab a Hand Grenade, the Tropical Isle's trademark drink, or one of the wide variety of daiquiris as you saunter by on a tour of Bourbon or Toulouse. Be nice to the big, dancing hand grenade on the sidewalk -- there's actually a man inside.
Tujague's Restaurant (823 Decatur St., 525-8676, www.tujaguesrestaurant.com) -- This restaurant and bar has nestled in the heart of the French Quarter for almost 150 years. Settle beside the old cypress bar for an absinthe frappe (minus the wormwood, of course) or Tujague's own beer, where good-ol'-boy politicians and local luminaries have long gathered to swap stories and toast their fortunes.
Utopia Night Club (227 Bourbon St., 523-3800) -- It's cheaper than a strip club, but you get the same perks with homemade bikini contests on Fridays and plenty of eager participants. It's spring break year round.
Velvet Dog (731 St. Peter St., 523-2888) -- Right next to Reverend Zombie's Voodoo Shop and Johnnie White's, often hidden by rows of parked hogs or tourists waiting for the haunted tour of the Quarter, the Velvet Dog is a place to get away from it all. Mingle under the blacklights or get cozy in the backroom.
Ye Olde Original Dungeon (738 Toulouse St., 523-5530, www.originaldungeon.com) -- The Dungeon doesn't open 'til midnight, but as the night goes by and other bars close customers trickle in to hide from the coming dawn. The decor is appropriately sinister, with cages along the walls and nooses dangling from the ceiling. Visit during Halloween to find the Quarter's real spooks.
Bottom Line (2101 N. Claiborne Ave., 944-9600) -- No matter what type of music puts your dancing shoes on, the Bottom Line has you covered. On the weekends, DJ Love mixes upbeat funk, slow R&B and plenty more. On Mondays, it's hip-hop night, with DJ Bird and DJ Evil on the ones and twos bringing old-school and current favorites.
Maloney's (5000 Old Gentilly Road, 942-2400, www.bigeasytravelplaza.com) -- Located in the Big Easy Travel Plaza -- a.k.a. a truck stop -- Maloney's assuages even the heartiest appetites with all-you-can-eat barbecue ribs every day. Either get a drink at Maloney's, or wander into the sports bar next door for $1 beers during happy hour.
Showcase Lounge (1915 N. Broad St., 945-5612) -- Though long-known as a home to jazz, the Showcase Lounge's kitchen has a well-earned reputation of its own, offering New Orleans-style cuisine. The music is lively, too, featuring regular DJs OJ and Niecee, playing jazz from greats such as John Coltrane and old-school R&B on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights.
Casino Magic (711 Casino Magic Dr., Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, 228-466-0891) -- Casino Magic was voted the Mississippi Gulf Coast's Luckiest Casino by Casino Player magazine, and the multiple bars reflect the award. Grab a drink on the house at any of their multitudes of gaming tables and slot machines, or just hit the hotel bars for a quieter evening.
The Mill (5808 River Oak Rd. S., Harahan, 733-8144) -- Tucked away in the Elmwood Park District, The Mill is a neighborhood bar without an actual neighborhood. Regulars stay that way due to the cheap prices and a friendly, easy atmosphere. Music is more Tom Petty than Top 40, and the bar boasts four dart teams.
Fox and Hound (1200 S. Clearview Pkwy., Jefferson, 731-6000, www.foxandhound.net) -- With 32 TV screens, 36 beers on tap and a menu ranging from buffalo wings to burgers, this is the Sport Man's paradise. Pool tables, shuffleboards, and poker areas keep patrons busy when a game isn't on. Too much testosterone? Working Women's Wednesdays is all about the ladies.
Reginelli's (5608 Citrus Blvd., Jefferson, 818-0111, www.reginellis.com) -- Reginelli's is primarily honored for the euphoria-inspiring crusts of their pizzas and calzones, but the $2 pitchers of beer on Mondays and Tuesdays are another attraction.
Rivershack Tavern (3449 River Road, Jefferson, 837-7118, (clients.neworleans.com/rivershack) -- The "Bar Legs" stools and tacky ashtrays make The Rivershack a most unusual drinking venue. Stop by on Saturday nights for a honky-tonk feel as musicians rock away in cramped quarters. Don't forget to ask about the advertisements on the exterior of the building.
Treasure Chest Casino (5050 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 443-8000) -- After winning the big bucks, step inside the Caribbean Showroom, where a regular community of gamblers come to enjoy live entertainment every night. On Fridays, be the star with karaoke -- or go back into the casino, drop a nickel in a slot and drink for free.
Andrea's (3100 19th St., Metairie, 834-8583) -- Better known for its penne than its martinis, the bar at Andrea's is still impressive. You can catch Chef Andrea cruising the place while trying to absorb the sheer volume of available wines. The clientele can seem too classy for its own good, but the tuxedo-wearing waiters are still down-to-earth.
