The Best Bars to Grab a Drink in New Orleans
With a long history of culinary, musical, and cultural contributions, New Orleans boasts a vibrant nightlife unlike any other.
Experience some of the world’s oldest cocktails in their hometown, catch performances of legendary local musicians, and soak up the city’s rich history at some of the best bars in New Orleans. Whether you’re looking for a gritty dive, live music, or elegant decadence, the Big Easy has you covered.
While you’ll have a great kitchen to mix your own cocktail in your vacation rental home, part of the fun of being on holiday is to have someone else make one for you. Stretch your legs, hop on the street car or opt for a walk, and don’t miss these best bars in New Orleans!
The Best Dive Bars in New Orleans
New Orleans’ dive bars offer inexpensive drinks in friendly, laidback atmospheres where locals and tourists mingle freely. Delicious pub food, fun events, and special discounts are staples at many of the best dive bars in New Orleans. From craft beer and specialty cocktails to cream sodas and Irish coffees, there’s something for everyone at these welcoming watering holes.
A local favorite, Black Penny is a cozy, old-fashioned neighborhood bar boasting over 90 regional, American, and imported craft beers. Explore rare stouts, ciders, and sours in the dim light of a historic, early 19th-century building.
While best known for its impressive canned beer selection, Black Penny also offers non-alcoholic beverages, including beers, seltzers, and cocktails. Come by on Thursday night for a round of bingo while you enjoy your drinks.
You’ll find Black Penny across from the historic Louis Armstrong Park at 700 N Rampart St, New Orleans, LA 70116.
Proudly holding the title of New Orleans’ first free-standing craft cocktail bar, Bar Tonique features excellent cocktails at affordable prices. The laidback establishment is somewhere between a dive bar and a cocktail lounge, with high ceilings and rustic wood furnishings.
Stop by during happy hour for $5 cocktails or sample daily specials like daiquiris, mai tais, and bloody Marys. In addition to an extensive selection of cocktails, wines, and craft beers, Bar Tonique serves various temperance drinks, including delightful cream sodas.
Check out this minority-owned business at 820 N Rampart St, New Orleans, LA 70116.
Not far from the hustle and bustle of Bourbon Street, Erin Rose is a hit among locals and tourists alike. This lively Irish pub features Guinness on tap and mixed drinks made with various Irish whiskeys and coffees. The bloody Mary is especially popular and made from a secret recipe involving Erin Rose’s famous frozen Irish coffee. Killer Poboys also offers a rotating sandwich menu in the back kitchen from Wednesday through Monday.
Like other dive bars, Erin Rose has several specials. Come in early from 10 am to 2 pm for discounted mimosas, screwdrivers, bloody Marys, and Irish coffees, or swing by late at night for the service industry special. Saints fans flock to Erin Rose during football games for $10 beer buckets and a chance to spin the prize wheel every touchdown.
Join the party at 811 Conti St, New Orleans, LA 70112.
Finn McCool’s Irish Pub
A true sports bar hosting numerous leagues, Finn McCool’s Irish Pub is the go-to spot in New Orleans for sports. Soccer and rugby games are especially popular at this charming pub, but the venue hosts various other sports too. It’s also a local favorite for pool, darts, and Monday night trivia matches.
Like any good Irish pub, Finn McCool’s features Guinness on tap and over 50 Irish whiskeys. The menu features a delightful mix of Irish pub staples like fish and chips, scotch eggs, and Reubens alongside locally-influenced dishes like boudin balls.
Give them a try at 3701 Banks St, New Orleans, LA 70119.
The Avenue Pub
For more of a British pub feel, look no further than The Avenue Pub. With a rotating menu of about 60 bottled beers and 40 beers on tap, The Avenue Pub is a nationally-recognized craft beer and whiskey bar. Housed in a rustic late 19th-century building, the pub has a laid back atmosphere set by dim lighting and cozy wooden furnishings.
Thanks to the pub’s kitchen, patrons can enjoy British pub staples like burgers alongside classic French dishes like steak fries and cassoulet. Sample specialty bourbons inside at the bar, or take your drinks out onto the pub’s spacious balcony.
Overlooking the Lower Garden District, the balcony offers excellent views of the streetcar and one of the city’s busiest streets.
See the view at 1732 St. Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130.
