Melius Bar & Cafe1701 Lake Ave., Metairie, 828-9446This neighborhood joint caters to the early morning crowd and the night owls, with breakfast service starting at 6 a.m. and booze and bar food late into the night. The mostly local crowd digs the casual atmosphere, pool, darts and shuffleboard, and the big-screen TV for games.
Bud Rip's 900 Piety St., 945-5762Serving up adult-sized cocktails since 1860, Bud Rip's is a neighborhood landmark. The homey atmosphere has an emphasis on the dubious and colorful world of Louisiana politics, with plenty of memorabilia on the walls for conversation pieces.
Country Club634 Louisa St., 945-0742Legendary for its clothing-optional pool area (open until 1 a.m. nightly), the Country Club functions as a de facto private club day and year memberships are available to all comers, but none are denied, unless, as one bartender puts it, "you're a real ass." The indoor bar provides all the usual poisons and personalities for Bywater regulars.
Markey's Bar640 Louisa St., 943-0785This traditional neighborhood bar is proud to still be under family ownership, and you're likely to find owner Roy Markey Jr. on the premises. Markey's offers free pool and darts, 11 imports on tap and a hip, diverse jukebox.
Saturn Bar3067 St. Claude Ave., 949-7532This St. Claude outpost is the Sanford and Son of bars art, mementos, trinkets and collectibles stuff the place to the gills, providing plenty of eye candy for the discerning drinker. Check out the vintage 45 jukebox, and be sure to pick up one of its famous souvenir calendars.
Sugar Park Tavern800 France St., 940-6226The New York-style thin-crust pizzas draw customers from all over town to this warm neighborhood pub, whose clientele is a mix of Ninth Ward hipsters and the more colorful neighborhood characters. The kitchen closes at 11 p.m., but the liquor flows until 4 a.m.
Vaughan's Lounge800 Lesseps St., 947-5562This neighborhood bar blends in with the surrounding houses most of the week, but on Thursday nights, Vaughan's fills the Bywater with the sweet sounds of Kermit Ruffins and the scent of barbecue. The crowd often spills out onto the street and transforms into a swinging block party.
Cajun Mike's Pub 'n' Grub116 Baronne St., 566-0055; www.cajunmikes.comThe loyal locals are what makes this casual pub "Cheers in New Orleans," according to the owner. Overstuffed sandwiches and reliable bar snacks such as wings and nachos make up the menu, and drink specials like the $1 happy hour on "Welfare Wednesdays" keep drinkers ordering another.
Club Ampersand1100 Tulane Ave., 587-3737; www.clubampersand.comThis upscale dance club is open only for private parties during most of the week, hosting celebrities and well-heeled locals who dig the VIP treatment. On weekend nights, the big red doors swing open for locals with local and international house, techno and hip-hop DJs for all-night dance parties.
The Core at the State Palace Theatre1108 Canal St., 522-4435; www.statepalace.com A cozy space in the upstairs of the State Palace Theater, this bar is open during large events and also hosts shows by smaller bands on select evenings. Bartenders mix the drinks strong, and the younger crowd will love the rave ambience.
Doc Smith's Lounge1009 Poydras St., 561-0528This sports bar adjunct to Smith & Wollensky's steakhouse is a popular summertime after-work spot for CBD folks, who like to relax with an icy martini on the shady outdoor patio. The full steakhouse menu is available in the more casual bar area, as is a new Creole menu, which is less taxing on the wallet than the prime cuts.
Gordon Biersch Brewery200 Poydras St., 552-2739This microbrewery serves American food with an Asian flair, but its chief appeal is its distinctive beer brewed in-house. Whether at the bar or on the patio, customers particularly enjoy märzen, a dry, medium-hopped auburn lager, and hefeweizen, a refreshing wheat ale. The brewery usually offers five or six beers, including seasonal feature brews.
Harrah's New Orleans Casino4 Canal St., 533-6000; www.harrahs.comEven for non-gamers, the clanging of slot machines and the buzz of excitement create a pretty high-energy place to drink. Lush, jewel-tone murals and frescoes depict Carnival revelry, and cozy enclaves like the dimly lit high-dollar slot areas complete with faux forestry give the illusion of Vegas magic.
Herbsaint701 St. Charles Ave., 524-4114; www.herbsaint.comSit in this casual bistro with a warm feel, watch the streetcar roll by and sip the restaurant's namesake, the Herbsaint, a cocktail with a zesty anise flavor. Chef Donald Link offers "small plates" or a full meal at the bar, or choose a Key Lime Cosmopolitan to go with the yellow-green walls.
Hyttops Sports Bar & GrillHyatt Regency Hotel, 500 Poydras St., 561-1234With over a dozen plasma TVs, including Hyttops' 12-by-12-foot crown jewel screen, you can probably watch sports you've never heard of (Polo? Iron Man competitions?) while you enjoy an after-work cold one or save the price of a ticket at the adjacent Superdome and catch the Saints game.
Kabby's Sports Edition GrilleHilton Hotel Riverside, 2 Poydras St., 561-0500Kabby's offers a relaxed after-work cool-down spot, with reliable tranquilizers like spicy Cajun wings, 24-oz. drafts and over three dozen big-screen TVs. Pro and college basketball, baseball and football plus bar food and beer equal a very happy hour indeed.
Le Chat Noir715 St. Charles Ave., 581-5812; www.cabaretlechatnoir.comLocated in the middle of the increasingly swanky arts district, Le Chat rotates a diverse roster of spare shows, from original local playwrights' work to improv comedy. Sometimes a cocktail is included in the ticket price; either way, the artsy decor and cabaret flair create a stellar atmosphere for a civilized tipple.
Lenny's Piccadilly Lounge113 University Place, 525-4083Lenny's boasts an impressive jazz and R&B-stocked jukebox and red-leather booths. Piggybacked by the Half Shell Restaurant, Lenny's offers hot grub for conventioneers, tourists and service industry workers, who kick back in the dark wood-and-brick decor after hours. Try the Cajun Bloody Mary.
LoaInternational House Hotel, 221 Camp St., 553-9550; www.ihhotel.comNamed for the voodoo word for "spirit," this darkly elegant bar treats its patrons to plush couches amid Gothic church mirrors. Lit only by candles, it's a place the hipsters and the elite come to sip a top-shelf martini or Manhattan after 6 p.m. Admire the veves (voodoo symbols), and perhaps soak up some mystery.
Loft 523523 Gravier St., 200-6523; www.loft523.comTucked away on a quiet street in the CBD, the unmarked cocktail lounge of the hotel at 523 Gravier reeks upscale hip. The exposed brick, open space and slim brass fixtures effect a warm, dim, burnished atmosphere perfect for local acts such Kermit Ruffins, who plays happy hour on Fridays these days.
Masquerade at Harrah's New Orleans4 Canal St., 533-6000; www.harrahs.comAt the recently opened Masquerade, Harrah's brings the glamour of modern Vegas to New Orleans. Masquerade is part lounge and part stage show. "Bevertainers" take drink orders one minute, and then jump unto platforms for a quick dance routine when the music starts. Stay late, because the shows become more risqué after midnight.
Michaul's 840 St. Charles Ave., 522-5517Friends and family gather at Michaul's for famous Cajun dining, but more often than not the food plays second fiddle to the live Cajun music (and free dance lessons available). The friendly regulars know how to stomp, and they also know to try the Mamou Blue, Michaul's own vodka-and-rum-based fruit drink.
New Orleans Original DaiquirisRiverwalk Marketplace, 1 Poydras St., Suite 37, 525-3931; Suite 80, 566-8992; Suite 167, 524-9504, Spanish Plaza, 866-8992Whether you're looking to cool down with a regular 32-oz. daiquiri or get a party-to-go with a 100-oz. daiquiri in a souvenir cup, New Orleans Original Daiquiris has you covered with three different locations in the Riverwalk Marketplace alone. Twenty-one types of daiquiris are offered, from fruit flavors to White Russians, along with a full selection of beers.
Polo Lounge Windsor Court Hotel, 300 Gravier St., 523-6000For an extraordinarily civilized drinking experience, sink into one of the cushy couches and order up a classic cocktail; try the mint julep, served in an icy silver cup. Dark stained wood and subtle lighting heighten the gentleman's-club feel.
Rasputin's Vodka Bar Lafayette Hotel, 600 St. Charles Ave., 561-9261 Did you even know that there were more than 100 types of vodka? Any one of the varieties including those that are flavor-infused on-site goes well with a plate of Baltic cuisine like fluffy blinis with caviar and créme fraiche. The slick decor and red lighting draw the young, hip and well heeled.
Ray's Over the River2 Canal St., 595-8900; www.raysovertheriver.comLocated on the 31st floor of the World Trade Center, Ray's Over the River's view is easily the best in the city. Ray's boasts exceptional service and a very posh atmosphere that will rival any dance club. Sleek and hip, the bar's decor is quite modern. Whether it's drinks, dancing, or a private party you are in search of, Ray's Over the River can provide with proper attire required of course.
Roth's Steak Knife610 Poydras St., 212-5656Choice cuts of premium beef are what this place is known for, but don't overlook the adjoining sports bar with its large-screen TV and good selection of imported beers. Located in the Whitney Building, the atmosphere includes a marble bar and columns, and it's a favorite of Saints fans.
Sazerac Bar Fairmont Hotel, 123 Baronne St., 529-4733; www.fairmont.comWhether or not this bar was the actual location of the birth of the famed local, anise-tinged, namesake cocktail, it can still turn them out with skill and fortitude. Drinking a Sazerac or other, more conventional beverages always feels classy and traditional in this dark, cozy bar in the Fairmont Hotel.
Swizzle Stick Lounge Loews New Orleans Hotel, 300 Poydras St., 595-3305; www.loewshotels.comThe adjoining restaurant, Café Adelaide, was named for a café-society-loving Brennan who would have adored the Caribbean-voodoo motif of this vintage-luxe lounge. The signature drink, the Adelaide Swizzle, is made with New Orleans Amber Rum, fresh lime, seltzer, bitters and a secret ingredient.
Tucker's Tavern 635 Roman St., 522-0440Tucker's is known for stuffed and deep-fried hamburgers. What's more, one sees scores of doctors slugging them down due to the bar's proximity to several area hospitals, so they must be good for you. Friday night, however, is an entirely different scene when a full house of Harley riders celebrate the bar's "Bike Night." Saturday night's College Night, $1 drinks with student ID, is a great reason to not be a fool and stay in school.
Whiskey Blue W Hotel, 333 Poydras St., 525-9444; www.midnightoilbars.comThe softly illuminated cobalt wall behind the bar turns the uniformly young, pretty and black-clad bartenders into silhouettes and casts a sapphire tint over the room. It's very easy to imagine yourself in Miami or some other boutique-hotel hot spot lounging on plush couches while house, R&B and hip-hop pulse through the room.
EASTERN NEW ORLEANS
Club 71407140 Downman Road, 245-8888Top local and national hip-hop DJs spin at Club 7140, and when they do, the floor practically erupts with dancers. The week starts with Blue Jeans Night on Wednesday, and there's a dance party every Saturday. The club is closed, except for private parties, Monday and Tuesday.
Club Lotus9615 Chef Menteur Hwy., 715-5001Club Lotus offers a smooth and comfortable environment with three bars, two VIP areas, two pool tables and a huge dance floor for the mature Saturdays are "Adults Only" and upscale crowd. A nice place for meeting after work, Club Lotus celebrates "5 p.m. Fridays" with two-for-one drinks, free appetizers and music until 8 p.m.
13517 Frenchmen St., 942-1345; www.13monaghan.comThe newest outpost in the Monaghan downtown bar empire serves up all the old favorites, such as the famous frozen Irish coffee and robust pints of Guinness. The health-conscious also enjoy the veggie-friendly menu served till 3 a.m. at tables decoupaged with vintage movie posters. Local acts the Happy Talk Band and Morning 40 Federation are not only featured on the jukebox; they're often customers and employees as well.
Apple Barrel Bar 609 Frenchmen St., 949-9399Not only the perfect place to cool your heels with a cocktail while you wait for a table, this cozy spot underneath Adolfo's restaurant is also a great place to catch local jazz and blues in a space smaller than your living room. Several local bands have chosen this hole-in-the-wall to record due to the excellent acoustics.
Bank Cafe2001 Burgundy St., 371-5260The almost 70-year-old mahogany bar in the Bank Cafe spent much of its life in a pool hall in Florida before it was brought here, where it was reassembled and cleaned up. It seats 14 for dining from the menu of Louisiana Contemporary fare, or for enjoying the variety of wines by the glass and bottled beers from Mexico and Central America.
Blue Nile 534 Frenchmen St., 948-2583; www.bluenilemusic.comAn anchor of the laidback Frenchmen Street live music scene, the cool blue interior of the Blue Nile is a great backdrop for acts like Fredy Omar's salsa and merengue and Ingrid Lucia's vintage jazz vocals. The Latin and Caribbean decor accents the club's island vibe.
Buffa's1001 Esplanade Ave., 949-0038The vintage neon and old-school New Orleans porthole windows mark Buffa's as exactly what it is a neighborhood institution dating back to the '30s. Regulars come in for the cold beer, familiar company, stick-to-your-ribs plate lunch specials and the sprawling back room for darts and pool.
Cafe Brasil2100 Chartres St. The bright yellow walls and cheerful neon of Cafe Brasil mark the corner of Chartres and Frenchmen streets, the hub of the busy local Marigny music scene. Latin, jazz and blues-flavored local acts keep the dance party going late into the night under colorful local art hanging on the multicolored walls inside.
Check Point Charlie 501 Esplanade Ave., 949-7012Marking the intersection of the French Quarter and the Marigny, Check Point's is no wilting flower of local nightlife. You can usually hear the raucous local punk and metal (or blues, depending on the night) echoing well down the street. It's also a fine spot for multitasking New Orleans-style, offering 24-hour libations, burgers and fries, pool, pinball and laundry.
Cowpokes2240 St. Claude Ave., 947-0505; www.cowpokesno.comNew Orleans' only gay country and western dance club also happens to be Orleans Parish's only country and western dance club, period. The hardwood dance floor in this straight-friendly gay bar is always full of line-dancers, and myriad cowboy portraits adorn the walls. The saloon doubles as a theatre space for works by local playwrights.
d.b.a.618 Frenchmen St., 942-3731; www.drinkgoodstuff.comThe chalkboards hanging over d.b.a.'s two bars are a testament to how serious these folks are about booze. Twenty beers on tap is only the beginning; d.b.a. also offers a number of obscure brews in the bottle, plus full menus of single-malt scotches, small-barrel bourbons, wines by the glass and other boozy treats. Local acts such as Grayson Capps and the Hot Club of New Orleans often play on the intimate stage tucked into the back.