Austin's Restaurant (5101 W. Esplanade Ave. Metairie, 888-5533) -- Named "Best New Restaurant" this year by Gambit readers, Austin's owner Eddie McIntyre (originator of the Mr. Ed's delis) places an emphasis on customer service, which extends to diners and bar patrons alike. An extensive wine collection on display in the hallway, premium liquors, and beer are all offered.
Byblos (1501 Metairie Road, Metairie, 834-9773) -- The classy decor woos some window shoppers in for a glass of wine or a frosty martini at the bar. But the main draws are a menu of Lebanese and Mediterranean cuisine and belly dancing on Thursday evenings.
DBD Lounge (4452 Wabash St., Metairie, 885-2426) -- This is the place to be if you want variety. DBD carries more than 370 different liquors, with 94 vodkas alone. Check out the jazz combo on Thursdays, complete with specials on martinis and an extensive wine list.
Hammerheads (1300 N. Causeway Blvd., Metairie, 834-6474) -- If you're looking for a place to grab a cold one, then check out this honest bar. No bells and whistles here. Just a pool table, a big-screen TV, and dart teams coming in and out. Lunch specials during the day.
Hedges (Wyndham Hotel, 5 Galleria Blvd., Metairie, 620-9412) -- Enjoy Louisiana seasonal favorites during the day and an extensive wine list during the night as you watch visitors to the city come and go.
Hooters (4748 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 889-0160, www.hooters.com) -- Tons of specials on your favorite beers, famous buffalo wings, a strong emphasis on love of sports and hot chicks in short shorts. What else could a working man ask for? No, really, what else?
Mo's Chalet (3201 Houma Blvd., Metairie, 780-2961, www.moschalet.com) -- "Give 'em What They Want" is the motto around here, and what you want had better be music. Live entertainment offered every night, from oldies to Latin, and a dance floor to keep you shakin'.
Oscar's (2027 Metairie Road, Metairie, 831-9540) -- Dimmed-down dining on one side of the bar, and a lighter, sportier feel on the other -- all surrounded by what has to be the largest collection of Marilyn Monroe pinups in the city. If you're coming to eat one of Oscar's well-known burgers, come hungry. The servings are, in a word, huge.
Rainbow (3536 18th St., Metairie, 454-3200) -- The crowd here is mostly gay women, and the feel here is fun. With fluorescent lights, big screens and theme nights such as '80s Fridays, you need to get up on the dance floor.
Stitches Bar & Grill (3941 Houma Blvd., Metairie, 454-6266) -- Located right across from East Jefferson Hospital, Stitches serves those in the medical field during to the day, and takes on a different younger identity at night. Numerous drink specials keep you drinking while you wait to meet a cute, single doctor.
Swamp Room (5216 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 888-5242) -- This late-night bar pulls in a big service-industry crowd, and Swamp Room thanks them by offering S.I.N. specials four nights a week. With pool tables, dart boards, an Internet jukebox and bar eats, there's plenty to keep you busy while knocking 'em down.
Sweet's Again (3721 Hessmer Ave., Metairie, 455-8681) -- An oldies jukebox and autographed pics of your favorite stars are what you get at Sweet's, who once before owned a bar called, well, Sweet's. Cheap steak dinners are offered Monday and Saturdays, and karaoke on Sundays.
The Maxx (3217 Melville Dewey Drive, Metairie, 834-4010) -- One step in this nightclub and you know you're looking at the real thing. High-energy dance music is complemented by a light show, trance screens, and hot girls dancing in cages. Dress to impress in this 18-plus club
Vespers (1414 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 833-0050) -- People around here like to dance, and with DJs spinning all the time and salsa classes offered three nights a week, it's no problem. Live music is also heard over happy hour. Vespers serves more than 20 specialty martinis.
Vinyl (3012 N. Arnoult Road, Metairie, 456-9500) -- Also known as Kenny's Key West, the club has three rooms all playing different music. There's always drink specials and Tuesdays are ladies nights. Techno fans should check out Alien on Saturday nights.
Whitey's Pool Hall (3764 Derbigny St., Metairie, 833-9122) -- For years Whitey's has been serving pool players in its Metairie neighborhood. With nine pool tables, a family of regulars and cold beer, this place is about as laid back as they come.
Winston's (531 Metairie Road, Metairie, 831-8705) -- The English-pub style is accented by comfy sofas and strange collections. Grab a Guinness and head to the back patio or stay in and listen to the jukebox. With Cigar Nights and "Theology on Tap" sessions, this place can not be missed.
Aqua Lounge and Restaurant (7306 Lakeshore Drive, 282-6660) -- This past winter Aqua replaced the more casual Amberjacks at its lovely marina location, where you can still watch the yachts come and go as the sun goes down. A deluxe Creole menu and a DJ who specializes in classic rock have brought in a more mature crowd.
