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Gambit's The Big Bar Guide 2015: CBD/Warehouse District/Central City 

click to enlarge Craft cocktails and a sophisticated atmosphere make WXYZ bar at Aloft New Orleans in the CBD a popular stop for after-work drinks.

Photo by Cheryl Gerber

Craft cocktails and a sophisticated atmosphere make WXYZ bar at Aloft New Orleans in the CBD a popular stop for after-work drinks.

8 Block Kitchen & Bar
Hyatt Regency New Orleans, 601 Loyal Ave., (504) 613-3850;
Restaurant bar
8 Block Kitchen & Bar offers breakfast and lunch, and the bar serves craft beers including Lazy Magnolia's Southern Pecan and original cocktails such as the Spiced Pumpkin Cheese Cake — and bottomless mimosas and bloody marys every weekend. Open daily. Full restaurant menu.

AC Lounge
AC Hotel, 221 Carondelet St., (504) 962-0700;
Craft cocktails
The European-inspired lounge design brings a contemporary style to the lobby of the AC Hotel. There's jazz Wednesday and Saturday nights and a DJ on Friday. European-style tapas are available at the bar. Handcrafted cocktails are the specialty, including the Berry Bang Bang, a mix of Bulleit bourbon, Lillet blanc, blackberry, rosemary, black peppercorn and lemon. Open daily. Food available. Happy hour 4 p.m.-7 p.m.

The American Sector Restaurant & Bar
945 Magazine St., (504) 528-1940;
Restaurant bar
The restaurant and bar at the National World War II Museum is outfitted with 1940s Americana in a modern setting. There's lots of seating at the bar or on the spacious outdoor patio. The menu is American. The cocktail menu plays on the World War II theme with spins on classics like the Midway mule and American Sector lemonade. Open daily. Full restaurant menu. Happy hour 4 p.m.-7 p.m. daily.

640 Carondelet St., (504) 459-4449;;
Restaurant bar
Housed in a 19th-century townhouse, Balise has a tavern-like bar on the first floor that offers food and drink specials during happy hour on weekdays. The building's original terrazzo and hardwood floors, wooden beams, exposed bricks and artworks from the 1800s give the place a cozy, nostalgic atmosphere. Open daily. Full restaurant menu. Happy hour 4 p.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Fri.

Bar UnCommon
Renaissance New Orleans Pere Marquette Hotel, 817 Common St., (504) 525-1111
Craft Cocktails
The bar has mod-inspired decor and a craft cocktail menu including classic New Orleans cocktails and unique drinks, such as the Roffignac: cognac mixed with house-grown raspberry shrub distilled with apple-cider vinegar for a simple syrup. Southern-style bites include coconut-shrimp beignets. Open daily. Food available.

Barcadia Bar & Grill
601 Tchoupitoulas St., (504) 335-1740;;
Sports bar
Barcadia features arcade games, food, music, two patios, TVs and lots of beer, as well as a full bar. The signature Barcadia Bomber is made with four kinds of vodka and two fruit juices. Barcadia is open to all ages before 9 p.m., 21-older after 9 p.m. Open daily. Full restaurant menu. Happy hour 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Fri.

The Hotel Modern, 936 St. Charles Ave., (504) 962-0911;
Craft cocktails
A sultry spot located at Lee Circle, Bellocq invokes the dark glamour of E.J. Bellocq's famous Storyville photography. While absinthe, fortified wines and refreshing port cobblers are available, patrons also can try the lounge's take on classic concoctions like Death in the Afternoon. Open daily. Food available. Happy hour 5 p.m.-7 p.m. daily.

Bolden Bar
New Orleans Jazz Market, 1436 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., (504) 371-5849;;
Music Club
There's live music Thursday (6 p.m.-9 p.m.), Friday (7 p.m.-midnight) and Saturday (8:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m.) and a free yoga to live jazz class from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday. Sometimes the bar hosts food pop-ups. Bar specialties include The Ellington Effect, a ginger margarita, and The Color of the Sun, a Dreamsicle martini. Open Thu.-Sat. No food. Happy hour 5 p.m.-8 p.m. Thu.-Sat.

The Cajun Bar at Mulate's
Mulate's, 201 Julia St., (504) 522-1492;; @Mulates Restaurant bar The bar is a purple and gold oasis where LSU fans can catch the game while sipping signature drinks like the Zydeco Tornado. The live music lineup features local Cajun acts like La Touche, Lee Benoit and Bayou Deville every night beginning 7 p.m. Open daily. Full restaurant menu.

