The Best Bars In The Arts District, New Orleans

New Orleans - Mighty Travels/Flickr
New Orleans - Mighty Travels/Flickr
Photo of Colin Hyde
9 February 2017

Drinking is a way of life in South Louisiana. With watering holes flooding every section of the city, it seems the natives of New Orleans have doubled-down on this sentiment. The Warehouse (Arts) District of the Big Easy is home to some of the best in the city, from your secret neighborhood hole-in-the-wall to world-renowned drinking establishments, the Crescent City has it all.

Rusty Nail Coffee | © Infrogmation/Wikimedia Commons

The Rusty Nail

Bar, Pub, Wine Bar, Pub Grub, American
A memorial to the classic drink that combines Drambuie and Scotch whiskey, The Rusty Nail boasts a scotch list that will excite any connoisseur. That isn’t the only element drawing the crowds at this popular pub – their drink menu is an impressive variety of rum, vodka, gin, tequila, bourbon, whiskey, wine, and beer, including local and regional brews. In addition to their incredible selection of spirits and other alcoholic beverages, the spacious and festively welcoming patio area provide the perfect setting for a night out in this magnificent city.

Price: Mid-range

Opening Hours: 4pm – 1am (Mon – Thu), 2pm – 3am 9Fri), 12pm – 3am (Sat), 12pm – 1am (Sun)

Watch Out For: Specialty cocktails; try a rusty nail


If you are looking for contemporary, the Wine Institute of New Orleans is the definition of the word – the libations are decanted from an automated dispenser; sample a variety of wines by the ounce before deciding which graces your palate perfectly. For anyone looking to precociously advance their knowledge of wine, consider taking a class with the knowledgeable Bryan Burkey – he keeps the mood light on a subject matter that is often made intimidating by posh connoisseurs. This is a great spot to enjoy a soothing class of wine and some delicious bites.

Price: Budget

Opening Hours: 2pm – 10pm (Sun – Tue), 2pm – midnight (Wed – Sat), Sunday – Tuesday 2 pm to 10 pm

Watch Out For: A delicious tapas-style menu

Address & Telephone: W.I.N.O., 610 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA, USA, +1 504 324 8000

Handsome Willy's |© Infrogmation/Wikimedia Commons

Handsome Willy’s |© Infrogmation/Wikimedia Commons

Handsome Willy’s

This unassuming watering hole is nestled near the Tulane University Medical School in the Warehouse District. A small, red-brick building with a makeshift picnic table patio in the front – at first glance, Handsome Willy’s might not look like much, but this place is a gem of the locals. If you tend to shy away from street meat rather than embracing the adventure of the unknown, the popup barbecue of Karibu Kitchen hosted every Tuesday evening might not be your idea of a good time – though, all of the drunken eats at this establishment are delicious and revered by those who venture to indulge themselves.

Price: Budget

Opening Hours: 2pm – midnight (Mon – Thu), 12pm – 1am (Fri), 5pm – 4am (Sat), midnight – 4am (Sun)

Watch Out For: Great prices

Address & Telephone: Handsome Willy’s, 218 S Robertson Street, New Orleans, LA, USA, +1 504 460 7365


Pub, Fast Food, British, Contemporary, American
Macaroni Cheese from Capdeville
Macaroni Cheese from Capdeville | © angela n./Flickr
Opened in 2010, Capdeville dominates the tiny street in the Arts District. The relaxing ambiance of the dimly lit interior is complemented by a vintage jukebox containing over 100 albums, and a friendly staff ensures the individual satisfaction of every customer that walks through the door. The kitchen at this great local hangout does not disappoint – try the alligator stuffed chicken, barbecue fried oysters, or truffle mac and cheese. Do not pass on a chance to experience this place.

