It should come as no surprise that New Orleans’ bar scene is as diverse as its world-renowned restaurant scene. Whether you want to slurp a daiquiri while stumbling down Bourbon Street or sip a Sazerac from a sophisticated hotel bar in the CBD, New Orleans has got you covered in spades.
Whether you stop off in a dive bar or a high-end cocktail lounge, chances are you’ll spot New Orleans’ most famous cocktails on the drinks menu. But it’s not all about cocktails. Delve a little deeper, and you’ll find that most New Orleans bars feature a long list of local craft beers and fine French wines.
With so many famous cocktails to try and bars to visit, you might not know where to begin. To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of some of the best bars in New Orleans – from historic hotel bars to innovative up-and-comers and swanky rooftop lounges. Add these New Orleans bars to your list of things to do in New Orleans, and you’ll have an incredible time sipping your way through The Big Easy!
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The 16 Best Bars in New Orleans
1. The Carousel Bar
When it comes to the coolest bars in New Orleans, it’s tough to beat The Carousel Bar. Because where else in NOLA can you sip cocktails while taking a spin on an antique merry-go-round bar?
Located in Hotel Monteleone, The Carousel Bar took its first spin in 1949 and has been a favorite among locals and tourists ever since. Snag one of the 25 seats, order a drink, and enjoy views of this historic restaurant and the iconic Royal Street as you slowly spin ’round and ’round. Don’t worry about getting dizzy, though, because it takes 15 minutes for the bar to make a full revolution!
If you haven’t tried a Vieux Carré yet, this is the place to do so. Made from Benedictine, bitters, whiskey, vermouth, and cognac, this is one of New Orleans’ most iconic cocktails, and it was invented at this very bar in the late 1930s. If that’s not quite your taste, there’s plenty more on the drinks menu to choose from!
2. Bar Marilou
If you’re on a quest to visit the best cocktail bars in New Orleans, Bar Marilou is one of the coolest in town. You’ll find this French-inspired gem hidden away in an old library next to the Maison de la Luz hotel in the Warehouse District. It’s well worth seeking out because Bar Marilou might just be the most beautiful bar in town!
Everything about this place just screams cool – from the plant-filled entryway to the tiger-striped carpets and the red, book-filled walls. Sit at the sleek bar or snag one of the whimsical velvet chairs and peruse the menu, which features a long list of creative cocktails, natural (mostly French) wines, and local beers.
If you’re feeling peckish, the gourmet bar menu has an excellent selection of beautifully presented French-style fare – from Wagyu burgers and moules frites to caviar-topped pommes Marilou and spicy frog legs.
3. Cane & Table
When it comes to the best bars in New Orleans, the “proto-tiki” cocktails at Cane & Table make it a serious contender. Located in an unmarked building on Decatur St., Cane & Table is a local favorite for its rum-infused drinks and Caribbean-style bar food.
Among its many mentions, this place was listed on Bon Appétit’s “Five Best New Cocktail Bars in America” list and was also named as a semi-finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s “Outstanding Bar Program,” so you know it’s something special!
You can choose from a creative list of seasonal and classic cocktails. Be sure to try their Hurricane & Table, a fresh take on the New Orleans classic. Then there’s the Frozen Piña Colada made with coconut cream and fresh pineapple juice, the spiced whiskey sour Flu Cocktail with fresh ginger and rum, and so much more!
The food here is also top-notch. From crab croquetas and empanadas to start and arroz con pollo and Caribbean bouillabaisse as mains, this is a super popular spot to grab dinner and drinks.
4. The Pool Club New Orleans
If you’re on the prowl for the coolest bars in New Orleans, The Pool Club is the place to go. Perched on the 13th floor of the Virgin Hotel New Orleans, this swanky pool bar offers sweeping views of the Warehouse District from a tropical, 1970s poolside setting.
Guests of the hotel get complimentary access to the pool and sun loungers, while non-guests can still grab food and drinks at The Pool Club. But if you want to take a dip or join in on the fun, you can always purchase a pool pass.
If you’re in the mood for a tipple, the bar menu boasts a creative list of cocktails, wine, and local brews. From pimento cheese boards to smoked chicken wings, you can also order up some bar bites to soak up all that booze.
Come here during “Golden Hour” (Tuesday-Friday from 4-6 pm), and you’ll get discounted prices on select drinks, as well as some stellar sunset views. There’s a reason this place is one of the best rooftop bars in New Orleans!
5. Arnaud’s French 75 Bar
Another one of the coolest cocktail bars in New Orleans, Arnaud’s French 75 Bar is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. This place got its start as a “gentleman-only area” but was reimagined as The Grill Bar in 1979 and later transformed into French 75 Bar in 2003.
The cocktails here are inspired by France, and all boast a New Orleans twist. Expect classic cocktails mixed up with house-made syrups and liqueurs. If this is your first visit, be sure to order the signature French 75, a delicious concoction of Courvoisier VS, sugar, lemon juice, Moët, and Chandon.