Dragon's Den435 Esplanade Ave., 949-1750Up the curving staircase behind the Siam Cafe is a taste of the seedy and exotic Orient; the floor-to-ceiling mirrors and low tables surrounded by cushions on the floor create an opium den-like atmosphere. Late-night Thai food from the restaurant below is a perfect accompaniment to experimental local music and spoken-word performances.
The Friendly Bar2301 Chartres St., 943-8929Gay and straight neighbors alike convene at this corner bar. On Wednesdays, the bar fires up the grill and provides the fixin's, while customers bring their own cuts of meat. On other nights, there's pool, an Internet jukebox and occasional live music and DJs.
Hi Ho Lounge2239 St. Claude Ave., 947-9344; www.hiholounge.comZebra-print walls, an oversized go-go cage and luxe red vinyl booths cohere into an ambience of hipster sleaze, which is perfect for local and touring rock 'n' roll acts that sometimes hover on the line of just plain odd. Specialty nights like "Punk Rock Girls Nite" draw the young, local, rock 'n' roll crowd.
Hookah Cafe500 Frenchmen St., 943-1101; www.hookah-cafe.com Wide picture windows wrapping around the corner afford a view into this groovy Near East-themed lounge, which serves tasty Indian tapas, a wide selection of wines by the glass and DJs or live music. The jewel-toned low couches are the perfect place to recline and smoke a tableside hookah full of flavored tobacco.
The John2040 Burgundy St., 942-7159Whether or not the toilet seat-shaped chairs at the John are in good taste is a moot point, considering the busiest time at this Marigny joint is so late at night it really does qualify as early. Toast the sunrise with Sunday's $1 Bloody Marys and taunt the early-morning joggers trotting down Burgundy.
The Marigny Brasserie640 Frenchmen St., 945-4472; www.marignybrasserie.comAn oasis of laidback elegance on bustling Frenchmen Street, the Marigny Brasserie offers a wraparound view of the action outside through its wall of picture windows. Locals and visiting celebs alike dig the fresh mojitos and upscale bar menu.
Mimi's In the Marigny2601 Royal St., 942-0690The exposed brick and wood give the bar downstairs at Mimi's the character that has made it a hangout for the young and hip "service industry" set. Upstairs is a tapas bar, but the tasty foods can also be ordered downstairs, where customers can drink at the bar, throw darts, play pool, and even check their email, as Mimi's offers free wireless Internet service. On Wednesday nights, the bar hosts the French Quarter pool league.
R Bar1431 Royal St., 948-7499; www.royalstreetinn.comNow owned and operated by art gallery owner Jonathan Ferrara, the R Bar has become a local hangout for the young and hip. Though the club has been "artified," it maintains the funky feel that made it a Faubourg Marigny favorite and still offers lively screenings of Saints games and presidential debates.
Santa Fe Restaurant801 Frenchmen St., 944-6854; www.santa-fe-nola.comThis Marigny restaurant is known for its martini, a drink so strong that the owner refuses to serve it as a happy hour special. The upstairs lounge features a large fireplace and Southwest decor, with Native American art and hardwood floors. With affordable drinks and a casual yet trendy atmosphere, Santa Fe is a great spot for relaxing conversation or an exciting night out.
Snug Harbor626 Frenchmen St., 949-0696; www.snugjazz.comThe performance hall with a 25-foot ceiling is intimate, much like the performances put on here by noted local and international jazz performers. Customers can eat Southern-style gourmet and more in the dining room or have drinks by the stage only inches away from nightly performers such as Ellis Marsalis and Maurice Brown.
The Spotted Cat623 Frenchmen St., 943-3887Every weekend, the Spotted Cat is filled with fans of acoustic, neo-traditional jazz and blues, so many that the crowd often spills out the front door and onto the sidewalk. Two bands play nightly, and there is never any cover. The room has an eclectic feel with leopard-print decoration, but the atmosphere is slightly formal.
Sweet Lorraine's Jazz Club1931 St. Claude Ave., 945-9654; www.sweetlorrainesjazzclub.comCustomers dine on traditional New Orleans fare while viewing a wide variety of local and national musicians. This colorful, weekend-only jazz club also features Kim Prevost and Bill Solley and other local talent, as well as plenty of better-known funk and soul acts such as Roy Ayers and Angela Bofill from time to time.
201 Restaurant and Bar201 Decatur St., 561-0007; www.201restaurantandbar.comTaking its name from its address, 201 serves contemporary Louisiana cuisine and makes its cocktails with only top-shelf liquors. The house specialties, the Chocolate Martini and the Raspberry Cosmo, are a clue to the restaurant's trendy, upscale demeanor.
735 Club735 Bourbon St., 581-6740; www.club735.comA deft mix of upscale lounge and dance club, this Bourbon Street favorite features different DJs spinning hip-hop, '80s or Latin music nightly in the main room, which is large enough to host massive private parties.
The Abbey1123 Decatur St., 523-7150Stained glass abounds, and in the bar's shadowy front room, Goths and punks and adventurous tourists come together over beer. This no-frills bar is a popular place to go when other bars close their doors in the early hours of the morning. The Abbey also offers a weekly barbecue on Saturday afternoons.
The Alibi811 Iberville St., 522-9187; www.alibineworleans.comThe Alibi keeps the decor simple, with unadorned brick walls and video poker machines. The bar is also a great place to become personally acquainted with the nightly entertainers and service-industry types from the Quarter, who typically make their way here after work for burgers, po-boys and more than 100 bottled beers.
Angeli on Decatur1141 Decatur St., 566-0077Disco balls hang from the ceiling, angels are painted all around, and silent movies are projected onto the walls for the nightly customers who might stop in after hours of drinking. With beer, mixed drinks, and an entire menu of flavorful Mediterranean, American and Italian dishes, Angeli provides a quiet oasis, 24 hours a day, for those who need a break from the usual French Quarter debauchery.
Arnaud's French 75813 Bienville St., 523-5433; www.arnauds.comThis famous restaurant's eponymous cocktail, a brandy and champagne libation, fits perfectly in the 19th century New Orleans-style bar. The warm, wooden alcove has the upscale service expected from one of the city's top restaurants.
Aunt Tiki's Jewel Bar1207 Decatur St., 680-8454Aunt Tiki's Jewel Bar seems very appropriate in the middle of one of Decatur Street's more outrageous blocks. It calls itself a Tiki bar, but it's one from an island in the Goth/Industrial Antilles where the jukebox is full of pounding electronica.
Bacco310 Chartres St., 522-2426; www.bacco.comWine drinkers muse as Bacchus does his merry-making on the mural above the bar. The normal hubbub, part-and-parcel of bars located in busy restaurants, is gratefully absent here, despite its central French Quarter location.
Barely Legal423 Bourbon St., 571-6340The former Scarlett's Cabaret combines the bordello atmosphere of old Bourbon Street with contemporary strip club excitement. Conventioneers can enjoy a cocktail in the adult-film screening room. Big shots with plenty of disposable loot will want to visit the upstairs VIP room. Ask about the special bachelor party packages.
Bayona430 Dauphine St., 525-4455; www.bayona.comThe bar at Bayona is intimate with comfortable chairs and couches. It overlooks the patio and garden and provides a charming place for a glass of wine or a martini before dinner.
Belli Baci117 Decatur St., 529-2154; www.cafegiovanni.comSophisticated and sexy with rich, red walls, velvet drapes and leather love seats, this Italian lounge is home to the beautiful people of the city. Chef/owner Duke LoCicero lends the same attention to the cocktail menu that he does to the innovative cuisine in Cafe Giovanni, the attached restaurant. Although the bar is upscale, Belli Baci's happy hour rivals any in the city, with $2 Grey Goose martinis, service-industry discounts nightly from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m., and salsa night every Sunday.
Big Daddy's Gentleman Club522 Bourbon St., 581-7167The famous mechanical legs that emerge from Big Daddy's are one of the last vestiges of the Bourbon Street of yesteryear, suggesting racy fun is just inside the door. The legs don't lie in this gentleman's club, where a large stage fills the middle of the room.
Bombay Club830 Conti St., 586-0972; www.thebombayclub.comThe Bombay Club on the first floor of the Prince Conti Hotel boasts hundreds of different gourmet martinis. Some of the house specialties include the Breathless white créme cocoa martini and the Pink Pearl grapefruit martini. Piano music fills the burgundy-colored lounge and French courtyard nightly.
Bourbon House144 Bourbon St., 522-0111; www.bourbonhouse.comNowhere else on Bourbon Street is so much importance placed upon bourbon. This Dickie Brennan oyster bar and restaurant offers a vast collection of rare and fine bourbons and sponsors its own bourbon-tasting society. Diners make their way here for fried oysters, shrimp cocktails and steak entrees.
Bourbon Pub/Parade801 Bourbon St., 529-2107; www.bourbonpub.comThe downstairs of this locals-oriented gay bar is designed for hanging out, with plasma screen televisions showing sporting events or other programs while club-goers converse over drinks. Upstairs, though, the disco features electronic music nightly, as well as bright lasers and fog machines.
CafE Lafitte in Exile901 Bourbon St., 522-8397; www.woodenterprises.comThe name fits, as this bar is located a few blocks away from the core of Bourbon Street activity. It is open 24 hours and less dance-oriented than the Bourbon Pub/Parade or Oz. Some dancing takes place in the video bar downstairs, but people there would rather talk and mingle.
Carousel Bar214 Royal St., 523-3341; www.hotelmonteleone.comWritten about by Ernest Hemingway, this bar is a throwback to another time in bar culture. Customers on bar stools slowly circle the bartender, who works behind a stationary bar. There are stationary tables for those intimidated by moving in circles while drinking, and piano player John Autin entertains weekly.
Cats Meow701 Bourbon St., 523-1157; www.catsmeow-neworleans.comNothing limbers up vocal chords and loosens singing inhibitions in this karaoke bar like the Cats Meow's three-for-one happy hour. The college-age crowd eventually gets pretty lively when an emcee leads the bar in sing-a-longs. Before long, someone is singing, "I Will Survive" or a Bon Jovi hit, but be advised: all those who enter the Cat's Meow may be subject to the mockery of the emcee, whether onstage or at the bar.
The Chart Room300 Chartres St., 522-1708Drop anchor among the regulars at the nautically appointed Chart Room. Drinks are cheap, the lights are low, and the jukebox is eclectic, giving this bar more of a neighborhood feel than you might expect in that end of the French Quarter.
Chris Owens Club500 Bourbon St., 523-6400; www.chrisowensclub.comChris Owens is a classic Bourbon Street entertainer, able to sing, dance and tell jokes. She still entertains visitors nightly the old school way, and after she sings, the bright lights keep flashing all around the black-and-white checkered floor as the club converts into a Latin disco that is almost as spicy as its owner.
Club Decatur240 Decatur St., 581-6969Club Decatur is where local twentysomethings go before hitting the Quarter, as well as where they go to end a night of debauchery. This bar features more than 200 different bottled beers, 20 on tap, and service industry workers get a discount.
Club Ritz201 Chartres St., 522-7729Club Ritz is not a flashy Bourbon Street "gentlemen's club." It's a strip club darker, smaller and less expensive than its competition, and the strippers tend to know at least a handful of regulars who are in the crowd.
Coop's Place1109 Decatur St., 525-9053A great alternative when nearby bars are full of tourists, Coop's Place has the comfortable warmth of New Orleans pubs, with a kitchen that stays open until 3 a.m. Local Quarter dwellers make good use of the video poker machines, pool tables and Internet jukebox. This bar also provides free Internet access, but remember don't drive and surf.
Cosimo's1201 Burgundy St., 522-9715Cosimo's is a warmer, classier take on the classic New Orleans bar. It feels warm and classy with its Oriental upholstery, dark wood and crystal chandeliers, but a TV and a free computer jukebox keep things from getting too hoighty-toighty. Its cafe, Hell's Kitchen, serves popular bar food.
Coyote Ugly Saloon225 N. Peters St., 561-0003; www.coyoteuglysaloon.comCoyote Ugly aspires to randy fun. Its bartenders dance on the bar and pour booze onto lucky patrons below, just like in the movie. LeAnn Rimes' bra is among those stapled to the ceiling, but she swears she got it out of the tour bus and didn't disrobe in the bar. Play anything from Hank Williams to Thomas Dolby on the vintage-looking jukebox.
Crescent City Brewhouse527 Decatur St., 522-0571; www.crescentcitybrewhouse.comThe pale wood, burnished brass and copper brewing tanks dominate the airy downstairs bar and restaurant, but as attractive as it is, the beers brewed on site are the primary draw at the Crescent City Brewhouse. It serves ambers, pale ales, stouts and wheat beers in addition to seasonal brews, Those who'd rather enjoy them in a less-bustling atmosphere can go to the upstairs bar or the spacious balcony overlooking Decatur Street and the river.
Deep South Lounge329 Decatur St., 529-3331; www.deepsouthlounge.comWe recommend sampling the Deep South Lounge's beer menu before tackling Brisket, the only mechanical bull in the French Quarter. A number of large televisions project everything from NASCAR to the Saints. Southern soul food is offered daily for lunch, with delivery available.
Deja Vu Bar and Restaurant 400 Dauphine St., 523-1931; www.dejavurestaurant-bar.comThis unassuming 24-hour bar/restaurant is a before- and after-work favorite of the Bourbon Street service industry crowd. Deja Vu is one of the hottest people-watching spots in the late (or early, depending on how you see it) hours of the night.
Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse716 Iberville St., 522-2467; www.dickiebrennanssteakhouse.comThis steakhouse offers the sort of slightly elegant, slightly casual New Orleans charm that's harder to achieve than it sounds. Offering a masculine steakhouse atmosphere with a modern twist, it sports a full bar menu, as well as monthly wine tastings.
Donna's Bar and Grill800 N. Rampart St., 596-6914; www.donnasbarandgrill.comThis is one of the hot spots to catch traditional New Orleans jazz and brass band music in an informal setting. The bare bones, yet cozy atmosphere is as authentic as you can get, with nightly top-shelf local musical offerings by artists such as the Treme Brass Band, Shannon Powell, Bob French and Tom McDermott.
Erin Rose811 Conti St., 523-8619; www.erinrose.comThis neighborhood Irish pub is a welcome oasis for both locals and tourists. Just steps away from Bourbon Street's chaos, Erin Rose offers hot toddies, Guinness on tap, frozen Irish coffee, an eclectic jukebox and walls full of visual non-sequiturs.
Fahy's Irish Pub540 Burgundy St., 586-9806This local pub serves more than 40 selections of bottled beer. It also has a pool league that has been running for 12 years, with 20 teams competing on the bar's two tables every Wednesday night. A few blocks away from Bourbon Street, this is the local's side of the Quarter good booze and good company in a no-frills neighborhood pub.
