New Orleans' summer days are sweaty and stifling, but her nights are sultry and jasmine-scented. Here's a few outdoor spots to savor them, cold drink in hand.
Bacchanal You'll probably hear jazzy basslines emanating from Bacchanal's backyard stage as soon as you park by the levee. Follow that sound through the wine shop, where worn brick walls and low ceilings give it the dense ambience of an above-ground cellar, and into an outdoor area thick with foliage, tiki torches, rickety plastic chairs and merrily reveling patrons. It can be tough to find an empty seat at the Bywater hotspot on weekends, but, in true Bacchanalian spirit, nobody seems to mind sharing a table with strangers or rubbing shoulders with a banana plant. 600 Poland Ave., 948-9111; www.bacchanalwine.com
Balcony Bar A breezy balcony with a birds'-eye view of Magazine Street awaits those nimble (or sober) enough to navigate Balcony Bar's winding staircase. 3201 Magazine St., 894-8888; www.facebook.com/balcony-bar-and-cafe
Bayou Beer Garden More than 2,000 square feet of shaded deck space, misting stations, fountains and potted tropical plants make Bayou Beer Garden's patio almost as refreshing as — and endlessly more entertaining than — drinking beer in a backyard kiddie pool. 326 N. Jefferson Davis Pkwy., 302-9357; www.bayoubeergarden.com
Mojito's Rum Bar Nestled just off Eplanade Avenue, Mojito's large vine-y, palm- and fountain-populated courtyard is the ideal spot to catch your breath after bar-hopping down Decatur — or to pre-game before hitting Frenchmen. 437 Esplanade Ave., 252-4800; www.mojitosnola.com
The Rusty Nail Featuring lanterns, matching patio sets and manicured beds of azalea bushes, palms and other greenery, The Rusty Nail's inviting outdoor area is a contrast to the bar's unremarkable exterior. 1100 Constance St., 525-5515; www.therustynail.biz
The Velvet Cactus Margaritas just taste better when sipped under an umbrella surrounded by cacti, ferns and agave plants, and there's an abundance of all these on the large patio. 6300 Argonne Blvd., 301-2083; www.thevelvetcactus.com