The eight coolest bars in New Orleans

Outdoor patio drinking
New Orleans

The eight coolest bars in New Orleans
The eight coolest bars in New Orleans


Fact: New Orleans has more bars per capita than any other American city (we're #1!), which means that the task of narrowing this vast collection down to the best eight is all the harder, especially when you consider the brain damage research required -- but we nobly took one for the team, and put together this lineup of only the city's finest drinkeries:

1) Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone 214 Royal St; 504.523.3341
Grab a drink at the Tales of the Cocktail HQ's 64yr-old lobby lounge, where the famous revolving bar once inspired regulars like Ernest Hemingway and Truman Capote to write stories better... then become incomprehensible after imbibing at a spinning bar.


2) The Piano Bar at Pat O’Brien’s 718 St. Peter; 504.525.4823
Sure, the vibe might be on the touristy side (they have a freaking fire fountain), but Pat O’s has been a NOLA institution since prohibition (illegally, of course, which makes it all the more awesome). Skip the outdoor space, grab one of the finest Mary's in town, and check out the piano stage, where two dueling, copper-plated baby grands serve as the centerpiece for a few rowdy bars of a different kind.

3) Bar Tonique 820 N. Rampart St.; 504.324.6045
If you're in the mood for some great hand-crafted classic cocktails (think Corpse Revivers, Sazeracs, Old Fashioneds, and of course the Vieux Carre) this place'll do them more than justice, as well as slinging some amazing originals and a quirky beer list (English pale ale from a Mexican micro, anyone?), all of which is served up with surprisingly little pretense.


4) Bacchanal Wine 600 Poland Ave.; 504.522.9771
Is it a wine laboratory? A restaurant? Performance space? Garden? Yes, yes it is. Sample amazing wines and accompanying cuisine in one of the most comfortable spots in the city, and leave with a bottle or two to bring home. What started as a pop-up with chefs serving food on paper plates has become the go-to spot for New Orleans oenophiles, and rightfully so.


5) Snake and Jake’s Christmas Club Lounge 7612 Oak St.; 504.861.2802
It’s Xmas every day at Snake's, the darkest, divey-est of dive bars that Uptown NOLA has to offer, decorated for Yuletide all year long, and chock full of cheap cocktails, and cheaper beer, which'll definitely leave you red-faced and climbing into people's chimneys jolly.


6) Blue Nile 532 Frenchman St.; 504.948.2583
When you want serious New Orleans music any day of the week, you head to Frenchman St. And when you head to Frenchman St., you go to the Blue Nile. Whether it’s blues, funk, brass, rock, or the awesome weekly improvisational jazz show, grab a cold one and know that you are not going to see a bad live performance here. Period.

Scott Gold

7) Tivoli & Lee 2 Lee Circle; 504.962.0909
A relative newcomer to the NOLA drinking scene, Tivoli & Lee has one of the city’s finest collections of American whiskey (50+ bourbons alone), as well as an admitted “whiskey nerd” head mixologist to take you through the science and love behind the brown stuff. Don’t miss the stellar house cocktails, either, especially their bourbon punch variation w/ Honey Smacks-infused milk, which is just as addictive as it sounds.

8) Bellocq 936 St. Charles Ave; 504.962.0900
Named for a photographer who shot the Red Light District during Prohibition, Hotel Modern's boozery, Bellocq, is a candle-lit throwback that stirs up nothing but pre-Temperance cobblers, crustas, smashes, and punches... which one should drink in moderation lest they lead to any.

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1. The Carousel Bar & Lounge 214 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (French Quarter)

Aptly named, the famous Carousel Bar & Lounge in the Hotel Monteleone is NOLA's only revolving bar. But don't worry -- you'll only turn one revolution every 15 minutes, so you probably won't puke up that last Vieux Carre on that pretty patron sitting to your right.

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2. Pat O'Brien's 718 Saint Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116 (French Quarter)

What do you get when you combine a fun-loving Irish bar with the wildness of Bourbon St? Pat O'Brien's bar, of course. We also would have accepted "an inebriated evening" or "hungover the following day".

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3. Bar Tonique 820 N Rampart St, New Orleans, LA 70116 (French Quarter)

Bar Tonique in the French Quarter is very serious about its cocktails. The menu divides the beverages into proper classes, such as punch, sour or sling, and you can pick out which kind of drink you could like to indulge in under each definition. Of course, you can't go wrong with the classic Dark and Stormy, but because the bar provides ample seating, you'll be able to stay for a while to enjoy as many different kinds of cocktails you (and your wallet) can handle.

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4. Bacchanal Wine 600 Poland Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117 (Bywater)

Customization is what makes Bywater Bacchanal a fun dining experience. You personally pick a wine bottle straight from their wine cellar and pair it with as many pieces of cheese as you can stomach. Head out to the backyard for live jazz and string-light ambience, and a waiter will deliver your cheese selections with complimentary bread, preserves and nuts. If you want a more substantial meal, Bacchanal also offers an extensive fine dining menu.

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5. Snake and Jake's Christmas Club Lounge 7612 Oak St, New Orleans, LA 70118 (Uptown)

If you're looking for a strangely named dive bar that's been voted the best in NOLA, and also has a bar cat and a laid back vibe, look no further than Snake and Jake's.

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6. Blue Nile 532 Frenchmen St, New Orleans, LA 70116

When you're lookin' for a live music fix, swing on down to the Blue Nile, grab a drink, and listen to some of the hottest blues, funk, soul, and brass artists that NOLA has to offer.

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7. Tivoli & Lee 2 Lee Circle, New Orleans, LA 70130 (Central Business District)

This sleek neighborhood bistro focuses on Southern favorites like fried oysters, andouille tater tots, and pork belly. If you're into American whiskey, check out their flights of the day and cocktail specials.

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8. Bellocq 936 St. Charles, New Orleans, LA 70130 (Central Business District)

Located in the Hotel Modern, Bellocq is an upscale cocktail lounge that specializes in Cobblers (drinks served with crushed ice, citrus, berries and a fruit garnish) and other craft cocktails in an upscale and intimate atmosphere. Plush couches and vintage bar stools provide ample seating, and you won't have to fight a crowd to get a drink.