What springs to mind when you think of nights out in New Orleans? Downing Hurricanes on Bourbon Street whilst throwing beads up into the air?
Yeah, you kind of got it. But in fact, it’s not just Bourbon Street where you can go out drinking in NOLA. We had three nights in New Orleans, and we made sure we visited a different area every single night.
These are the places that we found…
This is the iconic drinking den of New Orleans. Everything you think about Bourbon Street is true: nestled in the touristy French Quarter, it’s packed every day of the week, the drinks are cheap, and there are beads everywhere.
In fact, in between the bars are several souvenir shops, all open late selling beads, so if you’ve already thrown yours up into the trees and on the balconies, you can always buy some more.
My friend and I decided to spend our first night in New Orleans on Bourbon Street. Once we’d bought an obligatory bag of beads – and decided for some unknown reason that it was absolutely crucial we bought masks too, to complete our outfits – we headed off for drinks.
So it was a Tuesday night and the street was packed: there were actual people, which Miami seemed to lack, and we were so excited.
Except, when we walked into the first couple of bars… they were dead. Turns out that in New Orleans, it’s legal to drink alcohol in the streets if it’s in a plastic cup, so most people were asking for takeaway drinks whilst they were walking around the French Quarter!
The original home of the Hurricane (rum, Hurricane mix and crushed ice), this place had an outdoor terrace at the back, with a fountain that somehow had a fire display (I think I was a bit too impressed by this).
Ahh, the place where we got to listen to the hits of Paris Hilton. For $1 you could choose any song you wanted. I personally wanted Jealousy, but that was the one Paris Hilton song they didn’t have, so we settled for Nothing in this World instead. The looks on people’s faces!
Bit disappointed when they didn’t have any Mø. What’s with that?!
North Rampart Street
On the Wednesday, we were just looking for some quiet cocktails, but were having difficulty locating cocktail bars that were open late.
We found Bar Tonique on North Rampart Street, and the cocktail menu sounded nice, so we decided to go there. As soon as I saw the Aviation I was sold.
It was pretty cool and very chilled out, and was full of locals seemed to hang out there. Plus, it’s only a five minute walk from Bourbon Street, so you’re never far away from a wild night out.
This was my favourite place for a night out. Very hipster, it was a classier version of Bourbon Street; and they even had a late night open-air gallery, and random people setting up BBQs in the streets.
A jazz bar, we started off here for dinner. I had southern fried chicken followed by pecan pie, and the food was amazing. It was really busy too, which is always a good sign.
The only way they could improve is by turning the aircon down a notch… although maybe that’s just me?
Next on our list was bar a short walk up Frenchmen street called 30°/-90°. A live band was playing and I ordered a Honey Deuce: Grey Goose, raspberry liqueur, lemonade and honeydew melon.
We headed outside to the outdoor terrace, as it was still really warm. It was so nice being able to sit out at night with a drink – it’s hardly ever warm enough in the UK to do that!
New Orleans has lots of beautiful buildings with balconies, but it seemed that most of the bars and restaurants had flats above them. We chose to end the night at Dat Dog because we could sit out on the upstairs balcony, taking in the view of the street below.
The nights out in New Orleans were varied, although still very casual. My favourite area was Frenchmen Street, as it was less touristy… and I’m hoping to go back for more nights out very soon!