Lifestyle

NOLA's top bartenders reveal the city's best everything

Published On 04/25/2013 Published On 04/25/2013
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1. Coquette 2800 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115

Situated inside an 1880s Garden District building, Coquette serves a daily changing menu of innovative, locally sourced Southern cuisine alongside an extensive selection of wine, New Orleans-inspired cocktails, and craft beer. The refined bistro's dishes are consistently farm-driven, and there's a mix of small and large plates, as well an option for a five-course "blind" tasting based on the chef's daily ingredients.

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2. Root 200 Julia St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (Central Business District)

Located in NOLA's Warehouse District, Root offers house-made charcuterie and sausages, signature southern dishes like Louisiana Pickled Shrimp, and Ménage à Foie -- a special daily preparation of foie gras three ways. Oh yeah, and they're open late-night, so you can have your Ménage à Foie followed by your ménage à trois.

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3. 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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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. Domenica 123 Baronne St, New Orleans, LA 70112 (Central Business District)

Named after the Italian word for 'Sunday,' this spot in the CBD's Roosevelt Hotel is meant to evoke feelings of dinner at your nonna's casa. The menu takes simple, rustic fare to the next level. The thick crusted pies here are the show-stoppers, especially the Tutto Carne with bacon, salami, and sausage, all topped with a farm egg.

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6. Patois 6078 Laurel St, New Orleans, LA 70118 (Uptown)

At Patois, Chef Aaron Burgau plates traditional French fare with a local twist. You'll find boudin-stuffed Mississippi rabbit, sweet tea-brined short rib with Worcestershire sauce, and a changing roster of seasonal salads and soups on the menu. The space is airy and elegant with a Parisian bistro feel, and shows off an elegant bar area lit up like a vanity.

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7. La Petite Grocery 4238 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115 (Magazine St)

Converted from a historic grocery store, this bistro and bar features plates crafted by James Beard Award-winning chef Justin Devillier. The menu includes all-time hits like blue crab beignets, turtle Bolognese, and a gruyere cheeseburger. La Petite Grocery is true Louisiana, as evidenced by its 19th century Creole architecture and craft cocktails like the double rye whiskey Bee Hive.

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8. The Company Burger 4600 Freret St, New Orleans, LA 70115 (Uptown)

The Company Burger takes its burgers very seriously. Translation: the pickles and mayo are homemade, and the twin patties in the house burger weigh a grand total of 6.5oz. You'll leave feeling full and satisfied, after washing it all down with one of Company's American brews on tap, of course.

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9. Brigtsen's Restaurant 723 Dante St, New Orleans, LA 70118 (Uptown)

Run by James Beard Award-winning chef James Brigtsen, Brigtsen's is proof that old-school ambiance and adherence to a rotation of classic dishes can trump the trendy and constantly evolving. Regulars here dress for the occasion, sitting down to meals of oysters, soft-shell crabs, and pulled pork, all in a victorian cottage setting that evokes your wealthiest friend's summer lakeside retreat.

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10. Salvo's Seafood 7742 Highway 23, Belle Chasse, LA 70037

A Belle Chasse institution for over 25 years, this casual, low-key seafood spot is a local favorite, churning out fresh-caught shrimp, soft shell crab, crawfish and some more adventurous offerings (read: fried alligator and frog legs) daily.

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11. Merchant 800 Common St, New Orleans, LA 70112 (Central Business District)

With its sleek, Euro feel and impressive selection of coffee, baguette sandos, and crepes, check out CBD cafe Merchant for an afternoon pick-me-up.

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12. Spitfire Coffee 627 St Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116 (French Quarter)

Among the first specialty coffee shops to lay roots in NOLA, this French-Quarter café serves coffee sourced from a variety of different American roasters. In the interest of maintaining an eclectic, balanced roster of flavors, the roasts are switched out seasonally, while customer favorites will remain. Known for its quality pour-overs, this espresso bar is dedicated to hand-crafted coffee drinks prepared both carefully and consciously -- and while all of the classic coffee drinks are impeccable, the spot offers a collection of creative house-creations as well (try the Hellfire mocha -- a traditional latte, blended with home-made chocolate syrup and habanero shrub). And while the space is small (a self-proclaimed "walk-in-closet"), there are fresh pastries delivered daily by Scout bakery, and the coffee drinks are well worth the trip.

