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New Orleans nightlife

New Orleans isn't a city. It's a Petrarchan sonnet. There's no other place on the planet like it. I think it was sawed loose from South America and blown by trade winds across the Caribbean until it affixed itself to the southern rim of the United States.
– James Lee Burke

ā‚¬1 - $1.3
79 °
On Frenchmen Street.

You'll want to be in that number, when the saints go marching in.

Balcony Music Club (BMC)

  • Faubourg Marigny, Music, $$$$ $
  • 1331 Decatur St.
  • New Orleans, LA, 70116
  • +1-504-522-2940
  • Website

Free-wheeling live venue for jazzy jam sessions, swing dancers, up-and-comers, and plenty of honky tonk. Sundays take the cake.

Bar Tonique

  • French Quarter, Bar, $$$$ $$
  • 820 N. Rampart St.
  • New Orleans, 70116
  • +1-504-324-6045
  • Website

Teetering on the edge of the French Quarter (on a nondescript street behind a nondescript door) is a fine drinking establishment for modern cocktail enthusiasts. Drinks are made with more than TLC: Fresh juices, homemade tinctures, and rare liquors go into every concoction.

Bouligny Tavern

  • Uptown, Bar, $$$$ $$
  • 3641 Magazine St.
  • New Orleans, LA, 70115
  • +1-504-891-1810
  • Website | Email

Bitter drinks pair perfectly with proscuitto, crostini, fritto misto, and gouda beignets at this super classy Mid-Century boîte.

Cane & Table

  • French Quarter, Bar, $$$$ $$
  • 1113 Decatur St.
  • New Orleans, LA, 70116
  • +1-504-581-1112
  • Website

The "proto tiki" bar from the guys behind lauded cocktail bar Cure is all about classy daquiris, gin with coconut water, and the Boss Colada. An excellent Caribbean-inspired menu (peas and rice, grilled yardbird) can be served to you at the rustic bar or at tables in the airy courtyard out back.

Carousel Bar & Lounge

  • French Quarter, Bar, $$$$ $$
  • Hotel Monteleone, 214 Royal St.
  • New Orleans, 70130
  • +1-504-523-3341
  • Website

There is a carousel — complete with carnival lights on the cresting — rotating ever so slowly in a counter-clockwise fashion, around two bartenders and their top-shelf liquors. Stools act as chariots. Sidle up and take a spin. Things really get interesting after a few gin cocktails.


  • Uptown - Freret, Bar, $$$$ $$
  • 4905 Freret St.
  • New Orleans, LA, 70115
  • +1-504-302-2357
  • Website | Email

Familiarize yourself with the house rules (no baseball caps or shorts, boys) before heading over to this schmancy cocktail bar on a happening little strip Uptown. The space, a reclaimed firehouse, is spacious and sharp. Small plates are carefully prepared and served late.


  • Faubourg Marigny, Bar, $$$$ $
  • 618 Frenchmen St.
  • New Orleans, 70116
  • +1-504-942-3731
  • Website | Email

A double-sided bar serves quality brews and spirits. The sounds of live brass bands and jazz crooners resonate beautifully in the wooden music room. Depending on the moment, the atmosphere is charmingly subdued or totally jamming. It's a nice ebb and flow.

Erin Rose

  • French Quarter, Bar, $$$$ $
  • 811 Conti St.
  • New Orleans, 10112
  • +504-523-8619
  • Website | Email

A classic dive bar and headquarters of awesome sandwich operation Killer Poboys. French bread is stuffed with meat and veggies and other stuff that can soak up all the booze.

French 75 Bar

  • French Quarter, Bar, $$$$ $$
  • 813 Bienville St.
  • New Orleans, 70112
  • +1-504-523-5433
  • Website

Adjacent to Arnaud's dining room is a 1920s-era brasserie bar, a nice place to spend the twilight hours — when the day has ended but the night hasn't quite begun.

Napoleon House

  • French Quarter, Bar, $$$$ $
  • 500 Chartres St.
  • New Orleans, LA, 70130
  • +1-504-524-9752
  • Website | Email

The story goes that Napoleon was invited to take refuge at this old manse, formerly the mayor's abode, in 1821. The emperor never made it there, but classical music (Napoleon's fave) plays around the clock, and helps suspend the bar in another time. Sazeracs are superlative and super cheap. Be sure to sit at the bar and make friends with the tender.

Preservation Jazz Hall

  • French Quarter, Music, $$$$ $
  • 726 St. Peter St.
  • New Orleans, 70116
  • +1-504-522-2841
  • Website | Email

It’s like going to church! A tiny wooden box with a few benches or cushions on the floor. There's no bar, but you have a flask on you, right? Praise to Dixieland.

Prytania Theater

  • Uptown, Cinema, $$$$ $
  • 5339 Prytania St.
  • New Orleans, LA, 70115
  • +1-504-891-2787
  • Website | Email

The oldest operating movie theater in the city (est. 1915), alternates between classics and contemporary flicks on a single screen.

Rock ā€˜nā€™ Bowl

  • Mid City, Bowling Alley, $$$$ $
  • 3000 S Carrollton Ave.
  • New Orleans, LA, 70118
  • +1-504-861-1700
  • Website | Email

First you rock. Then you bowl.

The Saint Bar & Lounge

  • Lower Garden District, Bar, $$$$ $
  • 961 St. Mary St.
  • New Orleans, 70130
  • +504-523-0050
  • Website

The dive bar of all dive bars. Lots of punk, junk, and attitude. Best time to swing by for a shot and a chaser is after 2 a.m.

The Spotted Cat

  • Faubourg Marigny, Music, $$$$ $
  • 623 Frenchmen St.
  • New Orleans, 70116
  • +1-504-943-3887
  • Website | Email

Tiny and old-timey. There’s a piano in the ladies room. Catch the New Orleans Cotton Mouth Kings — a motley crew playing classic, lo-fi swing. They do a great medley of spirituals and really get the crowd moving.


  • Uptown, Music, $$$$ $$
  • 501 Napoleon Ave.
  • New Orleans, LA, 70115
  • +1-504-895-8477
  • Website

Locals love this neighborhood juke joint, which has been hosting bands with local and international followings since the '70s.

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