Bally's Casino (1 Stars & Stripes Blvd., 248-3200, www.ballysno.com) -- Bally's is an entertainment multiplex, with slot machines, table games and blackjack tournaments on the casino floor and a regular line up of blues and rock in the showroom. At the sports bar, get your testosterone fix with 16 screens of sports action.
The Dock (1926 West End Park, 284-3625, www.thedockno.com) -- Get your smothered pork chops or juicy po-boy at the Galley, then partake of live music on weekends or try out a rented Jet Ski any day of the week. Football is a near obsession here, with Monday-night game viewing and a New Orleans Saint stopping by every Thursday.
Hong Kong (7400 Lakeshore Drive. 282-1511) -- This Chinese restaurant offers beautiful views of the lake, exceptional seafood and vegetable dishes, and a gleefully tacky tiki bar to boot. It's an unlikely but popular place to relax after the grueling work of a Mardi Gras parade.
Parlay's Bar & Lounge (870 Harrison Ave., 482-4700) -- Lakeview locals don't mind the dim and smoky interior. This convenient pub is the perfect place to soothe your worries after work or to sip one last nightcap after a dinner out at one of the neighboring restaurants.
Parkway Tavern (5135 Canal Blvd., 488-2500, www.parkwaytavern.com) -- A good place to meet and mingle, Parkway caters to busy professionals with occasional speed-dating events, where you can try out a dozen dates in one evening. The backyard patio is a good place to celebrate special events or just enjoy life's daily pleasures.
Reginelli's (874 Harrison Ave., 488-0133, www.reginellis.com) -- Reginelli's is primarily honored for the euphoria-inspiring crusts of their pizzas and calzones, but the $2 pitchers of beer on Mondays and Tuesdays are another attraction.
Banks Street Bar & Grill (4401 Banks St., 486-0258) -- A no-fuss neighborhood bar with the essentials: live local music every weekend, a pool table and cheap pitchers. If you go with no agenda in mind, take a minute to scan the colorful murals above the bar. One don't-miss freebie: red beans and rice every Monday.
Brewhouse Grill (201 N. Carrollton Ave., 281-0525) -- The new pub-style restaurant is housed in the same building as the old Acadian Brewing Company and serves a wide range of its own tasty brews, made in-house by Brewmaster Doug Lindley. There are also guest beers on tap, and the standard bar culinary trappings are available.
Delta Blues Grill (542 S. Jefferson Davis Pkwy., 822-0358) -- New Orleans' surprising dearth of quality live blues inspired last year's opening of Delta Blues Grill, where on weekends you'll find top local talent such as Walter "Wolfman" Washington, Timothea and Marva Wright. The bar also features pool and a big-screen television for when the music's not playing.
The Deutsches-Haus (200 S. Galvez St., 522-8014) -- Think lederhosen and polka, and start Oktoberfest early this year. This German roots bar is full of friendly faces eager to help neophytes become acquainted with unfamiliar imported beers and liquors. Get your Warsteiner Dark in a stein and take it home as a souvenir.
Dixie Taverne (3340 Canal St., 822-8268) -- If you like your bars with a lot of attitude and energy, this is the place. Catering to a younger scene and loading their music calendar with punk, shock-rock and heavy metal, Dixie Taverne attracts the local skater and punk kids wanting to mosh and rock out.
Eddie Bo's Check Your Bucket Cafe (2107 Banks St., 581-5505) -- This hard-to-locate spot is one only the locals would know about. Check Your Bucket's legendary namesake owner performs regularly at this smoke-free spot, as do other area musicians. Hot plate lunches are the house specialty, so belly up to the counter and ask what the daily menu is.
Finn McCool's (3701 Banks St., 486-9080) -- A neighborhood bar with an Irish twist and sense of humor. The after-game meeting place of Shell Shockers fans, Finn's boasts one of the better jukeboxes in town. Sip on an iced Irish coffee to beat the heat, and ask about the upcoming road trip to the Angola Prison Rodeo.
Homedale Inn (618 Homedale Ave., 488-5519) -- Just your good ol' bar -- a place to sit, a jukebox and a chilled brew. Homedale's beer selection is limited, mostly domestic, and the jukebox is pretty basic. If you're in the mood for all-American hole-in-the-wall, get there early on Sundays during football season.
KJ's On the Blvd. (5243 Canal Blvd., 488-0100) -- Formerly Pacific Bar & Grill, the bar is now co-owned by one of the guys in Bag of Donuts, so don't be surprised at attention paid to live music. Drop by for Sunday night football and the drink specials that go with it.
