Destinations

Your 2017 Guide to New Orleans: For Bartenders, By Bartenders

Postcard illustrating Old Absinthe House in New Orleans
New Orleans' Old Absinthe House was an epicenter for French and Spanish aristocracy in its early days. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Editor's note: This guide continues to evolve over the years, but its original purpose — to steer visiting bartenders toward the best bartender-approved food, drink, and frivolity in the city — remains. Below, you'll find our 2017 version of the guide that we circulate to our CAPs each year. This is by no means an exhaustive list (because that'd take a helluva lot longer) — but rather, it's a handful of recommendations often made to our visiting friends in the service industry. Special thanks to French 75's Chris Hannah and The Saint's Nicholas Jarrett for continuing this tradition. Check out the Google map and read below for a few tips and tidbits.

Breakfast when you have a seminar

(meaning close to hotels/in French Quarter)

  • Stanley Restaurant in Jackson Square on the St. Ann side
  • Big Killer Poboys at 219 Dauphine
  • Daisy Dukes at 121 Chartres (open 24 hours and delivers!)
  • Old Coffee Pot at 714 St. Peter (yummy Milk Punch)
  • Café Beignet at 334 Royal (just one block away from the hotel)
  • Verti Marte at 1201 Royal (other side of the Quarter and open 24/7, killer sandwiches, breakfast food, THEY DELIVER: cigarettes, hygiene products, water, aspirin, champagne, etc. Give ‘em a call at 504.525.4767)

Breakfast when you don’t have a seminar

(time to cab out of the Quarter)

  • Bearcat Cafe at 2521 Jena (right around the corner from Cure if you’re staying Uptown, great coffee, plenty of healthy food options including vegan and vegetarian)
  • Café Envie at 1241 Decatur (It’s still in the Quarter just waaay on the other side, good breakfast)
  • Croissant D’Or Patisserie at 617 Ursulines (see Envie above)
  • Cake Café at 2440 Chartres (not a very clever name as they bake cakes, but damn good food and coffee)
  • District Coffee at Jackson and Magazine (nitro cold brew and DONUTS)
  • Hivolt Coffee and Bakery at 1829 Sophie Wright (swag baked goods, vegetarian fare, baller coffee -- see below)
  • Horn’s at 1940 Dauphine Street (great breakfast and a full bar)
  • Lil’ Dizzy’s at 1500 Esplanade (comfort food, breakfast and lunch)
  • Satsuma Café at 3218 Dauphine Street
  • Surrey’s Café and Juice Bar at 1418 Magazine
  • Slim Goodies Diner at 3322 Magazine
  • Stein’s Deli at 2207 Magazine (Amazing. If you just need a bagel, Stein’s your man)
  • Ruby Slipper at 139 S. Cortez
  • Elizabeth’s at 601 Gallier
  • Il Posto at 4607 Dryades (Bagels, salads, paninis)
  • Camellia Grill at 626 S. Carrollton (Take the St. Charles Streetcar, a great experience in itself)
  • Willa Jean at 611 O’Keefe (Chef Kelly Fields. Fancy breakfast in the CBD)

Coffee in New Orleans (Thank. God.)

Fancy coffee for coffee people

  • Spitfire on St. Peter between Chartres and Royal (Panther espresso, pour overs)
  • French Truck at 217 Chartres (behind Monteleone, river side)
  • Arrow Café at 628 N. Rampart (Four Barrel off a GB5, pour overs, bike repair)
  • Hi Volt at 1928 Sophie Wright (Counter Culture, Oji drips, pour overs, espresso)
  • Church Alley at 1228 Oretha Castle Haley
  • Solo Coffee at 1301 Poland Avenue (Panther espresso, best growlers of iced coffee)
  • Stumptown in the Ace Hotel at 610 Carondelet
  • Revelator at 637 Tchoupitoulas (they were doing specials for Tales folks last year… may have been a grand opening affair, but check them out)
  • Salon by Sucre at 622 Conti (super swag espresso and pour over java. NEW and CLOSEST TO THE MONTELEONE)
  • French Truck Roasting in the LGD (Lower Garden District) at 1200 Magazine
  • Orange Couch at 2339 Royal (in the Marigny, also noteworthy for their excellent Thai iced teas and café sua da)
  • There’s also Cherry Coffee and French Truck way Uptown, by Cure, but you probably won’t make it there
  • Other good bets: Satsuma, Café Envie, and Merchant on Common Street between Carondelet and Baronne

