Gordon Biersch is a large restaurant/sports bar on Poydras Street in the heart of the CBD, close to Harrah's and the Convention Center and an easy walk to the game. The venue has outdoor seating allowing you to view the bustle of the downtown. Inside, their are a handful of plasma television screens as well as direct views of the brewery where actual beer making goes down. You can really make a day out of Biersch's by planning a brewery tour for before or after the sporting event you plan to watch. If lucky, you'll be in the house when the staff decides to give out free beer samples (it does happen).
Recommended for Restaurants near Smoothie King Center because: Beer, flat screens, great location - what's not to like?
Beth's expert tip: This 375-seater is great for groups and includes a nice patio for outdoor seating.
Eat - Drink - Cheer is the perfect description of Manning's, the upbeat sports bar and restaurant located in the lively Fulton Street corridor. This is one of the best places to cheer for the home team 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. There's even a giant screen in a section called the End Zone. 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 Restaurants near Smoothie King Center because: No better place to get into the Who Dat spirit than at Mannings.
Beth's expert tip: If you're with a gang, call ahead to reserve the VIP viewing area called the End Zone, a section of the restaurant that feels like a luxury skybox.
Walk-On's Bistreaux & Bar is located on Poydras Street in the CBD of New Orleans. Close by to both the Smoothie King Center and the Superdome, this joint is the preeminent spot to be for pre- and post-game food and drinks. Walk-On's has televisions nearly everywhere, including outside on their 2nd floor terraced balcony. Bar food isn't the only option here. The menu is filled with regional specialties, including seafood po-boys, fried catfish and andouille-filled quesadillas. The bar area is a great place to watch your favorite team in action. Grab a few buds and a pitcher of ice cold beer and spend some time at Walk-On's.
Recommended for Restaurants near Smoothie King Center because: What better place to talk over the big win than Walk-On's, one of the best sports bars in the city.
Beth's expert tip: When the weather cooperates, grab a spot on the second floor balcony with a television.
Mother's has been a New Orleans tradition since the 1940's and it is still creating happy customers today. If you are looking for a hearty breakfast or a "meat and three" for supper and don't mind standing in line, this cafeteria-style eatery is sure to please. And do not miss the po'boys, the roast beef debris and gravy is revered by local fans. Also a winner: the New Orleans style, chicory-flavored coffee. Mother's is located on Poydras in the Central Business District, and is known for attracting heaping amounts of visitors during weekends. Try sneaking your Mother's trip in mid-week to avoid long lines.
Recommended for Restaurants near Smoothie King Center because: Mother's is open til 10 pm, so after you take in a concert at the arena, come here for soul food.
Beth's expert tip: If you are asked whether you want "debris" on your po-boy just say yes.
Reginelli's is a pizza joint with a few spots around town (one in the CBD and the other in Uptown). They offer more than just pies though, with specialty salads, pastas, sandwiches and calzones gracing the menu. They've been a staple college favorite for years and are now fully recognized by the city as having outstanding food at great prices. They always have a great selection of beer on tap, including locally brewed Abita. Midweek pitcher specials can have you and your pals drinking on sofa change. Their locations are super casual, and if you don't feel like eating out, grab to go or have them deliver.
Recommended for Restaurants near Smoothie King Center because: Reginelli's has a couple of locations around town. Their CBD venue is in walking distance from the home of the Pelicans.
Beth's expert tip: Try to time your visit around their beer pitcher/large pizza deal.
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 - smart and spunky somm Lydia Kurkoski is behind the inventive flights curated with care and not a bit of attitude. 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 Amy Mehrtens recently joined the team, a seasoned young CIA trained chef that worked most recently as a sous at Commander's Palace. She's already some spectacular dishes to the menu including bacon wrapped dates stuffed with Creole cream cheese and a filet brochette with wild mushrooms and a tangy roasted pepper sauce that's to die for. Don't miss her excellent gulf fish amandine with a champagne cream sauce, brown butter almonds and tobiko - absolute best version of the traditional dish in town. Substantial mains run the gamut from crawfish and andouille gnocchi to shrimp and grits and chicken piccata. The stunning Edwardian building was originally constructed in 1876 as the Maylie's residence and restaurant.
Recommended for Restaurants near Smoothie King Center because: Great location for game and concert goers interested in haute nibbles and wine on tap.
Beth's expert tip: Happy hour is a great deal here, served 2-6 pm Monday to Friday with special drink prices and nibbles like bacon wrapped dates for $5.
The Mexican love child of local uber chef John Besh and Food Network wunderkind Aarón Sánchez, Johnny Sánchez is the best thing to happen to Poydras Street since Sculpture for New Orleans. A place that gives the option of roasted grasshoppers on the freshly made guac gets a body's attention. The menu is locally charged and full of authentic Mexican flavors. A seasonal specialty, the fried Brussels sprouts "salad" is really a revelatory warm veg dish tossed with bits of roasted squash, pomegranate and queso. The pork belly tacos are sweet with pineapple glaze and savory with swiney goodness. Lamb enchiladas, yellowfin tostados, grilled sweetbread tacos with chorizo, winning flavors abound. There are some interesting (and pricey) wines by the glass along with a very good house margarita and a full list of sipping tequilas. By the way, the place also happens to be gorgeous, bright with a colorful Day of the Dead wall mural and Chihuly-style overhead chandeliers. Service is informed and attentive.
Recommended for Restaurants near Smoothie King Center because: Consistently good fresh-Mex from Aaron Sanchez makes this place a winner.
Beth's expert tip: Tacos are $2 and margaritas are half off from 2pm to 6pm weekdays.
Rooftop hotel bars are popping up all over New Orleans, popular at the Ace, Hotel Pontchartrain and longtime fave Hotel Monteleone. The new Troubadour Hotel, a slick CBD redo of a former office building, is leading the pack with Monkey Board, a hip bar scene popular with twentysomethings in search of libations and tasty bites. Named for the narrow elevated platform commonly used on oil-drilling platforms (this was a former oil & gas building after all), Monkey Board delivers 180 degree views of the city along with cozy cushioned seating straight out of Casablanca. The menu is designed to pair well with drinking everything from local craft beer to bubbles - big ass pretzels with beer fondue, grilled veggie pita with huymmus, pork sandwich with rapini slaw, slices of birthday cake. It's all delish and the views will take your breath away.
Recommended for Restaurants near Smoothie King Center because: Great bites on the roof of the Troubadour - what's not to like?
Beth's expert tip: Catch drink specials from 5-7 pm weekdays if you're on a budget.