https://www.thrillist.com/venue/drink/new-orleans/bar/bellocq-3323517In New Orleans, it's not just about what's in your go-cup, it's about where you carry it. To make mastering the Big Easy a little, well, easier, we pinned down the dudes behind three of the city's hottest bars -- Neal Bodenheimer and Kirk Estopinal of Cure, Bellocq, and Perestroika at Pravda -- to point the way.
Favorite Restaurant Kirk: Pho Bang. They watch my baby while I eat and it's hands-down the best soup in the country. But for dinner dates, Domenica. Neal: Coquette. Chef Mike's food is fantastic and I just love the vibe of this place.
Best Late-Night Eats Neal: ROOT. It's one of New Orleans' best, even when it's not late. Given the fact that you can eat there until 2am on the weekends, it's THE go-to for an amazing late night meal. Kirk: ROOT on the weekends. In New Orleans, there's a real void of places to go for late-night food, and there's a void of interesting offerings as well. ROOT offers inventive cuisine 'til late, which I love!
Best Bar Snack Neal: It's a tie. Oysters en Brochette with Marchand du Vin Sauce, or Souffle Potatoes with Bearnaise, both at Arnaud's French 75 Bar. Might as well order both; then you can sample as many of Chris Hannah's cocktails as you'd like, which are also some of New Orleans' best. Kirk: Fried Brussels sprouts at Tivoli & Lee, because they remind me of my Grandpa who loved Brussels sprouts! It's a comfort to eat them.
Best Dish Kirk: Stracci at Domenica. It's chicken liver pasta and braised oxtail, and it's magical. There are crazy flavors layered in this dish. Neal: The grilled lamb ribs with green tomato relish at Patois are one of my favorite apps in the whole city.
Best for a Work Dinner Kirk: I usually go to Horinoya because it's close and you can eat a truly great meal relatively quickly. It's a calm environment, which is good for meetings, and they have the best raw and fresh fish. Plus their matcha green tea is incredible. Neal: La Petite Grocery has flawless food and service with a dining room that strikes a great balance between relaxation and business.
Gut-Busting Dish Kirk: No thanks! Neal: A Company Burger at The Company Burger is the best hamburger out there.
Most Local Food Neal: The Shell Beach Diet at Brigtsen's is a smorgasbord of all things New Orleans on one plate. Kirk: Salvo's Seafood, a boil spot in Plaquemines Parish. Everything's caught locally and it feels like you're dining at a friend's house.
Best Coffee Neal: Merchant's full of great coffee and jaw-dropping design. I also really like Spitfire, a new shop in the French Quarter. Kirk: Spitfire's a great new place in the Quarter full of young people interested in making good coffee.
Best Hotel Bar Neal: Excluding Bellocq? I'd say that a spin around the Carousel Bar is pretty hard to beat. Kirk: Well, I love Bellocq, but if I'm not working, I visit Sobou to see what Abigail's making.
Best Dive Bar Kirk: The Saint! It's dirty and really divey. Like, really divey. And I've been going there for a long time. A looooong time. Neal: Brothers Three. The dive bar is a dying breed when it comes to the genuine article. This is the genuine article.
Best Muffuletta Neal: Every bit is done in house at Cochon Butcher. Everything that Donald, Stephen, and the gang do at all of their restaurants (Herbsaint, Cochon, Cochon Butcher, Peche) is for real. Kirk: It's all about the olive oil flavor at Central Grocery.
Best Oysters Neal: Casamento's had the best oysters when I was a kid, and guess what? They still have the best oysters. Just like they have since 1919. Kirk: Casamento's is a New Orleans institution, plus I love the oyster loaf.
Best Po Boy Kirk: They have killer po' boys at the Erin Rose. It's a chef-driven pop-up doing culinarily relevant po' boys in New Orleans. Neal: A dressed shrimp po' boy at Domilise's has many competitors that come close, but none are better. It's po' boy perfection.
Best Drink Kirk: In the Summer, it's the frozen Irish coffee from Molly's. Neal: It's got to be Kirk's Sea Dog. Kirk still consistently makes the best drinks that I've ever had.
Best Place to Day Drink Kirk: All of New Orleans. You can still walk around drinking here. Why sit still when there are drinks everywhere? Neal: On a beautiful day it has to be the courtyard at La Fin du Monde on Magazine Street. Well-made drinks (and great food) with a serene setting.
