In my previous Things To Do post, I talked about some of my favorite hotels and tour companies in the Big Easy. If you missed it, you can check it out here. Today, I’m going to list some bars that I think are worth your time if you’re visiting New Orleans.
Here’s my usual disclaimer: I’m not a local, but I go there a lot. Are these places touristy? Well, yeah. The tourism industry is huge in New Orleans, and I think these places are fun. And when you visit a city, you are a tourist. Embrace it.
We can’t talk about things to do in New Orleans without mentioning bars. But with an entire street dedicated to imbibing, how do you decide which bars to visit? Hawkers stand on the sidewalk with menus and signs promising three for the price of one drinks, huge ass beers, and fish bowls. If you stopped in at every bar along your way, you wouldn’t make it a quarter of the way down Bourbon Street!
If it’s your first time in New Orleans, here are a few iconic places the I believe are worth your time.
With dueling pianos on a small stage, this dimly lit, tightly packed bar is definitely worth a visit. It’s been around since the 1930s, and they’re famous for their hurricanes (the drinks, not the storms). They have a couple of bars without the piano music, and a restaurant too. I’ve always had fun in the piano bar, though, so that’s the main part I think you must see.
Located inside the Hotel Monteleone, the Carousel Bar is built to look like an actual carousel (minus the horses) and it actually spins…slowly, so it’s not too dizzying. Tip: If you want to get a seat at the bar, get there a few minutes before it opens. Yes, you’ll be at a bar at 11am, but hey, it’s New Orleans…anything goes!
This is a time-lapse video I made while sitting at the Carousel Bar. It actually takes about 15 minutes for the bar to go through one full revolution.
Possibly the second most famous drink on Bourbon Street is the Hand Grenade®, and you can only get them at Tropical Isle. This is a strong drink that’s a little less sweet than a hurricane. It’s kinda become a tradition for my hubby and I to start off our visit to the French Quarter with one of these bright-green drinks.
Even though it’s not on Bourbon Street, I have to mention the Voodoo Lounge. If you take a tour from French Quarter Phantoms, you’ll most likely venture inside this bar on Rampart to meet your tour guide. This is probably the least touristy place I’m recommending, but I think they make the best drinks…as in you can actually taste the alcohol. They’ve got some gambling machines and even a little library. And if you’re going on one of the tours, hurricanes are two for one! I’ve watched them make their hurricanes…they are strong! When Flanagan’s (the bar with the sign that inspired Werewolves Only) closed down, they reopened as the Voodoo Lounge, so this bar will always hold a special place in my heart!
One more place not on Bourbon Street that I want to mention is Bamboula’s. They have live jazz music, good food, and good drinks. We come here often to sit for a while and enjoy the music that playing at all hours of the day.
These are just a few of the bars I recommend. There are tons of places that have good drinks and live music, so don’t be afraid to wander inside. You might find a hidden gem! Check back later for my next Things to Do in New Orleans post, where I’ll be talking about some of my favorite restaurants.
Be sure to check out my Crescent City Wolf Pack series for some magical romance set in my favorite city…New Orleans!