Fiorella's CafE45 French Market Place, 528-9566A tried-and-true oasis amid the gritty hipster bar strip of lower Decatur Street, Fiorella's serves tasty and inexpensive New Orleans staples late into the night, from po-boys to spaghetti and fried chicken. Daily dessert specials are a serious attraction.
French Quarter BarRitz-Carlton Hotel, 921 Canal St., 524-1331; www.ritzcarlton.comYou can literally put on the Ritz in this intimate, sophisticated French Quarter bar. It serves the Davenportini, named for Jeremy Davenport, who performs live jazz from Thursday to Saturday nights. The Sunday Jazz Brunch, when the Ritz offers seven different Bloody Marys, is an experience worth having more than once.
Fritzel's European Jazz Club733 Bourbon St., 561-0432Fritzel's became the first American bar to serve Jagermeister in 1971, and it still serves Jager today in addition to other, more obscure schnapps. Afternoons, Fritzel's is a sports bar, showing soccer matches and basketball games in a European pub atmosphere; at night, it features traditional jazz seven nights a week, including regular appearances by Banu Gibson.
Funky Butt714 N. Rampart St., 558-0872The art deco decor, low red lighting and traditional Creole cooking of this lesser-known local gem recall the great music clubs of the '20s and '30s. Offering nightly jazz and funk acts to locals and tourists in the know, the Funky Butt lives up to its name and quite fittingly is located across the street from Louis Armstrong Park.
Funky Pirate727 Bourbon St., 523-1960; www.tropicalisle.comThis port of call is an oasis for any thirsty privateer. If Hand Grenades suit your palate, buy one at Tropical Isle and take a walk next door to the Funky Pirate to see Big Al Carson's rollicking, slightly bawdy blues every night except Sunday.
Gennifer Flowers Kelsto Club720 Saint Louis St., 524-1111; www.genniferflowers.comAnimal-print upholstery and a gold-leaf grand piano bear witness to the way in which a one-time pop-culture icon has evolved into a cabaret performer. Flowers performs Thursday through Saturday nights, and the closest you'll get to controversy is a Gennifer's Kiss, a shot of Southern Comfort served in a lip-shaped shot glass.
Gold Club727 Iberville St., 524-4354; www.goldclubno.comGet plenty of flash for your cash at the Gold Club, one of New Orleans' most upscale gentlemen's clubs. Its four stages, strobe lights and music helped make it home to the annual Gold G-String Awards, which brings in top talent from all over the world.
Gold Mine Saloon705 Dauphine St., 586-0745; www.goldminesaloon.netPull up a seat at a whiskey barrel, grab a flaming Dr. Pepper shot and soak up the culture at this dark saloon, located a few blocks from the Bourbon Street chaos. Just inside the door is a row of classic video games for those nostalgic for Centipede and Donkey Kong. Poetry readings on Thursday nights feature well-known national and local writers, then dance music dominates on the weekend.
Good Friends Bar740 Dauphine St., 566-7191; www.goodfriendsbar.comThere's never a cover at this gay-owned-and-operated neighborhood bar that offers karaoke on Tuesdays and margarita specials on Thursdays. Head upstairs to the Queen's Head Pub for a more intimate atmosphere where you can hang out around the piano and sip a martini. On Sunday afternoons, free hot dogs are served during Saints games and free shots for everyone when the home team scores.
The Gumbo Shop 630 Saint Peter St., 525-1486; www.gumboshop.comYou can guess the kitchen's specialty, but the bar has its own as well. In fact, the bar has quite a list, from fresh fruit daiquiris to bartender originals like the Funky Monkey and the Screaming Amoeba. Ask for the story behind the latter drink, which you can sip in the slightly upscale, yet still casual front of the restaurant or in the lush courtyard.
Handsome Willy's218 South Robertson St., 525-0377; www.handsomewillys.comThe building formerly known as the Jackson Inn an old New Orleans soul bar and restaurant has been recently renovated and reopened as Handsome Willy's. It offers affordable, gourmet soul food for the workers and residents of the CBD, and at night, Handsome Willy's secret courtyard offers a little oasis of life and color that closely resembles a rooftop deck in New York City.
Harry's Corner900 Chartres St., 524-1107This corner bar just off Decatur Street has the sort of no-frills atmosphere and eclectic jukebox that makes it easy to lose track of time if there's a ball game on TV. This is a destination for seasoned locals who like their downtown fun sans beads and Hurricanes.
Hooters310 N. Peters St., 522-9222; www.hootersLA.comThis chain's name and gimmick invites snickers and wisecracks, but it provides quality roadhouse food and atmosphere, particularly during football season. Right at the upper edge of the Quarter, Hooters is a casual, slightly naughty spot to kick off your night.
House of Blues225 Decatur St., 529-2584; www.hob.comOne of the premiere music venues in New Orleans offers a lot more than great acoustics. The restaurant features modern takes on Mississippi Delta cuisine in a casual environment full of folk art and blues memorabilia, and the Sunday gospel brunch is sure to please. Combine all this with the backyard patio bar, the elite Foundation Room and the cozy Parish club upstairs, and you have plenty of options for both day and night.
Howl at the Moon135 Bourbon St., 410-9000This French Quarter bar offers dueling pianos playing requests all night long. Some of the hits you might expect "Lucille," "Sweet Home Alabama," but university fight songs from the Southeastern Conference are also popular. Those who like to start early enjoy two-for-one drinks during the day.
The Jazz Parlor at Storyville125 Bourbon St., 586-9022This handsomely furnished nightclub is one of the few homes to live jazz on Bourbon Street, with turn-of-the-century decor that evokes bygone parlors of ill repute. Jazz acts rotate with blues bands nightly starting at 5 p.m. weekdays and 1 p.m. weekends. Recently, it has been the musical home for Marva Wright.
Jimani141 Chartres St., 524-0493This relaxed, cozy sports bar is a favorite for service industry and neighborhood folks around the clock. The game is always on one of the two giant TVs over the bar, and the bar food is top-notch.
Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville1104 Decatur St., 592-2565; www.margaritavilleneworleans.comThe daily 3 p.m. to midnight no-cover sets by blues guitarists draw locals as well as tourists. Everyone digs the tequila specialty drinks and the recently updated bar menu full of Key West flavors.
Johnny White's Hole in the Wall718 Bourbon St., 568-9803Time doesn't seem to exist at this intimate French Quarter hideaway, which attracts a cross section of humanity. Worlds away from the mayhem of Bourbon Street, the Hole in the Wall is a quiet bar for grown-ups. Specialty cocktails like the Cajun Splash will cure what ails you, and the Internet jukebox is sure to have your favorite tune.
Kerry Irish Pub331 Decatur St., 527-5954; www.kerryirishpub.comAfter a few pints, patrons will swear that they're in Dublin south Dublin, the hot, humid part of the city. The homey bar is decorated with a ramshackle collection of Gaelic memorabilia. A mix of locals and tourists sings along nightly to the live music that ranges form Irish folk to bluegrass to local songwriters. With Irish pride, Kerry claims to have the best-poured Guinness in town.
King Bolden's820 North Rampart St., 525-2379Located across the street from Louis Armstrong Park, King Bolden's is a plush and upscale joint that is just about as New York as a New Orleans bar can get. Dim red tones, plush curtains and private corner seating attract local hipsters and tattooed Quarter residents. Eclectic artwork depicts scenes of second lines, Mardi Gras Indians and old-world Paris. King Bolden's proudly serves mostly high-end liquors, and offers the N'Awlins Iced Tea: a drink that should be served with a warning label. Nightly entertainment features local artists and DJs such as Ryan Scully and DJ Soul Sister.
Lafitte's Blacksmith Bar941 Bourbon St., 522-9377This bar holds the distinction of being the oldest building still standing in the Quarter, having survived fires, hurricanes and hundreds of years of Mardi Gras. Legend has it that the infamous privateer Jean Lafitte used the bar still lit only by eerie candles as his HQ back in the day. Watch for ghosts, or just sit around the piano bar and sing along.
La Louisiane725 Iberville St., 378-8200; www.lalouisiane.comSince 1881, this storied venue has been home to restaurants run by some of the city's most colorful characters. Today, it boasts two bars. Diamond Jim's is decorated with dark wood and memorabilia of a bygone era in the French Quarter. It is upscale but casual. The Movers and Shakers Lounge is lit with candles and gas torches, and hip, electronic tunes keep the young crowd dancing.
Larry Flynt's Hustler Club225 Bourbon St., 524-0010; www.hustlerclubs.comLarry Flynt's Hustler Club is everything you could want from a Bourbon Street gentleman's club. It hosts adult industry parties such as the Pole Olympics and features beautiful dancers who keep the guests excited. The centerpiece of the room is the brass pole that extends the full two stories of the club. A friendly main-stage dancer often shimmies up to the balcony and says hello.
Library LoungeRitz-Carlton Hotel, 921 Canal St., 524-1331 ext. 3620; www.ritzcarlton.comBorrow a book from the shelves and settle into an overstuffed leather chair with a Cohiba cigar and a glass of Scotch. The cedar-paneled Library Lounge is home to the finer things in life: cigars, ports, cordials and single-malt Scotches. Bartender Chris McMillan can both mix a classic cocktail and tell you the history of the drink.
Lounge Lizards200 Decatur St., 598-1500There are no bad seats in this long, narrow room, where regional and national bands play six nights a week. Red lights and purple walls covered in rock posters create a punk, slightly twisted version of a swank, lounge atmosphere. The eclectic jukebox features rock, blues, hip-hop, old hardcore and jazz crooners.
Lucille's Golden Lantern1239 Royal St., 529-2860For 35 years, this neighborhood gay bar has never locked its doors. Home to the annual Southern Decadence parade and regular drag shows, such as the Slut Puppies, the L.A. Divas and the Golden Age Revue, the bar also hosts monthly exhibits of local artists.
Mr. B's Bistro201 Royal St., 523-2078; www.mrbsbistro.comAt night, piano music drifts into Mr. B's bar, which offers an enviable wine list and popular milk punches made with ice cream. Try also the enticing French 75 a combination of Champagne and gin. At the bar, customers can eat lunch or dinner from the regular menu.
Maximo's1117 Decatur St., 586-8883; www.maximositaliangrill.comAt this Italian restaurant, the tone is set by jazz on the stereo and Herman Leonard's huge black-and-white photos of musicians hanging over the comfy booths. Try one of the 50 wines by the glass while waiting for a table, or pop in for a quick port or grappa.
Meauxbar Bistro942 N. Rampart St., 569-9979A neighborhood crowd flocks to this stylish French bistro with its subdued decor of yellow walls and oversized mirrors. It's the perfect place for enjoying a martini or a glass of wine. The owner often creates his own CD mixes to play for guests.
Molly's at the Market1107 Decatur St., 525-5169; www.mollysatthemarket.netThe mural on the back wall features portraits of regular drinkers past and present. The front bar is home to signs and other ephemera from bygone local watering holes. Local news media, workers from the Quarter and pink-haired Ninth Ward punks all drop in for a drink. As one of the bartenders says, "Everyone comes here; it's the market."
Molly's on Toulouse732 Toulouse St., 568-1915This distant cousin of Molly's on the Market offers many of the same amenities great atmosphere, a killer jukebox and a pool table. Closer to the Bourbon Street action, this Molly's draws an eclectic mix of locals and tourists. In addition to wine tastings with munchies on Wednesdays, Molly's hosts Bloody Mary Sundays.
Napoleon House Bar & CafE500 Chartres St., 524-9752; www.napoleonhouse.comAllegedly built as a hideaway for Napoleon Bonaparte, this Quarter staple boasts a romantic, dimly-lit front bar oozing with old-fashioned local charm. The emperor never made it to these shores. Too bad. He missed out on the highly civilized treat of sitting at a courtyard table and savoring a Pimm's Cup with a cheese board and a plate of charcuterie.
New Orleans Original Daiquiris633 Bourbon St., 524-5185; www.fat-tuesday.comWhether you're looking to cool down with a regular 32-oz. daiquiri or get a party-to-go with a 100-oz. daiquiri in a souvenir cup, New Orleans Original Daiquiris has you covered with three different locations in the Riverwalk Marketplace alone. Twenty-one types of daiquiris are offered, from fruit flavors to White Russians, along with a full selection of beers.
O'Flaherty's Irish Channel Pub514 Toulouse St., 529-1317; www.oflahertysirishpub.comLive Celtic music every night in the Informer room has made O'Flaherty's a favorite of locals and tourists. Pool tournaments are regularly held upstairs in the Dun Aengus room. Just like a real Irish pub, the non-smoking Ballad Room attracts mom, dad and their brood.
Old Absinthe House240 Bourbon St., 523-3181; www.oldabsinthehouse.comThe Old Absinthe House has held down its corner of Bourbon Street since 1807. The decor combines antique New Orleans, such as vintage crystal chandeliers and a gorgeous copper-topped wooden bar, with contemporary sports memorabilia. Maybe you can't get a real shot of wormwood here, but the house specialty Absinthe Frappe made with Herbsaint or one of the single-malt Scotches will cause you to see visions.
Old Opera House Cocktail601 Bourbon St., 522-3265; www.oldoperahouse.comA typical French Quarter pub with dark brick and wooded decor, the Old Opera House is a great place to take visitors before or after a wild night of drinking in the Quarter. Live music starts at 1 p.m. daily, with a zydeco band in the afternoon and dance music in the evenings. Drink specials each night draw locals and out-of-towners alike.
Ol' Toone's Saloon233 Decatur St., 529-3422Open round the clock, Ol' Toone's does more business at 7 a.m. than some bars do all day. Located next door to the House of Blues, this amiable dive is a fine spot for beer before a concert or to keep the thrill alive after a show. A jukebox of great jazz sets the tone at this bar, where pool sharks and insomniacs while away the night.
One Eyed Jacks615 Toulouse St., 569-8361; www.oneeyedjacks.netOne Eyed Jacks is decorated with the remnants of the old El Matador, including that bygone club's circular bar. The front room has been opened up a little, while the showroom has been made more intimate. Vintage velvet paintings and flocked red wallpaper create the perfect kitsch ambience for hipster rock shows, DJ dance nights and regular burlesque performances.
Orleans Grapevine720 Orleans Ave., 523-1930The granite, horseshoe-shaped bar at the Orleans Grapevine impresses both locals and tourists. With 350 wines in the cellar, 60 of which are available by the glass, this romantic French Quarter bistro is sure to impress that special someone.