Liuzza's Restaurant & Bar (3636 Bienville St., 488-3714, www.liuzzas.com) -- This Liuzza's offers, along with its famous New Orleans and Italian cuisine, a comfortable, laid-back bar in the front half of the building. The beer comes served in a huge frozen mug. Filled with neighborhood charm, Liuzza's offers a quiet, yet fun, spot to relax with a drink.
Liuzza's By the Track (1518 N. Lopez St., 943-8667) -- While the kitchen here offers tempting choices of seafood gumbo and barbecue shrimp po-boys, it's also a popular bar. The beer comes to you in frozen mugs, and many argue that the Bloody Marys here can't be beat. The jukebox is equally stellar, with current local favorites and classics.
Mick's Irish Pub (4801 Bienville Ave., 482-9113) -- A true public house, the upper part of Mick's has a frat-house feel, complete with vintage arcade and pinball machines, a cushy couch in front of a wide-screen TV, and plenty of tables for conversation. When you're there, order an Irish Car Bomb. Call ahead for scheduled Irish step dancing.
Mid City Lanes Rock 'N' Bowl (4133 S. Carrollton Ave., 482-3133, www.rocknbowl.com) -- The world-famous bar with a bowling alley built right in. Knock down a set or dance to the sounds of Cajun, zydeco, country, blues, '80s covers anything goes. Afterwards, cool down and slay your munchies demon downstairs in the newly renovated Rock 'N' Bowl Cafe.
New Orleans Original Daiquiris (301 N. Carrollton Ave., 486-9938) -- For years, locals have been hypnotized by the swirling magic of the daiquiri machine. This location has 16 flavors (try the Bloody Smurf) or get a gallon-to-go. There's beer and a full bar if frozen concoctions aren't your thing, or try a cherry bomb for a measly quarter.
Nick's Big Train Bar (2400 Tulane Ave., 821-9128) -- Nick's has the coolest music selection around. Originally opened in the 1920s as a train stop, Nick's is now the cool dive for University of New Orleans kids to veg in after exams.
Parkview Tavern (910 N. Carrollton Ave., 482-2680) -- The place to sit back, smoke a pipe, watch the game or play some pool. The spillovers from Fellini's Cafe next door frequent this no-frills watering hole. Though beer is the mainstay of the diet of the bar's patrons, they make one "mean margarita" on Monday nights.
Wit's Inn (141 N. Carrollton Ave., 486-1600) -- Time-honored phrases and quotes take their place on the walls of Wit's Inn, whose specialties include chocolate martinis and "The Witmaker." Customers are welcome to scrawl their own witticisms on the chalkboards while snacking on popcorn from the vintage machine, watching live comedy or listening to live music.
NEW ORLEANS EAST
Club Ambrosia (9615 Chef Menteur Hwy., 240-1923) -- Club Ambrosia is a favorite night spot for the stylish hip-hop set. The club on weekends features top-notch DJs such as club regular Afrodisiak, but doesn't allow low-brow gear such as T-shirts and sneakers. Favorite drinks from the bar include Hennessy and Crown Royal.
Club 7140 (7140 Downman Road, 245-8888) -- With a constantly rotating roster of top local and national DJs, plus live performances by some of New Orleans' deep pool of hip-hop talent, this is a top destination for music lovers in the East. Other attractions include a Ladies Night on Thursdays, and soul-food stalwart The Praline Connection's catered buffets on Friday nights.
Abita Brew Pub (72011 Holly St., Abita Springs, 985-892-5837, www.abita.com) -- Enjoy the great taste of the Northshore's home-grown brew (annually rated by Gambit readers as Best Local Beer) where it's born. Whether you're on a journey to visit the brewery or just showing up to enjoy a cold one, the Brew Pub offers serene views of the Tammany Trace.
Ruby's Roadhouse (840 Lamarque St., Mandeville, 985-626-9748, www.rubysroadhouse.com) -- A roadhouse in the truest sense of the word, Ruby's has been open since the 1930s, and shows no signs of slowing down. Open late every night, Ruby's is best known as a live music destination to hear top local and touring acts, mostly in the rock and blues genre.
"The Cal" (1533 St. Philip St.) -- Half a century ago, Treme's homegrown jazz stars got their start at the Caledonia nightclub on St. Philip Street and St. Claude Avenue. This locals' hangout gives a nod to the original. Jazz fans may remember the place from its stints as Trombone Shorty's and Kermit Ruffins' Jazz & Blues Hall.
Ernie K-Doe's Mother-In-Law Lounge (1500 N. Claiborne Ave., 947-1078) -- K-Doe, the eccentric R&B "Emperor of the Universe" isn't there anymore. But there is a mannequin that looks eerily like him, complete with removable hands that his widow Antoinette K-Doe takes across the street each week for a manicure. If the door's locked, ring the bell to get in.
