I’ve been to the Big Easy quite a few times over the years. But in 2022, I’ve been lucky enough to go twice to check out the best cocktail bars in New Orleans. I visited in January with my husband and in July for Tales of the Cocktail. Both visits were chock full of delicious drinks and beautiful bars. Since the city has a rich culture of cocktails, including the invention of several iconic ones, you’ll find a ton of bars. And, as you know if you’ve been on the blog before, not all bars are equal. I test out as many as I can and share with you the ones that meet my standards for a great time. Here are nine cocktail bars that should make your trip to New Orleans memorable.
1. Bar Marilou
- Address: 544 Carondelet Street
- Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 4pm-midnight | Friday-Saturday, 4pm-1am
- Hospitality: 5.0, the perfect level of service (not too much, not too little)
- Atmosphere: 5.0, one of the prettiest bars I’ve ever seen (and I’ve been to Singapore)
- Drinks: 5.0, unique and delicious cocktails
The only bar I visited on both of my trips to New Orleans this year was Bar Marilou. It’s such a gorgeous bar with great drinks and good vibes. The photo of the sign above tempts me to print and frame a copy for my house. I went late at night and earlier in the day and both options are great. It’s dark and swanky at any time of day for an enjoyable, laid back visit. The most challenging part is figuring out where to sit. Well, and what to order. Their menu changes frequently with the seasons and everything on it sounds good to me. Reservations are encouraged.
Clockwise from the top left:
- Spruce is Loose: gin, fir brandy, pine needle syrup, lemon, IPA
- Ditch Lily: poblano mezcal, Cocchi di Torino, Iemon honey, sage, egg white
- Spiral Pull: maple beurre noisette tequila reposado, honeycrisp apple juice, lemon, smoked
- Through the Looking Glass: scotch, aged rum, red wine, citrus, ginger, green tea, spices, clarified milk punch
- Address: 813 Rue Bienville
- Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, 5:30-10:30pm | Sunday, 10am-2pm | Closed Monday-Tuesday
- Hospitality: 5.0, great service despite the bar being slammed with customers
- Atmosphere: 4.9, you feel like you’re walking into history
- Drinks: 5.0, super delicious drinks
It’s no secret that I love a French 75. When I was heading back to New Orleans in July, my first stop was at Arnaud’s French 75 Bar. Located just steps off Bourbon Street, the space was originally a “gentlemen-only area.” In 2003, it was reimagined as the French 75 Bar with a focus on premium spirits, classic cocktails, and cigars. The bar was custom-built in the late 1800s. Today you’ll find a world-class bar program, delicious food, and impeccable service crammed into a small space. When you go, don’t miss the Mardi Gras Museum upstairs or the classic Creole fare next door at Arnaud’s.
I had to try their namesake cocktail, obviously. Their French 75 is made with Courvoisier VS, sugar, lemon juice, and Moët & Chandon. Yum! I also enjoyed the Watermelon Cobbler. It is a blend of Lillet, Pineau de Charentes, amontillado sherry, watermelon juice, Luxardo, Genepy, Campari, saline, and lime juice. A lovely sip to ward off the summer heat.
- Address: 1026 Saint Louis Street
- Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, 5-11pm | Sunday, 10am-1pm | Closed Monday-Tuesday
- Hospitality: 4.9, great service across the board
- Atmosphere: 4.9, beautiful space with a lively vibe
- Drinks: 4.8, delicious and perfectly seasonal drinks
Jewel of the South was just named the Best Restaurant Bar in America by Tales of the Cocktail. The restaurant’s bar program is seriously good and the food is excellent. Located in the last standing structure on St. Louis Street as you exit the French Quarter, the building is a beautiful example of a classic Creole cottage. With a lovely patio and two floors of indoor space, the restaurant and bar are charming and inviting. Their cocktail menu includes seasonal drinks, their take on several classics, and some rare offerings including a Monogram Old Fashioned. The latter features J. Reiger & Co. Monogram whiskey.
I enjoyed several great cocktails here:
- Burokeet: Ava Cachaca, Three Roll Agricole, ginger peach nectar, lime
- Carnival Colada: Don Q Cristal, Hamilton Pot Still Rums, Carnival Coco Money-Love, passionfruit cinnamon cordial, lime
- Persimmon Cobbler: house sherry blend, pineapple persimmon shrub, lemon
4. Bar Brine
- Address: 3200 Burgundy Street
- Hours: Friday-Saturday, 5:30-10pm | Thursday, Sunday-Monday, 5:30-9pm | Closed Tuesday-Wednesday
- Hospitality: 4.8, very good service
- Atmosphere: 4.9, eclectic and groovy space
- Drinks: 4.8, delicious drinks that featured unique ingredients
One of my favorite restaurants we visited, also happened to be one of my picks for best cocktail bars in New Orleans. Bar Brine serves an excellent bar menu alongside impressive (and mostly vegetarian) food. They do serve meat, but unlike many places, they have some very delicious veggie and vegan options that everyone can enjoy. In case you are confused, like I was, they also operate another business out of the same space called Sneaky Pickle. That business is open during lunch hours from 11am-4pm and has a different menu. Both menus serve up great food and drinks though, so you can’t go wrong!
