The Mexican-Style Grasshopper Tacos You Have to Try When You're in South Beach
The Victorian Lounge
The Columns HotelAddress and Info
Upper Garden District
The view from the patio terrace looking out onto the historic St. Charles Streetcar Line should be enough to convince you to check out The Columns' Victorian Lounge. If not, the drinks inside will. Within the mahogany-paneled walls (imported from Honduras, no less) and under the gorgeous brass chandeliers, patrons can try some great versions of classic cocktails, along with originals like the St. Charles Breeze (cucumber, muddled mint, lime, Hendrick’s gin, Chartreuse, Sprite, and tonic water) and the Louisiana Sunrise (made with muddled mint, Cointreau, Stoli vodka, ginger beer, and fresh fruit juice). The bar itself once served as a family dining room, and that homey feel still permeates the lounge area, so visitors might find it difficult to leave after a couple drinks.
Carousel Bar & Lounge
Hotel MonteleoneAddress and Info
How many bars are situated within a working merry-go-round? Since 1949, the Carousel Bar has lazily rotated beside the hotel lobby while seating countless famous patrons. The room was expanded a few years back to accommodate more visitors, and now even includes a standalone bar (for those prone to motion sickness, of course). Wherever you choose to order a drink, be sure to sample the original Vieux Carre cocktail, made with Cognac, Benedictine, rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and a twist of lemon along with Peychaud's and Angostura bitters.
The Bombay Club
Prince Conti HotelAddress and Info
For over 20 years, The Bombay Club has been the go-to for martinis in town. It offers more than 50 varieties, along with other drinks ranging from pre-Prohibition mainstays to newer concoctions. Hide out in one of Bombay Club's more private alcove booths while enjoying live jazz and small plates from the kitchen, which fuses Cajun cooking with traditional British fare.
Bourbon "O" Bar
Bourbon Orleans HotelAddress and Info
Bourbon "O" Bar offers respite from the madness of Bourbon Street, and is mainly known for its perfect take on mainstay cocktails, along with the opportunity to try a classic absinthe drip fountain. While waiting for a six- or 12-minute Ramos' Gin Fizz (literally mixed and shaken for that long, per a Crescent City recipe dating back to 1888), visitors can sip on one of a number of local draft beers while watching out the window as Bourbon Street novices stumble over themselves.
The Rooftop Bar
The Roosevelt New OrleansAddress and Info
Central Business District
The Rooftop Bar is perfect for the dog days of summer when the humidity is almost too much to bear. Cool off in Rooftop’s waters, lounge in one of its cabanas on the rooftop terrace, and gaze out at the New Orleans cityscape with an amazing tropical cocktail in hand. Particularly worth trying: the Moscow mule, mai tai, and original "Frozevelt" (made with citrus vodka, lime juice, and marasca cherry syrup). The bar also has a large snack menu Thursday through Sunday.
Hilton New Orleans RiversideAddress and Info
Central Business District
Public Belt is a newer establishment, but it owes a fair amount of its class to bygone eras of the city (including its name, a nod to a 1900s-era railroad line). Against a background of live jazz, Public Belt offers classic cocktails and modern drinks inspired by turn-of-the-century prostitutes and madams. The Scarlet Harlot combines Patron Silver tequila, dry vermouth, lemon juice, and apricot liqueur, while Ella's Sinful Secret features St-Germain, Boodles gin, dry vermouth, and celery bitters.
Q&C HotelAddress and Info
Only open for a couple years, this bar has racked up a number of local "Best Of" awards. The atmosphere is a bit more refined to fit with the smaller boutique lodging and modern metallic decor of the lodge. But with five-dollar high balls and a rotating specialty list during the daily happy hour, it's hard to stay away. Q&C's kitchen also offers some pretty hefty bar food, including a ridiculous house burger featuring arugula and Boursin cheese, as well as a decadent charcuterie plate.
The Ritz-CarltonAddress and Info
It doesn't get much fancier than the Davenport Lounge. Named after the Grammy award-winning jazz trumpeter and vocalist Jeremy Davenport, the posh third-floor bar serves a bevy of classic and newer cocktails to hotel guests and locals alike. Jeremy himself performs with a full band four nights a week, and you never know who might be sitting in the audience or onstage (Paul McCartney and Kevin Hart have been spotted at the Davenport). To nurse whatever headaches might ail you the next day, the Lounge also offers afternoon tea times daily for when you finally tumble out of bed.
Polo Club Lounge
Windsor Court HotelAddress and Info
Central Business District
Polo Club Lounge looks and feels about how it sounds -- dark wood, equestrian motifs, plush cushioning, and stiff drinks reminiscent of a classic English country club. While Polo Club doesn't skimp on cocktails, you'd be wise to look at their wine menu, which features over 600 labels. The bartenders know their stuff, too, and will be happy to help make a decision if it all becomes a bit too overwhelming. Although the Lounge is currently closed for renovations until mid-September, it will be well worth the wait when it reopens.
The Green Bar
The WestinAddress and Info
Central Business District
Located on the 11th floor of Canal Place, the Central Business District's high-end shopping center, this is an excellent place to get away from the busy foot traffic on the streets below. Try the signature Cucumber Bloody Mary or Bubbly Martini (or one of both), then strike up a game of backgammon or chess. If you’d like to relax with your drink, grab one of the high-top tables overlooking the river's barge and ship traffic. The view alone is worth a visit, but the drinks and low-key atmosphere is enough to make you think about booking a room.