520 Capdeville St., (504) 371-5161;;
Restaurant bar
Marked by a casual vibe with a dash of rock 'n' roll swagger, Capdeville's atmosphere encourages lingering over dinner, drinks and conversation. Craft beer and American whiskey are the specialties, with popular drinks including the Cherry Tracer cocktail — Buffalo Trace bourbon, grapefruit juice, Luxardo maraschino cherry liqueur and orange bitters. Open Mon.-Sat. Full restaurant menu. Happy hour 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thu., 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Fri.

Casa Borrega
1719 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., (504) 427-0654;;
Restaurant bar
There's always something to look at in this renovated Greek Revival home-turned-Central Mexican restaurant and bar. The inside features reclaimed architectural elements, mementos and other curious tchotchkes, and there's a similarly decorated courtyard. Cocktail prices are $3 off before 5 p.m. every day, and there's an extensive menu of Mexican tequilas and mezcals. Friday nights feature salsa night with live Cuban music. There's live music Saturday, too. Open Tue.-Sat. Full restaurant menu.

Chuck's Sports Bar
510 Gravier St., (504) 524-9485
Sports bar
The game is always on at this dive bar, which is a favorite with service industry employees and members of the 9-to-5 crowd who want cheap, heavily poured drinks. There's a pool table and an Internet jukebox. Open daily. No food.

Circle Bar
1032 St. Charles Ave., (504) 588-2616;;
Music Club
A revolving door of touring rock bands, Circle Bar is a mainstay of the local rock 'n' roll scene with a smattering of local blues and honky tonk spicing up its nightly roster of live music. Open daily. No food. Happy hour 4 p.m.- 8 p.m. daily.

Cocktail Bar at Windsor Court
Windsor Court Hotel, 300 Gravier St., (504) 523-6000;;
Craft cocktails
This bar features craft cocktails with an emphasis on pre-Prohibition recipies. A menu of specialty drinks caters to a range of tastes. The Final Final is made with Laphroaig Scotch, Fernet, simple syrup and allspice. Snacks from the adjoining Grill Room are available. Open Thu.-Sat. Food available. Happy hour 5 p.m.- 7 p.m. Thu.-Sat.

The District
711 Tchoupitoulas St., (504) 301-1476;
Sports bar
The bar boasts a modern space, high-top seating, a generous number of TVs and bar food served till late. Located close to the convention center, it attracts out-of-towners as well as neighborhood residents (and their dogs). Tuesdays are trivia nights. Open daily. Happy hour 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Fri.

Ernst Cafe
600 S. Peters St., (504) 525-8544;;
Restaurant bar
Take a seat on the dog-friendly patio of the century-old building and enjoy the bar's take on classic cocktails like the Sazerac and Dark and Stormy. The food menu offers casual comfort food. Open daily. Full restaurant menu. Happy hour 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Fri.

Fountain Lounge
Roosevelt Hotel, 130 Roosevelt Way, (504) 648-5486;
Restaurant bar
A new take on the Fountain Lounge that opened in The Roosevelt Hotel in 1938, this bar has a large wine list and cocktails such as the rum-based Bayou Swizzle and the Jambalaya, which combines Southern Comfort, peach schnapps, lime juice and grenadine. There's live music Wednesday through Saturday. Open daily. Full restaurant menu.

Fulton Alley
600 Fulton St., (504) 208-5569;;
Craft cocktails
This boutique bowling alley is the place to knock down some pins on date night or throw a small party. Spark friendly competition in the renovated game parlor, featuring a foosball table and old school versions of Scrabble and Connect Four. The menu offers craft cocktails, gourmet sliders and tacos. Open daily. Full restaurant menu. Happy hour 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Mon-Thu., 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Fri.

Fulton Bistro | Bar
Omni Riverfront Hotel, 701 Convention Center Blvd., (504) 524-8200
Restaurant bar
On top of a kitchen offering a menu with Parisian flavors and a New Orleans-style Sunday jazz brunch (played by Treme trumpeter Kid Merv), Fulton bills itself as the city's only "gin-centric" bar, boasting classic cocktails like Ramos gin fizz, 17 artisan gins and select tonics. Open daily. Full restaurant menu. Happy hour 5 p.m.-7 p.m. weekdays.

Garden Grill and Bar
Hilton Garden Inn, 1001 S. Peters St., (504) 525-0044;
Restaurant bar
There's a large menu of martinis, specialty cocktails and wine at this restaurant bar, but the hurricane is the most popular drink. The bar also is known for its bloody mary and a cosmopolitan-hurricane combination dubbed the "Cosmocane." The food menu features gumbo, seafood, burgers, flatbreads and more. Open daily. Full restaurant menu.

