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Louisiana Nightlife

Arnaud's French 75
813 Bienville Street
Bywater
New Orleans , Louisiana
70112
Tel: 504 523 5433
www.arnaudsrestaurant.com/french-75/

Despite being attached to a landmark Creole restaurant, Arnaud's French 75 somehow maintains its own vibe and identity, especially among traveling cocktail geeks. Head bartender Chris Hannah presides over the sumptuous, parlorlike space with an encyclopedic knowledge of the classics and a penchant for experimentation. If you're in the mood for a refreshing cocktail, order up a frothy Ramos Gin Fizz or La Louisianne for a pitch-perfect rendition. Or if Hannah is behind the bar, tell him your likes and dislikes, and let him concoct an appropriate libation to match tastes.—Pableaux Johnson

Open daily 5:30 to 11 pm.

Art of the Afternoon Cocktail
New Orleans , Louisiana

New Orleans's reputation for colorful, high-octane libations—Hurricanes, Hand Grenades, Screaming Blue Orgasms—often overshadows one of the city's more civilized traditions: a long, leisurely cocktail sipped at a historic barroom. The 25-foot cypress bar at Tujague's is a quick trip back to 1856, when the French Quarter saloon first opened its doors. Order a whiskey-based Sazerac, a classic cousin of the Old Fashioned, and appreciate the towering ceilings and old-world vibe (823 Decatur St.; 504-525-8676; www.tujagues.com). A few blocks away, the Napoleon House serves up its signature highball, the refreshing gin-based Pimm's Cup, in your choice of open-air venue. The intimate front room faces street traffic, for people-watching, while the shaded courtyard provides a suitably gracious alfresco experience (500 Chartres St.; 504-524-9752; www.napoleonhouse.com).

Bar Tonique
820 North Rampart Street
Faubourg Treme
New Orleans , Louisiana
70112
Tel: 504 324 6045
www.bartonique.com

Perched on the Rampart Street border between the French Quarter and Faubourg Treme neighborhoods, this one-room bar serves up an amazing range of classic and contemporary cocktails in an appropriately funky ambience. The location is just far enough from the high-traffic tourist zones to feel secluded, but bustling enough to have solid energy, whether you're enjoying a nice afternoon relaxer or crowded, shoulder-to-shoulder cocktails on a Friday night. Tonique's specials board has an impressive list of more than a dozen standby cocktails that covers the basics (Sazerac, Dark and Stormy) and then some (Corpse Reviver, Last Word). Their Pimm's Cup is fruitier than most (with muddled citrus and fizzy water as a substitute for ginger ale) but a worthy take on one of New Orleans's classic summertime highballs.—Pableaux Johnson

Open daily 2 pm to 2 am.

Bourbon Street
New Orleans , Louisiana

Most locals don't spend a lot of time here, but just about every first-time visitor gets drawn into the neon-lit vortex of Bourbon Street. Whether you're looking to relive college-day glories around the piano bar at Pat O'Brien's (718 St. Peter St.; 504-525-4823; www.patobriens.com) or you're lured in by the bands at the Famous Door (339 Bourbon St.; 504-598-4334), this after-dark pedestrian zone provides all the frozen hooch and sensory overload that the law allows (and toting alcohol on the street is legal). If you go, know one thing: Beads outside of Mardi Gras season are best left to socially challenged conventioneers.

Hotel Photo
Carousel Bar
Hotel Monteleone
214 Royal Street
French Quarter
New Orleans , Louisiana
70130
Tel: 504 523 3341
www.hotelmonteleone.com

This ornate watering hole couldn't be more aptly named: Every chair rotates at a glacial pace around the circular carnival-themed bar, making exactly four revolutions an hour. A subdued atmosphere, leering jester heads, and a star-speckled ceiling make it a suitably Dalí-esque place for a nightcap.

Open daily 11 am to 2 am.

Columns Bar
Columns Hotel
3811 St. Charles Avenue
Garden District
New Orleans , Louisiana
70115
Tel: 504 899 9308
www.thecolumns.com

If you're staying near the Quarter, take the classic St. Charles Avenue streetcar uptown and enjoy a cocktail and the view from this classic Garden District veranda. The indoor bar—all dark wood, with plenty of canoodling nooks—sometimes gets packed with a college-age and younger set on weekend nights, so plan off-peak sipping or a morning-shift Bloody Mary.

Open Mondays through Thursdays 3 pm to midnight, Fridays 3 pm to 2 am, Saturdays noon to 2 am, and Sundays noon to midnight.

Cure
4905 Freret Street
New Orleans , Louisiana
70115
Tel: 504 302 2357
www.curenola.com

When Cure opened in 2009, it became a linchpin in the development of Uptown's Freret Street district, now one of the city's fastest-growing nightlife areas. Located in a renovated firehouse, this contemporary cocktail bar sports an airy, smoke-free vibe with plenty of elbow room, cozy banquettes, and an intimate courtyard for alfresco imbibing. The rotating staff features some of the most creative mixologists in town, with a constantly changing cocktail list that reflects both the season and their collective tastes. "Winter Is Coming" pairs a heady rum with mellow walnut liqueur, cream, and chocolate bitters. A tiny kitchen runs late into the night (Monday through Thursday until midnight, Friday and Saturday until 2 am) serving small plates and sophisticated bar food from Sazerac-roasted almonds to a more substantial short-rib sandwich layered with shiitake mushrooms and gruyère.—Pableaux Johnson

Open daily from 5 pm.

