10 best cocktail Bars in new Orleans

There’s maybe no city in the us that knows how to party quite like new Orleans. now I know new York can throw it down, and I realize they call Las vegas sin City for a reason, but you just can’t beat the big easy when it pertains to nightlife.

There are so lots of awesome cocktail bars in new Orleans that you could go out every night for a year and not have a single repeat.

Think I’m joking?

As of the last count, new Orleans has the highest amount of bars per capita in the country!

In the French Quarter – and especially on Bourbon street – it seems as if every other establishment is a bar. With so lots of choices, how do you choose where to wet their whistle?!

I’ve been to NOLA a few times now, and I spent a huge majority of my trips there bar-hopping with friends.

In one weekend, I managed to hit a swanky hotel rooftop bar, a heavy metal joint, and one of those new Orleans Bourbon street bars where cocktails come in gigantic plastic tubes.

While the memories may be a tad bit fuzzy, rest assured I did proper research for this one!

If you’re planning a trip to the big easy and are wondering where to get hold of a drink, read on for a look at some of the best cocktial bars in new Orleans.

I’ve actually included some variety in this post to appease beer and white wine drinkers as well — so there must be something for everyone in this guide. 

Here’s my list of the best 10 cocktail bars in new Orleans (+ a couple of white wine and beer spots).

Table of Contents
Introduction to new Orleans Bars
1. Sazerac Bar
2. The Carousel Bar & Lounge
3. Lafitte’s Blacksmith Bar & Shop
4. Courtyard Brewery
5. Arnaud’s French 75 Bar
6. Bacchanal Wine
7. Pat O’Brien’s
8. Napoleon House
9. 21st Amendment Bar at La Louisiane
10. Espíritu Mezcal Bar
Bonus! snake & Jake’s 
Ready to hit The new Orleans cocktail Bars?

Introduction to new Orleans Bars

Bars in new Orleans run the gamut from grungy dive bars to elegant cocktail lounges. The city has secret speakeasies, craft breweries, fancy white wine bars, and everything in between.

Whether you’re trying to find a casual night out or you want to end up dancing on tables, there’s a bar for you here.

One interesting thing about new Orleans bars is that they can stay open 24/7. The phrase “last call” might as well be in a foreign language here! Oh yeah, and did I mention that you can take your drinks to go here as well?

New Orleans is one of very few places in the us that has no open container laws. just make sure you’re not drinking out of glass on the street and you’re good to go!

Another really cool thing about the bars in new Orleans is that you can try several cocktails in the very bar where they were invented.

It’s pretty fantastic to pull up a stool at a bar that’s hundreds of years old and try a popular cocktail in its birthplace. Be sure to check out this post on new Orleans cocktails so you can familiarize yourself with the city’s a lot of popular adult beverages.

It’s always a good idea to put some food in your stomach before a big night out, and there’s plenty to eat in this foodie haven. speaking of food, be sure to bookmark this post on the best new Orleans food to try when you’re in town. 

Alright, let’s get this party started. There are so lots of awesome cocktail bars in new Orleans bars that it’s near impossible compiling a definitive “best of list,” but I sure tried.

1. Sazerac Bar

Must-Try: A Sazerac, of course! 

Prices: $7-8 for beer, $9-18 for wine, $12-21 for cocktails (a Sazerac is $18)

Hours: Friday – Sunday from twelve noon – 11 pm. Monday – Thursday from 4 – 10 pm

Location: 130 Roosevelt way (in the Roosevelt Hotel)

Our excursion of the best cocktail bars in new Orleans begins at Sazerac.

There’s a lot of history at this place, as it’s named after what some consider to be the first real cocktail. The classic Sazerac dates back to the 1830s, and it’s been a go-to cocktail for new Orleanians ever since.

Legendary former governor of Louisiana Huey long used to hang out here, Ramos Gin Fizz in hand, chatting it up with his constituents. These days, you’ll find a mix of locals and tourists, who flock here to take pleasure in their creative cocktails. 

