Where to Drink (like an Adult) in New Orleans
Bourbon Street is for the youths. Our local host and guide, Dr. Matt, leads us to the best bars in New Orleans, real places to drink and be merry in The Big Easy. Read on to find where the grown-ups drink in New Orleans.
Bacchanal Fine Wine and Spirits | Bywater
Bacchanal should be at the top of every New Orleans list. It is everything you could ever want: part wine bar, part music venue, part cocktail bar and part backyard party. It's located in Bywater, about a 15 minute drive from the French Quarter, so it is still mostly frequented by locals, which gives it a laid back, homey feel. Pick out a bottle of wine and some cheese from the fridge near the entrance, and they will take your cheese selections and create a fantastic cheese board. Then grab an outdoor table and enjoy the night. They have live music every night and hold wine tastings and other events often so make sure to check out their calendar.
Bouligny Tavern | Garden District
Another hidden locals spot, Bouligny Tavern is a small, midcentury-chic cocktail lounge and small-plates dining destination. Owned by John Harris, the head chef of Lilette (a french restaurant right next door) the food is delicious and the vibe vintage cool. Perfect for a final night cap or classy first date.
The Vintage | Garden District
A chic Paris-style cafe serving coffee, beignets, small plates and cocktails. Sounds like a perfect end of the night to me. Plus there's a piano that's been turned into an ottoman, so that's pretty cool.
Hot Tin is the rooftop bar at the top of the Pontchartrain Hotel. Frequented by locals and tourists alike, this bar gives you the best view of the city and the Mississippi River. Their drinks are on point and the interior decor has a great vintage bohemian vibe.
Bar Marilou | CBD
Bar Marilou is classy girl heaven. God bless my husband for taking me here on my birthday. The interior is indulgent pink, but with a French flair that makes it classy. It’s definitely on the expensive side, but perfect for a pre-dinner drink and a small bite. But the coolest thing about this bar by far is the hidden bookcase door that leads to the adjacent hotel.
The Ace Hotel | CBD
The stunner at Ace Hotel is really the rooftop pool and bar in summer, but I was there in winter and was fully content with their lobby bar. Honestly, the super chic lobby is why we chose Ace Hotel as our accommodations on our last visit. Check it out on your way to dinner at Josephine Estelle next door.
Carousel Bar | French Quarter
Because even adults love a good gimic, the Carosel bar is a 360 rotating bar inside Hotel Montelone. If you're in it for the intagram pic, go early (opens at 11am) because this place is always full. Definitely not a locals spot, but who cares, it spins and it's shiny!
Napoleon House | French Quarter
Home of the Pimm's Cup. Though never home to Napoleon himself, the original owner, former New Orleans mayor, Nicholas Girod, offered refuge to the exiled Napoleon Bonaparte in the early 1800s. Though the plans never came to fruition, the name stuck. The Napoleon House exudes true old world European charm and is the perfect place to start a night of moderately civilized drinking.
Erin Rose | French Quarter
More for the frozen Irish coffee than anything else. Erin Rose is an old Irish Pub and a local hot spot, especially popular on game days. Pop in for a frozen Irish coffee to fuel the day’s or night's activities. Plus the original Killer Poboys is located in the back so grab some food while you're there.
French 75 | French Quarter
French 75 is one of the oldest bars in New Orleans. It’s connected to Arnaud’s (which you should definitely visit as well) and is just as cozy and classic as you could hope for. Get the French 75, their classic cocktail of sparkling wine, gin and lemon. Literally all my favorite things.