1001 Esplanade Ave., (504) 949-0038; www.buffasrestaurant.com
The vibe: Step into one of two worlds here: the front bar's quiet(ish) watering hole or the rowdier music venue in back. The former is a reliable place to get a drink during big downtown holidays like Halloween. What you'll drink: No-frills cocktails or cheap mimosas on Sundays.
725 Conti St., (504) 527-0869; www.copper- monkeygrill.com
The vibe: The casual, Christmas light-festooned space has booth seating and a courtyard in which one can enjoy a menu of burgers and bar food standards. What you'll drink: Limited-edition beers from regional breweries such as Abita Brewing Company and Shiner Brewery.
400 Dauphine St., (504) 523-1931; www.dejavunola.com
The vibe: Not to be confused with the gentlemen's club of the same name, the bar is a modest before- and after-hours hangout for service industry types and has nightly blue plate specials. What you'll drink: Canned or draft beer or a signature bloody mary.
811 Conti St., (504) 522-3573; www.erinrosebar.com
The vibe: The nominally Irish bar attracts a cadre of dedicated regulars, many of whom show up for the morning happy hour and stick around for late-night bites from Killer Poboys' pop-up in back. What you'll drink: At least one Irish coffee, in regular or frozen form.
2256 St. Claude Ave., (504) 947-3735; www.kajunpub.com
The vibe: The neighborhood bar and karaoke joint has spruced up a lot in recent years, with new craft beer and food offerings. The downside? It's more popular with the tourist and bachelor-party set. What you'll drink: Pitchers of domestic beer are the best bet for avoiding long lines.
Molly's at the Market
@mollysdecatur 1107 Decatur St., (504) 525-5169; www.mollysatthemarket.net
The vibe: All roads lead to this stalwart Irish pub and flagship of the Monaghan empire, where cool kids and Quarter rats brush up against curious tourists and suit-and-tie types. What you'll drink: High Life and a Jameson at night; frozen Irish coffee in the morning.
@saintbar 961 St. Mary St., (504) 523-0050; www.thesaintneworleans.com
The vibe: The hipster hotspot is known for sweaty summer dance parties and makeout sessions. A tiki-themed back patio has more personal space. What you'll drink: Daily cocktail specials and tiki drinks on infamous "tiki-oke" karaoke nights.
St. Charles Tavern
1433 St. Charles Ave., (504) 523-9823; www.stcharlestavern.com
The vibe: The all-hours bar and restaurant is a favorite among ER nurses, hotel clerks and other graveyard shift workers. Recent cosmetic improvements have brightened a formerly drab space. What you'll drink: Domestic bottles and two-ingredient cocktails.
Snake & Jake's Christmas Club Lounge
@snakeandjakes 7612 Oak St., (504) 861-2802; www.snakeandjakes.com
The vibe: Strings of red lights allow patrons to see all they need to see of this dark, dank, no-frills den. If you want to see more, stay til sunrise, along with the regulars. What you'll drink: Shots, Schlitz in a can, whatever's cheap.