DBA
618 Frenchmen Street
Faubourg Marigny
New Orleans , Louisiana
70116
Tel: 504 942 3731
www.dbabars.com/dbano

Great beer, live music, and a deep list of premium spirits make this storefront bar a hipster destination (it's an outpost of the New York City joint, after all). Most evenings, half of the dark cypress space is sealed off until bands take the tiny rear stage. For a fish-eye view of passing street traffic, jockey for a front booth by the aquariumlike wraparound windows.

Open daily; hours vary.

Frenchmen Street
Faubourg Marigny
New Orleans , Louisiana

Don't worry about "checking local listings": The music in this up-and-coming entertainment zone in the Faubourg Marigny district (just beyond the French Quarter) practically washes through the streets on weekend nights. Jazz hounds make a beeline for pianist Ellis Marsalis's home in the city, Snug Harbor (626 Frenchmen St.; 504-949-0696), while the salsa and world music crowds congregate at Café Brasil (2100 Chartres St.; no phone). Blues trickles through the doors of the Spotted Cat (623 Frenchmen St.; 504-943-3887) and the dingy Apple Barrel (609 Frenchmen St.; 504-949-9399). Before you settle in for a show, take a quick walk and sample the sounds, then choose one that fits the night's mood.

House of Blues
225 Decatur Street
French Quarter
New Orleans , Louisiana
70130
Tel: 504 310 4999
www.hob.com/venues/clubvenues/neworleans

Say what you want about this ubiquitous chain nightclub—the sound is always good, and clear sight lines provide universally great views. Big-ticket national acts from Steel Pulse to TV on the Radio share billing with local favorites on the main stage; a smaller companion club, the Parish, hosts more intimate shows.

Open only on show nights; call ahead for schedule.

Hotel Photo
Maple Leaf Bar
8316 Oak Street
Uptown
New Orleans , Louisiana
70118
Tel: 504 866 9359

Sometimes the weekenders miss out on the best local shows. On any given Friday or Saturday, you can catch a rock-solid live set at this Uptown neighborhood joint, but on Tuesdays at 11 pm, the Rebirth Brass Band packs the room and rattles it with modern brass-band music. Equally influenced by New Orleans's jazz heritage and streetwise funk, Rebirth pulls out all the stops for a mixed crowd of dedicated locals and savvy visitors with an extra sick day to burn.

Open daily; hours vary.

Mid City Lanes Rock 'n' Bowl
3000 S. Carrollton Avenue
Uptown
New Orleans , Louisiana
70115
Tel: 504 861 1700
www.rockandbowl.com

It sounds like an old vaudeville joke, but the Rock 'n' Bowl combines two high-volume pursuits—live music and equally lively bowling—into one huge vintage recreational space. Depending on the night, the dance floor is packed with hundreds of bopping swing kids or twirling zydeco dancers or free-form ass-shaking R&B fans. Between songs, performer patter is punctuated by rolling balls and crashing pins. If you're a New Orleans veteran who remembers this venerable nightspot in its original incarnation in the Mid-City neighborhood, you might end up about a mile from the new location at 3000 S. Carrollton Avenue. It's not the same, but just as enjoyable.

Opens Monday through Friday at 5 pm and Saturdays at 2 pm.

One Eyed Jack's
615 Toulouse Street
French Quarter
New Orleans , Louisiana
70130
Tel: 504 569 8361
www.oneeyedjacks.net

The term eclectic doesn't even begin to define this vibrant hipster club in the French Quarter. Depending on the night, you can catch new-school burlesque revivals, local heavy-metal bands, '80s-themed dance parties, or any manner of alternative theater performances. Even when the main concert room—a cross between a speakeasy and an opera house, with chandeliers hanging from the 25-foot ceiling and small candlelit booths lining the walls—sits dark, the front bar is a quirkily appealing place for cocktails. Its aesthetic is an over-the-top mix of goth and historic saloon, with frosted-glass windows, fringed satin curtains, and a series of black velvet paintings.

Open only on show nights; call ahead for schedule.

Hotel Photo
Preservation Hall
726 St. Peter Street
French Quarter
New Orleans , Louisiana
70116
Tel: 504 522 2841
www.preservationhall.com/home.php

Same as it ever was—thank goodness—this venerable temple to the city's musical history, just off Bourbon Street, remains one of the best spots to see local musicians dedicated to traditional New Orleans jazz (don't call it Dixieland). In business for more than 45 years, the hall is a study in no-money minimalism: The audience sits on benches (or stands) mere feet from the musical action. Many of the older stalwart musicians haven't returned since the storm, so expect a rush of new blood, mentored by the old guard.

Open daily 8 to 11 pm.

Tujague's
823 Decatur Street
New Orleans , Louisiana
70112
Tel: 504 525 8676
www.tujaguesrestaurant.com

This French Quarter gem survives as a representative of the classic 1850s saloon, historic and classic down to the last detail—the carved columns, 19th-century silvered mirror, ankle-level brass rail… and not a barstool in sight. The contemporary crowd reflects its location on tourist-clogged Decatur Street, just a few steps from the round-the-clock chaos of Café du Monde. Out-of-towners looking to score a quick to-go highball or light beer will miss sipping a well-made classic cocktail in one of the best afternoon bars in the country. The brusque but endearing barkeep Paul Gustings mixes up a classic Sazerac and the rare Angostura Phosphate, a tangy cocktail that tastes like Christmas in a rocks glass.—Pableaux Johnson

Open Mondays through Thursdays 3 to 10 pm. Fridays and Saturdays 10 am to 10 pm.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.