Best Bars In New Orleans 2023

New Orleans does many things well, particularly the bar scene.  Whether you stick to Bourbon Street or wander through the various neighborhoods, you can find an assortment of bars, from the normal watering holes to more obscure themes.  Whatever your mood, you’re sure to find something that fits.  For an authentic NOLA experience, don’t miss some of these favorites in town.

2023 New Orleans Club Events Schedule

Carousel Bar

Most Whimsical Bar

Carousel Bar, located in the Hotel Monteleone, has many attributes to set it apart, but none more famous than its namesake – the bar itself, which is shaped like a carousel and does a full revolution every 15 minutes.  Enjoy the full whimsical experience by grabbing one of the coveted seats at the bar and selecting one of the carefully designed drinks on the menu, such as the Fleur De Lis, a bright and fresh cucumber-flavored cocktail made with gin and St. Germain liquor.  While you sip, listen to live music, and people-watch – this is the piano bar where people go to impress.

Finn McCool's

Best Irish Pub

Finn McCool’s is Irish to its core, with a focus on community, a roster of regulars who can be found perched on the bar stools, and a delicious, traditional menu featuring items like fish and chips.  Entertainment varies nightly, from trivia night to whatever sports game is on.  If you’re looking for a laid-back place to meet people and relax or the hottest spot on St. Patrick’s Day, Finn McCool’s has you covered.

Twelve Mile Limit

Best Artisan Cocktails

This bar is surprisingly laid back to feature such unique and decadent cocktails.  Twelve Mile Limit has a storied history – the building used to be a pumping station used to drain the overly-full swamps before becoming a bar during the 1920s, frequented by New York Yankees player Babe Ruth.  After changing hands a number of times, it finally became Twelve Mile Limit in 2010 and has become highly acclaimed for its carefully-designed drinks.  Try the Dizzy Cordova with mezcal and tamarind soda, as it features a variety of ingredients that layer contrasting flavors carefully for maximum impact.

The Sazerac Bar

Best Historical Bar

Located in The Roosevelt Hotel, Sazerac Bar is home to the Sazarac cocktail, often claimed to be the first mixed drink in the world.  The setting is beautiful with plush seats and bright murals, and the bar is always full of people mingling as they enjoy the atmosphere.  Obviously, the most important order you’ll want to place is for a Sazarac, although there are other delicious options on the menu.

Effervescence

Best bubbly

Where better to go for champagne than a bar dedicated to it?  Effervescence is a lush and beautiful bar with over 18 different types of sparkly wines on the shelf and a variety of champagne-based cocktails on the menu.  They also serve food, from appetizers to a complete brunch.  This

The 21st Amendment

Best speakeasy

The 21st Amendment is a small speakeasy located in the former La Louisiane (now Hotel Mazarin), previously owned by infamous gangsters Diamond Jim Moran and Carlos Marcello.  Enjoy live jazz while you sip one of the delicious Prohibition cocktails on their menu, and embrace the “Big Easy” lifestyle.  This is truly a can’t-miss venue for anyone visiting New Orleans.

Ms. Mae's

Best dive

Sometimes you want the laid-back vibe of a dive bar, and there is no better dive in all of New Orleans’ various nightclubs than Ms. Mae’s.  This landmark club is open 24/7 and features strong drinks for rock-bottom prices.  The brave can take on the Ms. Mae’s Challenge, drinking at least one drink an hour for a full 24 hours.  Bring cash, as it’s the only accepted payment, and embrace that this is the penultimate dive bar, complete with dirty floors, smelly bathrooms, and plenty of fun.

Manolito

Best Cuban-Inspired Bar

Reminiscent of Hemingway and Havana, Manolito features icy tropical cocktails and delicious Cuban dishes.  The El Presidente is the quintessential Cuban cocktail featuring rum and curacao and pairs perfectly with an indulgent Cuban sandwich.  You can also dance to the Cuban tunes coming over the speaker and imagine you’re on the exotic island nation.

Arnaud's French 75

Best High-End Bar

If you want a night of complete luxury, you must go to Arnaud’s French 75, which originated as a gentleman’s club in the 1800s.  Connected to Arnaud’s gourmet restaurant, where you can start the evening with a lavish dinner, the bar evokes vibes of royalty and wealth with its polished mahogany bar, dim but perfect lighting, tuxedoed staff, and top-shelf selection.  While everything on their menu is impressive, try the French 75 with bubbly champagne and smoky cognac.

LaFitte's Blacksmith Shop

Oldest Bar in New Orleans

As one of the oldest nightclubs in the United States, it’s a crime for visitors to miss stopping in at LaFitte’s Blacksmith Shop.  Used as a base for NOLA hero Jean LaFitte’s smuggling operation in the 1700s, this bar may still be haunted by him to this day.  Order a voodoo daiquiri and enjoy the relaxed vibe as you watch the city light up after dark.

Old Absinthe House

Most Haunted Bar

Go to an absinthe bar for a one-of-a-kind experience.  The Old Absinthe House is a Bourbon Street bar that was first built in 1806 and is known as being the home of the Green Fairy – Absinthe, one of the most mysterious and controversial liquors in history.  While ordering their signature Absinthe House Frappe is reason enough to visit, an even better one is to try to catch sight of one of the many ghosts that still wander the most haunted building on Bourbon Street.  Jean LaFitte, Andrew Jackson, and Madame Leveau are some of the more famous names, but other unknown ghosts have also made their presences known.  This is definitely a hotspot for an otherworldly encounter.

R Bar

Best Community Bar

Located in the Royal Street Inn, the R Bar is all about community.  Every night is dedicated to a different way to bring people together – happy hour, haircuts while you drink, even shrimp boils.  The bar has a few resident dogs because everyone relaxes around a furry face, and the jukebox lets people bond over a shared taste in music.  This is the place to go to make friends in the Big Easy.