The above are the best coffees in the city. Pour overs, proper toddy, and so on. Spitfire is going to get crushed, so show up EARLY in the day. Everything else is PJ’s.

New Orleans-style coffee (think chicory)

  • Café du Monde at 800 Decatur (the bottom of Jackson Square: chicory coffee, iced or hot, with powdered sugar-doused beignets. If you’ve never been, hit them at least once)
  • Café Beignet at 334 Royal (basically right next to the Monteleone: perfectly serviceable chicory-coffee and light breakfast; crazy later in the week)

*FROZEN IRISH COFFEE* (delicious and adult, just trust us)

  • Erin Rose at 811 Conti
  • Molly’s on Toulouse at 732 Toulouse
  • Molly’s on the Market at 1107 Decatur

CAFE BRULOT, BRUH (on fire. CLASSIC)

  • Antoine’s (oldest restaurant in New Orleans, come for the show)
  • Arnaud’s (tableside service on a rolling cart. Dress up)
  • Galatoire’s (ultra-fancy, old school, on Bourbon between Iberville and Bienville. Dress like you’re a Southern politician. Think seersucker and linen)

Lunch in the French Quarter*

  • Café Amelie at 912 Royal (great cocktails and excellent courtyard)
  • Napoleon House at corner of St Louis and Chartres (Muffalettas + Pimm’s Cups)
  • Green Goddess at 307 Exchange Place (they close at 9pm, not open on Monday)
  • Coop’s at 1109 Decatur Street (local favorite)
  • Port of Call on Esplanade (burgers, steaks, baked potatoes, super strong old school tiki drinks)
  • Killer Poboy in Erin Rose (closed Tuesdays)
  • the full-service, stand-alone Killer Poboy at 219 Dauphine
  • SoBou in W Hotel
  • Kingfish at Chartres and Conti (Chris McMillian’s cocktail program as well)
  • Felipe’s at 301 N. Peters (serviceable Mexican with fresh margaritas and a tiki bar upstairs on certain nights of the week)
  • Verti Marte at 1201 Royal (again, there’s a whole grocery poboy culture, and Verti Marte ain’t nothing to f*ck with. Fried oyster, fried shrimp, shrimp philly, “All that Jazz,” and “Ernie’s Powerhouse.” They also have veggie sandwiches for the vegetarians)

*see also Breakfasts In French Quarter

Lunch Outside the French Quarter

  • Cochon and Butcher, both at 930 Tchoupitoulas (Donald Link is the boss)
  • Pêche at 800 Magazine (seafood. James Beard 2014 Best New American Restaurant)
  • La Boucherie at 8115 Jeannette Street
  • Toups South (inside Cocktail Museum, dope poboys!!!)
  • Tracey’s at 2604 Magazine (roast beef poboy)
  • Parasol’s in Irish Channel (they have frozen Irish, too ☺)
  • The Joint at 701 Mazant (cool area and great BBQ)
  • Company Burger at 4600 Freret or in the CBD off O’Keefe (best goddamn burger)
  • Crabby Jacks at 428 Jefferson Highway (2 hour total commute time needed)
  • Parkway Tavern and Bakery (best poboys)
  • Café Bamboo at 435 Esplanade and Decatur
  • Willie Mae’s Scotch House or Dooky Chase’s Restaurant (in the Treme, legit New Orleans fried chicken)
  • Tan Dinh at 1705 Lafayette Street (in Gretna on the West Bank. This is the best Vietnamese food in AMERICA. It’s across the river, so a ten-fifteen minute, $12-15 car ride. Go, but plan for transport back beforehand. Have the quail)