Gordon Biersch
200 Poydras St., (504) 552-2739;;
Beer pub
At the 30-plus Gordon Biersch locations across the country, brewers craft German- and Czech-style beers. The New Orleans location finds inspiration in locally available ingredients used in its handcrafted drinks, pizza and flatbreads. There's live music at 6 p.m. on Friday. Open daily. Full restaurant menu. Happy hour 3 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri.

Handsome Willy's Bar & Lounge
218 S. Robertson St., (504) 460-7365;
Dance Club
The patio starts popping around happy hour and the fun goes well past midnight every night, as Handsome Willy's brings in the area's top DJs to spin for such nights as reggae on Tuesday, "Funk & Crunk" on Friday and EDM on weekends. Open daily. Food available.

Happy's Irish Pub
1009 Poydras St., (504) 304-9236;;
Beer pub
This downtown Irish pub offers ice-cold Guinness, Bass, Harp and Smithwick's on tap. Members of Happy's Running Club meet on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. to enjoy two-for-one specials on beer and wine after working up a sweat. Open daily. No food. Happy hour 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Mon.-Fri.

139 Carondelet St., (504) 566-1150
Neighborhood bar
The dog-friendly bar features darts, pool and a soul food menu Monday through Saturday. Monday is service industry night and Tuesday features drunk bar bingo. Open daily. Food available. Happy hour noon-4 p.m. Mon.-Fri.

International House Hotel, 221 Camp St., (504) 553-9550;
Craft cocktails
The posh lounge with low banquettes and a candle-lit Voodoo vibe is a haven for craft cocktails. Alan Walter and a team of mixologists craft original and whimsical cocktails and offer their twists on classics, such as the Lady Sazerac, honeycomb old fashioned and wild birdseed old fashioned, which incorporates bourbon-infused wild grains. Open daily. No food.

90 Le Meridien Hotel, 333 Poydras St., (504) 525-9444;
Craft Cocktails
In the morning, Longitude 90 focuses on French-inspired cuisine, but at night it becomes a cocktail bar with a "Sparkling" menu of effervescent offerings and spritzers based on standard drinks. Popular choices include the Sparkling Sazerac, Sparkling French 007 and Sparkling String of Pearls. Open daily. Full restaurant menu.

Lucy's Retired Surfers Bar & Restaurant
701 Tchoupitoulas St., (504) 523-8995;;
Neighborhood bar
The bright surf shack atmosphere at Lucy's draws a lively crowd for international sports on TV and a menu of sandwiches, burgers, quesadillas, salads and tacos. The bar features draft beers from around the world and original cocktails such as Lucy's classic margarita made with Sauza gold tequila, dressed with a mermaid. Open daily. Full restaurant menu. Happy hour 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat.-Sun.

Manning's Eat — Drink — Cheer
519 Fulton St., (504) 593-8118;;
Sports bar
It comes as no surprise that the bar named for former New Orleans Saints quarterback Archie Manning is a sports hub full of memorabilia. Prime sports viewing is in leather recliners facing the 13-by-8-foot mega screen, and there are 30 TVs spread throughout the bar. Happy hour features half-price appetizers, well drinks, beer and wine. Open daily. Full restaurant menu. Happy hour 4 p.m.-6 p.m.

Harrah's New Orleans, 8 Canal St., (504) 533-6089;;
Dance club
There's live entertainment, mostly DJs, Thursday through Saturday nights (sometimes Sunday) and karaoke on Tuesday. Located in the center of Harrah's New Orleans, the bar dresses up the dance club with pulsing colored lights, a dance floor and contemporary decor. Open daily. No food.

The Metropolitan
310 Andrew Higgins Drive, (504) 568-1702;
Dance club
The cavernous two-story nightclub features two rooms with different mixes of hip-hop, Top 40 and electronic dance music. Open Saturday. No food.

Ohm Lounge
601 Tchoupitoulas St., (504) 335-1760;
Craft cocktails
The upscale lounge melds a contemporary Asian theme with the tradition of white tablecloth dining. Tucked behind Barcadia, Ohm Lounge is open weekends and has an extensive sake list along with craft cocktails, beers and a menu of shared plates. Open Fri.-Sat. Food available.

Pere Marquette Lounge and MiLa Bar
Renaissance New Orleans Pere Marquette Hotel, 817 Common St., (504) 412-2580;
Restaurant bar
MiLa has two bars: the Pere Marquette Lounge, which is open daily, and the MiLa Bar, open Friday and Saturday nights. Both offer craft cocktails, classic drinks and beers. The food menu features seasonal Southern-inspired dishes and snacks. Hours vary by bar. Full restaurant menu.