The Sazerac is absolutely one of the classiest of the lots of new Orleans cocktail bars.

Recent restorations here uncovered some 1930s murals by painter Paul Ninas, which you can admire while sitting on one of their sophisticated bar stools. It’s especially charming here in December when the hotel lobby transforms into a veritable wintertime wonderland. 

2. The Carousel Bar & LoungeMust-Try: The Vieux Carre is the signature drink here; the Fleur de Lis was also created here

Prices: $12-15 for cocktails

Hours: 7 days a week from twelve noon – 12

Location: 214 royal street (inside the Monteleone Hotel)

One of the most quintessential new Orleans bars is absolutely the Carousel.

In case you’re wondering, that’s not just a creative name — the bar is an actual, fully functional carousel here. Thankfully they replaced the animals with proper bar stools, so you don’t need to straddle a horse to get a drink here.

While the thought of drinking while spinning around in circles may seem nauseating, rest assured that it’s a pleasurable experience.

The carousel takes about 15 minutes to make a rotation, so you’ll barely even notice it. You’ll be too busy chatting it up with the expert mixologists here and trying their classic cocktails. 

Fun fact, the popular Vieux Carre cocktail was actually developed here!

Sip on one of these as you take pleasure in the sounds of some live jazz, as they normally have live music from Wednesday to Saturday. It’s often crowded, but it’s worth the wait to have this classic new Orleans drinking experience. find out about their daily events here.

3. Lafitte’s Blacksmith Bar & Shop

Must-Try: Frozen daiquiris are popular here, but a lot of just drink standard cocktails or beers

Prices: $5 and up for everything

Hours: 7 days a week from 10AM-3AM

Location: 941 Bourbon Street

It’s not every day that you get to drink in a bar that’s 300 years old. That’s precisely what you can do at Lafitte’s Blacksmith, which tops the list of oldest bars in new Orleans. It’s actually said to be the oldest building used as a bar in the country!

This historic bar is named after Jean Lafitte, a 19th-century French pirate.

It’s said that he once hid out here when he needed a safe place to smuggle his pirated goods. Whether or not that’s true, he would a lot of likely approve of the cheap, strong drinks that they pour here.

While this bar is in fact located on Bourbon Street, it’s pretty far removed from the chaos.

Personally, I’m not a big fan of new Orleans Bourbon street bars, but this one is a winner. It’s candle-lit and one of the very few piano bars in the city, making for a very fun atmosphere. 

4. Courtyard Brewery

Must-Try: Beer – they have over 30 beers on tap here

Prices: $3 and up

Hours: Friday – Sunday from 11am – 1am. Monday – Thursday from 4pm – 12am

Location: 1020 Erato Street

When a lot of people think of new Orleans bars, they picture people slamming down sugary Hurricane drinks and mass-produced beers. While there’s certainly plenty of that going on, the city is also home to a burgeoning craft beer scene.

One of the best bars in new Orleans to get your hop fix is Courtyard Brewery.

They have an excellent selection of draft beer that’s made in-house as well as quite a few guest taps. Whether you fancy an IPA, stout, or sour, they’ve got a brew for you here.

They don’t have a restaurant, but they do host rotating food trucks for when you need something to soak up the booze. Courtyard also hosts an annual craft beer and food festival called Hopfest, so you might want to check that out if you’re in town at the same time.

New Orleans is popular for its epic festivals and events, don’t miss this one.

5. Arnaud’s French 75 Bar

Must-Try: The French 75 (a mix of champagne and cognac)

Prices: cocktails from $12.50-14

Hours: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday from 5:30pm – 10:30pm. Sunday from 10:30am – 1am. 

Location: 813 Bienville Street

Not only is this one of the best cocktail bars in new Orleans, but Esquire magazine named French 75 one of the top five bars in the country.

Originally a “gentlemen only” place, these days everyone can take pleasure in this elegant bar. This is the kind of place where the servers wear tuxedos, so you may want to dress up a bit for this one.