Good eats to Google on your own time…

  • Sylvain (open for lunch on Saturday and Sundays, dinner and drinks all nights)
  • Meauxbar (dinner only, a block from Bar Tonique, and a couple blocks from Black Penny)
  • Cane & Table
  • Boucherie
  • Toups' Meatery
  • Root
  • La Boca
  • Herbsaint
  • Hotel Le Marais
  • SoBou
  • MoPho
  • Shaya
  • Angeline
  • Casa Borrega
  • Milkfish
  • Cavan
  • Compere Lapin
  • $$$: Galatoire’s, Arnaud’s, Broussards, Commander’s Palace, August, Gautreau’s, Patois, Clancy’s


NOLA Institutions

  • Café du Monde (again)
  • Central Grocery (lunch/muffalettas)
  • Clover Grill (24-hour greasy spoon diner in the quarter)
  • Liuzza’s by the Track (gumbo and poboys)
  • Pascal’s Manale (lunch and dinner, original BBQ shrimp, blocks from Cure)
  • Hansen’s Sno-Bliz (Sno-balls! Uptown, beat the heat)
  • Tujague’s (lunch and dinner)


NOLA Cocktail Bars

(Jesus Christ let's get this out of the way)

Cure, Sylvain, Catahoula, the bars at the Ace, SoBou, Cane and Table, Carousel Bar and back bar, Barrel Proof, Tiki Tolteca, Swizzle Stick, Bourbon O, Herbsaint, Sazerac Bar, French 75 Bar, Broussard’s, Tujague’s, Compere Lapin, Bouligny Tavern, Cavan, Coquette, 12 Mile Limit, Delachaise, Loa, Tonique, Victory Bar, Bombay Club, Kingfish, the Mayhaw at the St. Roch Market, Latitude 29, Cafe Henri, Bar Revel (Chris McMillian's spot)…moving on.

Dive Bars in French Quarter

(now we're talking)

  • Erin Rose at 811 Conti (remember there’s a room in the back and COFFEE)
  • Chart Room at 300 Chartres
  • Three Legged Dog at 400 Burgundy (2-for-1 beers without ladies and poles and whale-riding)
  • Toulouse Dive Bar/the Dungeon at 738 Toulouse
  • Molly’s at the Market at 1107 Decatur (COFFEE)
  • Abbey at 1123 Decatur Street (crusty as all get-up)
  • Jimani at 141 Chartres Street
  • Alibi at 811 Iberville Street for COFFEE
  • Aunt Tiki’s at 1207 Decatur (interesting people hang out here late night)
  • R Bar at 1431 Royal (2 blocks from jazz bars on Frenchmen, look it up)
  • Santos at 1135 Decatur (the Saint’s new spot)

Dive Bars Outside French Quarter

  • The Saint at 961 St. Mary (Chris’ Hannah’s neighborhood bar, and Nick Jarrett’s main squeeze)
  • Pal’s at 949 North Rendon (Mid-City’s jam and COFFEE)
  • BJ’s at 4301 Burgundy Street (live music and dopeness)
  • J and J’s at 800 France (just south of BJ’s)
  • Saturn Bar at 3067 St. Claude (a New Orleans institution. Consistently noted as one of America’s great dive bars. You’ve seen their logo in your own town on a bar wall, I almost guarantee you)
  • Poor Boys at 1334 St. Bernard (old school, set-up bar recently taken over by friends on St. Claude. You’re guaranteed to see a mix of real neighborhood folks in the after. Plus, set-ups before 10pm. That’s the old school buy-a-half-pint-of-liquor-and-mixers and a finger bowl of ice service. Some real New Orleans right there. And a who’s-who of the best downtown dive bartenders and artists behind the stick. Fun.)
  • Bud Rip’s at 900 Piety (one of the oldest unrenovated bars in New Orleans, newly under non-racist ownership and an up-and-coming hipster hot spot. Where the hot people are, if you’re into bikers, rockers, and tattoos (dudes and ladies both). Plus, the roomiest pool table in town.)
  • Lost Love Lounge/Mimi’s in the Marigny (at the corner of Franklin and Royal. Go to both, when you’re at one, ask where the other one is…then go back and forth if you wish)
  • Big Daddy’s (across the street from Mimi’s is legendary as well. No more sex toy claw machines, but still killer. Misty is the best, shower her with tips and affection. All roads lead to Big Daddy’s, but be very careful, the place is a time-warp and never closes. Before you know it, the sun is going down… again)
  • Brothers III Lounge at 4520 Magazine (Cure’s after-hours jawn)
  • Miss Mae’s at 4336 Magazine (where nights go to die)
  • Snake and Jake’s at 7612 Oak (mandatory if you go to Cure, according to Chris Hannah)
  • Crown and Anchor at 200 Pelican Avenue in Algiers Point (not a dive but a dreamy English Pub. Take the ferry across from Harrah’s Casino, it’s cheap for foot traffic)