Easiest Place to Get Laid Kirk: I'm married, so... Neal: The Saint. Or at least it was in my single days.
Best Go-Cup Filler Neal: A Fruit Cup (which is like a Pimm's Cup) made with Bittermen's secret fruit cup cordial. It's going to knock the world over when it goes live. Kirk: On a hot day I like to visit Sidney's on Decatur. Beer, wine, and spirits to buy and go-cups on the counter.
Best Way to Spend a Rainy Day Kirk: Sit out on your porch or balcony and just sip a drink. Or stay in a B&B when you visit, so you have that porch option. It rains here a lot. Neal: Drinking a Pimm's Cup and watching the rain from the Napoleon House is a transporting experience.
Best Sazerac Kirk: My house, but if I don't answer the door, you should have Chris Hannah at French 75 make you one. Neal: Cure. Sorry to be homer, but in my humble opinion, we make a pretty awesome Sazerac.
Best Shave Kirk: Aidan Gill takes great care of his customers, and it's an excellent place for a leisurely cut, good conversation, and a drink. Neal: Aidan Gill for Men. Aidan started the revolution, and if you don't believe me, just look him up. He's a living legend.
Best Way to Exercise Kirk: Bicycling on the levee. Neal: Running through the Garden District.
Best Hangover Cure Kirk: Sleep or pho. Or sleep and pho. Neal: Ramos Gin Fizz.
Best Live Music Kirk: One-Eyed Jack's or Siberia. What can I say? I'm a hipster and they book all the Pitchfork darlings. Neal: There is nothing like a good show at Tipitina's. It's just a New Orleans classic and a non-profit to boot. But check out Publiq House & Gasa Gasa on Freret if you want to experience NOLA's two newest music venues.
Coolest Street Neal: I'm biased, but Freret Street has it going on! Kirk: Freret Street's the one street in New Orleans that's happening right now. And it's been great to see it grow.
If you have one free hour in NOLA... Kirk: Sit on the levee. Drink a beer. Watch the ships go by. Neal: I know it's cliché, but beignets & coffee at Cafe Du Monde is about as good as it gets in an hour. On a beautiful day, it's hard not to at least get a glimpse of what makes New Orleans special as you sip coffee, eat beignets, and watch life go by.
If you have two free hours in NOLA... Kirk: Ride the Canal St ferry and lunch at Dry Dock in Algiers. Then sit on the levee. Watch life go by. Neal: Walk up and down Magazine Street from Felicity to Napoleon and pop into shops. Meander through the Garden District and check out the architecture on your way back from Napoleon Ave.
If you have one free afternoon in NOLA... Neal: Get sh*t-faced at lunch at Galatoire's. It's an all-afternoon affair that is bound to get you in some trouble. Kirk: Get a coffee at Spitfire. Go to Lucullus Culinary Antiques and the Kitchen Witch cookbook store while guzzling up a Pimm's Cup in-between at Napoleon House. Walk Royal Street a bit to look at the buildings and old things in the windows. Eat lunch when you get hungry somewhere!
Don't leave without... Kirk: Driving a few hours out west of New Orleans a few hours to eat fried Boudin balls somewhere in Scott, LA. I like Billy's with the melted pepper jack cheese center. Neal: Eating, drinking, and enjoying life. One day the world will realize that New Orleans has the market on quality of life cornered.