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13. 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.

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14. 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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15. 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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16. Saint Bar & Lounge 961 Saint Mary St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (Garden District)

A gem among dive bars, The Saint is a local favorite for NOLA's indie-punk crowd, featuring delightfully decrepit walls, video games, cheap drinks, and theme nights like Tiki Tuesdays.

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17. Brothers III Lounge 4520 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115

One of the city's most beloved dive bars, Brothers III serves up cold brews, cheap drinks, and pool.

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18. Cochon Butcher 930 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (Central Business District)

Cochon's generalist meat offshoot, Cochon Butcher, is a hybrid butcher shop, deli counter, and wine bar in the same warehouse building as its pork-centric sibling. There are house-cured meats, sausages, and terrines to take home, but you're really here for the sandwiches, precisely the Muffuletta, stacked with nearly an inch of pink-hued, salty meats (pastrami, mortadella, Genoa salami), creamy provolone, and olive salad. You can order it to-go, but if you're staying, make sure to pair with a side of pancetta mac & cheese.

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19. Central Grocery 923 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116 (French Quarter)

There’s no disputing that this small Italian grocery with a deli counter, which dates back to 1906, invented the muffaletta, and still has its flag firmly planted in that fertile territory. Truth be told, the CG muff, served cold and not always overstuffed with meats and cheeses, has been surpassed in recent years by other eateries. But if you’ve never been there, do yourself a favor and wait in line for the original, if only for the experience. Also, don’t forget that Central Grocery is also a grocery, with tons of canned, fresh, and dried Italian goodies for your sweet nonna.

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20. Willie Mae's Scotch House 2401 Saint Ann St, New Orleans, LA 70119 (Mid City)

The fried chicken at Willie Mae’s Scotch House is the best in the United States. No joke: it was dubbed such by the Travel Channel and Food Network, and also won the James Beard Award for “America’s Classic Restaurant for the Southern Region.” Tucked away the Treme neighborhood, the cozy spot features all the accoutrements of a beloved local haunt -- memorabilia mounted throughout, news clippings chronicling the success of the family-owned business (which has been open since 1957), homey environs -- and it’s worth noting that there’s always a line out the door, regardless of weather. It’s a walk-ins only spot, so be prepared to wait -- but the soul food here is so satisfying, and it’s entirely worth it.

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21. Sylvain 625 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (French Quarter)

This spot embodies a casual-but-kickass uniting of great food, great booze, and hospitality- all housed in a former carriage house with courtyard seats right off Jackson Square. Sylvain is famous for its "Chick-Syl-vain" fried chicken sandwich, but this corner gastropub in the French Quarter also features a great cocktail program and an impressive selection of single-barrel bourbons.

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22. Erin Rose Bar 811 Conti St, New Orleans, LA 70112 (French Quarter)

A half-block away from Bourbon Street, this friendly Irish pub is covered in framed photographs, car parts autographed by drag racers, and other memorabilia from NOLA's glory days. Erin Rose is known for its Bloody Marys, frozen or hot Irish coffee, and its killer po' boys, such as its Dark 'n Stormy Po' Boy with rum-braised pork.

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23. Domilise's Po-Boys 5240 Annunciation St, New Orleans, LA 70115 (Uptown)

Under the same family ownership for over 100 years, Domilise's is something of a New Orleans po-boy haven. Inside a boxy pale-yellow building and distinguished only by a hand-painted sign, Domilise's would be easy to miss if it weren't for the line that typically stretches out the door. The catfish and fried oyster po-boys are among the most popular items on the menu, but guests have the option to split their sandwiches half-and-half with other toppers like shrimp and roast beef. Half-shrimp and half-oyster on the same bun is the move, if you ask us.

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24. Molly's at the Market 1107 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116 (French Quarter)

This French Quarter bar has all the makings of a divey Irish pub, plus so much more. Molly's is known for its frozen Irish coffee, an alcohol-laden coffee milkshake that's decidedly better than regular Irish coffee. It's the perfect place to day drink in NOLA as you watch the Decatur Street wildness ride past you.

