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Get Your Game Face on at a New Orleans Watering Hole



Even in a city not known for its restraint, the party gets turned up to 11 on the days the beloved New Orleans Saints are on the field.  A draw for many fans who drive in from nearby states, home games also attract fans of the opposing team who drive and fly in to cheer on their home team. Because parking is at a premium, out of town fans tend to stay as close to the Dome as possible and walk to and from the games. These same fans that fill the arena on home game days generate tens of thousands of dollars in food and beverage revenue for the city, a welcome spike in business for the local bars and restaurants close to the action.  Depending on your taste and budget, you can toss back a few at a dark and smoky dive bar or splurge on raw oysters and bubbly at an authentic French bistro. Typically if a bar allows smoking food isn't served, so be sure to plot your course carefully when serial tailgating. Expect a raucous scene no matter where you go when you're within walking distance to the Superdome, the 13-acre sports venue that defines the New Orleans skyline.


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Little Bar on Gravier


Regulars were in shock when the old Chuck's Bar closed a while back. Thankfully the Little Bar on Gravier stepped up to the plate. A fab dive bar located on a quiet street less than a mile from the Superdome, Little Bar pours cheap, strong drinks for a mostly local clientele, including plenty of bartenders late nigh. There's a pool table and a slammin' jukebox, but don't come hungry. No chow is served but you can bring something in if you like. You won't confuse this place for the Polo Lounge at the five-star Windsor Court Hotel two blocks away, but Little Bar is a keeper.

Recommended for Bars near Mercedes-Benz Superdome because: A great location and an authentic dive bar ambiance is a win-win at this CBD spot.

Beth's expert tip: You won't find a heftier pour on the way to the Superdome.

Read more about Little Bar on Gravier →


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French Quarter


You wouldn't guess from the spare exterior, but Bar Tonique has it going on. The Rampart Street lounge, situated on the border of the French Quarter and Treme not far from Armstrong park, offers a large U-shaped bar, some banquette seating and an extensive menu of classic and original cocktails. This isn't your PBR slinging dive. but if it's hand crafted cocktails using fresh ingredients and choice rare liquors you seek, sit a spell. The vibe is more neighborhood than hoity toity, and a daily $5 special that includes retro pours like Moscow Mule and Aviation is featured from noon to 5 pm weekdays.

Recommended for Bars near Mercedes-Benz Superdome because: With its local craft cocktail pedigree and great location, Bar Tonique is tops.

Beth's expert tip: A great gas fireplace takes the chill off on frigid game days.

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Fulton Alley
Photo courtesy of Fulton Alley


Fulton Alley in the New Orleans CBD is a fun locally owned destination for bowling, contemporary Southern comfort food and curated craft cocktails. The setting is sleek and urbane, with local art adding eye-popping appeal. Executive chef Mike Nirenberg is behind the contemporary Southern-influenced menu, delivering the likes of pimento cheese on toasted brioche, crispy chicken sliders and raisin bread pudding beignets right to your lane. Cocktails from the team behind Cure bring a hip night of bowling into perfect focus. The bowling lounge recently expanded to include an array of fun games, from darts and foozball to a full on bocce court and oversized chess on the patio. A creative event staff will customize a party package for your group, including everything and anything from bowling and shoes to tasty nibbles and cocktails from the premium bar.

Recommended for Bars near Mercedes-Benz Superdome because: Great cocktails and a convenient location near Harrah's makes Fulton Alley a great pick.

Beth's expert tip: Fulton Alley's craft cocktail program is curated by the Neal Bodenheimer and Kirk Estopinal, the team behind Cure.

Read more about Fulton Alley →


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Gordon Biersch is a huge place, with 375 seats and a busy sports bar on Poydras Street in the heart of New Orleans. The outdoor patio is a popular spot, but on game day, it's the five plasmas at the bar that take center stage. This is the local outpost of the California-based chain, which has 35 locations in all. Take a brewery tour for before or after the game if you're a beer fan or pony up for beer samplings offered by the Brew Master and staff. At least five German style beers are made on the premises and the food menu is vast.

Recommended for Bars near Mercedes-Benz Superdome because: Great craft beer and a central location a mile from the dome recommend this spot.

Beth's expert tip: Gordon Biersch is within walking distance to the Superdome, making it a natural destination for pre-game shenanigans.

Read more about Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant →




Situated in the ground floor of the Energy Center on Poydras, Allegro is game-central for the who dat nation when the Saints are playing at the Dome. Whether you want to grab a burger from the grill and have a few cocktails, get pumped up by with some great music, or have a great pre-game tailgating meal from the buffet, Allegro is wildly popular during home games. Generally open only for lunch and happy hour, Allegro's menu features burger and salads along with specialties like barbecue shrimp, chicken Alfredo and crawfish etoufee. Daily lunch specials are posted on the bistro's Facebook page/

Recommended for Bars near Mercedes-Benz Superdome because: Location, location, location coupled with an approachable Creole comfort menu makes this spot a local favorite.

Beth's expert tip: Other than game days, you can get two hours of free validated parking in the building's garage.