New Orleans Bars with Outstanding Live Music
From thrilling backyard parties to lively piano bars, the New Orleans bar scene reflects the city’s vibrant history of musical and cultural contributions. These exciting venues offer some of the best live music in New Orleans alongside inspired cocktails, fine wines, and craft beers.
Bacchanal Fine Wine & Spirits
Everyone is welcome at Bacchanal Fine Wine & Spirits’ nightly backyard parties. Build your own cheese plate, sip on quality wines, beers, and original cocktails, and relax while local musicians show off their talent. On most days, Bacchanal artists treat guests to lively jazz music, but some play other genres too.
After Hurricane Katrina, Bacchanal began hosting guest chefs on Sundays, becoming “NOLA’s original pop-up.” Today, the venue continues hosting community events like fundraisers and educational series about New Orleans’ musical history.
Check the calendar for upcoming events, or swing by any Wednesday evening for one of Bacchanal’s free wine tastings to sample some of the shop’s hundreds of wines.
Visit the charming Bywater wine bar at 600 Poland Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117.
Kermit’s Treme Mother-in-Law Lounge
Adorned with colorful murals celebrating New Orleans’ musical heritage, Kermit’s Treme Mother-in-Law Lounge is an iconic landmark on many music fans’ bucket lists. Ernie K-Doe first opened the Mother in Law Lounge in 1994, naming it after his famous 1961 chart-topper, “Mother-in-Law.”
Now under the reins of legendary trumpet player Kermit Ruffins, the lounge continues to showcase local talent every night. Kermit became known for cooking at shows during his time with the Barbecue Swingers. Today, he performs and cooks for the lounge alongside other local musicians and chefs.
Come by the lounge any day after 4:20 pm for good music, cheap drinks, and often free food. On Mondays and Thursdays, Kermit serves red beans and rice. On other days, you might see other Southern favorites like BBQ, fried chicken, and boiled crawfish, when they’re in season.
See what’s happening at 1500 N Claiborne Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116.
The Remedy Bar
Often credited for having one of the best martinis in New Orleans, The Remedy Bar is a classic hotel bar serving craft cocktails, beer, and wine. Stop by any day between 3 pm to 8 pm for the New Orleans Original $5 Martini Happy Hour, and then stick around for exciting live entertainment.
The hotel lobby and courtyard feature live music nearly every night, showcasing local ensembles and singer-songwriters.
You’ll find The Remedy Bar tucked away in the Royal Frenchmen Hotel at 700 Frenchmen St, New Orleans, 70116.
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar
The historic Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar operates out of a building built sometime between 1722 and 1732, making it both the oldest structure in New Orleans and the oldest used as a bar in the whole country. Historians believe privateer brothers Jean and Pierre Lafitte used the property as a smuggling base from 1772 to 1791.
Drawing inspiration from the impressive story of Jean Lafitte, a hero of the Battle of New Orleans, this charming bar offers a unique look at Louisiana’s turbulent past. Piano music by local talent helps to create a lively atmosphere.
Visit Lafitte’s at 941 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70116.
The aptly named Peacock Room features handcrafted cocktails and shareable plates among vibrant modern decor. In the afternoon, skylights illuminate exquisite materials and flashy prints. After the sun goes down, Peacock Room’s moody lighting turns it into an intimate cocktail den. Swing by on a Thursday night to experience soulful R&B music from Da Lovebirds.
Peacock Room offers an extensive drink menu, including various specialty cocktails, beer, and wine. Drinks at the upbeat venue tend toward the light and floral and frequently incorporate local spirits.
Peacock Room offers small plates like bar nuts, stuffed dates, and duck boudin throughout the week and hosts a brunch every Saturday and Sunday.
Look for Peacock Room in the Central Business District at 501 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70130.
Carousel Bar & Lounge
Although located in the Hotel Monteleone, the Carousel Bar & Lounge is no ordinary hotel bar. After over 100 years, the unique venue remains one of the most popular bars in the French Quarter. The Carousel Bar features the city’s only revolving bar, a magnificent and ornate fixture with 25 seats. It is also home to the vieux carré, a potent whiskey-based cocktail.
Patrons can enjoy a comprehensive cocktail menu and a 180-degree view of the whole room while sitting at the bar. Live entertainment, usually jazz music, fills the bar from Wednesday through Saturday.