The current incarnation of this legendary NOLA drinking establishment focuses on making classic cocktails with premium spirits. As the name would suggest, the French 75 is their signature drink. There are lots of other exceptional options on the menu, though.

Even if you don’t plan to have dinner at the restaurant next door, you can still take pleasure in some of the food. From 6-10PM, the bar serves a varied snack menu featuring oysters en brochette, cheese puffs stuffed with prosciutto, and much more. 

After all this drinking, you might be ready to do something outside of a bar! Don’t miss these popular swamp excursions in new Orleans.

6. Bacchanal Wine

Must-Try: white wine and cheese! Take your pick from many varieties.

Prices: very affordable (retail prices for wine)

Hours: Friday – Sunday from twelve noon – 11pm. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday from 5 – 10pm

Location: 600 Poland Ave

After sampling so lots of cocktails, maybe it’s time to switch to a white wine bar. 

Wine lovers will absolutely love Bacchanal, which bills itself as the city’s “backyard party.” The city shut them down due to a lack of permits, but thanks to local support they managed to bring their wine-fueled shindigs back to the city’s Bywater district.

At first glance, Bacchanal doesn’t look like much. From the outside, it just looks like a regular old storefront.

Head in and purchase a bottle of white wine (at retail price!) and then head out into their charming courtyard where there’s live music seven days a week (weather permitting). As it’s in the Bywater, you’ll find way a lot more locals than boozed-up tourists here.

One reason that Bacchanal is absolutely one of the top new Orleans bars is that they do a bi-weekly complimentary white wine tasting. These happen on Wednesday from 1-3PM and Saturday from 3-5. Oh yeah, and it was even featured on the HBO series Treme! how cool is that?

I’m not a huge white wine drinker, but even I can admit that Bacchanal is one of the coolest new Orleans bars around.

7. Pat O’Brien’s

Must-Try: The Hurricane cocktail is the signature drink here

Prices: $6-8.50 for their cocktails (Hurricanes cost $8.50)

Hours: Wednesday – Monday from 12pm – 12am 

Location: 718 St. Peter

The Hurricane is one of the most popular new Orleans cocktails, and you can try one in the very bar where it was created!

As the story goes, the owner of Pat O’Brien’s once found himself with an excess of rum. At the time, distributors made bar owners get huge quantities of rum before they would sell them a lot more desirable liquors like bourbon. 

In an effort to get rid of this abundance of rum, he mixed it in with passion fruit syrup and lime juice.

He poured the new concoction into a glass that resembled a hurricane lamp, and the rest is history. While a lot of new Orleans bars serve Hurricanes, you’ve got to try one in the original spot where it was made.

Pat O’Brien’s is actually three bars in one.

There’s the main bar where you can catch sporting events on TV, the patio centered around their popular “Flaming Fountain,” and even a dueling piano lounge. This place is fun any day of the week, but it’s especially lively on St. Patrick’s Day.

8. Napoleon House

Must-Try: They’re popular for their Pimm’s cup (gin, lemonade & 7-up)

Prices: $4.50-7 beer, $7-12 for white wine & cocktails 

Hours: Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday from 11am – 9pm. Friday and Saturday 11am – 10 pm. 

Location: 500 Charles Street

One of the oldest bars in new Orleans is the popular Napoleon House.

This historic building dates back over 200 years. Back in those days, then-mayor Nicholas Girod was living here. He used the house to none other than Napoleon Bonaparte during his exile. 

Actually, Napoleon never made it, but his name did. The bar has been here considering that 1914, and it feels as if time stood still here. find out a lot more about the cocktail bar’s history here. 

With its peeling walls, multiple paintings of Napoleon, and classical music playing, it feels like stepping back in time. You’ll often hear Beethoven’s Eroica, which was actually composed for Napoleon. 

There’s no way to top the description of Napoleon house than what they have on their website: “exudes a European charm that is a mecca for civilized drinking and eating.”

Order up a Pimm’s cup and a classic Muffuletta and clear up in for an evening at one o

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