Food & Drink

Why the best cocktails in New Orleans aren’t in cocktail bars (they’re in restaurants)

Published On 04/30/2014 Published On 04/30/2014
SoBou
Oxalis
Arnaud's
Tivoli & Lee
Lucky Rooster
Kingfish
Cafe Adelaide and the Swizzle Stick Bar
Broussard's
Dominique's on Magazine
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1. SoBou 310 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (French Quarter)

Located inside the W Hotel, SoBou is a spirited restaurant south of Bourbon St (hence the name) feels like a modern-day Creole saloon. The restaurant and lounge is known for its hand-crafted cocktails, and serves creative spins on traditional bar snacks like crispy pork skin and spicy beer nuts, as well as some heartier dishes. SoBou also has a beer garden with beer taps in the tables and self-serve wine machines.

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2. Oxalis 3162 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70117 (Bywater)

Oxalis is a can't-miss when it comes to drinking in Bywater. This trendy and lively bar/eatery features a brown alcohol-focused selection of spirits with over 30 bourbons on reserve, and a myriad of classic, well-prepared cocktails. The food at Oxalis, which ranges from small plates to burgers and wings, is the kind of solid fare you'll want after knocking back a few.

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3. Arnaud's Restaurant 813 Bienville St, New Orleans, LA 70112 (French Quarter)

Arnaud’s is a decades-old French Quarter staple that embodies the French Creole style in architecture, décor, and, of course, food. Inside the red building lined with innumerable French windows and mint green balconies is a dining room straight out of a Southern novel with potted palm fronds, mosaic tile floors, and opulent chandeliers. Come for dinner or for the jazz brunch, where a jazz trio will serenade you while you decide between gumbo and shrimp remoulade.

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4. 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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5. Lucky Rooster 515 Baronne, New Orleans, LA 70115 (Central Business District)

Best known for their dumplings, soups, and noodles, The Lucky Rooster ALSO has a terrific selection of bold cocktails to pair with your food, as well as an extensive wine list.

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6. 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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7. 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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8. Broussard's Restaurant & Courtyard 819 Conti St, New Orleans, LA 70112 (French Quarter)

Broussard’s offers a slightly different interpretation of French-Creole cuisine than other illustrious New Orleans fine dining establishments: contemporary interpretations give traditional dishes a new lease on life. Sweet potatoes are whipped with ginger, fried chicken is glazed with red chili and perched on a sweet potato biscuit, and the chicken fricassee is flavored with truffle and artichokes. Broussard’s is also home to the Empire Bar, where mixologist Paul Gustings pours up his signature Ramos Gin Fizz.

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9. Dominique's on Magazine 4213 Magazine, New Orleans, LA 70115 (Uptown)

Ian Julian is doing masterful things at the bar of this Uptown haunt, like crafting a "pho Cajun sour" using pho broth to make a sour syrup, then combining it with vodka and lime, as well as cilantro, green onions, ginger, lime, and habanero salt. Dominique's also gets bonus points for naming cocktails after dark movie moments, including the "What’s in the Box", and the "Why So Serious".