Best Places for New Orleans Nightlife: Clubs, Bars and Live Music Spots

Beth D'Addono

By , Local Expert, New Orleans
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Essentially an island squeezed between the Mississippi River and Lake Ponchartrain, New Orleans is a city defined and shaped by waterways. Nicknamed the Crescent City because of its quarter-moon shape, New Orleans was isolated from the mainland for close to 250 years. It's that very isolation that made this wonderful city a hotbed of musical innovation, resulting in Dixieland jazz, Creole cuisine, gospel music, jazz funerals and a sassy stew of cultures and mores that are uniquely its own.

Jazz, R&B, soul and anything else you can think of fills the air when you walk down the street. The city has produced its share of musical...  Read more »

  • 1

    Chickie Wah Wah

    Chickie Wah Wah is a chill club that caters to an older crowd in a smoke free comfortable environment.

    Local Expert Tip: "Outside of Chickie Wah Wah is just about the best place in town to catch Endymion during Mardi Gras."

  • 2


    Tips is synonymous with New Orleans roots music, an uptown institution not to be missed

    Local Expert Tip: "Check out music during the Foundation Free Fridays promo for free admission every Friday during the summer months. "

  • 3

    Monteleone Hotel Carousel Bar

    The 25-seat rotating novelty is the only bar of its kind in the city, with a history that dates back to 1949.

    Local Expert Tip: "There's usually a wait for one of the 25 revolving seats at this iconic bar, so avoid peak hours for a better chance of climbing aboard. "

  • 4

    House of Blues

    The third House of Blues to open nationally offers not one but two music venues and a line up of big name and local acts.

    Local Expert Tip: "Check the concert calendar before your trip and get tickets in advance as shows tend to sell out. "

  • 5

    Preservation Hall

    Preservation Hall is a legendary place that draws an international audience of traditional jazz lovers.

    Local Expert Tip: "This is one of the few kid-friendly indoor music shows in town. "

  • 6

    One Eyed Jacks

    One Eyed Jacks is the premier intimate venue for alt touring acts and a locals' fave.

    Local Expert Tip: "80s dance night every Thursdays is not to be missed. "

  • 7


    The original d.b.a. is in NY, but we're partial to this one on Frenchmen Street for its great music offerings and clear air.

    Local Expert Tip: "There's rarely a cover if you catch an early show at this smoke free venue."

  • 8

    Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro

    Snug is a great spot for a burger downstairs before catching life traditional jazz at the upstairs small theater.

    Local Expert Tip: "Ellis Marsalis, the patriarch of the famed jazz clan, performs most Friday nights. "

  • 9

    Maple Leaf

    When they're not touring Rebirth is onstage every Tuesday. Enough said.

    Local Expert Tip: "If you are in town for Jazz Fest, be sure to head to Maple Leaf for one of the "after Jazz Fest" late night shows. "

  • 10

    Rock 'N' Bowl

    Bowling, drinking and live music with an emphasis on Zydeco? Hell yeah!

    Local Expert Tip: "Have dinner first at Ye Olde College Inn, the excellent farm-to-table seafood-centric eatery also owned by the Blancher family, just across the parking lot from Rock'n'Bowl."



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