Polo Club Lounge
Windsor Court Hotel, 300 Gravier St., (504) 522-1992;;
Restaurant bar
With its dark woods and rich furnishings, Polo Club Lounge is reminiscent of England's private clubs. Classic cocktails and wines by the glass can be enjoyed with small plates, and live music is featured Tuesday through Saturday. Open daily. Full restaurant menu.

1800 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., (504) 881-1775;;
Restaurant bar
The open-hearth restaurant offers whole chicken, ribs, rib-eye steak, pasta, salads and ceviche. During happy hour, slow-cooked ribs are $1.50. Boulevardier and Maison Blanche cocktails are both on tap, and draft beers range from Schlitz to Parish Canebrake. Open Mon.-Sat. Full restaurant menu. Happy hour 3 p.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Fri.

Public Belt
Hilton Riverside Hotel, 2 Poydras St., (504) 561-0500;;
Craft cocktails
The elegant speakeasy-themed piano bar serves craft cocktails named after the women of Storyville, New Orleans former red-light district, including Ella's Sinful Secret, a mix of Boodles gin, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, dry vermouth and celery bitters. There's live jazz Thursday through Saturday nights. Open daily. No food.

PURE New Orleans Bar/Lounge
1011 Gravier St., (844) 787-3504;
Sports bar Music Exchange Radio hosts an open-mic and networking social every Monday, there's college night on Friday, hip-hop night Saturday and New Orleans Saints game watching parties on Sunday. Hurricanes and Long Island iced tea are popular drinks. A full kitchen will open soon. Open daily. No food. Happy hour 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Fri.

Q&C Bar
Q&C Hotel, 344 Camp St., (504) 587-9700;
Craft cocktails
The Q&C Bar sparkles under a chandelier with an elegance that befits its high-end cocktails and absinthe poured from the "Pewter Princess." Beers from regional breweries are on tap, and the menu features Southern-inspired small plates, pizza, seafood and pasta. A $7 French 75 comes with fries. Open daily. Full restaurant menu. Happy hour 4 p.m.-7 p.m. daily.

748 Camp St., (504) 298-7317;
Craft cocktails
The stripped-down decor includes flagstone and concrete floors, exposed brick walls and beams. Art depicts revolutionary thinkers including Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Albert Einstein and Che Guevara. There are tufted leather sofas for lingering over cocktails such as the Blackberry Burn, Blood & Sand and Kyoto. The food menu is inspired by Asian, Latin and Southern cuisines. Open daily. Full restaurant menu. Happy hour 3 p.m.-7 p.m. daily.

Republic New Orleans
828 S. Peters St., (504) 528-8282;;
Music Club
The bar hosts live music throughout the week as well as private events. Republic takes on a club vibe on Saturday, with a DJ spinning dance music. The music calendar includes EDM, bounce, hip-hop and indie rock artists. Open daily. No food.

Rock-N-Sake Bar & Sushi 823
Fulton St., (504) 581-7253;;
Restaurant bar
A lighted glass-top bar illuminates house specialties such as the Berry Blossom, sake margarita and Tokyo-tini. The menu features a selection of sushi, small plates, noodle dishes, soups and salads. TGIT offers $5 cocktails, wine and hot sake after 5 p.m. on Tuesdays. Open Tue.-Sun. Full restaurant menu.

The Rusty Nail
1100 Constance St., (504) 525-5515;;
Neighborhood bar
Stop at this neighborhood spot on a Thursday to drink for a good cause: a percentage of proceeds are donated to a local charity. The bar offers prime space for viewing sports on TV inside and out, and a large outdoor patio hosts live music performances. Food trucks park outside Thu.-Sun. Open daily. No food. Happy hour 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Wed. & Fri.

The Sazerac Bar
The Roosevelt Hotel, 130 Roosevelt Way, (504) 648-1200;;
Craft cocktails
The Sazerac Bar carries with it the history and lore of its namesake drink. Paul Ninas murals flanking the African walnut bar take you back to the grandeur of old New Orleans — a time when Huey P. Long strolled in to order a Ramos gin fizz. The elegant barstools and plush banquettes of today's Sazerac Bar invite locals and visitors to enjoy handcrafted cocktails and conversation. Open daily. No food.

