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Gambit's A to Z guide to essential music spots

click to enlarge Republic draws a hip crowd and entertains them with libations and music.
  • Republic draws a hip crowd and entertains them with libations and music.

Finding music in New Orleans should be as easy as zipping your fly. But if you're looking for something in particular, here's a guide to get there — as for how to pry yourself away once you've made it inside, you're on your own.

AllWays Lounge

2240 St. Claude Ave., 218-5778;

What: The Marigny Theatre lobby bar hosts its own venue with burlesque freakshows and booty poppin' bounce DJs.

Next up: Naked karaoke, grunge worshippers Lovey Dovies, psychedelic noiseman Justin Yeldham

Circle Bar

1032 St. Charles Ave., 588-2616

What: This tiny, Tim Burton-esque converted town house teeters on the edge of Lee Circle with a Jason Songe-curated nightly lineup and bands bathing in the glow of a K&B clock hanging from the ceiling.

Next up: Obscure up-and-comers (Lower Dens, The Pork Dukes) and local faces (Sun Hotel, Big Rock Candy Mountain)

Hi-Ho Lounge

2239 St. Claude Ave., 945-4446

What: Across from AllWays is this pizza-slinging bar doubling as the neighborhood watering hole and music venue.

Next up: Bluegrass jams and red beans and rice on Mondays, and the Stooges Brass Band plays every Thursday night. Look for metal thundergods, indie rock and the occasional hip-hop showdown.

House of Blues/The Parish

225 Decatur St., 310-4999;

What: Two floors give the corporate venue some breathing room for touring alternative acts.

Next up: Dude rock (Deftones, O.A.R.), indie rock (Yeasayer, Matt & Kim, Devendra Banhart, Deerhunter) and tween rock (Anberlin)

Howlin' Wolf/The Den

907 S. Peters St., 522-9653;

What: Whether hosting local brass and burlesque or comedy and rock 'n' roll, anything under this warehouse roof feels like a home-style after party.

Next up: Headliners (Built to Spill, Citizen Cope) and weekly brass band parties — look for Hot 8 Brass Band every Friday in The Den

Maple Leaf Bar

8316 Oak St., 866-9359;

What: Cheap drinks in a sweat factory — the Oak Street institution hosts some of the best local music in town.

Next up: Rebirth Brass Band holds court every Tuesday night till it's tired. Same goes for Johnny Vidacovich's trio on Thursdays.

One Eyed Jacks

615 Toulouse St., 569-8361;

What: The Twin Peaks-inspired, brothel-like French Quarter centerpiece books the finest schedule of indie-rock acts and alternative programming, with bonus bars in the front and back.

Next up: Rock's top brass (The Vaselines, David Bazan) and new recruits (Twin Sister, Autolux, Portugal the Man)

Preservation Hall

726 St. Peter St., 522-2841;

What: Fresh from a tour with My Morning Jacket and the release of the killer Preservation, the house band carries the flame of traditional New Orleans jazz with style. This standing room-only, no-amplifiers-required refuge is the necessary detour off Bourbon Street. (Heads up: Closed Wednesdays.)

Next up: Real-deal traditional New Orleans jazz and brass — and the occasional celebrity guest


828 S. Peters St., 528-8282;

What: The nightclub for the under-30 set shares roles as both the velvet-roped, bottle service affair and a hipster haven.

Next up: The goods (Hold Steady, Stars, King Rey, G-Eazy) and the gimmicks (Matisyahu, Throwback Fridays)

Saturn Bar

3067 St. Claude Ave, 949-7532

What: This 9th Ward bizarro hunting lodge-looking bar is show promoter Matt Russell's standby for metal, thrash and punk rock bands. DJs Kristen Zoller and Matt Uhlman also host a monthly Mod Dance Party, which celebrates its 10th year this month.

Next up: Austin, Texas garage rock outfits Strange Boys and Harlem make separate trips; local metal gurus Haarp and Mountain of Wizard shake the foundations.


501 Napoleon Ave., 895-8477;

What: The two-tiered joint named after the Professor Longhair track adds fresh acts to a reliably funky local presence.

Next up: New Orleans label Park The Van showcases Giant Cloud and Native America, and twee Scot folkies Frightened Rabbit play Fess' place.

Vaughan's Lounge

800 Lesseps St., 947-5562

What: Step a few blocks past Saturn Bar for Kermit Ruffins' Bywater palace, where the Crescent City's horn-toting hero performs every Thursday.

Next up: Kermit's barbecue — extra smoke.

Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center

1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., 827-5858;

What: Punk rock and experimental jazz squeeze in a weekly lineup of independent and art house films at this Central City movie house.

Next up: Recent headliners included Lightning Bolt and Harvey Milk — look for the wild (Bong Kong, Screaming Females) and the weird (Helen Gillet).

Road Trip:

  Baton Rouge's Spanish Moon (1109 Highland Road, Baton Rouge, 225-383-6666; attracts Red Stick's college crowd and a solid lineup of touring acts. Upcoming gigs include Neon Indian, School of Seven Bells, Born Ruffians and Colour Revolt.

Extra Credit:

  Snake through the doors of Frenchmen Street's venues for a so-good-it-must- be-illegal onslaught of music and imbibing — The Maison (508 Frenchmen St., 371-5543;, Blue Nile (532 Frenchmen St., 948-2583;, Apple Barrel (609 Frenchmen St., 949-9399), d.b.a. (618 Frenchmen St., 942-3731;, and Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro (626 Frenchmen St., 949-0696; should hold you over.

click to enlarge Little Freddie King puts on his green shoes to play the blues at Tipitina's.
  • Little Freddie King puts on his green shoes to play the blues at Tipitina's.


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