Oswald's, a Speakeasy1331 Decatur St., 218-5953Reminiscent of the speakeasies of the '30s and '40s, Oswald's is decorated in dark red brick and copper tones beneath an intricate ceiling that dates back to the creation of the building itself. Located on the corner of Decatur and Esplanade streets on the cusp of the Faubourg Marigny, this speakeasy is the reincarnation of El Matador, now owned by actor Harry Anderson. Whether it's magic, comedy or jazz you are in the mood for, Oswald's offers the perfect date venue. Reservations are recommended, as the two-person tables comfortably spaced in the club's front room tend to sell out quickly.
Oz800 Bourbon St., 593-9491; www.ozneworleans.comNo one ever mistook Oz for Kansas. The heart of the gay Quarter boasts entertainment every night of the week, such as the Illusions drag show and Bianca del Rio's drag comedy and variety. Cheer from the dance floor or gawk from the balcony. Smoke, strobes, go-go boys, suggestive videos and happening DJs keep things moving all night long.
Palm Court Jazz CafE1204 Decatur St., 525-0200; www.palmcourtjazzcafe.comWith its traditional jazz and authentic New Orleans cuisine, the Palm Court is a one-stop cultural experience. It features some of New Orleans' finest traditional jazz musicians. During breaks between sets, ask the staff to play an album from the collection at the bar.
Pat O' Brien's718 St. Peter St., 525-4823; www.patobriens.comEvery visitor must have a Hurricane at Pat O's. Sip this deceptively potent concoction in front of the flaming fountain or while singing along to corny songs in the piano bar. Some places really are legendary.
PopBar533 Toulouse St., 568-1940; www.thepopbar.comMod meets old New Orleans at the PopBar, where a molded ceiling and chandeliers are mixed with animal print couches and dayglo-colored walls. Everyone feels hip sipping one of the bar's 50 specialty martinis. Thursday is college night and Tuesday and Friday are devoted to hip-hop tunes.
Port of Call838 Esplanade Ave., 523-0120; www.portofcallneworleans.comMention the Port of Call and people immediately think of hamburgers the size of hubcaps. Then they think of the Monsoon, the signature drink of dark rum, white rum, Hawaiian punch, orange juice and pineapple juice. Only the strong can drink more than one.
Rawhide Lounge740 Burgundy St., 525-8106; www.rawhide2010.comThe only leather bar in the Quarter welcomes a gay crowd up for just about anything 24 hours a day. Activities include a Blackout Party every second Thursday of the month and pool tournaments every Monday and Wednesday. Rawhide draws both New Orleans regulars and travelers who return year after year.
Red Rhino241 Bourbon St., 566-1341Sexy shot girls and a spring break atmosphere make Red Rhino a tourist favorite for all-night dancing. If the dance floor gets too full, there's an emergency dance area located on the balcony, which also features its own drink specials.
The Rib RoomOmni Royal Orleans, 621 St. Louis St., 529-5333; www.ribroom.netThis restaurant at the corner of St. Louis and Royal streets recently received a face lift, and it's bar was restored to its original 1961 size. With floor-to-ceiling windows, it's a classy place for French Quarter people watching, and the action isn't always outside; the bar itself has long been one of those places that it seems like almost anyone could pass through.
Rick's Cabaret315 Bourbon St., 524-4222; www.ricks.comThe sweeping staircase in the entry gives an old New Orleans atmosphere to this gentleman's club. The main showroom is ritzy, and private VIP rooms offer a little extra for big spenders who know how to party. The full kitchen and great lunch specials provide a perfect opportunity to combine food and scenery.
Ryan's Irish Pub241 Decatur St., 523-3500This corner bar has the feel of a neighborhood joint, with a good mix of regulars and tourists. During soccer season, at least one of the many TV screens is dedicated to Premier League football. This is a hot spot during the week to sip one of the 14 beers on tap and watch the game. Right now, baseball dominates the TVs at night, and once football season arrives, it's a popular place to catch an NFL game with a stiff Bloody Mary on Sundays.
Temptations327 Bourbon St., 525-4470; www.temptationsclub.netThis gentleman's club in an antebellum mansion caters to high rollers but also offers daily happy hour specials. Visit the cigar room and private VIP suites. Featured dancers include women with exotic names like Thai, Ginger, Honey and Sweet Melissa.
Tricou House Restaurant711 Bourbon St., 525-8379; www.711bourbon.comDuring dinner, live rock 'n' roll and blues downstairs provide the background music. Courtyard dining is also available by the gorgeous Lover's Fountain. Upstairs a live DJ spins dance tunes. Look for the ghost of nurse Annabel, who died during the 1834 yellow fever epidemic, to float over the spiral staircase.
Tropical Isle721 Bourbon St., 529-4109; 600 Bourbon St., 529-1720; www.tropicalisle.comMany a night full of bad decisions began with a Hand Grenade at the Tropical Isle. Who knows what's in the neon green drink, but it certainly gets you drunk. Lightweights should stick to one of the Isle's many daiquiris. The new Tropical Isle, located on the corner of Toulouse Street, features late night bar food.
Tujague's Restaurant823 Decatur St., 525-8676; www.tujaguesrestaurant.comGrab a seat at the oldest stand-up bar in New Orleans and soak up the conversation at this venerable Quarter establishment. Try a grasshopper (milk and creme de menthe), which was invented here, or an absinthe frappe sans wormwood. The legendary brisket po-boy dressed in horseradish remoulade is available only in the bar.
Utopia Night Club227 Bourbon St., 523-3800; www.bourbonstr.comEvery week is spring break at Utopia. The wild club has five bars, live bands, a flaming fountain and regular events like the homemade bikini contests on Thursdays. Utopia gives visitors a hint of the insanity of Mardi Gras in the Quarter.
Ye Olde Original Dungeon738 Toulouse St., 523-5530; www.originaldungeon.comFollow the sounds of headbanging rock down a dark alley to discover the shadowy world of the Dungeon. The doors don't open until midnight, when the rooms decorated with cages and nooses fill with characters straight out of a horror flick. A glass of Dragon's Blood or Witch's Brew could make even a good person a little evil.
Zydeque808 Iberville St., 565-5520; www.zydeque.comGuests can order a round of beers with a plate of barbecue ribs and watch the big game on one of Zydeque's 11 32-inch televisions. For a drink with more of a kick, try the signature Blue Monday watermelon daiquiri. There are drink specials during all pro football games.
Brooks' Seahorse Saloon1648 Gentilly Blvd., 948-7050The super-friendly staff and regular drink specials help patrons forget their losses at the race track across the street. The recently refurbished bar features pool tables, a great jukebox and late hours. On Mondays, Brooks' starts the week right with free red beans and rice.
Maloney's5000 Old Gentilly Road, 942-2400; www.bigeasytravelplaza.comLocated off the Louisa Street exit of I-10, Maloney's combines all-you-can-eat specials with a sports bar atmosphere. Beers are just a dollar during the daily happy hour, and every Tuesday a live band entertains the crowd.
Pampy's2005 N. Broad St., 949-7970; www.pampysinc.comAn upscale oyster and martini bar, Pampy's is a cozy and quiet haven on the edge of the Quarter, decorated in dimly lit silver and burgundy tones. Photographs depict scenes of Mardi Gras Indians and traditional African art, and the crowd is sometimes touristy, but mostly local. Pampy's offers live music on Friday nights with Frank Richard from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Casino Magic711 Casino Magic Drive, Bay St. Louis, Miss., (228) 467-9257; www.casinomagic-baystlouis.comKeep playing the games and the drinks are free. When the chips run out, try one of Casino Magic's many lounges. Catching a show by the legendary New Orleans jazz clarinetist Pete Fountain on Tuesday and Wednesday will make anyone feel lucky.
The Mill5808 River Oak Road S., Harahan, 733-8144The Mill, with its wood slat walls and great beers on tap, brings an Uptown atmosphere to Harahan. The devoted regulars make heavy use of the dartboards and two pool tables.
New Orleans Original Daiquiris1200 S. Clearview Parkway, Harahan, 733-0545; www.fat-tuesday.comWhether you're looking to cool down with a regular 32-oz. daiquiri or get a party-to-go with a 100-oz. daiquiri in a souvenir cup, New Orleans Original Daiquiris has you covered with three different locations in the Riverwalk Marketplace alone. Twenty-one types of daiquiris are offered, from fruit flavors to White Russians, along with a full selection of beers.
PJ's Coffee and Wine Bar5359 Mounes St., Harahan, 731-2905At the new PJ's wine bar, folks can wake up with an iced coffee in the morning and wind down with a Merlot at night. In addition to PJ's regular coffees and pastries, this location offers beer, 15 wines by the glass and a menu of cheese, olives and hummus in a sophisticated atmosphere.
The Shimmy Shack1855 Dock St., Harahan, 729-4442Built out of one of the old Pontchartrain banks previously owned by Tom Benson, the Shimmy Shack is a cozy yet hip bar for young professionals and locals alike. The bar-top is made from 800-year-old mahogany cypress and stained with 150-year-old Grand Marnier. Stretched ostrich skin covers the front face of the bar and lights made from the bottles of the Grand Marnier used to stain the bar illuminate the room. With over 25 different wines and a Ginger Martini made from the pickled ginger typically eaten with sushi, the Shimmy Shack will impress the trendiest of clientele.
Taqueria Corona1827 Hickory Ave., Harahan, 738-6722Taqueria Corona may be best known for its Mexican cuisine, but it's also a comfortable place to sit with friends and talk over Mexican beers and chips with pico de gallo. Taqueria Corona also makes a fine sangria, and its margaritas are justly popular.
W.O.W. CafE and Wingery5359 Mounes Blvd., Harahan, 733-8600; www.wingery.comW.O.W. combines the casual feel of a sports bar with the excitement of a specialty cafe. With four locations around the city, W.O.W. is a great place to grab a round of daiquiris with friends after a hard day at work. The bar is lit by brightly colored, hanging lights and complete with bamboo wall hangings, which create a tiki-bar feel.
Deckbar & Grille1715 Jefferson Hwy., Jefferson, 830-0104The Deckbar hosts one of the longest running blues jams in New Orleans: the Wednesday night Big Daddy's Juke Joint Blues Jam. Live bands also take the stage Thursday through Saturday at this musician-friendly bar. With a menu featuring stuffed catfish and fried pickles with dipping sauce, no one goes home hungry.
Fox and Hound1200 S. Clearview Parkway, Jefferson, 731-6000; www.totent.comThis upscale bar is heaven for sports fans: all local, regional and national games are shown on the 32 TVs and two projection screens. For those who would rather play than watch, Fox and Hound offers pool, darts and shuffle board. During the day, a business crowd enjoys the full menu. At night, a younger crowd takes advantage of the 36 beers on tap.
New Orleans Original Daiquiris2712 Jefferson Hwy., Jefferson, 831-7001; www.fat-tuesday.comWhether you're looking to cool down with a regular 32-oz. daiquiri or get a party-to-go with a 100-oz. daiquiri in a souvenir cup, New Orleans Original Daiquiris has you covered with three different locations in the Riverwalk Marketplace alone. Twenty-one types of daiquiris are offered, from fruit flavors to White Russians, along with a full selection of beers.
Reginelli's5608 Citrus Blvd., Jefferson, 818-0111; www.reginellis.comReginelli's is known for its excellent calzones, salads and gourmet pizzas. The $2 pitchers of Bud Light and Abita Amber on Monday and Tuesday and the $10 bottles of wine on Wednesday, however, make the pizza joint as lively as any bar. Free delivery available.
Rivershack Tavern 3449 River Road, Jefferson, 837-7118; clients.neworleans.com/rivershackWith walls covered with old Barq's and Dixie signs, this friendly joint opens every day at 11 a.m. The Rivershack offers patrons entertainment from casual games of pool to live music on Saturday nights. Regulars like to toss back one of the couple of dozen beers on tap with one of the Cajun-cooking lunch specials Monday through Friday.
Southport Hall 200 Monticello St., Jefferson, 835-2903; www.newsouthport.comTry to figure out where the tunnel once connected this former gambling house to Orleans Parish on the other side of the tracks. This sprawling club features a modest front bar, a huge showroom and an expansive open-air deck. The bar is open seven days a week and live bands perform on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Wednesday night is bike night with Pig Pen and the Porkchops.
New Orleans Original Daiquiris2801 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 468-8302; www.fat-tuesday.comWhether you're looking to cool down with a regular 32-oz. daiquiri or get a party-to-go with a 100-oz. daiquiri in a souvenir cup, New Orleans Original Daiquiris has you covered with three different locations in the Riverwalk Marketplace alone. Twenty-one types of daiquiris are offered, from fruit flavors to White Russians, along with a full selection of beers.
Treasure Chest Casino 5050 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 443-8000; www.treasurechestcasino.com This riverboat casino prides itself on generous pours from the bartenders and high quality music. Top-flight bands have included such R&B headliners as Jean Knight and Irma Thomas. Friday night is karaoke night. Gamble in the Sports Pit, and you can watch sporting events while you drink.
Zea RotisserieEsplanade Mall, 1401 W. Esplanade Ave., Kenner, 468-7733This local chain lacks the brewpub component of its Clearview Mall location, so it also lacks the beer brewed at that site, but it maintains the feeling of casual sophistication. In Zea's bar area, there's an L-shaped bar that serves 20, but with additional cocktail tables and black leather booths, it's a comfortable oasis from shopping and a destination on its own.
Andrea's 3100 19th St., Metairie, 834-8583 With more than 300 wines by the bottle and 50 by the glass, you could spend some quality time at this venue, which serves northern Italian cuisine. Regulars come in and order Negroni cocktails (gin, Campari, soda and sweet vermouth), an old Italian favorite. The vodka selection numbers more than 30 varieties, and brandy milk punches are in high demand.
Austin's Restaurant5101 W. Esplanade Ave., Metairie, 888-5533Austin's has recently remodeled to expand the restaurant and in the process, expanded the bar. The new granite-topped bar seats 15 in style, whether they're enjoying a cocktail before dinner or enjoying the piano player on Friday and Saturday nights while winding down.
The Bengal Lounge 4612 Quincy St., Metairie, 456-0986 On Tuesday, sing your favorite song while members of the Molly Ringwalds, Metal Rose and Chee Weez play along. Enjoy live music from the Topcats on Wednesday nights, and there are other bands on Friday and Saturday.
Bravo! Italian Kitchen 3413 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 828-8828; www.bestitalianusa.com From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., there's more to this Italian restaurant than brick-oven pizzas and fresh housemade pastas. It has nightly happy hour drink specials in addition to its extensive wine list. Part of a national chain noted for its white-tablecloth casual style and a Roman ruin decor, the restaurant still manages to offer a relaxed, neighborhood feel.
