Into the Night

The hotspots after dark in New Orleans

They are our sanctuaries and celebration spots, a place to let our hair down or put it up. From cozy neighborhood taverns with cold draft beer to upscale lounges with exotic specialty drinks, New Orleans' dizzying array of bars and nightclubs can fit any mood and quench any thirst. And if you're so inclined, our world famous music venues will provide a soundtrack for your adventures, from early afternoon to the wee hours of the morning. Let this handy reference guide lead you on your way.

Bars, Clubs and Restaurants

Audubon Club -- 1225 St. Charles Ave., 566-1717 -- The longest bar in the Garden District offers daily drink specials and late-night dance parties on the weekends.

Audubon Pub -- 1732 St. Charles Ave., 586-9243 -- Audubon Pub is open 24 hours to serve your drink of choice.

Balcony Bar & Grill -- 3101 Magazine St., 895-1600 -- Twentysomethings flock to the vast balcony of this beer garden overlooking überhip central Magazine Street.

Banks Street Bar and Grill -- 4401 Banks St., 486-0258 -- Rustic, old-style neighborhood bar frequented by locals who come for its live music on Thursdays and Fridays and fresh boiled seafood.

Bombay Club -- Prince Conti Hotel, 830 Conti St., 586-0972; -- Upscale jazz spot with a smoking-club feel and notorious martinis. It also serves lunch and dinner daily, and is a favorite of the classical arts crowd.

Bourbon Pub/Parade -- 801 Bourbon St., 529-2107; -- Voted 'Best Place to Dance,' 'Best Club DJ,' 'Best Late-Late Night Club,' 'Best Bartender' and 'Best Gay Bar' in the 2000 Gambit Weekly Readers Poll -- with all that love, what more can we say?

Bruno's -- 7601 Maple St., Riverbend, 861-7615; -- Young professional types and grad students converge upon Bruno's for the after-work happy hour (until 8 p.m.), free food on Friday evenings, and to catch college and NFL games on the satellite TV.

The Bulldog -- 3236 Magazine St., 891-1516 -- Young business types love its vast beer selection (both local and imports) and relaxed environment.

Café Lafitte in Exile -- 901 Bourbon St., 522-8397; -- The oldest gay bar in the country, with a balcony overlooking Bourbon Street.

Carousel Bar -- 214 Royal St. (Monteleone Hotel), 523-3341 -- Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote are among the elite who've enjoyed a drink at this unique revolving bar.

Cat's Meow -- 701 Bourbon St., 523-1157 --Because sometimes you just need to drink like a fool and sing karaoke. If not, there's a quieter balcony and bar upstairs.

Cliff's Off Broadway -- 7130 Freret St., 861-0236 -- Adults can feel like kids again with Cliff's specialty ice cream cocktails, including the Cherry Repair Kit and Orange Julius. If you work up an appetite, check out the late-night free barbecue on Saturday.

Columns Hotel -- 3811 St. Charles Ave., 899-9308; -- Its bordello-esque atmosphere and freewheeling crowds embody the decadent grandeur of New Orleans.

Cooter Brown's -- 509 S. Carrollton Ave., Riverbend, 866-9104 ; -- A favorite with collegiate pubcrawlers and adventurous souls vying for the chance to "drink your way around the world."

The Corner Oyster Bar & Grill -- 500 St. Peter St., 522-2999 -- The festive dining room of this French Quarter oyster haven overlooks Jackson Square. Their motto? "We shuck 'em, you suck 'em."

Cosimo's -- 1201 Burgundy St., 522-9715; -- Nobody seems to know about this place except Quarterites and lost tourists. A taste of the French Quarter as it's supposed to be: serene, eccentric, slightly unpredictable.

Crescent City Brewhouse -- 527 Decatur St., 522-0571; -- This spacious restaurant and brewpub always has several original beers on tap, and is home to a snazzy jazz combo and scenic balcony.

d.b.a. -- 616-618 Frenchmen St., 942-3731 ; -- This hot bar with an edgy Manhattan vibe offers a stellar selection for the beer and liquor connoisseur, and recently added live music to the mix.

Dino's Bar and Grill -- 1128 Tchoupitoulas St., 558-0900 -- This upscale CBD watering hole features a wide variety of drinks and a stocked jukebox. Late-night food helps keep the party going.

Dixie Tavern -- 3340 Canal St., 822-8268; -- This cherry-red saloon is a lighthouse for weary travelers, where the beer is always cheap and the music is always loud.

F&M Patio Bar -- 4841 Tchoupitoulas St., 895-6784 -- It's 3 a.m., dancing-on-pool-tables rowdy, with kick-ass cheese fries.

FQB at the Ritz-Carlton -- 921 Canal St., 524-1331, ext. 3200; --Modern Creole cuisine in a casual atmosphere is FQB's specialty, along with six varieties of Bloody Marys and four oyster shooters. Live jazz on weekends.

Herbsaint Bar & Restaurant -- 701 St. Charles Ave., 524-4114; -- This popular CBD restaurant features an award-winning wine list, 15 wines by the glass and wine flight tastings. House cocktails include the Haitian Daiquiri and Key Lime Cosmos.

Hi-Ho Lounge -- 2339 St. Claude Ave., 947-9344 -- We keep expecting to see Andy Warhol alive, well and holding court at this grungy, unapologetic dive that occasionally features live music.