The Bourbon Street Experience

  • the Original Tropical Isle at Bourbon and Toulouse. Skip the hand grenade, get the Shark Attack. Have Kyle make it for you if he’s there — tell ‘em Nick from the Saint sent you.
  • Pat O’Brien’s on St. Peter between Bourbon and Royal (fire fountains, dueling copper pianos, the quintessential Bourbon Street jawn. Hurricanes. It’s the original. Everyone should have one once)
  • Oz on Bourbon and St. Ann. (the Quarter’s gay bar. Your leaders in the CAP program will most likely take you here, but especially now, go visit, show pride, and solidarity. Have a blast dancing your ass off)
  • Lafitte’s Blacksmith Bar at Bourbon and St. Philip (Usually acknowledged as being one of the oldest bar buildings in America. Real old school French Quarter, pirates, and patriots. Purple Drank)
  • Deja Vu Showgirls on Bourbon (Dance clubs are still a big part of Bourbon Street. If you choose to go hit one, Deja Vu is one of the most democratic on Bourbon, and many of our best burlesque dancers and friends pull shifts here. Catch the right folks, and the playlist is more Danzig, Marilyn Manson, and southern rock. Tip your dancers!)

Frozen Daiquiris

  • Gene’s on Elysian Fields and St. Claude. (It’s not drive-thru, but they sell frozens by the gallon. Be sweet to the neighborhood folks who run it, and they’ll take good care of you. It’s July, it’s f*ck-all hot, and a frozen, sweet, highly alcoholic beverage is probably just what you need. There’s a ton of secret drinks that aren’t on the menu. Get at me about those)
  • Queenie’s on St. Claude

Occupational Health

  • Foot Reflexology Center 1237 Decatur: Reflexology & good, cheap chair massage.

Haberdasheries

  • Funky Monkey at 3127 Magazine
  • Miss Claudia’s at 4204 Magazine (New Orleans Costume Shop is on the same block…you never know my friends, you never know)
  • Fleurty Girl at two locations 623 St. Peter and 3117 Magazine (when you’re visiting Funky Monkey)
  • Meyer the Hatter is a must
  • Le Garage at 1234 Decatur (also check out the boutique next door to look for outfits)
  • Goorin Hats at 709 Royal (there’s also one on the 2100 block of Magazine, see below)
  • The 2000/2100 blocks of Magazine (have plethora of shops for clothes and hats and bowties and the best old-school shave you’ll ever have. Call Aidan Gill for Men 504.587.9090 for a reservation for a shave. Ladies, do save up for a dress from Trashy Diva…they’re local favourites among the birds here and a very nice Nola memento you’ll keep wearing for years (so says Chris Hannah)
  • Hustler Hollywood at 111 Bourbon (for your all your adult/alternative needs)