Byblos1501 Metairie Road, Metairie, 834-9773 This Lebanese and Mediterranean restaurant is constantly expanding its wine list, which currently boasts more than 50 selections. The bracing aperitif ouzo and its Lebanese counterpart, arak, are popular with diners. The restaurant, which also has a Magazine Street location, offers daily specials on a menu of salads, flaky pastries, and savory, slow-cooked chicken and lamb.
Caddyshack Cafe and Bar 3217 Ridgelake Drive, Metairie, 833-1799 With four 42-inch TVs and one 105-inch large screen, fans all get a good view of the game. Monday through Friday ladies drink free during happy hour from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and there's live music on the weekends. Daily lunch specials include sandwiches and hot plates.
Cafe East 4628 Rye St., Metairie, 888-0078 This popular cocktail bar and Chinese restaurant boasts 50-foot ceilings and an elaborate, hand-blown Italian glass chandelier. Specializing in both traditional and fusion Chinese food and a fully stocked bar, the place is known for its mai tais, martinis, hot and cold-fused sakes, and Louis XIII cognac, sold for $110 a glass. The wine list has more than 200 bottles.
Celestial Bodies 2303 S. Causeway Blvd., Metairie, 837-4444 Astrologers study the positions and aspects of celestial bodies in the belief that they have an influence on the course of natural events. Little did these astral travelers realize they would inspire a club where the bodies in question are decidedly terrestrial. With big-screen TVs and six to eight of its 15 dancers performing at one time, there's plenty to study at this club.
Club Eden 3229 Lisa Drive, Metairie, 456-3853 Semi-pro exotic dancers do their pole work to an enthusiastic local crowd at this suburban gentlemen's club. The club opens daily at 5:30 p.m. with a $5 cover. Promotional features include $2 drinks on Tuesdays, two-for-one and bike night on Wednesdays, free admission with bike key.
Critic's Choice4725 Quincy St., Metairie, 887-9809At Critic's Choice, you can enjoy the warm, comfortable "basic bar" ambience, complete with five televisions. During football season, the bar provides free munchies on game nights, usually hot dogs or burgers and chips.
DBD Lounge 4450 Wabash St., Metairie, 885-2426This neighborhood bar has more than 400 liquor selections, including 175 varieties of vodka. Combine this with a lengthy happy hour, noon to 7 pm, and everyone leaves DBD in good spirits.
The Edge Bar & Grill 3400 Hessmer Ave., Metairie, 780-2266Young adults frequent this restaurant and bar to plant themselves in front of a 20-foot-screen TV and a dozen smaller ones during sporting events. Daily lunch specials and late-night munchies keep everyone happy. Customers plow through the doors every Tuesday and Thursday for the 8 oz. filet steak special. Ladies drink free on Fridays from 9 p.m. til.
Electric Cocktail452 Aurora Ave., Metairie, 828-7619 This friendly neighborhood bar located in the heart of Old Metairie is a locals-only hangout decorated with typical bar paraphernalia. A great place to catch up with old friends after work, Electric Cocktail offers daily drink specials that rival most pubs in town: domestic drafts at $1.25, well drinks at $3.25 and $5 pitchers.
Gennaro's Bar3206 Metairie Road, Metairie, 833-9226A mixed clientele frequents Gennaro's and enjoys occasional live shows and a recently launched karaoke night on Fridays. Large oval windows give folks a view to the outside world, and the walls are decorated with plaques and pictures of famous people.
Hammerheads1300 N. Causeway Blvd., Metairie, 834-6474The new owner of this large neighborhood bar that claims to have the best burger in Metairie just installed a new cooler and now boasts one of the coldest beers in town too. Plenty of TV screens including a new 42-inch plasma broadcast sporting events as well as the ever-popular National Trivia Network.
Hedges Wyndham Hotel, 4 Galleria Blvd., Metairie, 837-6707; www.wyndham.comFrequented by Metairie professionals and Wyndham hotel guests, Hedges features the hotel's service-oriented bartenders and elegant, upscale decor, which includes a classic hardwood floor.
Hooters 4748 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 889-0160; www.hooters.comThis chain's name and gimmick invites snickers and wisecracks, but it provides quality roadhouse food and atmosphere, particularly during football season. Hooters is a casual, slightly naughty spot to kick off your night.
Hurricane's Sports Bar and Grill1414 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 833-0050Decorated with various athletic paraphernalia and 15 TVs including one big screen, this newcomer should be a hot spot during the upcoming football season. Late hours on the weekends and a kitchen offering daily lunch specials and bar food top it all off.
Legends Bar & Grill 2708 N. Hullen St., Metairie, 887-3877 Legends draws a variety of Metairie denizens to live local music on weekends and on Wednesday "Bike Night," Legends features $6 steaks. There is a front bar and a back bar so it's double the pleasure, double the fun.
Mo's Chalet 3201 Houma Blvd., Metairie, 780-2961; www.moschalet.comThere is never a shortage of entertainment in Mo's large, airy environs. Whether it's karaoke on Mondays, DJ on Tuesdays or live music every other day, folks are sure to hit the dance floor, especially on weekends during Latin dance night.
Mulligan's Taverne, Sports Bar and Grill 3535 Severn Ave., Suite 10, Metairie, 888-5858Sports bar meets karaoke Friday and Saturday nights at Mulligan's, where anyone who wants to can sing a song. Other nights, Mulligan's patrons partake of one-third-pound burgers and mingle in an ambience slanted towards the black and gold colors of the Saints. Appropriately, there are drink specials during Saints games.
New Orleans Original Daiquiris3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 837-8474; 6201 Airline Dr., Metairie, 736-0066; 6830 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 454-9995; www.fat-tuesday.comWhether you're looking to cool down with a regular 32-oz. daiquiri or get a party-to-go with a 100-oz. daiquiri in a souvenir cup, New Orleans Original Daiquiris has you covered. Twenty-one types of daiquiris are offered, from fruit flavors to White Russians, along with a full selection of beers.
Oscar's 2027 Metairie Road, Metairie, 831-9540The age range at Oscar's is 21 to 80 years old, and the income tax brackets vary from the dirt poor to the filthy rich. Basically, Oscar's is a good ol' American bar and grill with a decor that conjures the owner's wife's favorite pop culture icon, Marilyn Monroe. Food, pool and darts are all available.
Ropers3217 Melvil Dewey Drive, Metairie, 834-4010This former dance club now caters to the country and western set and is open Tuesday through Saturday The theme even incorporates a bona fide mechanical bull. You can still hit the dance floor in the heart of Metairie, but expect mostly country songs.
Shooter's Bar and Grill 3655 18th St., Metairie, 456-2618You're driving around Metairie at 1 a.m. on a weeknight and thinking you're in the mood for a few cocktails, some dancing and a half-pound burger. In this scenario, Shooter's is the perfect fit. In its relaxed atmosphere, you can enjoy pool tables, a large-screen TV and a DJ on Fridays.
Sidelines Bar & Grill 1229 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 831-4002A Metairie sports bar stalwart, Sidelines has 10 TVs playing whatever the sports event of the moment might be. Meat lovers should turn out for steak night on Thursdays. Sidelines has Abita Amber on tap, and if your team isn't doing well, you can always give the Golden Tee machine a go. A DJ spins on weekends.
Sports Center Bar and Grill3805 Hessmer Ave., Metairie, 455-5533As the name might suggest, this new bar is all about sports. It's open 24 hours a day, and its kitchen serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, but the draw is the 40 televisions. Tuesday night has a $12.50 surf-and-turf special, and Sports Center features Derby Owner's Club, a virtual-reality horse racing game.
Stitches Bar & Grill3941 Houma Blvd., Metairie, 454-6266This neighborhood bar near East Jefferson Hospital has two big screens and drink specials for football games. It prides itself on its admittedly slightly sick sense of humor, which might explain the picture of Seinfeld's George Costanza in the ladies' room, as well as the names of some of the dishes on the late-night menu.
Sun Ray Grill619 Pink St., Metairie 837-0055; www.sunraygrill.comSun Ray Grill has multiple locations throughout the city with the decor of each changing subtly to fit into the neighborhood in which it exists. A casual, yet refined funky and eclectic feel, the bars offer daily happy hours for the 9-to-5-ers with discounted drinks and specialties.
Swamp Room 5216 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 888-5242People come to the Swamp Room for the burgers and stay for a laidback good time. A diverse crowd of service industry regulars and neighborhood folk enjoy the roominess of the Swamp Room's comfy booths, pool tables and extra-long bar. Radio station 106.7 the End broadcasts live each Wednesday night.
Taqueria Corona3535 Severn Ave., Metairie, 885-5088Taqueria Corona may be best known for its Mexican cuisine, but it's also a comfortable place to sit with friends and talk over Mexican beers and chips with pico de gallo. Taqueria Corona also makes a fine sangria, and its margaritas are justly popular.
Whitey's Pool Hall3764 Derbigny St., Metairie, 833-9122Since the '50s, Whitey's has been providing a competitive atmosphere for pool players who don't want to have to win a table at a local bar to play a game. Even if you're not a great eight-ball player, Whitey's offers beer and mixed drinks, darts, and one video game.
Winston's 531 Metairie Road, Metairie, 831-8705A younger crowd haunts Winston's, an easygoing English pub that is a true original in the Metairie scene. It's decorated with a menagerie of antiques and memorabilia the owner has collected from garage sales and shops. Adding to the English theme is Guinness, Harp, Bass and Murphy's on tap, along with authentic fish and chips.
W.O.W. CafE and Wingery3100 Severn Ave., Metairie, 885-1322; Clearview Mall, 4436 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 889-WOW3; www.wingery.comW.O.W. combines the casual feel of a sports bar with the excitement of a specialty cafe. With four locations around the city, W.O.W. is a great place to grab a round of daiquiris with friends after a hard day at work. The bar is lit by brightly colored, hanging lights and complete with bamboo wall hangings, which create a tiki-bar feel.
Zea Rotisserie and BreweryClearview Shopping Center, 4450 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 780-9090This flagship for the local chain is a brewpub, with five beers brewed regularly and a sixth beer brewed seasonally. This summer, brewmaster Patrick O'Neill is offering a Belgian white in addition to the usual menu of a lager, a porter, a German kolsch and American and Indian pale ales. The bar or in the dining area maintain Zea's feeling of casual sophistication which makes it a comfortable oasis from shopping or a destination all its own.
Zeke's Restaurant1517 Metairie Road, Metairie, 832-1133Somewhat hidden within a strip mall, Zeke's is a well-known secret among the residents of Old Metairie. The walls are decorated with photographs of the area. If you are from New Orleans, it is nearly impossible to dine or drink at Zeke's without running into at least two old friends, and the casual atmosphere resembles a private, at-home party more than a public restaurant.
The Triangle West Bar 10801 Jefferson Hwy., River Ridge, 737-9083 The Triangle West Bar claims to serve the coldest beer in town, powered by a pair of imported coolers using a process called frost fusion that chills beers down to 30 degrees without freezing them. "It is damn cold beer," says the bartender. Customers can belt out familiar songs on karaoke night every Saturday beginning at 10 p.m. Every Wednesday night they host a lingerie show at 9:30pm.
Bally's Casino 1 Stars & Stripes Blvd., 248-3200, www.ballysno.comEven if you didn't win $3 million like all those people on the Bally's billboards that dot I-10, you can still have a good time at the casino. May we suggest the Wild Card Sports Bar that features a 10-foot television screen? There's also blues on Wednesdays and local music on Saturdays.
The Dock 1926 West End Park, 284-3625; www.thedockno.comBy land or by sea, visitors to The Dock on Lake Pontchartrain will be rewarded with live music on weekends followed by DJ Speedy. The wharf decor feels less like a local bar and more like a vacation getaway, helping cold beers and frozen Bushwackers go down all the better.
Hong Kong 7400 Lakeshore Drive, 282-1511Hong Kong's large glass windows provide a lovely view of Lake Pontchartrain; inside, a former patron provided another sort of beauty with his mural of Asian women. Order one of lounge's specialty drinks Mai Tais and Singapore Slings or nibble from its light menu at anytime.
The Bulldog 5135 Canal Blvd., 488-4191; www.draftfreak.comThis building, once the Parkway Tavern, is now a second location for the popular Uptown fixture, the Bulldog. The new location follows the formula that made the Bulldog successful on Magazine Street a huge variety of beers on tap and by the bottle, live music on Thursdays and a big-screen TV. It also has a patio shaded by trees and a small library room, with comfortable leather armchairs and sofas.
Homedale Inn 618 Homedale Ave., 488-5519The Homedale Inn has been here since the 1930s, but now, thanks to new owners, the bar's jukebox has made it into the 21st century. By mid-December, they'll have expanded the bar into the building next door. The bar still attracts mature regulars during the daytime hours, but at night, the crowd changes to 25- to 40-year-olds, and an expanded bar selection caters to those trendier taste buds.
Lakeview Harbor911 Harrison Ave., 486-4887Neighborhood locals and community baseball teams mingle together here, grabbing beers at the candlelit, copper-top bar and hollering at the two TVs. Lakeview's specialty drinks emphasize its watery locale: the Typhoon, the Willy Willy and the Dinghy.
McNulty's Bitter End5129 Canal Blvd. 483-7930 Some say the dead walk the earth around this neighborhood bar, located on cemetery grounds. But the best spirits here are passed across the bar to service industry crowds and locals looking for a little dark ambience in which to drink, eat, gossip, and smoke. Bite into a McNulty's hearty steak sandwich or one of the signature cheeseburgers.
Reginelli's 874 Harrison Ave., 488-0133; www.reginellis.comAt Reginelli's Lakeview location, wine comes in second to the kitchen's specialty pizzas, calzones and focaccia sandwiches. Try "Tony's Play," a pie piled high with prosciutto, onions, pancetta, mushrooms, green peppers and capers. Ask about Wednesday wine specials and free neighborhood delivery.
Steak Knife888 Harrison Ave., 488-8981Loll at the bar or snag a candlelit table for live jazz on Friday and Saturday nights, when the Steak Knife welcomes local crooners like Harry Connick Sr. It's mainly a draw for the 30- and 40-year-old crowd, which orders brandy freezes and mouthwatering steak sandwiches at the lengthy, black-top bar.
Banks Street Bar & Grill 4401 Banks St., 486-0258Order a cheap pitcher of Abita or Coors, chalk up your stick and play a game of pool. This "juke joint" is now drawing big crowds for its live music and no cover seven nights a week. Musicians include Trombone Shorty and Walter "Wolfman" Washington, bands like the Karma Kings and Juice, who play every Wednesday, and other friends who just drop in to jam.
