10Best hot spots for New Orleans nightlife

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 giants, from greats like Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Dr. John and Mahalia Jackson to contemporary acts like Better Than Ezra, Hurray for the Riff Raff and Galactic.

While you probably know about Preservation Hall just off Bourbon Street, you may be new to this eclectic line-up of clubs, places that cater more to locals than the tourist trade.  From Chickie Wah Wah in Mid-City to Tips Uptown and d.b.a. in the Marigny, each of these spots is a gem. Line up a taxi, have a double espresso and start your engines, the fun is about to begin. And don’t worry if you can’t get every club on your list in one night. You might feel better in the morning if you take one at a time.



The main Uptown music joint besides Tipitina's, Maple Leaf Bar focuses on local musicians, with many taking up residency at the bar. Some of the best funk acts of the city play here, and by the crowds, you can tell the city is fully aware of...  Read More

Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro

If you want to make a night out of listening to traditional jazz music in a comfortable atmosphere while sipping a drink, Snug Harbor, located on Frenchmen Street is the place for you. With its classy grown up vibe, Snug allows you to really...  Read More


High ceilings, rich brown paneling, and a long, sleek bar adorn this attractive space, housed in an old Marigny building. The bar menu is extensive and the assortment of single malt whiskey will delight even the most discriminating connoisseur....  Read More

French Quarter

Walking into One Eyed Jacks in the French Quarter is like stumbling into a shadow-filled red wax museum. Then you walk through the double doors and you're in a full blown (if slightly seedy) theater, with multiple bars and a big dance floor....  Read More

French Quarter

Preservation Hall is a historical jazz venue located on St. Peter Street steps away from Bourbon in the French Quarter. Admission first come first served is $20, or reserve in advance ($30-$50) to assure a seat close to the action. Folks line up...  Read More

French Quarter

The House of Blues in New Orleans is unlike any other venue that shares its name. Opened in 1994 in the French Quarter, this historic blues house offers standing room viewing of a stage that gets concert-goes right on top of the performers. Each...  Read More

Monteleone Hotel Carousel Bar
Photo courtesy of Hotel Monteleone

The Carousel Bar is an infamous stopping point in the revered Monteleone Hotel on Royal Street in the French Quarter. Built in 1949 and renovated in 2011, the 25 seat bar gently spins its patrons around as they sip a drink from the endless...  Read More


Tipitina's began as a neighborhood juke joint in 1977, opened by a group of young music fans (The Fabulous Fo'teen) to provide a place for Professor Longhair to perform in his final years. Named for one of Longhair's most enigmatic recordings...  Read More

Chickie Wah Wah
Photo courtesy of Chickie Wah Wah

This chill venue situated on the Canal Street streetcar line is a locals' fave thanks to its eclectic line up, great food and grown up vibe. Expect an older crowd of mostly locals since not too many tourists find their way to this friendly club,...  Read More

The Spotted Cat
Photo courtesy of New Orleans CVB

While local musicians entertain, patrons chill on comfy couches and sip cocktails at this popular Marigny lounge. The relaxed setting appeals to a mature clientele, and music ranges from New Orleans jazz to swing to klezmer and blues. Early...  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