Everyone knows the Big Easy is big on booze. Most bars are open 24 hours a day, and it’s perfectly legal to take your drink with you when you leave an establishment. Just be sure to put it in a go-cup, which you can usually find by the door.
Whether you’re looking for upscale, classic New Orleans watering holes, or want to stick to the comfort of dive bars, there’s a place for every mood, time of day, and drink preference. The bars on this list only scratch the surface of the many, many establishments New Orleans offers to keep sobriety at bay. You can find an amazing bar to whet your whistle in literally any part of town, whether you’re in the French Quarter, Uptown, Marigny, Bywater, Warehouse District, Mid-City, and beyond.
“It’s no longer just a lounge or a restaurant. It’s a destination,” bartender Chris Hannah said in an interview published in The Times-Picayune. In 2017, the bar won the prestigious James Beard Award for Outstanding Bar Program. French 75 can be found at Arnaud’s, an historic French-Creole restaurant in the French quarter. Custom-built in the 1800s, the bar offers premium spirits and classic cocktails, as well as some inspired house originals.
Longway Tavern is expressly designed to make you feel at home. The dark interior and large courtyard make Longway comfortable and inviting, reminding you that the French Quarter is, in fact, a neighborhood. More than just a bar, Longway offers creative twists on nostalgic tavern fare, while the cocktail list gives the same treatment to French Quarter classics. Happy Hour is daily from 4 to 7 p.m., with $5 sidecars, daiquiris, Moscow Mules, and select glasses of wine.
All the craft beers here may come from a can, but they’re served in stylish tall glasses. The cans help reinforce the bar’s desire to be eco-friendly, as it’s one of the only bars in the French Quarter that recycles its cans. Black Penney boasts an extensive regional beer list, from Louisiana and beyond. A shabby-chic ambiance is achieved with exposed brick and reclaimed wood. Get out of the craziness of the French Quarter and relax with a beer in this Rampart Street gem.
Whiskey is the focus at Barrel Proof, with an extensive, curated, and unique list of 300-plus whiskies from around the world, including hard-to-find Japanese whiskies. New, limited time whiskies are added weekly. If whiskey’s not your thing, they also offer 50 craft beers from all over the U.S. and across the globe. It’s a world-class neighborhood bar in the Lower Garden district, and the bartenders will make you feel right at home.
Only in New Orleans will you find a beer bar that’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Avenue Pub has been named one of the top 100 beer bars in America, several times over. This is a place that takes beer very seriously, so even if you’re stumbling in at 3 a.m. after a long day of drinking, you’ll be treated to a perfect pint. Choose from over 47 rotating taps and an equal number of bottles, and then go out to the balcony to people-watch as you sip your delicious craft beer. It’s an old-world bar with fireplaces and tin ceilings, and offers creative pub grub if you’re in need of some solid food to go with your liquid dinner.
You’ve never seen a real dive bar until you’ve had a drink at Snake & Jakes in Uptown New Orleans. It’s literally the diviest dive bar on the planet, and an experience in and of itself. This is one of those places that you’re likely to go well after midnight, and it’s not uncommon for the sun to be up by the time you stumble back outside. They’re open every night of the year, especially Christmas. Perfect for cheap, very late night drinks. Voted “New Orleans’ Best Dive Bar” many times over. Go check it out, and see why.
Bartender Chris McMillan was not only a co-founder of the Museum of the American Cocktail, but he’s been listed as one of the 25 most influential cocktail personalities of the 20th-century by Imbibe Magazine. He’s a fourth generation bartender and is known for reciting drink-themed poetry while mixing drinks. And if you sit at the bar, he’ll likely tell you a story while making your cocktail. They offer cocktail classes by the master mixologist, and have an food extensive menu to match the exquisite alcohol-based conconctions.
Twelve Mile Limit opened in Mid-City in 2010, and quickly became a favorite among locals who love craft cocktails, but prefer an unpretentious setting. In addition to cocktails, the bar offers beer, comfort food, a pool table and a patio. The beer list features mainstream domestics and a collection of craft brews. Prices are reasonable, especially considering the high-quality mixology on offer. Check out the brunch offerings on Saturday and Sunday, or come by Tuesday through Sunday for some Cuban fair to complement your adult beverage selections.
With live music seven nights a week (and the Rebirth Brass Band playing every Tuesday night), the Maple Leaf, or the Leaf as it’s known locally, is one of the best places to see live music in town. It’s a neighborhood bar in Uptown New Orleans with a tin ceiling and hopping dance floor. It’s a local staple and gritty dive bar, and you’re guaranteed to be exhausted by the time you leave from all the dancing. Shows are late at night, usually starting around 8 p.m. and going until well after 2 a.m.