Brewhouse Grill 201 N. Carrollton Ave., 484-0525; www.brewhousegrill.comThis spacious restaurant and bar is perfect for large groups. There is a classic brewhouse feel and a giant 10-foot big-screen TV for games. In-house brewmaster Doug Lindley keeps customers coming back with boiled shrimp or crawfish every Friday when they're in season and a constantly changing selection of microbrews and guest beers on tap glasses of special hellesbochs, pilsners or the darker Vienna. Don't miss the 25-cent oysters during happy hour, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Delta Blues Grill 542 Jefferson Davis Pkwy., 822-0358Delta Blues Grill serves as a regular home to blues favorites such as Walter "Wolfman" Washington, Bill Shaka Heart and the Soul Blues Band, and Little Freddie King. The decor matches the soulful music with photos of musical heroes like Jimi Hendrix on the walls.
The Deutsches-Haus200 S. Galvez St., 522-8014; www.deutscheshaus.orgBesides being home to the annual Oktoberfest revelry, this social club offers everyone a taste of Deutschland from the authentic beer garden to the bratwurst. Germans longing for the fatherland would feel right at home watching German TV (or movies on Thursday) while sipping a Bavarian ale or Alsatian wine.
Finn McCool's3701 Banks St., 486-9080; www.finnmccools.comThe owners at this authentic Irish pub offer the best in live-broadcast Irish sporting events, such as rugby, hurling, and Gaelic football. Any Celt would feel at home here throwing darts, shooting pool or surfing the Internet while enjoying a pint from a copious beer selection.
Katie's Restaurant3701 Iberville St., 488-6582This local neighborhood restaurant has a corner bar's warmth and informality. It has a short bar with a few stools inside the door, and its walls are decorated with New Orleans sports paraphernalia. Nightly drink specials and two-for-one lunchtime martinis help Katie's maintain a steady stream of regulars.
Lil Ray's Diner133 N. Carrollton Ave., 309-8825This 24-hour, self-styled retro diner has a small bar in the back that attracts regulars and those who aren't quite ready for the night to end. It has a good, varied jukebox and happy hour specials daily from 4 to 7 p.m. Late night revelers may get lucky and stop in during the occasional, random, nighttime special.
Liuzza's Restaurant & Bar3636 Bienville St., 488-3714; www.liuzzas.comIt's easy to wile away a hot afternoon at Liuzza's with a frozen Bushwhacker or the renowned frosty fishbowl of beer. The modest, cozy bar stays tightly packed with locals and neighbors at this quintessential Italian eatery that has been around for more than 50 years.
Liuzza's By the Track1518 N. Lopez St., 943-8667As the name implies, this neighborhood establishment is near the Fairgrounds and is a prime hangout for horse trainers and owners. The cold draft beer is served in hefty, frosty schooners, while the kitchen cranks out superb po-boys. The jukebox is loaded with tunes from many local artists, and the walls are adorned with funky Louisiana memorabilia.
Mandina's3800 Canal St., 482-9179; www.mandinas.comWhether you are waiting for a table during the busy lunch hour or having a few drinks with friends, Mandina's is the perfect spot to enjoy "New Orleans time," a phenomenon in which 20 minutes somehow turns into two hours of casual dining and drinking. The clean, white walls and simple wooden bar allow attention to remain on the cocktails but be careful: These bartenders are not stingy with their liquor and two hours of drinking here can easily become an all-day affair.
Michael's Mid-City Grill4139 Canal St., 486-8200After-work crowds frequent this venue in search of a cozy, relaxing respite after the five o'clock whistle blows. Bartenders serve up very liberal martinis along with a good choice of wines by the glass. Settle back and enjoy a light snack or sandwich and unwind to soothing tunes from the jukebox.
Mick's Irish Pub4801 Bienville Ave., 482-9113Mid-City firemen and jockeys from the track frequent this friendly, wee neighborhood bar. The jukebox spits out oldies while the legions play pool, darts, foosball and pinball. Most evenings, a free spot of food (hot dogs, sandwiches or Irish stew) is savored while refreshing pints of Irish ale are swigged.
Mid City Lanes Rock 'N' Bowl4133 S. Carrollton Ave., 482-3133; www.rocknbowl.comThis vintage bowling alley-cum-dance hall stages some of the best music New Orleans has to offer. Mid City Lanes hosts every genre in a '50s atmosphere where covers are cheap, the bar is stocked, the kitchen is cranking and folks are dancing in the lanes to zydeco, blues or rock late into the night.
New Orleans Original Daiquiris301 N. Carrollton Ave., 486-9938Whether you're looking to cool down with a regular 32-oz. daiquiri or get a party-to-go with a 100-oz. daiquiri in a souvenir cup, New Orleans Original Daiquiris has you covered with three different locations in the Riverwalk Marketplace alone. Twenty-one types of daiquiris are offered, from fruit flavors to White Russians, along with a full selection of beers.
Nick's Big Train Bar2400 Tulane Ave., 821-9128; www.nicksbar.netWith drink recipes handed down for two generations, Nick's grandson keeps the family tradition alive at this legendary bar, which is notorious for its painfully strong drinks. The recent addition of a beer garden and patio has college kids and the like partying under the stars in the shadow of the historic Dixie Brewery.
Pal's Lounge949 N. Rendon St., 488-7257No live music, no scene, just a classic neighborhood tavern in Mid-City. Some days you're offered a corn dog or taco while you play a board game, air hockey or one of the new video games, including "Elvis" pinball. On Thursdays, have a seat in an old movie chair while you get a manicure and groove to the jukebox tunes.
Parkview Tavern910 N. Carrollton Ave., 482-2680How can you make a nine-hour happy hour last? By hanging out on the covered patio with a daily drink special and watching the shiny new red streetcars rumble past. Head inside for a mug of beer and sports on TV, or a game of pool in the glow of neon signage. Don't forget the greenbacks; this place takes only cash.
Parkway Bakery & Tavern532 N. Hagan St., 482-3047The bakery's long since gone, but the tavern thrives in this Bayou St. John area. On weekends, live bands perform on the patio beside the bar. The rustic setting is ideal for chowing down on its famous house-made roast beef po-boy while sipping some suds.
Ralph's on the Park900 City Park Ave., 488-1000; www.ralphsonthepark.comRestaurant magnate Ralph Brennan uses this former 1860s coffeehouse as an idyllic location to house his latest epicurean undertaking. The sizeable bar harbors an impressive selection of spirits and wines and offers patrons a drink menu of cleverly named concoctions. Be sure to check out the two murals depicting historic local events in the main dining area.
Sun Ray Grill3700 Orleans Ave., 274-0091; www.sunraygrill.comSun Ray Grill has multiple locations throughout the city with the decor of each changing subtly to fit into the neighborhood in which it exists. A casual, yet refined funky and eclectic feel, the bars offer daily happy hours for the 9-to-5-ers with discounted drinks and specialties.
Wit's Inn141 N. Carrollton Ave., 486-1600; www.witsinn.comJump off the red Canal streetcar at Carrollton Avenue for this corner bar's nightly drink specials. It's a prime meeting place on Sundays for barbecues and crawfish parties, depending on what's in season. Draft beer flows as you catch a game on one of many TVs, and the Internet jukebox dispenses myriad quality tunes.
W.O.W. CafE and Wingery231 N. Carrollton Ave., 481-6410; www.wingery.comW.O.W. combines the casual feel of a sports bar with the excitement of a specialty cafe. With four locations around the city, W.O.W. is a great place to grab a round of daiquiris with friends after a hard day at work. The bar is lit by brightly colored, hanging lights and complete with bamboo wall hangings, which create a tiki-bar feel.
Abita Brew Pub72011 Holly St., Abita Springs, (985) 892-5837; www.abita.comIt's worth a visit to Abita Springs for unique beer-inspired cuisine, free beer sampling and kegs to go. The pub's cypress and slate bar is the only place to try six special brews that are exclusive to the brewery.
Artesia21516 Hwy. 36, Abita Springs, (985) 892-1662; www.artesiarestaurant.comAmid moss-draped oaks, this stately manor is home to white linen dining. Intimate and romantic, the setting is elegant with well appointed paintings adorning the walls. Wine enthusiasts can dote on an impressive wine list in the intimate bar setting. Sage, local patrons try to keep this secluded bar a secret.
Pontchartrain Vineyards81250 Hwy. 1082, Bush, (985) 897-9742; www.pontchartrainvineyards.comThis Northshore winery conducts public wine tastings to educate guests about Louisiana wine. Purchase a bottle and enjoy it on the charming deck that overlooks the acres of vineyards. Summer brings an evening outdoor concert series, Jazz 'n the Vines, on alternating Saturdays. Bring a picnic and listen to music amid the grapes and under the stars.
Annadeles71495 Chestnut St., Covington, (985) 809-7669; www.annadeles.comSavvy travelers and locals come here to enjoy antebellum architecture and mint juleps at the Bogue Falaya Bar. Locals, diners and the accompanying bed-and-breakfast's guests imbibe aperitifs and extended nightcaps while enjoying the river views. The wine list from the plantationÕs fine-dining restaurant is quite impressive, offering many by the glass.
Columbia Street Taproom and Grill434 N. Columbia St., Covington, (985) 898-0899; www.columbiastreettaproom.comThe theme here is you guessed it beer, and rightly so, with more than 30 on tap and 70 by the bottle. Entertainment is king, and the spacious 100-year-old building fills with live music Thursday through Saturday.
Etoile409 N. Columbus St., Covington, (985) 893-8873More than just an acclaimed painter, James Michalopoulos is a rum distiller and owner of this unique, hip restaurant. The broken-tile, pseudo-mosaic bar is the stage for specialty potions made with his New Orleans Rum. Northshore's en vogue crowd frequents this bar for Rumrunners or a glass of wine from an abundant selection while admiring the artist's handiwork.
Schwing's Seafood Three Rivers1536 Hwy. 190, Covington, (985) 893-9577Seafood isn't all this restaurant suggests; its bar is the area's hangout for televised sporting events. Autographed sports paraphernalia and tropical decorations make for a unique theme. Drink specials and bottled beer are offered at the bar, which is covered with sporting event tickets collected over the years.
W.O.W. CafE and Wingery Creekstone Village, Hwy. 21, Covington, (985) 892-9691; 1600 N. Hwy. 190, Covington, (985) 898-4WOW www.wingery.comW.O.W. combines the casual feel of a sports bar with the excitement of a specialty cafe. With four locations around the city, W.O.W. is a great place to grab a round of daiquiris with friends after a hard day at work. The bar is lit by brightly colored, hanging lights and complete with bamboo wall hangings, which create a tiki-bar feel.
Friends on the Tchefuncte407 St. Tammany St., Madisonville, (985) 845-7303Not many eateries let you motor up in a boat to dine there, but this secluded spot on the Tchefuncte River is a notable exception. Skippers coming off the water can belly up to the U-shaped bar, order a light bite or exotic drink and take it to the deck to watch the sunset.
Morton's Seafood702 Water St., Madisonville, (985) 845-4970From the Tchefuncte River, Morton's Seafood looks more like a fish camp than a seafood restaurant. Wooden chairs provide the seating, while large fishnets are hung with all manner of plastic sea life above the bar. Daily drink specials, tasty seafood appetizers and juicy raw oysters can be enjoyed at the bar.
Carreta's Grill1200 W. Causeway Approach Road, Mandeville, (985) 727-7212Families enjoy this good-time place with pastel stuccoed walls and a cantina that boasts a selection of 20 tequilas. The spicy Central American food can be tamed with a potent margarita from the congenial staff. Cervezas, Spanish TV and fresh tortillas give Carreta's Grill a truly authentic Hispanic feel.
CRU Wine Boutique and Cellar 9822 St. Ann #2, Mandeville, (985) 951-8982Yin and yang influence the decor here to divide the retail boutique in the front from the lounge in the rear. The retail space is vibrantly lit with crates and racks of wine, while the cellar harbors a sleek retro-bar. Ostentatious stylish wine geeks and trendy cliques lounge in plush velvet digs while tasting the latest vintages.
Juniper115 Gerard St., Mandeville, (985) 624-5330When looking for a elegant, romantic place for an aperitif, this upscale Northshore bistro delivers an intimate setting, with al fresco seating in a lush garden patio and a view of Lake Pontchartrain. Covet a plush sofa inside by the fireplace and savor a glass of wine from the ever-changing wine list.
Louisiana Grill2223 Causeway Blvd., Mandeville, (985) 727-5585You'll think you're in the Quarter at this New Orleans-style courtyard with a flaming fountain. Live music spills into the rustic restaurant on weekends as patrons belly up to the bar to choose from 15 different drafts. Copper-top tables near the bar are coveted on game days to watch the big-screen TVs.
New Orleans Original Daiquiris900 N. Causeway Blvd., Mandeville, (985) 626-6990; www.fat-tuesday.comWhether you're looking to cool down with a regular 32-oz. daiquiri or get a party-to-go with a 100-oz. daiquiri in a souvenir cup, New Orleans Original Daiquiris has you covered with three different locations in the Riverwalk Marketplace alone. Twenty-one types of daiquiris are offered, from fruit flavors to White Russians, along with a full selection of beers.
Nuvolari's246 Gerard St., Mandeville, (985) 626-5619; www.nuvolaris.comNuvolari's, celebrating its 22nd anniversary, was originally a general store in the '30s. The hand-carved Honduran mahogany bar is a great place for regulars to meet for cocktails or tiramisu and an after-dinner port. The adjoining restaurant's traditional trattoria-style fare is available at the bar along with an extensive wine list.
Ruby's Roadhouse840 Lamarque St., Mandeville, (985) 626-9748; www.rubysroadhouse.comThis unassuming cabin is one of the last standing roadhouses in Louisiana. Continuously operating since the '30s, New Orleans and Northshore bands take to the stage every weekend at Ruby's to rock the house. Food is served when the occasion arises, and drinks are heftily poured at the bar.
Times Bar & Grill1896 N. Causeway Blvd., Mandeville, (985) 626-1161; www.timesgrill.comThis family-style bar and grill attracts all types of workers from the five o'clock whistle onward. Saints and LSU fans will appreciate the memorabilia-encrusted walls in the bar area while watching televised games, eating juicy burgers and chugging down pitchers of cold beer.
Patton's Restaurant127 Cleveland Ave., Slidell, (985) 645-3600; www.pattons.comThe Patton family took over the historic Salmen-Fritchie House and turned it into a popular Sunday brunch destination. Before, during and after other meal times, the veranda serves as a casual meeting place for cocktails. Housed within the turn-of-the century mansion, the copper-topped bar is well stocked and offers a nice bar menu.
W.O.W. CafE and Wingery2170 Gause Blvd. W., Slidell, (985) 661-WOW2; www.wingery.comW.O.W. combines the casual feel of a sports bar with the excitement of a specialty cafe. With four locations around the city, W.O.W. is a great place to grab a round of daiquiris with friends after a hard day at work. The bar is lit by brightly colored, hanging lights and complete with bamboo wall hangings, which create a tiki-bar feel.