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

Hundreds of bottles of bourbons from around the world line the walls at Freret St's Cure, so you can rest assured the bartenders know a thing or two about making classic cocktails. Belly up to the bar and try lots of rare and reserve bottles. Pro tip: if you’re only having one cocktail, make your way to the Reserve cocktail menu, and order the 22-year-old Old Fashioned made with Lost Prophet 22 Year.

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26. The Avenue Pub 1732 Saint Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130 (Garden District)

Located in the Lower Garden District, this American craft beer pub is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The tap list is heavy on one-and-done offerings with enough rarities to keep the beer nerds at bay, while the bottle list is about as thick as a small-town phone book, offering up everything from Belgian farmhouses to all-American IPAs, all of which taste considerably better when paired with the famous bechamel and pork Dump Truck Fries.

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27. Stein's Market & Deli 2207 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130

This deli & market in NOLA's Lower Garden District offers traditional and specialty sandwiches, including breakfast sandwiches (on Davidovich bagels straight from NYC) all day. Stein's also sells a huge selection of cured meats and salamis, over 50 cheeses from around the world, and a massive selection of domestic & international craft beers.

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28. The Crown & Anchor 200 Pelican Ave, New Orleans, LA 70114

In the tradition of the convivial English village pub, the Crown & Anchor -- located in historic Algiers Point -- "serves as a meeting place for friends and neighbors" and has a great selection of draught beer, single malt scotch, and various UK-themed knick knacks. Bonus: there's a popular Thursday night Pub Quiz and, of course, darts!

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29. La Fin du Monde 2917 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115

This brunch haven on Magazine St serves up challah french toast with rum syrup and killer craft cocktails 7 days a week. Grab a seat in their outdoor courtyard and cruise through your afternoon hangover with an expertly made Ramos Gin Fizz.

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30. The Kingpin 1307 Lyons St, New Orleans, LA 70115 (Uptown)

This super-friendly, delightfully kitschy Uptown dive features an Elvis shrine, a free barbecue during Saints games, and some of the best jukebox jams in the city.

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31. Sidney's Wine Cellar 917 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116-3307 (French Quarter)

This mini-mart in the French Quarter has a solid selection of imported & domestic beers, wines, and ciders, and, most importantly, plastic to-go cups on the counter so you can continue stumbling around, drink-in-hand.

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32. Napoleon House Bar & Cafe 500 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (French Quarter)

As if the beautifully aged, faded walls of this space weren't a giveaway, this family-owned creole spot is a classic New Orleans standby, offering the best muffaletta and Pimm's Cup in the city. Other remarkable dishes include gumbo and jambalaya, which you can enjoy in either the interior courtyard, or the historical bar room, whose Neapolitan portraits and gilded frames add to the classic dining experience.

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33. Little Darlings 411 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (French Quarter)

If you're into "Strip Hop," check out Little Darlings on Bourbon St. Every Monday is Martini Madness, with $5 martinis from 4p 'til close.

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34. Penthouse Club 727 Iberville St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (French Quarter)

This self-proclaimed "Best Gentleman's Club" in The Big Easy is stocked with two full bars, three specially designed stages, and Executive & Penthouse Suites for more, shall we say, intimate shows.

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35. Aidan Gill 2026 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (Central Business District)

Proclaiming that "unisex is a dead word," Aidan Gill is a salon and barber shop that caters exclusively to men.

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36. One Eyed Jacks 615 Toulouse St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (French Quarter)

One Eyed Jacks’ 300-capacity showroom is edged with sparkly, scarlet banquettes and mid-twentieth century pinup nudes painted on black velvet -- a swanky atmosphere representative of its history as an old French Quarter movie house and speakeasy. There’s not a bad sightline in this premier downtown New Orleans destination for touring indie acts, hip local bands, and DJ nights, like the long-running and beloved Thursday-night Fast Times '80s dance party. College kids mix with old punks and visitors, too, who are lucky enough to wander into the coolest spot in the touristy Quarter.