Hot Tin is a chic rooftop bar inside the Pontchartrain Hotel. It offers excellent views of the Mississippi River and Downtown New Orleans, and is a lovely place to catch the sunset. Even though it’s not actually downtown, Hot Tin offers one of the best views of the city, with 270-degree views. The menu offers craft cocktails and the decor has a 1940’s vibe.
Your first trip to New Orleans isn’t complete without a trip to Pat O’Brien’s in the French Quarter. This is the home of the famous Hurricane, and also features dueling pianos inside. The dueling piano show is largely dictated by the audience, creating a fun energy that delights everyone who walks into the room. If dueling pianos aren’t your thing, enjoy your strong, sweet Hurricane drink outside in the spacious patio area by the fountain.
An elegant champagne bar on the edge of the French Quarter offering a beautiful and affordable bubbly selection. You’ll also find an array of sparkling wine cocktails, called "bubbles & trouble," on the drink menu, as well as chef-inspired small plates to share. The prosecco pop, sparkling wine served with a seasonal popsicle, is perfect for the nearly year-round New Orleans heat. The “brews & troubles” menu offers a sophisticated selection of whiskeys, as well as “trouble-free” options like the seasonal mocktail or a Congregation Coffee Cold Brew.
The "quintessential jazz club of New Orleans" on Frenchmen Street is a favorite among locals and tourists alike, and for that reason, it’s usually packed. The Spotted Cat is a lively little joint with live local music seven nights a week. Enjoy a drink while listening to top-notch local talent playing jazz, blues, funk, and much more.
Take a spin on the 25-seat revolving merry-go-round bar at the famous Carousel Bar & Lounge in the Hotel Monteleone. You don’t have to be a hotel guest to have a drink at the bar, but it can be a challenge to find a seat, as this is one of the most popular bars in the French Quarter. It was named one of the top 20 bars in the world by Vogue Living, thanks to the novel revolving carousel bar and craft cocktail selection.
Voted the best neighborhood bar in New Orleans, Finn McCool’s is a true Irish Pub located in Mid-City. It’s well-known for screening soccer games, and shows major tournaments like the World Cup, Euro Cup, and Gold Cup, as well as a wide selection of international matches and all the U.S. National team games. The staff is extremely friendly and welcoming, and even when the whole place is packed (which it often is), you won’t have to wait long for a drink.
If you find yourself walking down Frenchmen Street, and fancy a game of ping pong, The John has you covered. Yes, it’s a toilet-themed bar, and definitely a dive bar, but it's also the perfect spot for a late late-night drink if you’re looking for something cold, strong, and cheap. You may not even notice the golden toilet seats among the small round tables lining the wall. It’s open all night, long after “last call” in other cities, so a good place to go as late night slowly, inevitably becomes dawn.
This is the perfect place to get a drink and people watch in the French Quarter. As one reviewer said, “Molly’s has brought the dive bar close to perfection.” Speaking of perfection, be sure to try the Frozen Irish Coffee (which is also available at Erin Rose and 13). It's rich, creamy, and absolutely delicious — not to mention stronger than you’d expect for something that tastes like a frosty dessert. There’s also a photo booth, so you can document your evening with a black and white souvenir photo strip.
Named after what many believe to be the world's first mixed drink, the Sazerac Bar has as much history and lore as its namesake. The famous Paul Ninas murals that flank the long African walnut bar take you back to the grandeur of old New Orleans, a time when Huey P. Long would stroll in, order a Ramos Gin Fizz and spend the next couple hours talking to his constituents. Restored with elegant barstools and plush banquettes, the Sazerac invites locals and visitors alike for well-crafted drinks and free-flowing conversation.
Mimi’s in the Marigny
Mimi’s is a two-level bar that offers tapas and beers in a chill, quirky space. It’s a dark, wooded bar that offers two levels with tons of space to mingle, eat, drink, and dance Free pool and darts are available on the first floor, and the second floor often has a DJ and dancing. The food is fantastic, and the kitchen is open late. Come here for casual dining and a comfortable bar with a full selection of beer, wines and cocktails.
The Country Club is hidden away in New Orleans’ Bywater neighborhood. It features a restaurant, pool, and bar in one. You can also visit on-site massage therapists and massage services while you’re there. It’s tucked behind a beautiful house in the Bywater. Escape the hustle and bustle of the French Quarter to hang out by the poolside bar. If it’s raining, it’s happy hour all day! One other thing to mention: the pool is clothing optional.