Ernie K-Doe's Mother-In-Law Lounge1500 N. Claiborne Ave., 947-1078; www.k-doe.comOpened in 1994 as a home away from home for New Orleans' living music legends to perform and hang out, the lounge is run by the late Ernie K-Doe's wife, Antoinette "Mrs. Emperor of the World." The bar was named for K-Doe's 1961 hit and is known for its jukebox packed with one of the best collections of New Orleans artists around. But if the music and tribute to K-Doe aren't enough, perhaps the lounge's signature drink; Burn! K-Doe Burn! is a sure-fire way to lift someone's spirits.
Li'l Dizzy's1500 Esplanade Ave., 569-8997Located in the heart of the Treme neighborhood, Li'l Dizzy's combines a fine-dining feel, complete with white linen tablecloths, with the casual and relaxed atmosphere of a Creole soul-food kitchen. This is owner Wayne Baquet's 12th restaurant, and his expertise shows in his attention to detail and importance placed on ambience. Sunday Jazz brunch is a nice place to drink spicy Bloody Marys, catch up with neighborhood gossip or to impress out-of-towners in search of an experience that is quintessentially New Orleans.
Little People's Place1226 Barracks St.Kermit Ruffins started out in this community institution, and brass bands call it "the place where jazz lives." Big funky jams are played in a space not much bigger than your living room, and when bands aren't playing, a jukebox stands in while the bar is being run by a congenial group of folks.
Balcony Bar & Cafe3201 Magazine St., 895-1600A plethora of ales, lagers and drafts awaits you at the lengthy copper bar of this favorite Uptown stomping ground. Upstairs, you'll find amiable college crowds at the coveted tables on the spacious namesake balcony overlooking bustling Magazine Street. Reasonably priced drinks, decent pub fare, jukebox music and an array of pool tables are some of the reasons that this neighborhood bar has a loyal following.
Bayou BarThe Pontchartrain Hotel, 2031 St. Charles Ave., 524-0581; www.pontchartrainhotel.comThis classic bar straddles a number of lines. It is large enough to be comfortable, but small enough to feel intimate. Similarly, it feels classy with rich, dark wood and exposed brick, but the piano player on Friday and Saturday nights adds a level of informality. In a time when old school touches are so often discarded, it's great to see that the mural of a bayou that dominates one wall remains.
The Boot1039 Broadway St., 866-9008The giant manta ray on the ceiling has seen everything from the filming of Snoop Dogg and Girls Gone Wild videos to Miss Lohan dancing on the tabletops. This quintessential college dive is home to throngs of Tulane and Loyola students due to its proximity to both campuses. Cheap beer and pizza become nectar for the gods when a night of studying has ended.
Bravo! Italian Kitchen1711 St. Charles Ave., 525-5515; www.bravoitalian.comGentrified cliques can be seen through the large windows, congregating at the bustling bar of this contemporary Italian eatery. Amid the Vegas-style Roman ruin decor, patrons are offered the quintessential glass of Chianti from a nice wine list. Wafting through the restaurant, aromas from the pizza oven whet appetites.
The Bridge Lounge1201 Magazine St., 299-1888; www.bridgelounge.comCanine owners are welcome at this industrially stylish neighborhood cocktail lounge, especially on Tuesdays when free gourmet treats are offered to pooches. Humans get the same culinary courtesy Wednesday through Friday evenings and also enjoy favorable cocktail prices. A brisk wine trade affords wine aficionados bargains by the bottle.
Bruno's7601 Maple St., 861-7615; www.brunosbar.comNot much has changed here since the bar was founded in 1934, from the wobbly chairs to the Tulane pennants adorning the walls. The college masses and regular alumni turn up for heroically strong Long Island iced teas, or to play darts or shoot a game of pool. Cheap pitchers of beer are consumed inside while watching the game, or are taken out on the patio to escape the pack.
The Bulldog3236 Magazine St., 891-1516; www.draftfreak.comThe sublime assortment of beers is the heart of this classic pub on Magazine Street. The Bulldog is the prime meeting spot on Wednesday nights when your beer comes with their gratis logo-emblazed glass. The long, narrow bar stays bustling as you belly up to the side kitchen window to order greasy pub grub, so much so that the crowd often moves outside to the picnic tables in the adjacent parking lot.
Byblos3218 Magazine St., 894-1233Hang out at the bar with others who appreciate the allure of a '50s supper club. The rich wood is polished and the drinks are poured neatly at the bar, while Mediterranean cuisine is served in the dining room. Thursdays here are lively when vivacious belly dancers are showcased and happy hour prices are a steal.
Carrollton Station8140 Willow St., 865-9190; www.carrolltonstation.comIt looks like a honky-tonk on the outside, and delivers that atmosphere on the inside. Local bands perform on weekends, with an open mic night every Monday night. The rest of the week, pool, darts, Internet and sports TV rule this neighborhood den. Vintage baseball and hunting games only add to the nostalgic atmosphere. Fifty brands of rum are harbored at the nautically adorned polished bar.
The Club/Ms Mae's4336 Magazine St., 895-9401Thrifty locals and hordes of college aged drinkers frequent this 24-hour watering hole. Ms Mae's, as is often referred to, is popular for its dirt-cheap drinks. The jukebox spits out tattered tunes while frat boys challenge each other at darts, foosball and pool in the back. It's also conveniently located on the bus route for those who imbibe too many of the $1 drinks.
The Columns Hotel3811 St. Charles Ave., 899-9308; www.thecolumns.comSitting on the piazza at the Columns, the scene is reminiscent of a bygone era when the Garden District elite sipped juleps here and watched the carriages amble by. Slip inside to admire the stained glass skylight, mahogany stairwell and ornate fireplaces while a uniformed bartender expertly mixes your cocktail from the Victorian Lounge. Listen to live music from jazz to samba from Sundays through Thursday.
Cooter Brown's Tavern and Oyster Bar509 S. Carrollton Ave., 866-9104; www.cooterbrowns.comBeer is king here, and even the most finicky of aficionados is awed at a selection of beers (which typically hovers around 400). Loyal sports fans can be seen at picnic tables, their eyes fixed on sporting events played out on plasma TVs while they throw back raw oysters and swill pitchers of beer at this beloved neighborhood saloon.
The Delachaise3442 St. Charles Ave., 895-0858Reminiscent of a European bistro-style bar, the Delachaise offers its trendy clientele unusual wines by the glass and tapas-style plates. The lengthy bar is a showcase for out-of-the-ordinary beer and liquor choices. Petite, dimly lit tables and leather banquettes provide an intimate setting for an extended nightcap.
Dos Jefes Uptown Cigar Bar5535 Tchoupitoulas St., 891-8500Post-college crowds and epicureans come here to relax with a cigar and a glass of port at this neighborhood institution. The bar accommodates most requests by having an impressive selection of scotches, cognacs and cordials along with a notable menu of over 60 types of cigars. Most nights, music from local live bands spills out into the banana tree lined courtyard.
F&M Patio Bar4841 Tchoupitoulas St., 895-6784F&M's is more like a party compound than a bar. The multiple rooms and patio offer plenty of opportunity for exploration or a quick getaway. College students and service industry workers meet here to dance to the jukeboxes, play pool and look for love (or a reasonable facsimile).
Fat Harry's4330 St. Charles Ave., 895-9582This unpretentious bar at the corner of St. Charles and Napoleon avenues sits at the nexus of where young and old students, professionals, tourists, sports fans, and service industry workers meet to drink, party, have fun and eat fries. Its curved bar makes it an easy place to kibitz and wisecrack during pro and college football games.
Friar Tuck's5130 Freret St., 891-4080Friar Tuck's is a college bar through and through, designed to meet a student's bar needs for all occasions. Within walking distance of both Tulane and Loyola universities, banners and memorabilia from both schools cover the walls. For late weekend nights, there is a DJ, a late-night grill and lots of room to pack in people; for afternoon fun, Friar Tuck's serves lunch and broadcasts any sport its satellite can pick up.
Grit's Bar and Pool Hall530 Lyons St., 899-9211Does Grit's play second party fiddle to F&M down the street? Or is F&M the pre-party before the real one starts at Grit's? No one knows, but in the wee hours of the night, the weekend college party spreads all the way down Lyon Street between these two bars and doesn't stop until the last man drops. Grit's, a spacious, white-painted pool hall during the week, turns into a giant dance floor on the weekends.
Half Moon CafE1125 St. Mary St., 522-0599One of the only places left in the city to play a game of Pac-Man, the Half Moon Cafe exists somewhere between a dimly lit Quarter bar and a loud sports pub. Known for its eclectic mix of locals and service industry regulars, the Half Moon's brick walls have housed cheap drink specials for years. One of the three pool tables is usually available and fans of Abita beer can choose from a wide variety of local brews. Free pizza Sundays are a great place to meet up with old friends and the jukebox offers everything from doo-wop to punk.
The Hangar1511 S. Rendon St., 822-9858; www.hangarnola.comConstructed from the architectural remains of an airplane hangar, the Hangar, aptly named, offers nightly live music and drink specials. A casual atmosphere for young college students and professionals, the Hangar's nightly events range from local, underground hip-hop to rock to Texas country and western. The outside patio is colorfully bright, reminiscent of a latitude more tropical. The Hangar also offers food until 3 a.m. with free delivery to surrounding areas.
Igor's2133 St. Charles Ave., 568-9811The bar is an old-fashioned and familiar New Orleans bar with video poker machines, well-worn wooden furniture, and 24-hour service. It's no surprise then that people often step into Igor's off the streetcar line, sit at the bar and strike up conversation with a stranger. There are pool tables upstairs in the mezzanine, a laundry room in the back and a free book exchange library.
Igor's Buddha Belly Burger Bar4437 Magazine St., 891-6105A rock 'n' roll crowd that's prone to piercings and tattoos chortle over beers in this red room with black and white checkered floor tiles. The grill in one corner steams as the cook slaps down a raw beef patty, and beer in bottles and on tap draw a regular clientele of students and neighborhood regulars.
The Kingpin1307 Lyons St., 891-2373; www.kingpinbar.comUpon first entry, the most prominent feature of the Kingpin is the fully operational shuffleboard with electric scoreboard by the side wall. This is but one of the small touches that make the Kingpin special. A low-key bar was never so fun as the Kingpin, which hosts acoustic music on Sundays, darts, biannual Elvis parties, spelling bees, gong shows and much more.
Le Bon Temps Roule4801 Magazine St., 895-8117Le Bon Temps is an uptown joint with a lot of character. The old wooden floorboards are bent and wavy, authentic streetcar lamps light the music room, and old wooden beams support the building after all these years. The city's more energetic brass, funk, and sometimes even rock bands play intimate sets to often packed houses at this rollicking watering hole.
Living Room Lobster & Steakhouse2800 Magazine St., 324-9550The restaurant and bar are in a beautifully restored and renovated 19th century building, lending a classic elegance to the dining room and cocktail lounge. In the lounge is a custom-built mahogany bar where men in suits and women in dresses sip drinks and gingerly wait to be seated. But the happy hour from 10 p.m. to midnight, complete with free hors d'oeuvres, attracts even non-diners to drink in style.
Madigan's800 S. Carrollton Ave., 866-9455Except for the patio furniture, Madigan's is a standing-room-only affair, since on weekends the entire floor-space can be packed with college students. The bar is often three rows deep on these nights, but that only means there are lots of people to socialize with. The front room is the largest and most packed, but there is a patio and small bar in the back where space is easier to come by.
The Maple Leaf Bar8316 Oak St., 866-9359A New Orleans legend, the Maple Leaf Bar has been the heart and soul of New Orleans funk and blues for nearly 30 years. The steamy, sweaty crowd is always packed tightly, but the vibe is so strong that no one wants to stop dancing. Only the best local musicians play here, including the Johnny Vidacovich Trio, John Gros, and of course ReBirth Brass Band every Tuesday night. On Sunday afternoons, it continues to host its traditional poetry reading.
Mayfair Lounge1505 Amelia St., 895-9163Hit the doorbell and someone will buzz you in. Tucked away on Amelia Street, the Mayfair is a quirky bar where colored lights hang down low from the ceiling. The friendly atmosphere and soft colors of the countryside murals on the walls encourage patrons to strike up a conversation with one another or hostess Miss Gertie, or challenge for a game of pool.
Milan Lounge1312 Milan St., 895-1836Talk about specialization. The Milan Lounge neighborhood bar on Milan Street found quite a niche: Chicago Cubs fans, a tradition hearkening back to when Wrigley Field didn't have lights and the Cubs only played day games. The bar is decorated with Cubs memorabilia, and there is even a foul pole flag on the roof. Cubs games aren't as exotic as they once were, but the regulars still keep the faith.
Monkey Hill6100 Magazine St., 899-4800Soft lights cast a red glow over this swanky, laid-back lounge. Carefree and sharply dressed young professionals and older students wind around each other or sink into overstuffed couches with martinis in hand, their lighthearted conversations melting into the general soft murmur. Thursdays are comedy nights, when Red Bean and other local comedians take the spotlight.
Moonlight CafE1921 Sophie Wright Place, 522-7313The Moonlight Cafe has been a staple of the local service-industry nightcap for years. The bar serves American/Mediterranean-style food until 3 a.m. and delivers from Canal to the Riverbend. The beautiful murals painted in blues and reds on the walls of this eclectic bar add a touch of the exotic to a mostly casual setting. Dollar well and domestic drafts and a great jukebox draw a crowd that ranges from college students to local folks in the neighborhood.
New Orleans Original Daiquiris8100 St. Charles Ave., 866-1846Whether you're looking to cool down with a regular 32-oz. daiquiri or get a party-to-go with a 100-oz. daiquiri in a souvenir cup, New Orleans Original Daiquiris has you covered with three different locations in the Riverwalk Marketplace alone. Twenty-one types of daiquiris are offered, from fruit flavors to White Russians, along with a full selection of beers.
Parasol's2533 Constance St., 897-5413; www.parasols.comA rag-tag gang of neighborhood regulars as well as professionals from all over the city are constantly perched at the bar of this Irish pub in the Irish Channel, gabbing out loud about anything, to everyone or no one. The space between those green walls grows ever smaller as the evening customers roll in, and the space gets even tighter as people fill their bellies with Parasol's famous po-boys from the back kitchen.
Pascal's Manale1838 Napoleon Ave., 895-4877The bar at Pascal's Manale restaurant, famous for its barbecue shrimp, maintains the elegance and New Orleans charm of decades past. The rich, deep brown wooden bar is solid mahogany and dates back to the '30s, while autographed photos of celebrities and politicians hang on the wall. Confident and experienced bartenders mix anything from a mint julep to a rum and Coke beneath a light fixture made from a wagon wheel.