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37. Siberia Bar 2227 Saint Claude Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117

This windowless joint on busy, industrial St. Claude Ave started out as an appropriately dark home base for New Orleans’ storied punk and metal scene. The booking has since expanded to include regular gigs from a variety of entertainers and genres, including psychedelic rock, goth DJs, comedy, burlesque, and old-timey string bands. The cash-only window in the rear, between the jukebox and the pool table, dishes out killer Polish and Ukrainian food: pillowy pierogies, kielbasa, cabbage rolls, and a hearty vegetarian Reuben made with beets. Once your eyes adjust to the dimness, see if you can spot all the taxidermy. There's probably a turkey, frozen forever in flight, right above your head.

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38. Tipitina's 501 Napoleon Ave, New Orleans, LA 70115

In the first month of 1977, a group of young New Orleans music fans -- history knows them as the Fabulous Fourteen -- pooled their money to open an uptown nightclub that could provide a regular gig for the aging rhythm and blues pianist Professor Longhair. The piano professor's legacy lives on in the current-day Tipitina's (there's a bronze bust of him just inside the door and statue outside). Tip's is famous for its long funk and jazz jams during Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest. It also features its own Walk of Fame, where the bulb-lit bronze stars embedded in the sidewalk honor inductees including Dr. John, James Booker, and Mardi Gras Indian Big Chief Bo Dollis.

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39. Publiq House 4528 Freret Street, New Orleans, LA 70115 (Uptown)

A hybrid bar and venue for New Orleans' most talented musicians and comedians, Publiq House will be a rewarding experience for casual bar-goers and those seeking top-shelf entertainment. Stocked with a seemingly endless craft beer and cocktail list, it is nearly impossible not to leave happy.

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40. Gasa Gasa 4920 Freret St, New Orleans, LA 70115 (Uptown)

The name of this hybrid art gallery, coffee shop, and nightclub on Freret St has Japanese origins, describing something restless and always in motion.

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41. Café Du Monde 800 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116 (French Quarter)

Originally established in 1862, Café Du Monde is the place to go for a quintessential New Orleans pick-me-up in the form of a beignet and cafe au lait. The patio, marked by a striped green-and-white awning, is a landmark in itself and the perfect place for people-watching in the French Quarter. The café gets busy during peak lunch and dinner hours, but its 24-seven schedule allows for plenty of opportunities to stop by, whether it's for a late-night sugar fix or an early-morning breakfast. Take-out orders can be placed through a quick-serve window, just be sure to take extra napkins -- those sugar-coated beignets are messy.

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42. The Dry Dock Cafe 133 Delaronde St, New Orleans, LA 70114

If you need to escape the hustle and bustle of the French Quarter, hop on the Canal St ferry (fo' free!) and order the seafood gumbo or BBQ shrimp for lunch at Dry Dock in Algiers.

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43. Galatoire's 209 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (French Quarter)

Established in 1905, Galatoire’s has remained a Bourbon Street bulwark of French Creole cuisine. The restaurant blends tradition with curiosity as it juxtaposes gumbo, shrimp remoulade, and oysters Rockefeller with deep-fried zucchini sticks, (which you’re meant to plunge into a mix of Tabasco sauce and powdered sugar) and duck crepes with homemade Boursin cheese, Port-cherry reduction, and pistachios. Galatoire’s keeps things elegant with its forest green walls, lace curtains, and mirrored walls, a glimpse into a past worthy of a Faulkner novel.

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44. Lucullus Antiques 610 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (French Quarter)

Specializing in culinary antiques from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, Lucullus has an impressive selection of glassware, silver, porcelain, tables, art, and mirrors. Translation: this is an excellent place to graze, to-go cup in-hand.

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45. Kitchen Witch Cookbooks 631 Toulouse St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (French Quarter)

A small, independent bookstore located in New Orleans' French Quarter, Kitchen Witch specializes in rare, out-of-print, and pre-owned cookbooks.

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46. Billy's Boudin 523 Apollo Rd, Scott, LA 70583

Billy’s Boudin & Cracklin serves authentic, flavorful hand-made boudin, smoked sausage, and cracklins. Oh yeah, and they even have a drive-through boudin window!