10 Best New Orleans Cocktail Bars, from Highbrow to Low

Finding somewhere to drink in New Orleans is never a problem. This is a drinking town and booze is sold just about everywhere, from the Walgreens to the drive through daiquiri shop This is the city that invented the cocktail, for goodness sake, a place where drinking on the street is the norm and ordering a go cup for your cocktail is as commonplace as over served tourists.

Choosing where to have that drink is another matter altogether. The breadth of the types of bars available here is astounding. New Orleans has everything from throw 'em back saloons to upscale lounges where worshiping at the altar of the craft cocktail is the religion of choice.  If you are here with your buddies looking for a place to crush beers until the sun comes up, check out a spot like Tracey's.  In New Orleans for a girls' weekend or romantic getaway? Check out Cure, Cane + Table or Bar Tonique for hand-crafted cocktails and snappy noshes. Then there's the true dive bars, which really deserve a list all their own.  Sure, your feet stick to the floor and don't expect a clean bathroom, but the conversation you're likely to have with whoever is sitting next to you is priceless.

Is this the definitive list? For a minute...until your mood changes, you start walking in the opposite direction and you notice another little hole in the wall spot just waiting to be discovered.

Monteleone Hotel Carousel Bar
Photo courtesy of Hotel Monteleone


If you think the room is spinning after a few cocktails at the Carousel Bar, you're onto something. Actually it's the working carousel bar that revolves at this stylish spot on Royal, one of three lounges in the elegant Monteleone Hotel. The...  Read More

French Quarter


Cane & Table is yet another concept cocktail bar created by the proprietors of successful ventures Cure and Bellocq. This new spot, on Decatur in the French Quarter, describes itself as "proto-tiki" - so don't expect little umbrellas in...  Read More

French Quarter
The Napoleon House


Although the Pimm's Cup is veddy British, Napoleon House popularized the drink in a setting reminiscent of Amsterdam's brown cafes. The French Quarter bar - which doesn't look like much from the outside - possesses a faded peeling beauty earned...  Read More



Open damn near 24 hours. That's what's on the tired looking awning outside of Chuck's Sports Bar, a fab dive bar located on a quiet street less than a mile from the Superdome. Cheap, strong drinks, a mostly local clientele, including plenty of...  Read More



Drinking strong, well made drinks or a bottle of wine in the outdoor courtyard at Bacchanal is simply one of the best ways to spend a Sunday afternoon. But really anytime is fine to visit this off the beaten path Bywater classic on Poland Street...  Read More

French Quarter


Bar Tonique on the edge of the French Quarter bar isn't the typical PBR slinging dive - not that there's anything wrong with that flavor of bar. But this is the place for a frothy Ramos gin fizz – a favorite libation of notorious past...  Read More



When a local bar is one of just 16 American bars to make Drinks International's prestigious ranking of the 50 best bars in the world, it's a big deal. Cure on Freret Street s London's Artesian, New York's PDT and Tokyo's High Five. The...  Read More



Tracey's was the original bar in New Orleans' Irish Channel, dating back to 1949. Its current location is on Magazine Street, and since their reopening in 2010, Trace's has thrived as a top Big Easy sports bar. With great drink specials...  Read More

French 75 Bar


Intimate, quaint and quiet. The luxury of enjoying the splendor of a cigar is what French 75 Bar is all about. Aficionados can find the finest of tobaccos from around the world in a classic dark wood club-style ambiance. Located across the hall...  Read More

9th Ward


Before St. Claude Avenue was "cool," before there were restaurants opening every other week along this Bywater stretch, the Saturn was there. There's a great juke box and live music on a regular basis, but the real night to dance like a fool is...  Read More


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