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Bottoms Up! The Bar Guide 

Gambit's look at the New Orleans bar scene: happy hours, food, music, smoking policies and much more.

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BYWATER | CBD / WAREHOUSE | CITY WIDE / MARIGNY | QUARTER | LAKEVIEW| MID-CITY | RIVERBEND / CARROLLTON / UNIVERSITY | TREME / UPTOWN | JEFFERSON PARISH | NORTHSHORE | WESTBANK |

BYWATER

B.J.'s Lounge

Most patrons at this longtime dive bar are from the surrounding Upper 9th Ward neighborhood, but if you get buzzed in, you'll be welcomed warmly. It's always happy hour, and you can play pool at a table with a full-scale race car hanging over it, or lounge on couches and listen to live music by Little Freddie King, Dana Abbott, and King James and the Special Men. Wednesday features plate dinners. Open daily. Smoking: yes. 4301 Burgundy St., 945-9256

Bacchanal

HBO's Treme has filmed at this 9th Ward wine bar with daily live music. Cheese plates and international cuisine are on the menu when Chef Joaquin Rodas cooks Tuesday-Saturday. Guest chefs cover the menu Sunday. The courtyard is outfitted for comfort year round. Open daily. Smoking: yes. 600 Poland Ave., 948-9111; www.bacchanalwine.com

Bud Rip's

Among New Orleans' less storied century-plus-old institutions is this humble Bywater corner bar, named for former owner Edward "Bud Rip" Ripoll. Pressed tin ceiling tiles attest to decor that has weathered quite a few decades. It's a casual neighborhood spot where regulars stick to inexpensive draft beer. There is a pool table, dart board and video poker for amusement. Open daily. Smoking: yes. 900 Piety St., 945-5762; www.myspace.com/budripsbar

The Country Club

It's a lush, tiki torch-studded, clothing-optional swimming hole, a swinging gay bar and a happening spot to watch a Saints game or Treme episode. It's also among the best eateries in the Bywater. Chef Coy LeBeau serves up a full menu seven days a week. Happy hour 5 p.m.-8 p.m. daily — and when it's raining. Open daily. Smoking: yes. 634 Louisa St., 945-0742; www.thecountryclubneworleans.com

Markey's Bar

Markey's Bar is the kind of unpretentious neighborhood pub that feels instantly familiar, like an old couch with a well-worn groove. Multiple flat-screen TVs broadcasting only sports games encourage patrons to sit and relax for a while. Open 2 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; noon Sat.-Sun. Smoking: yes. 640 Louisa St., 943-0785; www.markeysbar.com

Patio Bar & Secret Garden

Relax in a garden setting while munching on barbecue available from the adjoining Bywater Bar-B-Que. Monday is karaoke night, and well beer and wine are $2 from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. You can watch sports on TV, play darts or surf the Internet with free Wi-Fi. Open Thu.-Tue. Smoking: patio only. Bywater Bar-B-Que, 3162 Dauphine St., 944-4445

St. Roch Tavern

You might trip over a small pack of scruffy dogs or have to dodge the occasional outbreak of fisticuffs, but big-screen TVs, $6 PBR pitchers and a full menu of Mexican and vegetarian fare (alongside bar food staples and the occasional pot of free red beans and rice) make these negligible risks. Open daily. Smoking: yes. 1200 St. Roch Ave., 945-0194; www.strochcafe.com

Saturn Bar

The St. Claude Avenue corridor's designated punk rock hunting lodge is the Bywater's perfect place for a PBR and a bracing shot of anything and everything, whether it's to the sounds of Guitar Lightnin' Lee or a jukebox that's equal parts cheese and grease. Wrestle with heavy crowds at the monthly Mod Dance Party, where DJs spin hiss-and-pop 45's into the wee hours. Open 5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 6 p.m. Sun. Smoking: yes. 3067 St. Claude Ave., 949-7532

Vaughan's Lounge

For years, Kermit Ruffins' free-wheeling Thursday night jazz jams have been the beacon drawing New Orleanians to this Bywater corner bar. Vaughan's offers free red beans and rice for those shows. There's plenty of local music on the jukebox, and local character may be what's propping up the sagging roof and sidewalk overhang at this neighborhood institution. Open daily. Smoking: yes. 4229 Dauphine St., 947-5562

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