New Orleans has more bars per capita than any other US city, which means it also has more bad decisions per capita than any other US city -- so long as you go to the right place. The place where “Alright, just one more Jagerbomb” turns into “Oh my god. Where are my pants?” The Bad Decision Bar. The Crescent City has at least nine, and here they are:
Lower Garden District
The Saint is what happens when professional metal musicians decide to open a bar in the Lower Garden District, and it’s about what you’d predict. It should go without saying, but you probably don’t want have intimate relations with anyone in the bathroom at The Saint unless you want to wind up Googling "infectious disease specialists in the NOLA area," which you will.
There are three things you have to know about Ms. Mae’s, other than the fact that Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan habitually stops there for a Rolling Rock after a win in the Superdome. First, it doesn’t close (and if that isn’t a warning shot in the direction of your decision-making abilities, nothing is). Also, it’s known to be one of the cheapest bars in the city (warning shot numero dos!). Finally, there’s a posted list of shame featuring those who have crossed the line at some point and gotten themselves 86’ed. Seriously... imagining what it might possibly take to get tossed out of Ms. Mae’s, you do NOT want to be on that list.
There are a number of questionable bars on Bourbon St -- most of them are fairly sketchy, for that matter -- but there’s something existentially troubling about a place that features 900 slushy machines filled with candy-hued frozen daiquiris loaded to the gills with cheap ethanol. These are great during a leisurely summer afternoon, on occasion, but if you start pounding them, you’ll see firsthand what “Cajun Eggnog” tastes like in reverse.
Karaoke can sometimes be fun in small groups with a few close friends. Then there are karaoke clubs like the Cats Meow, where you'll find a teeming phalanx of sweaty humans just hoping to get loaded enough to blurt out their rendition of “Sweet Caroline” at top volume into a microphone, and you will be one of those people. Nothing good will come out of a trip to the Cats Meow. Nothing. Step away from the mic.
An innocent hope in heading to The Boot, which is essentially on the Tulane University campus, might be to chat up some fascinating, comely undergrads. In fact, the bar’s own website declares, “If you are eager for cheap drinks along with hot girls who are enjoying them, then this is the place for you." Believing this is the first of your many bad decisions to come.
In a list of bars known for impeding one’s proper decision-making abilities, the bar that has a TOILET THEME is probably going to be up there.
Having naked people around invites a certain sort of clientele, and you’ll surely find it at the Country Club’s “clothing optional” pool.
To quote an anonymous local, Tiki’s is “not bad." It's just the place you go because the bartender you want to pork is closing up the Frenchmen St bar and you have to follow him/her there and get even drunker if you're ever going to have a chance at hitting that.
It’s one of the most heralded divey institutions in NOLA, and simultaneously one of the most reviled. An evening at F&M’s might involve a number of scenarios, the most pleasant of which is merely dancing on the leopard-print pool table. Others involve bodily fluids.
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1. Fat Tuesday633 Bourbon St, New Orleans
2. Saint Bar & Lounge961 Saint Mary St, New Orleans
3. The Club Ms Mae's4336 Magazine St, New Orleans
4. Cats Meow701 Bourbon St, New Orleans
5. The Boot1039 Broadway St, New Orleans
6. The John2040 Burgundy St, New Orleans
7. The Country Club634 Louisa St, New Orleans
8. Aunt Tiki's1207 Decatur St, New Orleans
9. F&M Patio Bar4841 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans
If you're in the mood for a frozen daiquiris, head to Fat Tuesday and prepare for a crushing ice cream headache after sucking down a number of delicious boozy slushies.
A gem among dive bars, The Saint is a local favorite for NOLA's indie-punk crowd, featuring delightfully decrepit walls, video games, cheap drinks, and theme nights like Tiki Tuesdays.
Ms Mae's is a 24-hour dive bar that is known around town for its $2 well drinks, which college kids can cop for half-price on Thursday nights, and is a quintessential New Orleans institution, a beacon on the corner of Magazine and Napoleon. Inside, you’ll find pool, air hockey and foosball, and drinks served in plastic cups. You’ll find big groups and singles, older folks drinking during the day, college students hooking up at night, and maybe that rare soul boldly embarking on the Ms. Mae’s 24 challenge: finishing one drink per hour every hour for a full day.
Located in the French Quarter, this booze joint is regularly teeming with inebriated party goers belting out their favorite tunes at the karaoke mic.
Essentially located on Tulane University's campus, The Boot is typically filled with undergrads enjoying cheap drinks, aka it's usually a pretty solid party no matter when you come (which is pretty much any time during the night since they're open til 6a nearly every night).
New Orleans is infamously hot and muggy, so in the summer there are a number of cool places to escape the heat, but the best one is The John, a toilet-themed dive bar that, unlike museums, is always open. Step into the meat cooler of a bar and belly up for something cold, strong, and cheap. If you’re looking for frills, there’s a jukebox, a ping pong table, and golden toilet seats.
The Country Club is a restaurant, bar, and pool all-in-one. Order a beer with your lunch, then walk upstairs and drink another one poolside. Be sure to visit the on-site massage therapists and spa services while you're there. Oh, and did we mention that the pool is clothing optional?
This French Quarter dive bar is popular for a number of reasons, three of which are their cheap drinks, their awesome jukebox, and the fact that you'll rarely find tourists crowding up the place.