There are few cities on the planet better known as “places to drink” than New Orleans. On your first trip to New Orleans you need (NEED) to visit some classic spots. The Carousel Bar at The Hotel Monteleone, The French 75 Bar at Arnaud’s, The Erin Rose for a frozen Irish Coffee, The Sazerac bar etc – (hit up our original New Orleans Bar Hop here!)… But that’s not what I’m telling you about today.
The bars listed below will rarely show up on your radar if you are sticking to the tourist route in NOLA*. Uber, for all it’s business running faults, is a great way to get around New Orleans. Some of the spots listed below are spaced out but well worth the fare.
1/ Mayhaw Bar (2381 St Claude Ave)
This bar is located in St. Roch Market, which is nowhere near the madness of Bourbon Street, but is a short walk to one of the graveyards you think of when you think of New Orleans. There are a bunch of food vendors in the market as well, so whether you are in the mood for a veggie stir fry or some pasta you can find something to eat with your cocktail here. The bartenders at Mayhaw are super knowledgeable and will entertain both the seasoned cocktail nerd or the afternoon beer or wine drinker.
2/ Santos (1135 Decatur St)
This bar is almost at Frenchman Street on the lower corner of the French Quarter. It’s a dark rock’n’roll bar. You might walk into a room packed with leather and denim wearing metal heads, we like that. The staff at Santos are relaxed and knowledgeable which is surprising because like a lot of buildings in the French Quarter, this bar is haunted. So you might find some ghost hunters among the rockers.
3/ Tiki Tolteca (301 N Peters Street, 2nd Floor)
Upstairs from Felipe’s Taqueria (a must visit in it’s own right), Tiki Tolteca has been a New Orleans service industry favourite for quite some time. All the rum and crushed ice and spice mixes you can hope for just blocks away from all the other high profile must visit spots in The French Quarter. What sets Tiki Tolteca apart is that the staff here really love what they do and are chatty and friendly even when they are up to their eyeballs in drink orders.
4/ Bar Tonique (820 N Rampart St)
This bar holds maybe 50 people tops, but everyone in there is having a great time. The cozy space makes for casual conversation among everyone in the room. Andy, one of the bartenders there is of the opinion that New Orleans as a city has more in common with Caribbean islands than it does with the rest of the United States. Our guess is that’s an opinion a lot of New Orleans residents are more than happy to side with right now. They have a chalkboard full of classic cocktails and a beer fridge with a lot of local and artisanal beers (artisanal AF!). While this spot can get crazy later at night, it’s a good spot to visit mid-afternoon as well.
5/ Twelve Mile Limit (500 S Telemachus St)
This bar is in mid-city, again, nowhere near the madness of Bourbon Street. This place has a true neighbourhood vibe. You can order from their cocktail list, ask for classics or check their blackboard for specials. You will meet a bunch of people that actually live their lives in New Orleans and won’t be surrounded by other tourists. This bar is a spot where you will learn about New Orleans in a true sense. If that doesn’t sound appealing to you, they also show Game Of Thrones and have trivia nights. The owner of Twelve Mile Limit, Cole, has a great blog you can read here.
*The tourist stuff in New Orleans is a lot of fun and you should probably take a day or two to do the cheesy stuff, because the cheesy stuff in NOLA is still more fun, interesting and historically enthralling than the best stuff in most other cities.
Note: As with all Bar Hops, we are not encouraging getting inebriated. This is a list of great cocktail bars that we suggest visiting while in New Orleans. We want you to have fun and play safe. Check out How to Do a Good Bar Hop for some hot tips.