The Best Louisiana Honky Tonks, Juke Joints, and Dance Halls You Can Drive to From New Orleans

Published On 03/24/2016 Published On 03/24/2016
Man playing keyboard at NOLA dance hall
Courtesy of Blue Moon Drawer
Flickr/LJ Hopkinson
Blue Moon Saloon
Infrogmation of New Orleans
Flickr/Derek Bridges
Magnolia Cafe
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1. Whiskey River Landing , Breaux Bridge, LA 70517

Looking for drinks and some good old-fashioned Cajun two-stepping? Head on over to Whiskey River, a place that prides itself on their atmosphere and hospitality. In a town known as the “crawfish capital of the world,” you’d best believe that there will be some good old-fashioned live Cajun and Zydeco music dancehall. Their “Not a local? Not a problem!” attitude even attracts visitors from out of town (or the continent, for that matter).

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2. Teddy’s Juke Joint 16823 Old Scenic Hwy, Zachary, LA 70791

Like the infamous Snake and Jake’s Lounge in New Orleans, Teddy’s offers Christmas light decor all year long in Zachary, LA. It has been ranked among the top 10 music venues in Baton Rouge by the Baton Rouge Advocate several times, serving up some of the best blues in the state. Hosted by Lloyd “Teddy” Johnson himself (in the house he grew up in, no less), Teddy spins down-home blues and R&B between live acts. This spot proudly describes itself as a time machine to 1979, the year it was founded.

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3. Blue Moon Guest House & Saloon 215 E Convent St, Lafayette, LA 70501

No designated driver? No problem. Blue Moon offers consistently great live Louisiana roots music, and also has a small boarding house which means that you can drive over from New Orleans, whoop it up all night, and then stumble into your room without worrying about the drive. This major perk makes the hot spot so much more than a venue, but rather, a destination.

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4. Ruby’s Roadhouse 840 Lamarque St, Mandeville, LA 70448

Don't judge a book by its cover. Ruby's might look like an old southern blues joint, what with its quintessential tin roof and ramshackle roadhouse decor, but it showcases both country and city. Just north of Lake Pontchartrain, a trip here will afford you NOLA-style brass and funk, as well as Cajun music born on the bayou. The building is over 100 years old, and has been known as a popular venue for African-American performers since the 1930's.

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5. Jolly Inn 1507 Barrow Street, Houma, LA 70360

Great Cajun food, music, and dancing on worn wooden floors: these are the hallmarks of the Jolly Inn. This is the perfect family friendly roadhouse Louisiana has to offer. Come by on a Thursday night when there will be live music, and rock out in the lounge. And don't worry about having to watch the kids, because as they say at the Jolly Inn, "everyone is family." Cajun Cooking, Dance Hall, Lounge, Catering, Building Rental, and LIVE MUSIC!

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6. Fred’s Lounge 420 6th St, Mamou, LA 70554

Every Saturday morning from 8am to 2pm, Fred's is where the party's at. Given that it's only open those six hours a week, they go big. You’d better believe that the drinking and dancing starts promptly when the doors swing open. Beer and zydeco for breakfast... this is one of the few events we’ll set a weekend alarm (or stay up all night) for.

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7. Magnolia Cafe 5689 Commerce Street, Saint Francisville, LA 70775

During the day, the Magnolia is a cute cafe and sandwich shop, but at night, it’s all about the music. They feature a solid list of Cajun, folk, and bluegrass acts you don’t want to miss if you’re anywhere near St. Francisville... which just might be the most picturesque Cajun town in all of Louisiana. People come out here from all over, and you just have to experience it to understand and appreciate why they’d make the journey.

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8. Richard Sale Barn 1500 Pumping Plant Rd, Abbeville, LA 70510

Oddly enough, this music venue used to be a cattle auction house dating back to 1937. Once a month on the third Saturday of the month, the Le Bayou Legendaire Concert Series takes place, which has featured concerts by Baton Rouge bluesman Henry Gray, Cajun great Hadley Castille and the Nouveau String Band, to name a few. The amphitheater seating rises up from the wood floor and gets crowded quickly, so be sure to get your tickets!