Joe's Cozy Corner (1532 Ursulines St, pay phone: 561-9216) -- Owner "Papa Joe" Glasper is always ready to dole out kisses and winks for the ladies and a quick joke for the fellas. Weekend days, someone is almost always barbecuing or boiling out front, and early Sunday evenings, there's live music -- most often Kermit Ruffins or the ReBirth Brass Band.
Little People's Place (1226 Barracks St.) -- Little People's is about the size of most living rooms. But living rooms don't have a bar, kickin' jukebox, and the hospitality of Miss Pat Arriola and her family. It's open mostly weekend nights, when the family is ready to have a few drinks for themselves.
The Candlelight (925 N. Robertson St., 524-2672) -- The Candlelight can be ID'd from far away with its streetside mural featuring native bass-drum and grand marshal legend "Uncle Lionel" Batiste. The main room is big enough for a party of 50, but its nice old wooden bar is intimate enough for a few friends out for drinks and socializing.
Balcony Bar & Cafe (1104 Harmony St., 895-1600) -- Just what it sounds like -- there's a surrounding balcony on the second floor of the bar, where the coziness of the converted house gives ease to conversation. The jukebox caters to the college clientele, with 50 beers on tap downstairs. Play pool and window-watch the local hipsters walk their dogs.
The Boot (1039 N. Broadway St., 866-9008) -- The ultimate in college bars. This no-frills bar caters to the staggering number of Tulane and Loyola students that pack it every weekend. Come to watch the game -- or even better, the antics behind, on top of, and around the bar -- because you never know what will happen.
Bridge Lounge (1201 Magazine St., 299-1888) -- An upscale neighborhood lounge complete with swank white marble, modern decor and an extensive wine list. Other specialties include mojitos and key lime martinis. Bring your pooch on a leash on Tuesdays for Dog Night, and sip a vintage or two on Thursdays' Wine Tasting with complimentary bread and cheese.
Bruno's (7601 Maple St., 861-7615) -- The college bar that feels like home, Bruno's keeps customers happy with a tented outdoor patio to keep the mosquitoes out. The jukebox has a good mix of classics and college radio, and a seat next to the fireplace and warm cider will be in high demand this fall.
The Bulldog (3236 Magazine St., 891-1516, www.draftfreak.com) -- With live acoustic shows and outdoor seating, the Bulldog attracts huge weekend crowds. There's more than 50 beers on tap, and many international bottled. The Bulldog serves some of the best bar food (Bohemian Crawfish Banditos) and keep some of the cleanest restrooms in the city.
Butler's Restaurant & Bar (140 Millaudon St., 861-3444) -- This tucked-away bar is a throwback to 1970s kitsch, complete with bowling trophies and lights made of Schlitz glasses. Beer is limited, but for those who like an old-school feel -- where the DJs still use vinyl and you can play Pac-Man on an Atari system -- this is for you.
Byblos (3218 Magazine St., 894-1233) -- The classy decor woos some window shoppers in for a glass of wine or a frosty martini at bar. But the main draws are a menu of Lebanese and Mediterranean cuisine and belly dancing on Thursday evenings.
The Carrollton Station (8140 Willow St., 865-9190, www.carrolltonstation.com ) -- When you've come to the end of the line, you're here -- across the corner from the streetcar storage and the now-defunct Jimmy's Music Club (R.I.P.). Carrollton's muscle is in the live shows with some of the best acoustic performers around. Drink specials are of the martini/margarita variety.
The Club (4336 Magazine St., 895-9401) -- Also known as "Ms. Mae's," this boisterous bar has a friendly history. Here you can find younger faces mixing it up to the likes of Humble Pie and Muddy Waters. Have your pool or video-poker cravings nixed any time, day or night -- Ms. Mae's keeps her doors open 24 hours a day.
The Columns Hotel (3811 St. Charles Ave., 899-9308) -- For those who like a little museum with their martini. Don't be fooled by the parlor décor, antique fireplaces, and regal portraits adorning the walls: this is a place for a little posh without pretense. The attire is casual, and the front-porch atmosphere is relaxed.
Commander's Palace (1403 Washington Ave., 899-8221, www.commanderspalace.com) -- If you've got a friend, relative, or business client in town who doesn't yet understand the supremacy of New Orleans cuisine, a meal at Commander's Palace should convince. In addition to classic cuisine, Commander's also features traditional New Orleans cocktails and an extensive wine list.
Cooter Brown's Tavern and Oyster Bar (509 S. Carrollton Ave., 866-9104, http://turnipseed.com/cooter_browns) -- With hundreds of bottled beers from more than 30 countries, you'll be hard-pressed to not find one you like. Cooter's has two bars operating on busy nights, plus a late kitchen serving fresh oysters on the half shell.
Dos Jefes Uptown Cigar Bar (5535 Tchoupitoulas St., 891-8500) -- Finally, a bar that promotes smoking. There's never a cover for the lovely aromas, and you can escape the noise inside to the tree-covered patio in back and enjoy a cigar from the humidor. Try a veal sandwich or sway in the swingset chairs that surround the back bar.