The Swizzle Stick Bar
Loews Hotel, 300 Poydras St., (504) 595-3305;
Craft cocktails
This craft cocktail lounge is located between the hotel lobby and its adjoining Cafe Adelaide. A large block of ice behind the bar highlights its traditional inspirations, but there are original cocktails in addition to classics. The Adelaide Swizzle is made with Rougaroux Full Moon dark rum. Happy hour features $3-$6 specials on drinks and small plates. Open daily. Full restaurant menu. Happy hour 3 p.m.-6 p.m. daily.

Tchoupitoulas Beer Garden
840 Tchoupitoulas St., Suite 103;; @tbgnola Beer pub Styled as an Oktoberfest beer garden, Tchoupitoulas Beer Garden offers an open indoor bar where payments are made with house doubloons. Eat Bavarian-inspired street food and drink beers on tap at communal picnic tables. Open Mon.-Sat. Food available.

Tivoli & Lee
Hotel Modern, 2 Lee Circle, (504) 962-0909;;
Craft cocktails
The farm-to-table restaurant and bar serves Southern cuisine and craft cocktails at a sidewalk cafe on Lee Circle or an indoor lounge with large picture windows and a copper-top bar made with reclaimed wood. The bar offers $14 bourbon flights, small-batch American whiskeys, beer and wine. Open daily. Full restaurant menu. Happy hour 3 p.m.-6 p.m. daily.

Tommy's Wine Bar
752 Tchoupitoulas St., (504) 581-1103;
Wine Bar
Nestled next to a Creole Italian restaurant of the same name, the bar has an extensive wine list and a large selection of bourbons, cognacs and Scotches. There's also a variety of cheeses, pates and charcuterie, 20 wines by the glass and 150 by the bottle. Open daily. Food available. Happy hour 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Sat.

444 St. Charles Ave., Suite 100, (504) 680-7000;
Restaurant bar
This storefront-style restaurant in the Intercontinental Hotel serves locally sourced south Louisiana fare and drinks. An extensive wine list includes an array of imported Rieslings and domestic and imported pinot noirs. There's valet parking and outdoor seating. Open daily. Full restaurant menu. Happy hour 3 p.m.- 6 p.m. weekdays.

Union Station
735 St. Joseph St., (504) 522-3944;;
Sports bar
Union Station offers lunch specials during the day, but at night it becomes an entertainment venue with live music, football parties, burlesque and comedy performances. Limited food and occasional seafood boils are available at night. Open daily.

Vic's Kangaroo Cafe
636 Tchoupitoulas St., (504) 524-4329
Neighborhood bar
What do you get when you cross an Australian pub with a New Orleanian palate? A late-night joint with cheap beer and shepherd's pie and jambalaya on the menu. Open daily. Food available. Happy hour 5 p.m.- 7 p.m. daily.

Victory NOLA
339 Baronne St., (504) 522-8664;;
Craft cocktails
This lounge boasts a free taste of the daily cocktail created by the bartenders as well as cocktail classes at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Open daily. Full restaurant menu.

Vitascope Hall
Hyatt Regency New Orleans, 601 Loyola Ave., Level 3, (504) 561-1234;;
Restaurant bar
More than three dozen TVs playing sports make Vitascope Hall seem as much a sports bar as a restaurant bar. Specialty cocktails include the popular Streetcar Named Loyola and $100 Black & Gold. There is a sushi bar as well as gumbo, burgers and po-boys. Open daily. Full restaurant menu. Happy hour 4 p.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Fri.

Aloft New Orleans, 225 Baronne St., (504) 312-7750; ; @AloftNOLA Craft cocktails The stylish modern bar has live music Thursday and Friday evenings and serves a simple bar menu of sliders, mac and cheese and snacks. The bar is dog friendly and has a pool table. Open daily. Food available. Happy hour 4 p.m.-8 p.m. Mon. & Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.-midnight Tue., noon-3 p.m. Sun.

Walk-On's Bistreaux and Bar
1009 Poydras St., (504) 309-6530;
Sports bar
The two-floor sports hub features wood floors and bars polished like a basketball court, flat-screen TVs everywhere — and some booths are equipped with tabletop beer taps. One of the bar's signature drinks is the Death Valley, made with Svedka vodka, Bacardi rum, triple sec, orange juice and a Razzmatazz schnapps float. Open daily. Food available. Happy hour 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Fri.

Wood Pizza Bistro and Taphouse
404 Andrew Higgins Blvd., (504) 281-4893;
Restaurant Bar
There is a wide range of beers available, including local and regional brews, and a variety of pizzas to go with them. Craft beer offerings change weekly. Specialty cocktails include the American Mule, a mix of Menage a Trois vodka, fresh lime and Gosling's ginger beer. It's open until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Open daily. Full restaurant menu. Happy hour 3 p.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Fri.


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