1. Coquette2800 Magazine St, New Orleans
2. Root200 Julia St, New Orleans
3. Arnaud's French 75 Bar813 Bienville St, New Orleans
4. Tivoli & Lee2 Lee Circle, New Orleans
5. Domenica123 Baronne St, New Orleans
6. Patois6078 Laurel St, New Orleans
7. La Petite Grocery4238 Magazine St, New Orleans
8. The Company Burger4600 Freret St, New Orleans
9. Brigtsen's Restaurant723 Dante St, New Orleans
10. Salvo's Seafood7742 Highway 23, Belle Chasse
11. Merchant800 Common St, New Orleans
12. Spitfire Coffee627 St Peter St, New Orleans
13. Bellocq936 St. Charles, New Orleans
14. The Carousel Bar & Lounge214 Royal St, New Orleans
15. SoBou310 Chartres St, New Orleans
16. Saint Bar & Lounge961 Saint Mary St, New Orleans
17. Brothers III Lounge4520 Magazine St, New Orleans
18. Cochon Butcher930 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans
19. Central Grocery923 Decatur St, New Orleans
20. Willie Mae's Scotch House2401 Saint Ann St, New Orleans
21. Sylvain625 Chartres St, New Orleans
22. Erin Rose Bar811 Conti St, New Orleans
23. Domilise's Po-Boys5240 Annunciation St, New Orleans
24. Molly's at the Market1107 Decatur St, New Orleans
25. Cure4905 Freret St, New Orleans
26. The Avenue Pub1732 Saint Charles Ave, New Orleans
27. Stein's Market & Deli2207 Magazine St, New Orleans
28. The Crown & Anchor200 Pelican Ave, New Orleans
29. La Fin du Monde2917 Magazine St, New Orleans
30. The Kingpin1307 Lyons St, New Orleans
31. Sidney's Wine Cellar917 Decatur St, New Orleans
32. Napoleon House Bar & Cafe500 Chartres St, New Orleans
33. Little Darlings411 Bourbon St, New Orleans
34. Penthouse Club727 Iberville St, New Orleans
35. Aidan Gill2026 Magazine St, New Orleans
36. One Eyed Jacks615 Toulouse St, New Orleans
37. Siberia Bar2227 Saint Claude Ave, New Orleans
38. Tipitina's501 Napoleon Ave, New Orleans
39. Publiq House4528 Freret Street, New Orleans
40. Gasa Gasa4920 Freret St, New Orleans
41. Café Du Monde800 Decatur St, New Orleans
42. The Dry Dock Cafe133 Delaronde St, New Orleans
43. Galatoire's209 Bourbon St, New Orleans
44. Lucullus Antiques610 Chartres St, New Orleans
45. Kitchen Witch Cookbooks631 Toulouse St, New Orleans
46. Billy's Boudin523 Apollo Rd, Scott
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This French Quarter joe-slinger brews delicious coffee, lattes, and espresso all day long in a cozy and intimate setting. From pour-overs to espresso drinks, both the quality of coffee and skill set of the barista is showcased. The tiny coffee shop uses beans from Crema, Extracto and Bean Fruit Coffee Company, and local bakery Scout provides the baked goods.
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.
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.
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.
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.
One of the city's most beloved dive bars, Brothers III serves up cold brews, cheap drinks, and pool.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Under the same family ownership for over 100 years, Domilise's is something of a local New Orleans po-boy haven. While the legendary spot is unassuming, tucked inside a little yellow house on an Uptown corner, distinguished only by a hand-painted sign, it is relatively hard to miss due to the line that typically stretches out the door. Widely recognized for consistently good eats and veritable Southern hospitality, Domilise's has no trouble maintaining a steady crowd of regulars. The catfish and fried-oyster po-boys are among the most popular menu items, but guests can top their sandwiches with everything from pork sausage and roast beef, to shrimp and turkey breast. The Louisiana mainstay is something of a landmark for po-boy connoisseurs, and eat-seeking tourists, alike.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Proclaiming that "unisex is a dead word," Aidan Gill is a salon and barber shop that caters exclusively to men.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The name of this hybrid art gallery, coffee shop, and nightclub on Freret St has Japanese origins, describing something restless and always in motion.
Originally established in 1862, Café Du Monde is the place to go for a quintessential pick-me-up in the form of a now world-famous beignet and a cafe au lait. The patio lined with a striped green and white awning is the perfect place for people-watching in the French Quarter. It can get busy during peak lunch and dinner hours, but because it is open 24 hours, you have plenty of opportunities to hit up this New Orleans landmark. There is also a quick-service window for take-out orders, but make sure to take some napkins because powdered sugar from the beignets can get everywhere.
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.
Established in 1905, Bourbon Steet fixture Galatoire's is all about re-creating old-timey antebellum New Orleans ambiance through classic French Creole cuisine. Jackets are required dress code when dining at this high-end traditional establishment. However, you won't feel overdressed; the waiters are all suited in tuxedos. With more than 2,000 square feet of luxurious space, Galatoire's has three floors: the first being the main dining room, the second (able to accommodate over 250 people) meant for larger special events, and the third is home to a smaller private dining area.
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.
A small, independent bookstore located in New Orleans' French Quarter, Kitchen Witch specializes in rare, out-of-print, and pre-owned cookbooks.