Take a ride on the carousel at 214 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130.
The Best Upscale Bars in New Orleans
Those seeking luxurious atmospheres and carefully refined tastes will appreciate these upscale New Orleans bars. Drinks at these venues tend to run on the pricier side, but it’s well worth it to experience such delicate concoctions among their posh decor.
Step into beautiful French Quarter courtyards, relax in vintage bars and Southern taverns, and look out over the Big Easy from the rooftops while enjoying some of the best drinks New Orleans can offer.
Housed in the former home of Antoine Amédée Peychaud, Peychaud’s is a quiet cocktail bar serving drinks inspired by its namesake. Peychaud was a Creole apothecary who created a patented blend of herbal bitters around 1830. Peychaud’s bitters are a key ingredient in many New Orleans originals, including the city’s official cocktail, the Sazerac.
Peychaud’s specializes in cocktails, many of which incorporate the apothecary’s signature bitters. While cocktails are the bar’s main attraction, it also serves various wines and canned beer. Sip your drinks inside the timeless bar or take them to the charming courtyard’s outdoor tables.
You’ll find Peychaud’s just off the courtyard in the Hotel Maison De Ville at 727 Toulouse St, New Orleans, LA 70130.
The French 75 Bar
Once a gentleman’s bar, The French 75 Bar gives off a classy, old-school vibe. The French-inspired cocktail bar features handcrafted drinks and fine cigars among vintage furnishings: cozy armchairs, polished mahogany, and a custom-built bar from the late 1800s.
The French 75 Bar’s cocktail menu focuses on classic drinks like the eponymous French 75 and Old Fashioned. It also offers several French 75-derived drinks for those seeking something more innovative. The vintage bar’s location inside Arnaud’s Restaurant makes it easy to enjoy your drink alongside local Creole dishes, including Arnaud’s specialty souffle potatoes.
While you’re there, be sure to check out the upstairs Mardi Gras Museum for a closer look at local cultural history. Visit at 813 Rue Bienville, New Orleans, LA 70112.
Jewel of the South
Taking its name from one of the first New Orleans bars to serve cocktails, Jewel of the South offers a refined modern take on the classic local tavern. Set in a charming French Quarter cottage, the bar has exposed brick walls and a blend of historic and modern decor. It is one of the few places you can try a crusta, a New Orleans original featuring brandy.
The cocktail bar features various specialty cocktails, with some rotating seasonally. Meanwhile, the food at Jewel of the South blends the rustic and the luxurious with dishes like black pudding, eggs Florentine, and wagyu short ribs.
Come by on Wednesday evening or during Sunday brunch for a caviar happy hour at 1026 St. Louis St, New Orleans, LA 70112.
The Sazerac Bar
While New Orleans is known for exceptional hotel bars, The Sazerac Bar is one of its best. USAToday polls in 2019, 2020, and 2021 named this historic bar the best hotel bar in the United States, and CNN Travel proclaimed it the best in the Americas. It has a swanky vibe with dark wood furnishings, plush leather chairs, and staff in white tuxedos.
The Sazerac Bar takes its name from what many consider the world’s oldest known mixed drink. It’s one of the best bars in New Orleans to try the city’s official drink, a refined mix of rye whiskey and Peychaud’s bitters in an absinthe-rinsed glass.
Their Ramos gin fizz, another New Orleans original, is also legendary and often considered one of the hardest cocktails to make.
Experience New Orleans’ mixology history up close in the Roosevelt Hotel at 130 Roosevelt Way, New Orleans, LA 70112.
Credited with kicking off New Orleans’ craft cocktail movement, Cure serves classic cocktails and new concoctions out of a former fire station built in 1903. Exposed brickwork and stone flooring paired with sleek modern barstools create a rustic but refined atmosphere.
The bartenders here truly know their cocktails and are always developing new and seasonal drinks. In addition to cocktails, Cure also serves beer, cider, and wine. Meanwhile, the food menu tends towards snacks and small bites.
Sample charcuterie, deviled eggs, and caviar while sipping your handcrafted drink at 4905 Freret St, New Orleans, LA 70115.
Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29
Tiki culture historian Jeff Berry opened Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29 in 2014 to great praise. Dubbed a “cocktail archeologist” by The Washington Post, Berry made a name in the cocktail world reconstructing lost tiki recipes. At Latitude 29, you can sample classic tropical drinks like the mai tai alongside nearly lost hits like the zombie and innovative new concoctions.
The upscale tiki lounge also offers a fusion menu with eclectic dishes from shroom rangoons and spam musubi to cheeseburgers and macaroni salad.
Experience historic tiki drinks from the leading expert at 321 N Peters St, New Orleans, LA 70130.
Cane & Table
Although its outward appearance is unassuming, Cane & Table is the beloved Caribbean restaurant and cocktail bar responsible for starting New Orleans’ mini-Tiki trend. The bar’s innovative cocktails have earned it numerous accolades, including a slot in Bon Appétit’s lineup of the five best new cocktail bars in America.
Cane & Table crafts cocktails in the proto-Tiki genre, which draws from the 20th-century Tiki movement’s spiritual predecessor. Expect a heavy emphasis on rum, with drinks running the gamut from classics like the piña colada to more obscure libations such as the bombo. Food at Cane & Table features similar tropical flavors with strong Cuban influences.
The bar’s atmosphere is a sophisticated blend of Old Havana and New Orleans. Patrons can drink inside under elegant chandeliers at the stately colonial-style bar or take to the lush courtyard brimming with tropical plants.
You won’t see a sign outside, but you’ll find Cane & Table at 1113 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116.
Just getting to Bar Marilou is an adventure. Attached to the Maison de Luz, the secluded cocktail bar is at the end of a lush arched pathway. Once inside, Bar Marilou features surprisingly assertive decor. Bold red walls, long flowing curtains, and wild prints create a sense of opulence, while bookshelves and curios feel reminiscent of a private study. The bar even has another smaller parlor hidden behind a false bookcase exclusively for hotel guests.
Bar Marilou features a French-inspired menu geared towards esoteric tastes. Sophisticated cocktails, fine wines, and craft beers make up most of the drink menu, but coffee and tea are also available. Stop by any day between 4 pm and 6 pm for aperitif hour featuring discounted cocktails available only for happy hour.
As for food, Bar Marilou offers elevated French dishes like moules frites, pommes Marilou, and frogs’ legs. However, the bar’s desserts outshine the rest of the menu. Consider pairing your cocktail with a delightful Eton mess or, perhaps, the dark chocolate mousse.
Look for the wrought-iron gate next to the Maison de Luz at 544 Carondelet St, New Orleans, LA 70130.
Once offered as a refuge to Napoleon Bonaparte, Napoleon House is now one of the country’s most famous bars. Nicholas Girod, the home’s first resident, served as New Orleans’ mayor from 1812 to 1815 and offered the house to Napoleon in 1821 during his exile. Although Napoleon never stepped foot on the property, his association with the 200-year-old landmark remains.
Napoleon House is home to the Pimm’s cup, a gin-based aperitif with fresh lemonade, 7 Up, and a cucumber slice garnish. Enjoy the original 1940s Pimm’s cup or try one of its variations right at the source. This bar is also one of the best places to try the muffuletta, a cured meat and cheese sandwich originating from Italian immigrants to New Orleans.
Visit the historic Napoleon House at 500 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130.
Perched atop the Pontchartrain Hotel, Hot Tin is a former penthouse turned cool cocktail bar. The artfully decorated rooftop bar features chic 1940s-inspired decor like vintage photographs and typewriters. Lounge on couches among eclectic post-war knick-knacks, or step out onto the balcony to see an almost panoramic view of downtown NOLA.
Hot Tin’s drink menu focuses on bright cocktails and quality champagnes. You’ll find innovative craft cocktails alongside classic mixed drinks. Charcuterie and other small plates are also available.
Try them and see the view yourself on the top floor at 2031 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130.
Enjoy the Best Bars in New Orleans
Now you’re more than ready to enjoy some of the best bars in New Orleans. Although stereotyped as a rowdy party city, that’s only a small slice of the Big Easy. Here, you’ll find a variety of ambiences serving up great cocktails in unique settings.
My biggest recommendation: Don’t stay put in one bar all night but go for a self-guided bar hopping tour to really enjoy the most of NOLA’s nightlife. Cheers!