F&M Patio Bar (4841 Tchoupitoulas St., 895-6784) -- If you like college students and big weekend crowds, make it down to F&M's for a couple of beers and a few games of pool. The bar also boasts an outside patio with enough shrubbery to make Audubon Park blush, and plenty of good old bar fare.
Fat Harry's (4330 St. Charles Ave., 895-9582) -- Sports and beer are the norm at this bar. It has a couple of TVs and plenty of booze for your average (or above-average) college and pro-football nights. Don't forget your game jersey and come mix it up with college students, professionals and tourists.
Grits Bar and Pool Hall (530 Lyons St., 899-9211) -- Otherwise known as the Siamese sister of F&M Patio (they're located back to back), this college extravaganza has cheap beer, plenty of pool tables and even a dance floor, featuring the latest radio hits. Just watch out for all those nubile and gyrating bodies.
Half Moon (1921 Sophie Wright Place, 522-9919) -- This cozy neighborhood bar has a great location, easygoing bartenders and plenty of power ballads emanating from the jukebox. Stop by for a beer and very mixed crowd of regulars.
Igor's (2133 St. Charles Ave., 522-2145) -- The original Igor's bar has plenty of charm and some of the best Bloody Marys around. Stop by in the wee hours for drunken high jinks and trade elbows with regulars, locals and other assorted folks. The second floor has a bevy of pool tables and there's also outdoor seating.
Igor's Buddha Belly Burger Bar (4437 Magazine St., 891-6105) -- Check out this cool joint boasting gigantic burgers with all the trimmings, located across from Nothing Records. This one has it all, from drink specials to sports and a popular karaoke night. And you can even do your laundry in the back.
Kingpin (1307 Lyons St., 891-4701) -- Truly the Kingpin of neighborhood bars, it has enough ambience and friendly bartenders to get lost in it. Check out the old school shuffleboard table to wail on friends and foes alike. Find secluded seating spots in the back of the bar for more intimate moments.
Le Bon Temps Roule (4801 Magazine St., 895-8117) -- Let les good times roll at this homey Uptown classic and stop by for local live music and a cold one. The bar also boasts great food and remains a staple Uptown neighborhood bar and music spot. Check out Kermit Ruffins on Wednesdays.
Lucy's Retired Surfer Bar Uptown (5961 Magazine St., 895-0240) -- Primarily an eating spot, this new sister of the downtown location turns into a happening yuppie place after dark. Enjoy some good eats, drink specials and Mexican beers at this new Uptown hangout.
Madigan's (800 S. Carrollton Ave., 866-9455) -- This one sits right at the end of the Maple Street row of college bars and boasts all the necessary trimmings for a good night out on the town, from pool table to drink specials to a refreshing outside patio and an additional bar in back.
Maple Leaf (8316 Oak St., 866-9359) -- This premier Uptown bar and music venue hosts a range of local and national acts and is renowned for its weekly brass-band shows. Grab a drink and hit the dance floor or chill out on the back patio and chat it up with all walks of life, including a heapload of local musicians.
Mayfair Lounge (1505 Amelia St.) -- A neighborhood bar known for its chill atmosphere and cheap drinks, covered in Christmas lights and other assorted ceiling fixtures. Enjoy the evening with other laid-back folks.
Milan Lounge (1312 Milan St., 895-1836) -- You have to get buzzed into this smoky neighborhood hangout, but it's worth the hassle. It's got plenty of entertainment, including a poker table with chips and cards, a dart board, and even an old-school slot machine.
Monkey Hill (6100 Magazine St., 899-4800) -- If you're searching for a classy joint, look no further. The bartenders know a dizzying array of martinis and exotic drinks. Sink into the plush couches while you decide which drink best fits your outfit. Monkey Hill also has great weekly music nights.
The Delachaise (3442 St. Charles St., 895-0858) -- New Orleans' trendiest new tapas bar has more than great food. The wine list is printed on a giant blackboard, suggesting a hip sense of flux in the list. Sip on a vast array of vintages while chatting it up with a crowd ranging from professionals to college students.
Parasol's (2533 Constance St., 899-2054) -- This classic neighborhood Irish pub nestled in a residential area features cheap beer and some of the best po-boys in town (check out the notoriously tasty roast beef version). The ambience climaxes during Parasol's famous St. Patrick's Day block party, when it's the place to be for green beer and good old Irish charm.
Patio 79 (7979 Earhart Blvd., 486-7225) -- This brand-new music club promises plenty of reggae and a great blend of local music. Sports fans, fear not -- the bar also features a huge TV and a handful of virgin pool tables. Enjoy crawfish boils and barbecue nights during the sports seasons.