You can also choose from classic New Orleans cocktails like the Sazerac and daiquiri, as well as Asian-inspired creations like the Miso Old Fashioned and the Chiang Mai Colada.
This is New Orleans so expect delicious bar bites to go with your cocktail. Think Shrimp Arnaud with Creole remoulade sauce, buttery Escargots en Casserole, and deep-fried Oysters en Brochette.
6. Rosie’s on the Roof
As the name implies, Rosie’s on the Roof stands tall as one of the best rooftop bars in New Orleans. If you prefer to sip with a view, be sure to add this gem to your things to do in New Orleans list!
Rosie’s on the Roof is located in the trendy Warehouse District on the 9th floor of the Higgins Hotel. Head up here, and you’ll immediately swoon for the casual-chic setting and the unreal views over the Mississippi River and the French Quarter.
Try the tequila and OJ-infused Tico Tico, the Pistol Packin’ Mama with Buffalo Trace bourbon and honey ginger syrup, or the two-person The Riveter with two types of rum, a mix of fresh fruit juices, and angostura bitters served in a 40oz thermos. There’s also a long list of wines and beers to choose from.
The menu is fantastic too. You can snack on small plates like the Gator Sausage Deviled Eggs and the Flash-Fried Brussels Sprouts, as well as delicious sharable plates, including the Crab Beignets and Firecracker Shrimp and Grits.
7. The Sazerac Bar
The Sazerac Bar is a must-visit if you’re in search of upscale bars in New Orleans. Housed in The Roosevelt New Orleans hotel, this place is named after the “official drink of New Orleans.” Step inside, and you’ll immediately be impressed by the famous Paul Ninas murals and the beautiful African walnut bar.
You’ll probably want to order a signature Sazerac, which is widely considered to be the world’s oldest cocktail, and it was invented right here in New Orleans in the 1830s by Creole apothecarist Antoine Peychaud. It’s a delightful combination of Sazerac rye whiskey, Peychaud’s Bitters, sugar, and Herbsaint.
The Sazerac Bar is also famed for its Ramos Gin Fizz, which was invented by Henry C. Ramos in 1888. It’s a frothy concoction made from Hayman’s Old Tom Gin, lime, lemon, sugar, egg whites, cream, orange flower water, and seltzer.
Be sure to get dressed up before you go because this place is fancy. And if you want to stay the night, this also happens to be one of the best hotels in New Orleans!
8. Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop
It’s no secret that Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop is one of the best bars in New Orleans. Set on Bourbon Street, this former home was built between 1722 and 1732 and is one of the oldest surviving structures in New Orleans. Step inside this no-frills bar, and you’ll immediately feel the historic vibes.
It is rumored that Jean Lafitte and his brother Pierre Lafitte opened a blacksmith shop here in the early 19th century. But their shop was actually a front for selling illegal contraband – among other seedy activities. With such a long and storied history, it should be no surprise that Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop is also one of the most haunted buildings in New Orleans.
Fast-forward to today, and this is one of the most popular watering holes in town to sip a cold beer or slurp a frozen drink. If you plan to pay a visit to Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, be sure to try their famous Voodoo Daiquiri (aka Purple Drank)!
Cure is another one of the best cocktail bars in New Orleans. This place opened its doors in what was once a fire station in the early 1900s. The entire space was fully revamped into a sleek bar that quickly became an institution in New Orleans.
Cure has been named one of “America’s Best Bars” by Esquire, one of the “Best Cocktail Bars in the US” by Food & Wine, and even received the award for “Outstanding Bar Program” from the James Beard Foundation, to name a few awards and acclaim.
The expert bartenders are known for their top-notch classic cocktails and creative renditions of traditional favorites. There’s also an excellent seasonal cocktail menu, as well as a long list of wines, beers, and ciders. If you’re hungry, Cure’s menu also features excellent cheese and meat plates and refined New Orleans-style bar bites.
10. Pat O’Brien’s
When it comes to the top bars in New Orleans, Pat O’Brien’s is a must-visit. This is the place where the Hurricane was invented – a delicious concoction of rum and passion fruit served in a signature Hurricane glass.
If you’re looking to try all of New Orleans’ most famous cocktails, you pretty much have to make a pit stop at Pat O’Brien’s! This place is set right in the heart of the French Quarter, so it’s super easy to reach.
This iconic New Orleans bar opened its doors in 1933 and has long been known for its original “dueling pianos” show, which is always a good time. Outside in the always-crowded courtyard, you’ll also find Pat O’Brien’s iconic flaming fountain.
From the multi-colored Rainbow and the bourbon-infused Mint Julep to the rum-based Pat O’s Lemonade and the fruity Cat-5 Margarita, there’s something to suit all tastes at Pat O’Brien’s.
