Where to find the best New Orleans drinks depends on how often you've imbibed in this hot spot. Whether you're a first timer or a repeat visitor, we hope you're thirsty.
The Old Absinthe House
This 200-year-old establishment still has the original copper-topped bar that survived Prohibition and was around for Jean Lafitte to drink at. Soak in some history as you sip on dripped Kubler Absinthe or an absinthe house frappe and imagine an older New Orleans run by noble pirates.
The Sazerac Bar
Nestled inside The Roosevelt New Orleans hotel awaits the gem known as The Sazerac Bar, where the world’s first mixed drink was invented. The drink itself and the bar have both since become New Orleans institutions, thanks to former Louisiana Governor Huey P. Long’s affinity for both.
Touting itself as NOLA’s backyard party, Bacchanal carries the torch for the city’s outdoor drinking. With live music seven days a week in the courtyard and hundreds of wines for your evening of revelry, come here expecting one of the most incredible evenings you’ll ever experience in New Orleans.
Old New Orleans Rum Distillery
Back when Old NOLA started distilling in 1995, no one else in the continental U.S. was making rum. Today, it produces the highest-rated rum in America, using only locally sourced Louisiana sugar cane. Swing by the distillery for a tasting and a tour, and make sure you try the Cajun Spice Rum.
Bourbon Street is a rite of passage for locals and a necessity for visitors. The delicious and potent melon-flavored cocktail at Tropical Isle known as the Hand Grenade makes wading through the crowds absolutely worth it.
CC’s Coffee House
With five locations across the city, CC’s has become the relaxed local chain everyone loves for a coffee fix. When you inevitably need a pick-me-up while exploring around town, grab one of the hot cafe au laits or frozen Mochasippi drinks.
The beautiful (and dog-friendly) patio at the Uptown location—complete with a huge beer-tap-handle water fountain—is perfect for those late-night, slightly tipsy, surprisingly honest conversations with close friends both new and old. The menu features 50 beers on tap and 100 more in bottles.
Port Orleans Brewing Co.
In a city well known for its drinking habit, Port Orleans Brewing is the new kid on the block, having just opened its doors in May. But the brewmaster has more than 20 years of experience in the craft, which led him to create the Tea Pale Ale, perhaps the most enjoyable beer known to man.
Mid City Yacht Club
Don’t be put off by the fancy-sounding name; Mid City Yacht Club is a laid-back, neighborhood sports bar that’s open from early in the day to late at night, 365 days a year. It features a diverse beer selection, inventive pub food menu and outdoor courtyard that caters to all crowds.
Bayou Beer Garden
Like any good beer garden, the space here is so expansive it’s able to maintain different vibes throughout the whole bar depending upon where you sit. You’ll also find pub games, a brilliant beer selection and a poppin’ covered patio and deck area.
The Carousel Bar and Lounge
Since its 1949 installation in the Hotel Monteleone lobby, the city’s only revolving bar has been spinning patrons around on a 25-seat merry-go-round alongside live music. Order a Vieux Carre or a Fleur de Lis cocktail as you take in every view from the novelty of this unusual locale.
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop
Built in 1772, this building is one of the oldest continually running bars in New Orleans and perhaps the entire United States. It looks like a dingy pirate haven, but it’s hands down the best-kept secret on Bourbon Street. Try the signature drink, the Frozen Voodoo Juice daiquiri (better known as a Purple Slushie)—it’s as potent as it is delicious.