Phillips Restaurant and Bar (733 Cherokee St., 865-1155) -- The first bar on college row on Maple Street has a dark, cavernous ambience and plenty of coeds. Enjoy a martini or a canned beer while listening to some of the latest music. It's the college be-seen or be-square hot spot, with pool tables and totem poles as support beams.
Saint Bar and Lounge (961 St. Mary St., 523-0050) -- This hidden Uptown gem has the locals talking. Put on your hippest outfit and head over to the Saint for a chill atmosphere with plush seating, poker tables and cocktails. Check out the old-school tunes on the jukebox and get your picture taken with friends in the photo booth.
St. Joe's Bar (5535 Magazine St., 899-3744) -- This popular Magazine Street haunt sports one of the most unique bar decors around -- a ceiling covered in crosses of all shapes and sizes. Step onto the back patio and experience a whole different atmosphere with a Far East theme. Lest we forget, the bartenders sling killer mojitos and caparinhas.
Samuel's Avenue Beer Pub (1628 St. Charles Ave., 581-3777) -- Do you like beer? Then come down to this down-home drinking establishment and throw back a couple with some of the best bartenders in town and check out the action on St. Charles, from Mardi Gras parades to the sweaty tourists.
Shiloh (4529 Tchoupitoulas St.) -- Look closely or you'll miss this one. Shiloh is sure to be a New Orleans classic soon, vying for the hip-hop scene with the likes of Butler's. Catch the DJs spinning the latest records, from hip-hop to dance music and everything in between. The action starts up late in the evening and lasts 'til dawn.
Snake and Jake's Christmas Lounge (7612 Oak St., 861-2802) -- This notorious late-night hangout is best handled after large amounts of alcohol. Check out the unique "Christmas" decor and low lighting or flop on the couches with the rest of the debaucherous masses. It's a great place to people watch and/or be watched.
Tipitina's (501 Napoleon Ave., 895-TIPS, www.tipitinas.com) -- One of the oldest and most popular music venues in all of New Orleans has seen its share of great local and national acts and continues to host some of the best musicians the nation has to offer. A great bar and consistently low ticket prices keep tourists and locals coming back.
TJ Quills (7600 Maple St., 866-5205 ) -- College students flock to this popular Uptown bar with all the standard bar features: a pool table, a jukebox and a wraparound bar that allows bartenders to serve drinks faster than most. There's also a shot machine, which spouts Jaegermeister and other liquors. Every Tuesday is 25 cent beer night.
TwiRoPa (1544 Tchoupitoulas, 587-3721, www.twiropa.com) -- This new musical features multiple leveled concert stages, a bar made out of an airplane wing and even a spiked sno-ball stand. Thursday's "80s Night" is quickly replacing the void left by the dearly departed Shim Sham Club and attracting swarms of converts.
Vera Cruz (7537 Maple St., 862-0047) -- Vera Cruz is an Uptown favorite, winning loyalty with its healthy Mexican and Cuban menu with plenty of vegetarian options. The homemade sangria will give you a reason to linger long after the tortilla crumbs are swept away, as will the 2-for-1 margarita pitchers on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Waldo's Martini Bar (7130 Freret St., 861-0236) -- Waldo's is practically an initiation rite for Uptown college students. Situated near the Tulane and Loyola campuses, it boasts nightly drink specials and even a penny pitcher night. The jukebox has a lot to offer and the pool tables don't disappoint.
Circle Bar (1032 St. Charles Ave., 588-2616) -- A hipster's paradise, Circle Bar offers a funky, intimate setting that allows you to both kick back and chat, or dance late to live music or a DJ. The music here mercifully strays from the New Orleans norm, offering eclectic talent, usually in the rock/indie molds.
Dino's Bar and Grill (1128 Tchoupitoulas St., 558-0900) -- A straight-ahead, no-nonsense bar and grill, Dino's is a relative newcomer to the downtown scene. But Dino's has immediately made fans among bar hoppers looking to enjoy an Abita on tap and unusual bar munchies, including the Fried Martini: a martini glass filled with cheese-stuffed and deep-fried green olives.
Ernst Cafe (600 S. Peters St., 525-8544, www.ernstcafe.net) -- Ernst Cafe, established in 1902, oozes New Orleans charm. Happy hours are offered both in the afternoon and in the early-dawn hours, as Ernst is a spot popular with both the CBD after-work crowd, and late-night bar crawlers. It also has a diverse menu and a long wine list.
The Howlin' Wolf (828 S. Peters St., 522-WOLF, www.howlin-wolf.com) -- A top destination for both local and national touring music, The Howlin' Wolf is a live-music mainstay. However, the Wolf isn't limited to just music, having in recent months held film screenings and avant-garde theater, and is now hosting a Sunday-night burlesque show.
