The Best Cocktail Bars in New Orleans
Try a classic Vieux Carré cocktail at one of New Orleans' best cocktail bars | © Maxim Fesenko / Getty Images
New Orleans has hundreds of cocktail bars that combine handcrafted drinks with exciting experiences. With so many to choose from, we’ve put together a list of suggestions for places to visit, featuring bars and lounges that have struck a chord with tourists and locals alike.
Whether you’re looking for a fancy night of ambience, a sultry scene to end a date night, or a casual atmosphere for after-work socializing, New Orleans’ cocktail scene offers something for everyone. Many are located inside historic buildings, with architectural bones that are still visible. Grab a lobster taco as you imbibe some of the most creative and delicious cocktails that New Orleans has to offer.
Cocktail Bar, Central American, Wine, Beer, Cocktails, $$$
This French Quarter bar, located inside the Mazarin Hotel, takes its name from the 21st Amendment, through which the sale and consumption of alcohol became legal once again in the 1930s after Prohibition. It is the entryway into La Louisiane, a meeting and event venue within a building that dates back to 1837. Hand-crafted cocktails such as the penicillin are the perfect accompaniment to the bar’s evenings of live music.
New Orleans Social House
Bar, American, $$$
Located in the city’s historic Warehouse District, this loungey spot offers small plates of lobster tacos and shrimp spring rolls. The dim lights and beautiful setting bring an intimate feel to this newly renovated space. This is definitely a fun spot to go to in groups, and happy hour is daily from 4pm-8pm. Expect lots of energy during Saints games and other events.
Bar, Cocktails, $$$
Enjoy the breeze of spring out in the courtyard at this award-winning bar. Cure’s delicious cocktails are beautifully presented, showcasing the time and effort that the staff puts into each drink. Outside is the hip Freret Street, home to blocks of shopping, eateries and entertainment. If you don’t know where you are going, Cure is easy to miss, as there’s no signage and the walled-up brick exterior is far from the typical bar look. Keep an eye out for it when you pass by.
Cocktail Bar, Cocktails
Kajun’s stands tall in the ongoing gentrification of the Bywater and Marigny areas of New Orleans. You will find it nestled on a stretch of the lively St Claude block, drawing in karaoke enthusiasts. With an open space that has a stage for nightly karaoke and different events, you can escape the bar area for a smoke or to simply have a conversation on the seated patio outside.
Bar Marilou is a Warehouse District favorite with a vibrant, French-inspired design. Run by a French hospitality group with numerous bars in Paris, Marilou is located inside the former library of the historic city hall annex building. Books line the walls of this ultra chic hangout that has an extensive menu of cocktails. The room is bright red with eccentric floor decor. The bar also has a secret door behind a bookcase, which leads to a more private space at which to drink and eat.
Bar, Pub Grub, American, French, $$$
Bar Tonique has daily drink specials on popular cocktails such as moscow mules and its bacon bloody mary. The delicious cocktails at this bar are handcrafted behind a candlelit bar. It’s a relaxed, casual environment perfect for escaping the hustle and bustle of the city for an afternoon drink. A smaller bar with two fireplaces, it has brick walls that definitely lend a gritty vibe. At this bar, quality drinks take precedence over decor.
Cocktail Bar, Cocktails
Double Dealer gives a nod to the Prohibition era, with a secluded entrance down a long ramp towards the bar. It’s situated underneath the Orpheum Theatre, a centuries-old space that has featured Vaudeville acts, concerts and numerous theatrical productions. The bar’s theatrical aesthetics pay homage to the theatre above, as well as featuring luxurious booths with speakeasy vibes and private corner spaces away from the crowd. Drinks are named after stories and poems from the original Double Dealer magazine, from which the bar takes its name.
Bayou Beer Garden
Bar, Pub, Canteen, Bodega, American, Wine, Beer, Cocktails
New Orleans locals love a garden. Bayou Beer Garden is a large space where most people find themselves outside on two large decks, with multiple seating options for large and small groups. During crawfish season, plates of potatoes, crawfish and corn are given out, and the area can get rather packed. Menu items include both small bites and heftily portioned choices to fill you up. The bar is ideal for groups as well as happy-hour lovers.
These recommendations were updated on May 28, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.