725 Iberville St., 504-378-7330; www.21stamendmentlalouisiane.com
The vibe: A classy, 1920s speakeasy-themed bar featuring nightly live music and decorated with black-and-white photos of mobsters.
What you'll drink: Prohibition-era cocktails and house-made infusions like the Frenchy (strawberry vodka, Champagne, sugar and lemon juice).
Backspace Bar & Grill
139 Chartres St., 504-322-2245; www.backspacenola.com
The vibe: A lounge with a writers' theme, it's a refined round-the-clock refuge on a scruffy block of the French Quarter.
What you'll drink: Blue Moon on draft, classic cocktails, Death in the Afternoon (Champagne and absinthe).
730 Bourbon St., 504-571-4685; www.bourbono.com
The vibe: Mixologist extraordinaire Cheryl Charming created the cocktail menu at this elegant respite from Bourbon Street's chaos. There's live jazz and blues Wednesday through Friday night.
What you'll drink: Classic New Orleans cocktails, including a Ramos gin fizz shaken by machine.
Hotel Monteleone, 214 Royal St., 504-523-3341; www.hotelmonteleone.com/ entertainment/carousel-bar
The vibe: The carousel at the center of the bar makes one full revolution every 15 minutes, allowing its 25 occupants to take in both the sparkling beaded artwork and views of Royal Street.
What you'll drink: A Sazerac or the French 007 (Mathilide de Pear, pomegranate liquor, sparkling wine).
601 Chartres St., 504-586-8383; www.chartreshouse.com
The vibe: Double doors that open to the street welcome guests and cooling breezes to this corner bar and Cajun restaurant. Flickering gas lanterns and sports on TV keep the atmosphere casual.
What you'll drink: There are 13 local draft beers, mixed drinks, a Black & Tan made with Abita Amber and Murphy Irish Stout.
400 Dauphine St., 504-523-1931; www.dejavunola.com
The vibe: The 24-hour diner is a place to wind down after a night on Bourbon Street or to get the day started.
What you'll drink: Bloody marys.
811 Conti St., 504-522-3573; www.erinrosebar.com
The vibe: Service industry workers, locals and in-the-know tourists rub shoulders and munch Killer Poboys at this casual Irish pub and late-night haunt.
What you'll drink: Frozen Irish coffee, Louisiana beers, mixed drinks.
May Baily's Place
Dauphine Orleans Hotel, 415 Dauphine St., 504-586-1800; www.dauphine- orleans.com
The vibe: Tucked away from French Quarter tourist traffic, this well-appointed lounge is styled like a Victorian bordello parlor and decorated with some New Orleans Storyville accents, such as E.J. Bellocq portraits of prostitutes.
What you'll drink: Pimm's Cups and other classic cocktails.
Molly's at the Market
1107 Decatur St., 504-525-5169; www.mollysatthemarket.com
The vibe: A stalwart member of the storied collection of Monaghan family bars, this memorabilia-hung joint is a respite for lower Decatur Street and media types. It sells cigarettes for $6 a pack — though you'll have to smoke them outside.
What you'll drink: Frozen Irish coffee, bloody marys, Guinness on tap.
W New Orleans, 310 Chartres St., 504-552-4095; www.sobounola.com
The vibe: Sleek design and dim lighting make this small plates and craft cocktail spot a stylish destination.
What you'll drink: Inventive cocktails like the Turn The Beet Around (spiced daiquiri with beet-infused Cachaca and lime).
Spirits on Bourbon
615 Bourbon St., 504-524-6014; www.spiritsonbourbon.com
The vibe: Think Bourbon Street excess in all its strobing, vertiginous glory. You'll find dueling pianos, body shots and gaping tourists at this hub featured on Spike TV's Bar Rescue.
What you'll drink: The "world famous" Resurrection, served in a flashing, skull-shaped mug; mixed drinks, shots.
435 Bourbon St.; 600 Bourbon St., 504-529-1702; 721 Bourbon St.; www.tropicalisle.com
The vibe: Tourists and Bourbon Street revelers flock to these brightly colored bars.
What you'll drink: Signature iced or frozen Hand Grenade cocktails or a Shark Attack with a plastic shark diving into the drink.