Price: Mid-range

Opening Hours: 11am – 2:30pm (Mon – Thu), 11am – midnight (Fri), 10:30am – midnight (Sat)

Watch Out For: Mayor’s Suggestions (specialty cocktails)

Milan Lounge

Bar, Restaurant, American
Milan has all of the characteristics of a fantastic little dive bar – the modest exterior, the great tunes rockin’ when you walk through the door, the string of red lights giving the room a mellow tone, and the personable experience you will enjoy with the charming bartender, all set the mood for which every dive bar connoisseur searches. Purchase a cigar, your favorite cocktail, and relax to some good music and better company. For the best experience catch a Saints or Cubs game at this neighborhood watering hole.

Price: Budget

Opening Hours: 12pm – 4am (7 days a week)

Watch Out For: It can get a little smoky

Le Bon Temps Roulé

Bar, Pub Grub
A treasured neighborhood drinking establishment, Le Bon Temps Roulé has two separate rooms – the front area contains the bar and pool tables, and the back room plays host to the many local musicians that entertain the guests every night. Stop in and pacify your mind with some good drinks and great conversation with the personable bartenders and friendly locals who will make every stranger feel like a best friend. Go on a Thursday to catch the regularly scheduled Soul Rebels – they are an incredible local jazz band.

Price: Mid-range

Opening Hours: 11am – 5am (7 days a week)

Watch Out For: Tasty bar food


Bar, Nightclub, Cocktail Bar, Pub Grub, American, $$$
If you are looking to get away from the often smoky dive bars or the loud ruckus of the French Quarter, Victory is a great escape to a mature and relaxed atmosphere – the mixologists at this place create impressive alcoholic concoctions using the freshest ingredients. In addition to the cocktails, it would be remiss if you did not try at least one of their delicious bar snacks. The comfortable seating, friendly bartenders, and pleasant ambiance are a perfect mixture for a charming and memorable evening.

Price: Mid-range

Opening Hours: 12pm-10 pm Monday – Saturday

Watch Out For: Gourmet pizzas

Carousel Bar & Lounge

Bar, Pub Grub, American, $$$
The Carousel Bar's Hot Spiced Pear,
courtesy of The Carousel Bar.
Hotel Monteleone is an architectural masterpiece and an iconic symbol of New Orleans. Located inside the historic hotel is the Carousel Bar & Lounge, a legendary watering hole of New Orleans locals as well as visitors from around the world. The revolving, 25-seat bar is reminiscent of a carnival ride, an amusing experience all around. The fantastic aesthetic of this animated saloon is matched with amazing libations and nightly entertainment from local jazz bands. The bar menu is sure to satisfy all of your inebriated needs.

Price: Mid-range

Opening Hours: 11am – until (7 days a week)

Watch Out For: Vieux Carre

The Tasting Room

Bar, Wine Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
Looking for a great wine bar with comfortable seating and a knowledgeable staff” The Tasting Room is the place for you – take a seat on one of the couches or cushioned chairs. This truly is a beautiful bar with brick walls and rustic décor, a flawless scene for enjoying a smoky glass of perfectly aged Cabernet. If you prefer to enjoy the evening air outside, they have a convenient patio in the back of the building. After a couple of glasses, you may need a snack to soak up some of the sacrament – they have an outstanding bar menu.

Price: Mid-range

Opening Hours: 4pm – 11pm (Tue – Sun)

Watch Out For: Truffle fries


It is no secret that New Orleans is a sexually liberating city, where social norms are not as conservative as other cities. Located inside the Hotel Modern is a lively cocktail lounge with a sensually stimulating ambiance. Bellocq is named for a celebrated peeping Tom named E. J. Bellocq – a photographer who managed to capture images of the daily life for the madams of the infamous Storyville, the old red light district of New Orleans before the prohibition of prostitution. The décor of the lounge acts as a time machine, taking customers back to a free and footloose time in New Orleans history.

Price: Mid-range

Opening Hours: 12pm-10 pm Monday – Saturday

Watch Out For: The incredible attention to detail

Address & Telephone: Bellocq, 936 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA, USA, +1 504 962 0911

By Colin Hyde

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