11. Chandelier Bar
If you’re searching for upscale bars in New Orleans, the Chandelier Bar is an incredible option. Set in the Four Seasons Hotel, the centerpiece of this hotel bar is its spectacular chandelier, which boasts 15,000 glass crystals.
This is a posh place to sample New Orleans’ most iconic cocktails, like the Sazerac, French 75, and Hurricane. You can also choose from seasonal options like the Sweet Potato Colada or indulgent reserve cocktails like the bourbon-infused S’mores Milk Punch.
If it’s champagne you’re after, Chandelier Bar has an excellent selection, which can be complemented by the bar’s signature Caviar Service. And if you’d like to snack on refined bar bites, Chef Alon Shaya serves up New Orleans-style shareable plates. From Blue Crab Rolls and Fried Oysters to Butter-Fried Beignets and Pork Cracklins, everything is superb.
12. Jewel of the South
Jewel of the South is another one of the top bars in New Orleans. The food is pretty damn good, too, if you’re looking for a spot for dinner and drinks!
This rustic-chic tavern is tucked away in the French Quarter. The bartenders here mix up some of the best cocktails in town. For classic New Orleans cocktails, Jewel of the South features their very own Sazerac, Brandy Crusta, and French 75, which are all standouts. The Brandy Crusta was actually invented here!
For something seasonal, there’s the Minty Peach Cobbler, the Peach Tarragon Negroni, or the Cajon Bon Vivant mixed with pork-fat-washed rums, smoked maple syrup, and Jamaican bitters. You never know what will be on the menu!
The dinner menu features an excellent selection of caviar, as well as an intriguing selection of seasonal farm-to-table dishes. Think Black Pudding with pickled watermelon radish and Burrata with collard green pesto.
No list of the coolest bars in New Orleans would be complete without mentioning Peychaud’s. Set inside what is now the Hotel Maison De Ville, this beautiful building was once the home of Antoine Amédée Peychaud, the man responsible for creating the patented herbal bitters used in New Orleans’ famous Sazerac.
It makes sense, then, that Peychaud’s lush courtyard is a prime spot to sip a Sazerac. But there’s much more on offer at this unique New Orleans bar. If it’s famous New Orleans cocktails you’re after, the menu here has a heavy focus on the classics. Think Ramos Gin Fizz, Brandy Milk Punch, French 75, and Pimm’s Cup.
For something a bit more unique, you’ll find all sorts of expertly mixed cocktails featuring Peychaud’s Bitters and more on the menu, as well as a selection of local beers and French wines!
14. Bar Tonique
If you’re on the prowl for drink deals, Bar Tonique is a must. This is one of the best cocktail bars in New Orleans, and they stand proud as the “first free-standing craft cocktail bar” in New Orleans.
Since opening its doors in the French Quarter in 2008, the owners have only ever expanded the menu twice. Bar Tonique likes to keep things old-school, so expect expertly mixed cocktails in a laid-back setting.
The menu features an expansive selection of New Orleans classics, punches, slings, sours, and coolers, as well as wine and beer. If you’re looking to keep things mellow, you’ll love the “Temperance Drinks,” which range from house-made Ginger “Beer” to Phosphate Pineapple Soda.
Be sure to check out their $6 daily specials, which include the Monday Pimm’s Cup, the Saturday Bacon Bloody Mary, and the Sunday Mai Tai!
15. Bacchanal Fine Wine & Spirits
Bacchanal Fine Wine & Spirits is an institution in New Orleans. If you happen to find yourself in the Bywater neighborhood and you’re in the mood for a drink, you’d be remiss not to stop here.
Step inside Bacchanal’s wine shop, and you’ll have hundreds of bottles of wine to choose from, which you can enjoy out on the incredible tree-shaded backyard patio. If you’d like some cheese to go with your wine, pick out your favorite cheeses from the cooler, and the staff will plate them for you, along with olives, pickles, toasted bread, chutney, mostarda, and more!
No matter which day of the week you visit, you’ll find a local band performing on stage twice a day in the afternoon and again in the evening. Live jazz and fine wine – there’s a reason this place is hailed as one of the best bars in New Orleans!
16. Hot Tin
Hot Tin is yet another one of the best rooftop bars in New Orleans. You’ll find this gem perched on the 14th Floor of the Pontchartrain Hotel, which means the 270-degree views over Saint Charles Avenue and the Mighty Mississippi are unreal.
This revamped space was designed to look like a 1940s artist’s loft, paying homage to playwright Tennessee Williams, who lived at the hotel while writing A Streetcar Named Desire. Expect eccentric décor, from vintage posters and letters to old-school typewriters and newspapers.
Unlike most New Orleans bars, Hot Tin’s menu offers a diverse selection of creative cocktails. Try the Ski Clothes for a delightful mix of bourbon, banana, and bitters, or the Rhapsody in Blue made with prosecco, lychee, and blueberries. For something totally different, the tequila-infused Rita Hayworth is an intriguing blend of chipotle chilies, apricots, and lime!