1. The Victorian Lounge3811 Saint Charles Ave, New Orleans
2. Carousel Bar & Lounge214 Royal St, New Orleans
3. The Bombay Club830 Conti St, New Orleans
4. Bourbon O' Bar730 Bourbon Street, New Orleans
5. Rooftop Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel130 Roosevelt Way, New Orleans
6. Public Belt2 Poydras St, New Orleans
7. Q&C Hotel Bar344 Camp, New Orleans
8. Davenport Lounge921 Canal St, New Orleans
9. The Polo Club Lounge300 Gravier St, New Orleans
10. The Green Bar100 Rue Iberville, New Orleans
The Columns is a pretty bar. You’ll be able to tell as you walk up to the 19th century private-home-turned-hotel: a white mansion with a handsome veranda that overlooks a picturesque stretch of St. Charles Avenue. You can sit on that veranda and watch streetcars rumble by while you tipple concoctions: a Ramos Gin Fizz, a Brandy Milk Punch, a Kir Royale, an Old Fashioned. Or you can steal inside to the stunning Victorian Lounge -- the origin of your al fresco cocktail. If you belly up to the bar, while you wait you can let your eyes devour the sights of the room -- the curved mahogany walls and coffered cove ceiling, the gilded bronze chandelier hanging above you. Enjoy the view. That’s the Columns’ raison d’etre.
Featuring an actual carousel bar that revolves around patrons, the French Quarter's Carousel Bar & Lounge mixes classic and contemporary cocktails like Sazeracs and Pimm's Cups, pairing them with New Orleans-style bar bites like seafood okra gumbo and po boys. Live jazz music entertains a slightly more dressed-up clientele, who'll endure a wait to snag a table at the circular bar.
This classy, wood-paneled bar -- tucked away down the carriageway at the back of the Prince Conte -- is home to the largest martini selection in all of New Orleans. The food menu specializes in elevated creole and cajun cuisine, while the high-energy ambiance includes live nightly performers who add novelty to each visit.
When the doors swing wide open to Bourbon Street, and the lively chatter of tourists and locals fills the bar, you can understand why many call Bourbon O' one of the most scene-representative, upmarket bars in New Orleans. In addition to live music four days a week, the venue offers six flat-screen TVs and cocktails -- like their popular Ramon Gin Fizz, a New Orleans classic invented by a former bar owner -- prepared with fresh squeezed juice and handmade syrups.
Open from March until mid-autumn, The Rooftop Bar offers craft cocktails (pro tip: try the "Frozevelt"), a weekend food menu of light Mediterranean fare like salads and sandwiches, and private cabanas along the Roman-inspired pool deck. The hotel itself provides all the luxuriant hospitality one expects from the Waldorf Astoria group -- five-star room service, heavenly spas, and swanky suites -- in a 19th century, Gatsby-like building.
Located within the Hilton Hotel, this swanky piano bar -- which takes its name from the 20th century railroad line still in operation today -- serves speakeasy-inspired cocktails in a sultry jazz era lounge. The drink list offers fresh takes on beloved classics like Sazeracs and Old Fashioneds, as well as innovative signatures named for the Ladies of Storyville, a nod to the city's historical boudoirs and the women who worked within them (pro tip: try the "Scarlet Harlot," a winning combination of Patron silver, apricot liqueur, dry vermouth, and a lemon twist served straight up in a martini glass).
Blending mid-century chic with vintage New Orleans style, this hip hotel bar serves craft cocktails and classic American fare. The kitchen operates for both breakfast and dinner, serving comfort food staples like blueberry pancakes in the morning, and salads, flatbread pizzas, charcuterie, and Southern-inspired seafood plates in the evening. The happy hour deals rotate regularly but prove consistently affordable and solid; combined with flatscreen TVs and a shuffleboard, Q&C is a popular haunt for regulars and hotel guests alike.
Named for the Grammy award-winning jazz trumpeter who headlines Wednesday through Saturday, the Davenport Lounge combines classic cocktails and Ritz-Carlton hospitality in a upscale, sultry environs. The live music and full dance floor make it a popular date spot, but the expertly mixed New Orleans-themed drinks (pro tip: try the "Marigny Mule," a winning combination of grapefruit vodka, tarragon, ginger beer, and lime juice), robust selection of scotch and whiskey, and luscious desserts attract locals and guests alike.
Located in the Windsor Court Hotel, this English-themed lounge exudes aristocratic charm with dark wood accents, plush, overstuffed furniture, and soft, richly patterned carpeting that beckons to a country club era. True to nature, the bar carries over 600 wines and serves upscale bar fare like truffle fries, accompanied by nightly jazz music.
Located on the 11th floor of the Westin Hotel, this upscale cocktail bar offers refined takes on Southern comfort food classics (think crawfish nachos and smoked Boudin balls with Creole mustard remoulade) in a classy, marble-laden space. Guests can sip on craft drinks like the signature cucumber Bloody Mary or bubbly martini and admire the glowing lights of the French Quarter below, where the lively hustle of the nearby Harrah's Casino makes the tranquil ambience of The Green Bar all the more relaxing.