Peppers Restaurant & Bar4416 Magazine St., 897-1940Peppers covers all the basics of a solid restaurant and bar, and then it throws in some lagniappe. It serves cheap drinks and wide variety of all the standard American and Mexican bar food, such as cheeseburgers, fries and salads, as well as less common choices such the eggplant and shrimp Troxclair, the restaurant's top seller. The bar has a good jukebox and a plasma television for sports, but then it also has a stained-glass window and fireplace just for a little oomph.
Rendezvous Tavern3101 Magazine St., 891-1777The Rendezvous is a mellow getaway for friends wanting to catch up or couples who want a place to talk. The airy room still shines from the full renovation a year ago, and young professionals line the slick new mahogany bar. There are touches of Indian decoration in the furniture and artwork, adding a slight international slant to the ambiance.
St. Joe's Bar5537 Magazine St., 899-3744The cool and classy St. Joe's is a dimly lit and inauspicious haunt where students and professionals gather when the mood is subdued. A succession of crosses, Buddhas, saints, and other religious iconography hangs on the walls, and in the back is a covered patio bathed in red light and with protruding palm fronds, perfect for deep conversations. Its blueberry mojito was recently recognized by Food and Wine as one of its top 200 drinks in America.
The Saint Bar and Lounge961 St. Mary St., 523-0050The Saint is bad taste gone right, and hipsters haunt this hole until dawn breaks on any night of the week. The furniture is mostly leather and from the '70s, a Jeanette Lee pinball machine blinks in the corner, the walls are brick and the photo booth by the bar has snapped thousands of pictures both naughty and nice. Its corn dogs hit the spot late at night.
Shiloh4529 Tchoupitoulas St., 895-1456Home to tightly packed dance parties and some of the city's most skilled DJs, Shiloh is where the young and chilled-out take rhythm seriously. The music on each night is different, and each DJ will usually stick to a single genre such as hip-hop, dancehall, trip-hop, or deep funk, but the vibe is always mellow.
Snake and Jake's Christmas Club Lounge7612 Oak St., 861-2802Snake and Jake's is made for late-night drinkers. The room is very dark and dim, the ceiling is low, and the only lighting comes from Christmas lights. On weekends the room is packed twenty- and thirtysomethings, but on weeknights a fiercely loyal clientele hangs out at the bar. The bar never opens until 9 p.m., and the crowd never leaves before dawn.
Station 88018801 Oak St., 861-9293Built from the structure of an old gas station, Station 8801 offers an intimate-yet-casual atmosphere for an older college and professional clientele. Black and white photographs depicting images of old gas stations decorate the walls, and outside seating is available.
Superior Grill3636 St. Charles Ave., 899-4200; www.superiorgrill.comThe bar at Superior Grill is very serious about Mexican drinks. It stocks more 60 tequilas, and its daily two-for-one margarita happy hour from 4:30 to 6:40 is an institution. A rainbow of frozen drink machines swirls behind the long wooden bar, but most people order drinks with dinner unless it's happy hour.
Taqueria Corona5932 Magazine St., 897-3974Taqueria Corona may be best known for its Mexican cuisine, but it's also a comfortable place to sit with friends and talk over Mexican beers and chips with pico de gallo. Taqueria Corona also makes a fine sangria, and its margaritas are justly popular.
Taquero Coyoacan1432 St. Charles Ave., 525-9996This upscale Mexican restaurant offers a fine dining experience without the cost. Dim lighting and Adobe stone create a casual yet elegant atmosphere while faux gaslights add a touch of New Orleans. With more than 50 different tequilas ranging in price from Don Julio to Herradura, Taquero Coyoacan is a great place to enjoy a few drinks after work or to start off a night of adventure that might lead elsewhere on the streetcar line.
Tipitina's501 Napoleon Ave., 895-TIPS; www.tipitinas.comThis historic music venue has the sort of roadhouse atmosphere that venues around the country spent a lot of money and effort to re-create. The huge floor space and big balcony provide plenty of audience room for local and national acts that play here, and you can hear everything from funk to jazz to rock to Cajun.
TwiRoPa Mills 1544 Tchoupitoulas St., 587-3721; www.twiropa.comThink big. A spacious and versatile venue with two stages, TwiRoPa hosts the popular "Tumbao!" Latin night on Fridays, and has recently through increased booking become a new hotspot to see national and local rock acts. It pays to notice TwiRoPa's schedule because its rooms are only open the nights of events.
Vera Cruz 7537 Maple St., 866-1736Vera Cruz recently hired a new chef to head its kitchen staff, so the food has slightly changed but it still has the same great margaritas. Students and neighborhood residents sit at tables outside the yellow stucco building under umbrellas on Tuesdays and Thursdays and down the two-for-one margarita pitchers.
W.O.W. CafE and Wingery5961 Magazine Street, 895-0240; www.wingery.comW.O.W. combines the casual feel of a sports bar with the excitement of a specialty cafe. With four locations around the city, W.O.W. is a great place to grab a round of daiquiris with friends after a hard day at work. The bar is lit by brightly colored, hanging lights and complete with bamboo wall hangings, which create a tiki-bar feel.
Zea Rotisserie1525 St. Charles Ave., 520-8100This latest addition to the local chain recently opened in the building that once housed the New Orleans City Club. It lacks the brewpub component of its Clearview Mall location, so it also lacks the beer brewed at that site, but it maintains the feeling of casual sophistication. The spacious, comfortable atmosphere makes it conducive to wind-down drinks at the end of the day.
Circle Bar 1032 St. Charles Ave., 588-2616Nestled between the roaring I-10 overpass and several tall concrete buildings is a teetering old wooden house, and on the bottom floor is the Circle Bar. Inside, the cracked walls are painted red, a blond go-go girl tends the bar, the lights glow orange, and a band plays '60s garage music. However, it doesn't feels like a retro throwback; more accurately, it's stuck in a time warp.
Dino's Bar and Grill 1128 Tchoupitoulas St., 558-0900One difference between Dino's and other bars is the Fried Martini. Actually a snack and not a drink, the Fried Martini is deep-fried olives stuffed with cheese and served in a martini glass. The bar is a clean neighborhood joint for young professionals and service industry folk to grab a drink after a long day in the CBD.
Ernst Cafe 600 S. Peters St., 525-8544; www.ernstcafe.netThe times have changed, and oh how the Ernst Cafe shows it. Established in 1902, the building's structure has remained the since that time, surviving the Civil War and Prohibition. These days, this cafe gets crowded with CBD professionals who order drinks and appetizers after work.
Generations Hall/the Metropolitan 310 Andrew Higgins Ave., 568-1702The expansive Generations Hall becomes a full-fledged nightclub called the Metropolitan on Saturday nights. Thousands of people in their 20s and 30s pour through the doors in their sexiest clothes of this techno-industrial style club. The music spans techno from to hip-hop, and multiple bars are set up to cool down the heat from this dance floor of dance floors.
The Howlin' Wolf 828 S. Peters St., 522-WOLF; www.howlin-wolf.comLocated in the Warehouse District, the spacious Howlin' Wolf feels raw with wooden beams and wooden pillars as thick as trees holding up the roof, as though the decades-old warehouse structure is unaltered, and this adds a raw intimacy to the shows. This is one of the largest rock venues in town and primarily features heavier local and national acts.
Lucy's Retired Surfers Bar701 Tchoupitoulas St., 523-8995; www.lucysretiredsurfers.com Lucy's quite successfully recreates the authentic feel of a beach bar right in downtown New Orleans. There are flowery umbrellas over sidewalk tables, chipped Pacific Ocean murals, south California Mexican cuisine, and most of all, people having a good time and spilling all the way from the bar into the streets.
Mulate's, The Original Cajun Restaurant201 Julia St., 522-1492Come down to the Warehouse District to pass a good time with live Cajun and zydeco music and dancing nightly. Sit at the bar and enjoy the party over cold beers or cocktails, including the signature "Mulate's Amber Light" brewed by Dixie Beer, and the powerful Zydeco Tornado or Louisiana Lemonade cocktails.
Polynesian Joe's869 Magazine St., 525-9301; www.polyjoes.comPolynesian Joe's has a 30-foot leopard-skin bar counter where tropical drinks are mixed every minute. From the left, bright lights from the full-sized beach volleyball court stream in from the patio outside. Occasionally, girls and boys in bikinis and bathing trunks play a game on the court, but scandalous lingerie shows always take place inside on Tuesday and Thursday nights.
Red Eye Grill 852 S. Peters St. 593-9393; www.redeyegrill.netThis bar is a no-nonsense, bar-lovers bar. The walls are bare, ceiling beams are exposed, and the cooks serve only good ol' American bar food like the cheeseburgers and fries. Here, service industry workers and other young locals dance late into the night to a DJ or a jukebox until no one remains standing.
Rock-n-Sake Bar and Sushi 823 Fulton St., 581-7253; www.rocknsake.comThis restaurant bar takes sake seriously, and so do the customers, making this restaurant's bar more than a waiting area for diners. Sake is served both hot and cold, and the restaurant freshly infuses its own vodka weekly with flavors such as pineapple-watermelon or apple-cinnamon. The bright colors and trendy interior is a backdrop for paintings by local artists.
Sun Ray Grill1051 Annunciation St., 566-0221; www.sunraygrill.comSun Ray Grill has multiple locations throughout the city with the decor of each changing subtly to fit into the neighborhood in which it exists. A casual, yet refined funky and eclectic feel, the bars offer daily happy hours for the 9-to-5-ers with discounted drinks and specialties.
Taqueria Corona857 Fulton St., 524-9805Taqueria Corona may be best known for its Mexican cuisine, but it's also a comfortable place to sit with friends and talk over Mexican beers and chips with pico de gallo. Taqueria Corona also makes a fine sangria, and its margaritas are justly popular.
Tchoup-n-Joe's Restaurant and Bar 870 Tchoupitoulas St., 581-2858; www.tchoupnjoes.comThe glowing neon art by local artist Eric Ehlenberger, industrial underpinnings and collage of plasma-screen televisions in this hip bar and contemporary Creole restaurant melds perfectly into the trendy Warehouse District surrounding it. It captures the district's postmodern spirit of sleek futuristic design over revitalized industrial spaces. An upscale neighborhood hangout for young, well-to-do professionals and those who like to pretend they are.
Ugly Dog Saloon401 Andrew Higgins Drive, 569-8459Not just one of the few decent barbecue joints in New Orleans, this restaurant and bar is a good sports bar and place to shoot pool. Nine large TV screens play football, NASCAR, basketball, and more, and the low-key bar has a tough, saloon-like atmosphere. The Ugly Dog offers lunch and dinner daily, but people are just as likely to drink beer and talk sports with the bartender.
Vic's Kangaroo Cafe 636 Tchoupitoulas St., 524-4329; www.satchmo.com/vics/index.htmlVic's vibe is purely Australian, mixing a laidback attitude with fun-loving spirit. The bold, bright colors on the walls and neon signs match the deep laughs and flashing teeth from smiling customers. It tends to be a beer drinkers' bar, but the selection of Australian wines puts a few stemmed glasses in the mix.
The Wine Loft752 Tchoupitoulas St., 561-0116; www.thewineloft.netThrough the large windows of this trendy bar in the Central Business District, headlights illuminate the dark street less and less as the night grows late and the pulse of the city mellows. Cool jazz softens the background, and the furniture is series of sleek curves conducive to couples looking for a place to sit and speak in low tones.
The Crown and Anchor 200 Pelican Ave., Algiers Point, 227-1007; www.crownanchor.comThe stools sit closely together at the bar, and the ceiling feels low. The bartender puts down pint glasses that foam over with British ales and lagers, and then somebody grabs one and realizes this pub feels like one in England. Every night, neighborhood drinkers throw darts or play trivia at the Crown and Anchor, which also serves food catered by Cafe Sortez.
Dry Dock Cafe and Bar133 Delaronde St., 361-8240; www.thedrydockcafe.comLocated in one of the oldest buildings on the Point, this is a great neighborhood place to eat a burger or wet your whistle. It's a warm, dim place with dark stained wood, exposed brick, a fireplace and the feel of an old Boston pub. Locals and tourists who explored the ferry drink from a wide range of beer over the sound of pool balls cracking.
Old Point Bar 545 Patterson St., Algiers Point, 364-0950; www.oldpointbar.comFor deep New Orleans flavor, the Old Point Bar is the place. This one-time dive was renovated to include a light wood stage. It draws local music lovers young and old to the West Bank to hear the city's jazz, swing, funk and brass band legends.
Clementine's Belgian Bistrot2505 Whitney Ave., Gretna, 366-3995Clementine's is the only Belgian dining experience in the New Orleans metro area, and Belgian beer is some of the most famous and distinctive beer in the world. Clementine's offers many kinds, but bar patrons may also sip fine wine at the bar while they enjoy a crepe. The golden wooden bar feels contemporary, while the wall mural of Brussels gives the room an Old World feel.
Red Maple Bar and Lounge 1036 Lafayette St., Gretna, 367-0935; www.theredmaple.comDownstairs is an upscale restaurant, but upstairs is a plush cocktail lounge that is popular with the local professionals. This sophisticated bar has carpeted floors and comfortable seats at tables where lawyers and businessmen gather for deep discussions over whiskey or a simple wind-down after work.
Sun Ray Grill2600 Belle Chase Hwy., Gretna, 391-0053; www.sunraygrill.comSun Ray Grill has multiple locations throughout the city with the decor of each changing subtly to fit into the neighborhood in which it exists. A casual, yet refined funky and eclectic feel, the bars offer daily happy hours for the 9-to-5-ers with discounted drinks and specialties.
W.O.W. CafE and WingeryManhattan Blvd., Gretna, 361-5655; www.wingery.comW.O.W. combines the casual feel of a sports bar with the excitement of a specialty cafe. With four locations around the city, W.O.W. is a great place to grab a round of daiquiris with friends after a hard day at work. The bar is lit by brightly colored, hanging lights and complete with bamboo wall hangings, which create a tiki-bar feel.
Boomers at Boomtown Casino 4132 Peters Road, Harvey, 366-7711; www.boomtownneworleans.comThe casino is always open and drinks flow freely, but Boomers is closed Sunday through Wednesday. Musical guests include locals such as the Topcats and the Chee Weez as well as national acts including Billy Joe Royal.
Jericho's Hookah CafE1164 Terry Pkwy., Terrytown, 392-3758The only hookah bar on the West Bank, Jericho's is an exotic and upscale cafe decorated in a Middle Eastern style, with colorful cushions placed on the floor for an authentic feel. Live belly dancers perform three nights a week, and this eclectic bar presently allows customers to bring in their own alcohol.