Food & Drink

The Most Beautiful Bars in New Orleans

Published On 09/11/2015 Published On 09/11/2015
The Roosevelt New Orleans, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel
Hotel Monteleone
Cellar Door
Arnaud’s Restaurant
The Swizzle Stick Bar at Cafe Adelaide
Root Squared
Windsor Court
International House Hotel
Kingfish
Patrick's Bar Vin
The Bombay Club
Scott Gold/Thrillist
Scott Gold/Thrillist
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1. Sazerac Bar 130 Roosevelt Way, New Orleans, LA 70112 (Central Business District)

Inside the swanky, lost-in-time Sazerac Bar, you could find yourself looking at all kinds of historical wonders: WPA-era murals by Paul Ninas, the 1878 Ascot Cup, and a bullet hole that erroneous lore credits to an assassination attempt on then-Senator Huey P. Long, who liked to sip Ramos Gin Fizzes at the bar. While you’re sipping your expertly made cocktail in the dark, well-appointed room, consider what you are not seeing: tourists in cargo shorts sipping watery beer. Even if some of your comrades in drink are tossing back domestic swill instead of, say, the bar’s namesake, the historic decor buffers it. It’s hard to imagine a prettier bar in New Orleans.

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2. 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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3. CellarDoor 921 Lafayette St, New Orleans, LA 70113

CellarDoor serves delightfully crafted cocktails, both modern and classic, along with an extensive yet approachable selection of wines. The food menu features a combination of small and large plates, all centered around the concept of locally sourced, seasonal cuisine. Favorites include black Angus beef with chimichurri, arugula, smoked tomato jam, duck fat potatoes, and ponzu reduction, and ceviche with mango, pineapple, bibb lettuce, and pickled peppers. CellarDoor is unique for its in-house art collection and rotating art shows, all exhibited in the historic restaurant, which is located in the restored Swoop-Duggins House.

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4. Arnaud's French 75 Bar 813 Bienville St, New Orleans, LA 70112 (French Quarter)

Originally designated as a "gentlemen only area" in NOLA's early days, this cocktail bar located within Arnaud's Restaurant features drinks like the Pisco Derby (that's pisco, lavender honey syrup, lime, and grapefruit) and bar snacks like Oysters en Brochette (translation: oysters wrapped with bacon and deep fried). You'll feel extra fancy having those cocktails and snacks served to you by bartenders clad in white tuxedos. In addition to more inventive drinks, you can't go wrong with the killer Old Fashioned or Sidecar either.

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5. Café Adelaide & the Swizzle Stick Bar 300 Poydras St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (Central Business District)

This Central Business District resto & bar serves a variety of delectable food and drink options, like signature cocktail-paired brunches (concocted by Executive Chef Carl Schaubhut and Bar Chef Lu Brow), and they also dole out 25 cent martinis. Yeah, that’s a quarter of a buck, friend. The relaxed vibe of this cocktail bar makes you feel comfortable to chat with your friends, and the friendly atmosphere will make you want to stay for hours.

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6. Root Squared 1800 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (Garden District)

If you’re not in the mood (or don’t have the coin) for an 8-15 course chef’s table tasting menu at Philip Lopez’s sparkling restaurant-cum-food laboratory Square Root, head to the upstairs bar Root Squared, which features experimental cocktails that keep pace with the ambitious menu below.

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7. The Polo Club Lounge 300 Gravier St, New Orleans, LA 70130

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.

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8. LOA new orleans 221 Camp St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (Central Business District)

This intimate yet sophisticated space, located in the International House Hotel, is about as romantic as a bar can get. Candlelight and plush velvet stools are aplenty, and the ambiance is only improved by the expertly crafted cocktails. The Central Business District bar believes the background of the drink is just as important as the actual libation, so each cocktail on the menu comes with extremely entertaining stories.

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9. Kingfish 337 Chartres, New Orleans, LA 70130 (French Quarter)

Thibodaux native, Chef Nathan Richard, created a menu at the casual Kingfish restaurant that combines the Cajun reverence for honoring ingredients and culinary history with a sophisticated, often playful take on modern trends that excite visitors and natives alike. The plateau de fruits des mer is this spots take on a traditional meat charcuterie board, using local seafood to create all manner of fresh and cured sausages, terrines, and smoked items.

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10. Patrick's Bar Vin 730 Bienville St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (French Quarter)

When you're looking for a handsome, upscale wine spot in the middle of the Quarter, Patrick’s is the spot you want to find. The wine list is solid, it's got a lovely courtyard, and you don't want to miss the happy hour special (4-7pm Mon-Thur) -- featuring domestic beer at $2, plus well drinks and house wine for $4. If you happen to need your own personal, climate-controlled wine locker -- engraved with your name -- it has that, too.

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11. The Bombay Club 830 Conti St, New Orleans, LA 70112

This upscale bar, complete with private booths, dazzling candelabras and antique grandfather clocks, looks like a rich man's paradise. The martinis, however, are for everyone, and few do the classic cocktail quite like The Bombay Club.

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12. Bruning's Bar at Purloo 1504 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., New Orleans, LA 70113

This bar is housed in restaurant Purloo, which resides in the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. The structure itself was taken from the original Bruning's Restaurant, a New Orleans institution. It was reconstructed, piece by piece, after it was initially destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

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13. The Victorian Lounge 3811 Saint Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70115

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.

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14. Cure 4905 Freret St, New Orleans, LA 70115 (Uptown)

Cure in Uptown is one of the mainstays of the New Orleans cocktail bar scene. The lush and lavish interior invites cocktail snobs and newbies alike to indulge in the varied cocktail list with hilarious and inventive names. In addition to cocktails, Cure features great food options that range from small bites to larger entrees. The bar hosts a great happy hour every day of the week, so check its website for the ever-changing deals.

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