Although the light was low, the drinks were bright, bold, and flavorful. I sipped on:
- Seersucker Jumpsuit: gin, kumquat oleo saccharum, absinthe, Peychauds
- White Lotus: mezcal, pineapple soy, cilantro-jalapeno, lime
- Golden Ticket: bourbon, grapefruit, five spice honey, amaro, lemon
- Address: 535 Tchoupitoulas Street
- Hours: Friday-Saturday, 5:30-10pm | Sunday, Wednesday-Thursday, 5:30-9pm | Closed Monday-Tuesday
- Hospitality: 4.8, it was really fun to watch the bartenders at work and the service was great
- Atmosphere: 4.6, cozy restaurant vibes
- Drinks: 4.7, very good drinks
Located in the warehouse district of New Orleans, you’ll find Nina Compton’s restaurant, Compère Lapin, which melds Caribbean, Creole, French and Italian cuisine into one fabulous menu. Compère Lapin is French for “brother rabbit” and is a mischievous rabbit in traditional Caribbean and Creole folktales. The bar in the restaurant is huge; I’m not sure there’s anything they don’t have in stock. The food was fresh and local, and the drinks were good. It’s a great place for dinner and the attached hotel has a great little gift shop offering local goods. My favorite cocktail was The Valley Below. It’s perfect preparation for a late night and features tequila, coffee infused mezcal, Zirbenz, cherry, rosemary, and cold brew.
- Address: 129 Roosevelt Way
- Hours: Friday-Saturday, 7pm-1am | Closed Sunday-Thursday
- Hospitality: 4.8, friendly staff and one of the bartenders showed me two legit magic tricks
- Atmosphere: 4.7, very cool space
- Drinks: 4.5, well-done, classic Prohibition-era cocktails
Located in the basement of the Orpheum Theater, and open only two days a week, is Double Dealer. In addition to the bar, they have a good-sized room where live performances take place. I enjoyed two very different cocktails. The first was the Blind Viking. It’s made with mezcal, Aperol, sweet vermouth, and barrel-aged Peychaud’s bitters. A rich sipper. My second drink was bartender’s choice, and he made me a Chartreuse Swizzle. When you visit, just look for the nondescript door that leads down a flight of stairs to a “backstage” area where the bar is.
7. Palm & Pine
- Address: 308 North Rampart Street
- Hours: Friday-Saturday, 5:30pm-1am | Sunday, 10:30am-2pm and 5:30-9pm | Monday, 5:30-9pm | Closed Tuesday-Wednesday
- Hospitality: 4.6, efficient staff and service
- Atmosphere: 4.7, nicely designed space with the right amount of quirkiness
- Drinks: 4.6, good drink, definitely need to visit again to try others
After eating food on the go for a week in New Orleans, I wanted a proper meal. I had a great one at Palm & Pine, and although I hadn’t planned on getting a drink, the spicy Paloma special called my name. The restaurant pays homage to the South in all forms–Louisiana, The South, and south of the US. This makes for a great food and drink menu that features agave and cane spirits. They also have a rich network of farmers who supply fresh fruits, veggies, meat, and seafood. I enjoyed sitting at the chef’s counter, watching the team cook delicious dishes.
8. Three Muses
- Address: 536 Frenchman Street
- Hours: Thursday-Sunday, 4-10pm | Closed Monday-Wednesday
- Hospitality: 4.6, friendly and efficient service
- Atmosphere: 4.2, a cozy, standard French Quarter joint
- Drinks: 4.5, a small but curated list of cocktails
When you’re in the Big Easy, you need to listen to jazz. There’s no better way to do that than with a drink in your hand. We enjoyed both at Three Muses. I had The Verdict which is made with Montelobos mezcal, blood orange, chartreuse, and lime. It was the perfect sipper to accompany the live jazz music. If you’re hungry, they also serve small plates. You can access their calendar of performers here.
- Address: 321 North Peters Street
- Hours: Friday-Saturday, 4-11pm | Sunday-Thursday, 4-10pm
- Hospitality: 4.3, busy bar with efficient service
- Atmosphere: 4.2, nicely curated space (some fun things to look at while you sip)
- Drinks: 4.7, delicious drinks from the pages of tiki history
Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29 is a French Quarter Restaurant celebrating the work of Tiki historian Jeff “Beachbum” Berry. Don the Beachcomber, the New Orleans native who created the tiki bar in 1934, rarely revealed their recipes. The Bum spent 20 years creating and publishing these “lost” exotic drinks. Beachbum Berry’s L29 is located in the historic Bienville House Hotel. It continues to be a popular spot for food, drinks, and tiki nostalgia. Although they’ve been open since 2014, the bar is still a popular destination for fans of tiki and cocktails alike. I thoroughly enjoyed the Puka Punch. It’s a boozy blend of the 11 original ingredients from the 1961 recipe and adds diced fresh pineapple and OFTD rum.
And there you have my picks for the best cocktail bars in New Orleans. There are many other great bars that you should try. If you have a favorite that I missed, drop it in a comment. Cheers!