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For a pre-game cocktail, head to Borgne, one of local celebrity chef John Besh's much touted restaurants. Situated on the ground floor of the newly renovated Hyatt on Loyala Avenue, Borgne is great choice for locally sourced Louisian seafood and coastal cuisine. Both Besh and executive chef Brian Landry grew up fishing on Lake Borgne, an eastern Louisiana Gulf-fed body of water teeming with fish. Borgne's menu celebrates coastal Louisiana with a touch of IsleƱo influence, a throwback to the immigrants from Malaga and the Canaries that settled in New Orleans in the late 1700s. Try the grilled Canary Island goat cheese with mjo verde sauce oyster spaghetti and seafood stuffed flounder.

Recommended for Bars near Mercedes-Benz Superdome because: Borgne is in the Hyatt Regency, the closest hotel to the Superdome.

Beth's expert tip: The $10 lunch special is one of the best deals in town.

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Walk-On's Bistreaux & Bar is located on Poydras Street just four blocks from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, making it a preeminent spot for pre- and post-game food and drinks. Walk-On's has televisions nearly everywhere, including outside on their 2nd floor terraced balcony. The eats go beyond what you might expect for a sports bar, with a nice array of regional specialties, including gumbo, seafood po-boys, fried catfish and andouille-filled quesadillas. The bar area is a great place to be to watch your favorite team in action. Grab a pitcher of ice cold beer and start the party at this engaging locals' haunt.

Recommended for Bars near Mercedes-Benz Superdome because: Loud and fun, this lively pub draws enthusiast game fanatics just steps from away from the Superdome

Beth's expert tip: When the weather cooperates, grab a spot on the second floor balcony with a television.

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Fried frog legs for brunch? absolument if it's a truly French brasserie setting you crave with the emphasis on locally sourced seafood and Southern hospitality. Offering a trendy, convivial atmosphere, top notch service and one of NOLA's most extensive raw bars to boot, Luke is a dream come true for shellfish enthusiasts. If selections like fresh local oysters and littleneck clams don't pique your appetite, choose from a host of other menu items like the local crabmeat omelet or the signature Luke burger. A house speciality, the flamenkuche is always a crowd pleaser, an Alsacien onion and bacon tart fragrant with Emmenthaler cheese. Personable bartenders are always in the house, and the drinks are top shelf.

Recommended for Bars near Mercedes-Benz Superdome because: Luke serves terrific food and drink and is a five minute walk from the Superdome

Beth's expert tip: The raw bar at Luke is one of the very best in town.

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It's no accident that Manning's at Harrah's is followed by the subtitle Eat Drink Cheer. This is one of the best sports bar/restaurants in New Orleans, a partnership between the casino and former New Orleans Saints quarterback Archie Manning, who spent 12 years playing at the Superdome. The restaurant is heaven for any fan of the Manning family, with all kinds of memorabilia from Archie Manning's playing career, and that of his sons, Peyton and Eli. The sports theme at the 210 seat restaurant is driven home by 30 flat screens always tuned to one game or another. As for the menu, it's an intersection between Mississippi delta and Creole, with specialties like shrimp and grits and local red fish.

Recommended for Bars near Mercedes-Benz Superdome because: To many Saints' fans, the Manning name equals the first family of football in New Orleans, period.

Beth's expert tip: When the weather is fine, seats along the outdoor promenade on Fulton Street are primo.

Read more about Manning's →


Copper Vine
Photo courtesy of Brandt Vicknair


Copper Vine is what would happen if a swank wine bar married a craft beer joint. Owned by Brechtel Hospitality Group (BHG), the same company behind Fulton Alley and the Walk Ons franchise up the block, Copper Vine is a gorgeous spot close to the Dome, Smoothie King Center and in the heart of the CBD. If some wine bars can be snooty, this one is a breath of fresh air intent on making wine sipping approachable and fun. BHG founder Kyle Brechtel had a vision with Copper Vine, imaging an approachable and inviting place for tasty food and 30 wines on tap. Add in the knock out interior, second floor balcony, communal tables and private dining options, and Copper Vine is sweet indeed. Chef Mike Brewer, known for his award winning spot The Sammich as well as stints at Brennan's and Commander's, gets creative with gastro pub cuisine, offering snacks like deviled eggs topped with jumbo lump Louisiana crab meat; beef carpaccio with Tabasco� pickled strawberries, pea shoots, snow peas and shaved radish; and flatbreads topped with the likes of duck confit with bacon jam and goat cheese. Substantial mains run the gamut, from crispy pork belly with braised collards to gnocchi with citrus cream, mint and jumbo lump Louisiana crab meat. The stunning Edwardian building was originally constructed in 1876 as the Maylie's residence and restaurant.

Recommended for Bars near Mercedes-Benz Superdome because: Copper Vine is a great spot for pre game and concert fun.

Beth's expert tip: This is a great spot for mid afternoon meet up as the bar opens at 3 p.m.

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Meet Beth D'Addono

Beth D'Addono is a food and travel writer obsessed with flavor, exploring cultures, street music and the city of New Orleans.

Beth writes about New Orleans and other destinations for outlets...  More About Beth

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