Tattoos

  • Downtown Tattoo at 501 Frenchmen (official tattoo partner for Tales; owner Hayley used to work with Sailor Jerry. They’re great. Walks-ins (although try not to crush them with seventeen people like we did a few years back with no notice, 504.266.2211)
  • Abracadabra at 4921 Freret (DIRECTLY NEXT TO CURE and is truly righteous — Jordan is the man. So’s Cornbread and crew. The most rock and roll parlor in town. You’ll want an appointment. Call 504.702.8748)
  • Tattoo A-Go-Go isn’t far from Cure at 4421 Magazine (Kenny does great work. It’s also right across the street from Brothers III Lounge, New Orleans’ notorious uptown country dive bar. Call 504.899.8229)
  • Electric Ladyland Tattoo just up the street at 610 Frenchmen (also excellent. Ask for Matty. They can handle walk-ins as well. Call 504.947.8286)
  • Eye Candy at 1578 Magazine (killer artists. Some require advance appointments. Call 504.299.8222)

Pools

  • the Country Club at 634 Louisa in the Bywater (used to be clothing optional, cooled saltwater pool with a cabana bar outside, smoking +, pool table, food, Jacuzzi, and sauna. It gets wild. Remember IT IS NOT CLOTHING OPTIONAL ANYMORE; BRING A BATHING SUIT! OR AT LEAST UNDERWEAR)
  • the Drifter Hotel at 3522 Tulane in Mid-City (is new, hip, clothing optional. People in the hood are super amp’d about it)

Voodoo Shops

  • Marie Laveau’s at 739 Bourbon
  • VooDoo Museum at 724 Dumaine
  • Julia Gallery 617 Chartres (not typical voodoo dolls, but my favourite)
  • F&F Botanica at 801 N. Broad (is the REAL deal. Take a car)
  • Carmel and Sons at 1532 Dumaine in the Treme (small but dope and heavy on the Haitian)

Live Music

  • Frenchmen Street is a safe bet every single night, period. Go, and tell your cab driver “Frenchmen and Chartres” and you’re set.
  • But, nightly, this is how it generally goes:
  • Monday Night is great at Mimi’s Upstairs at 2601 Royal, and Maple Leaf Uptown at 8316 Oak St. (Monday is also great at Maple Leaf on Oak Street, see Tuesdays)
  • BJ’s is excellent on Mondays as well, corner of Burgundy and Lesseps one block from Vaughans
  • Tuesday Night is Maple Leaf at 8316 Oak (while you’re there, drop by Cure at Freret and Upperline Streets)
  • Wednesday night is great at DBA on Frenchmen, also Candlelight Lounge at 1200 N. Robertson
  • I truly hope you’ll check out Candlelight Lounge for Treme Brass Band, although our beloved Uncle Lionel passed away last year
  • Thursday Night is great at Vaughan’s on Lesseps and Dauphine
  • Friday Night: Frenchmen Street is the best
  • Dos Jefes at 5535 Tchoupitoulas (If you want to break away from the scene for a cigar and jazz)
  • On Sunday, it’s Bacchanal at the end of the world at Chartres and Poland. Your leaders will bring you here.
  • And if metal/rock/BOUNCE is more your jam, Siberia at Franklin and St. Claude is a must. If you’re into that kind of thing, you should also be aware that Tales ALWAYS falls on the week of Creepyfest NOLA, and there are tons of cool local acts playing around town. Just Google Creepyfest NOLA for schedules.
  • Also, across the way from Siberia is Kajun’s: 24/7 karaoke. Woof.

If you miss Rebirth on Tuesday night or Kermit on Thursday you should be ashamed. Ditto for Katey Red or Big Freedia if they’re playing while you’re here. Sissy Bounce. Trust.

HAVE FUN! BE SAFE! IF YOU’RE OUTSIDE OF THE QUARTER, TAKE A CAB HOME!

IF YOU CAN, SUPPORT OUR LOCAL CAB COMPANY

UNITED CAB DISPATCH: (504) 522-9771

LYFT WORKS IN A PINCH TOO. JUST BE SAFE!!!



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