Le Chat Noir (715 St. Charles Ave., 581-5812, www.cabaretlechatnoir.com) -- While home to top-flight theater and cabaret acts, Le Chat Noir's Bar Noir caters to patrons that often include the performers from that night's show. With a diverse, interesting clientele as one of its strong points, Le Chat Noir's lively bartenders mix a variety of drinks and offer a good wine selection.
Lucy's Retired Surfers Bar (701 Tchoupitoulas St., 523-8995; www.lucysretiredsurfers.com) -- Yes, it really was started by surfers and is bedecked with murals of the Pacific Ocean and longboard memorabilia. Whether you take your food (south California Mexican cuisine and New Orleans favorites) and drinks in the bar or courtyard, you'll find half the fun is the staff.
Mermaid Lounge (1100 Constance St., 524-4747; www.mermaidlounge.com) -- It's where the hippest of the hip and the funkiest of the funky go. Offbeat and cutting-edge music, cheap beer, loads of atmosphere and both inside and outside bars are the cornerstones of the establishment, owned and operated by musicians and artists.
Polynesian Joe's (869 Magazine St., 525-9301; www.polyjoes.com) -- It's a young and fun-loving group that makes its way to this haven in the Warehouse District, where revelers can dance, play pool or work up a sweat on the city's only bar-based sand volleyball court while ordering drinks courtside.
Red Eye Grill (852 S. Peters St. 593-9393; www.redeyegrill.net) -- The decor is basic as are the eats, and regulars tout the hearty burgers and ice-cold beer. It's known as a bartenders' bar and a late-night gathering place for service-industry workers, locals and young faces, who like to clear out the tables and dance to the jukebox or weekend DJs.
RioMar Restaurant (800 S. Peters St., 525-3474) -- Chef Adolfo Garcia has earned plenty of loyal fans in his restaurant's three-year history, due to the Mediterranean-influenced menu's emphasis on a variety of fresh seafood prepared in intriguing dishes. The bar's equally as impressive, offering a full wine list and wide range of top-shelf liquors.
Ugly Dog Saloon (401 Howard Ave., 569-8459) -- It may be a mutt in terms of stylish Warehouse District hangouts, but this Dog is well-loved by those who come to fill up on barbecue and beverages, shoot pool, or watch the game. Bring in a photo of your ugly dog, and it may end up on the wall with others displayed there.
Vic's Kangaroo Cafe (636 Tchoupitoulas St., 524-4329; www.satchmo.com/vics/index.html) -- Experience a taste of life Down Under at this friendly Aussie neighborhood pub, which has famous Australian wines and 15 beers on tap. It's a mixed crowd of tourists, locals and other live wires who come to sample Australian favorites such as shepherd's pie and a spicy black bean burger.
The Wine Loft (752 Tchoupitoulas St., 561-0116; www.thewineloft.net) -- If you want to impress someone with your sophisticated style and great taste in European gourmet cuisine, this is the place. New on the scene, the trendy bar offers 300 wines by the bottle and 70 by the glass, a sophisticated jazz bistro atmosphere and culinary delicacies available even late night.
Boomers at Boomtown Casino (4132 Peters Road, Harvey, 366-7711; www.boomtownneworleans.com) -- The casino is always open and drinks flow freely, but Boomers is closed Sunday through Wednesday. The rest of the week, it opens at 3 p.m. Musical guests include locals such as the Top Cats and Chee Weez to national acts including Billy Joe Royal.
The Crown and Anchor (200 Pelican St., 227-1007; www.crownanchor.com) -- This authentic English pub is nestled in Algiers Point and regularly entertains transplanted Brits. The pub stocks a wide selection of Britain's best ales and lagers, and fine single-malt Scotch from Scotland. As is popular across the pond, Crown and Anchor holds regular Pub Quiz and Darts nights.
Old Point Bar (545 Patterson St., 364-0950; www.oldpointbar.com) -- Right off the levee in charming Algiers Point, the Old Point Bar is considered by some to be the Maple Leaf of the West Bank. Cozy, slightly rustic and full of life, this little jewel attracts music lovers young and middle-aged from all over the city to hear excellent jazz, swing and brass bands.
Red Maple Bar and Lounge (1036 Lafayette St., Gretna, 367-0935) -- What started as an old-line watering hole for oilfield workers and politicos in the early 1960s has become a standard where West Bank locals meet. Attached to an upscale restaurant, the lounge recently was renovated to add class to its popularity. It features live piano music Thursday through Saturday.
The Rugby Pub (2802 Belle Chasse Hwy., Gretna, 363-0007; neworleansrugbyclub.com/pub.htm) -- It's a cozy neighborhood West Bank bar with a New Orleans-style setting that brings in young professionals and sports enthusiasts who like to sip cocktails and watch events on two bar TVs. The pub boasts a respectable selection of imported beers and occasionally stages live music shows.