Igor's -- 2133 St. Charles Ave., 522-2145 -- This bar-laundromat (and sister location to the landmark Esplanade Avenue location) has featured a grill, sidewalk cafe and free red beans and rice on Mondays.

Igor's Buddha Belly Burger Bar -- 4437 Magazine St., 891-6105 -- Locals and college kids converge here for its game room (pool tables, pinball, videos and foosball) and live music Tuesdays and Fridays.

Impastato's Restaurant Inc. -- 3400 16th St., 455-1545; -- Delicious Italian food at the right price is Impastato's passion; how can you go wrong with a five-course dinner for $25?

Joe's Bar -- 1500 Cleveland St., 581-9809 -- Situated near the Charity and Tulane hospitals' emergency rooms, this comfy 52-year-old bar may not get your doctor's approval, but it will serve plenty of microbrews and import beers.

Katie's Pub -- 1943 N. Rampart St., 943-9571 -- The artsy alternative crowd haunts this neighborhood bar, where you can pop a video into the VCR and watch movies at the bar.

Kelsey's Restaurant -- 3923 Magazine St., 897-6722; -- Award-winning contemporary Creole cuisine is the focus here, with zesty sauces, fresh seafood, robust seasonings and meat dishes spotlighting lamb, beef and pork.

Keuffer's -- 540 Chartres St., 523-8705 -- Pool, ping-pong, video poker and a musky hominess that draws a loyal coterie of locals.

La Carreta Authentic Mexican Cuisine -- 108 NW Railroad Ave., Hammond, (985) 419-9990 -- Great Mexican food means more than beans and rice at La Carreta; it takes pride in quality food, the coldest drinks and excellent service.

Larry Flynt's Hustler Club -- 225 Bourbon St., 524-0010 -- Hustler "honeys" are found inside, along with VIP and champagne rooms. Monday night is the Amateur Night Contest.

Legends Bar & Grille -- 2708 N. Hullen St., 887-3877 -- Live music with no cover charge keeps weekends rolling here, along with a variety of drink specials. Wednesday bike night offers $5 steaks.

Loa -- 221 Camp St. (International House Hotel), 553-9550; Beautiful people clamor to this classy, exquisitely decorated, candlelit watering hole. Fodor's recently called Loa "one of the most charming and intimate bars in the city."

Lucy's Retired Surfer's Bar -- 701 Tchoupitoulas St., 523-8995 -- A tropically decorated bar with fun, loud music and healthy pseudo-Mexican food.

Martin Wine Cellar -- 3287 Baronne St., 899-7411; 714 Elmer Ave., Metairie, 896-7300; -- The city's premier wine and specialty spirit shop also features gourmet food, and has been locally owned and operated since 1946. Martin's carries over 2,500 fine wines, and offers catering.

Michaul's -- 840 St. Charles Ave., 522-5517 -- You'll think you're in Cajun country when you tuck into the pecan catfish or salmon. Then grab your honey for some two-stepping.

Milan Lounge -- 1312 Milan St., 895-1836 -- The bartenders at this speakeasy (yes, you have to ring the doorbell to get in) serve strong, cheap drinks with a smile. Dart players, rejoice.

Molly's at the Market -- 1107 Decatur St., 525-5169 -- Popular gathering space for a diverse range of people, from reporters to crusty Irish grandpas to gutter punks. Try the "Frozen Irish" coffee daiquiri.

Mo's Chalet -- 3201 Houma Boulevard, Metairie, 780-2961; --This 24-hour lounge rocks around the clock with late-night jam sessions on the weekend and karaoke on Monday. Wash down Mo's hefty ribeye or filet dinner with specials like $1 longnecks on Monday. Video poker. No cover.

Mr. John's Steak & Seafood House -- 211 St. Charles Ave., 679-7697 -- USDA prime steaks are the main attraction here, and Mr. John's also serves their full menu in the lounge, a great place to grab a meal during football season.

Napoleon House -- 500 Chartres St., 524-9752; -- This place just gets better with age, and its romantic atmosphere makes it the ultimate place to take a date. The specialty drink is the Pimms Cup.

Nick's -- 2400 Tulane Ave., 821-9128 -- Nick's notoriety comes from its wall full of "surprise drinks." Its slogan, "Looks like the oldest bar in New Orleans," makes dilapidation a fun selling point.

Ninja Restaurant -- 8433 Oak St., 866-1119 -- Ninja is a prime destination for Uptown sushi seekers looking for a friendly family atmosphere and affordable prices. Choose from delectables such as tempura, teriyaki, sushi rolls and more.

Old Absinthe House -- 240 Bourbon St., 523-3181; --This vintage French Quarter bar is a wonderful, unpretentious respite from the Bourbon racket.

Ol' Toones Saloon -- 233 Decatur St., 529-3422 -- A killer jukebox and drinks strong enough to make us think twice about leaving. Their motto: "We manufacture and service hangovers."

Polynesian Joe's -- 869 Magazine St., 525-9301; -- Daily drink specials, lunch buffet and a sand volleyball court make this a great place to down a cold one. Get ready for Freaky Friday at Polynesian Joe's on Oct. 26.

Pat O'Brien's -- 718 St. Peters St., 525-4823; -- The Hurricane: It stains your mouth red, it packs a rum-fueled one-two punch, and should be savored in Pat O's loud, lush courtyard.

Parkway Tavern -- 5135 Canal Blvd., 488-2500; -- Draws a just-past-college crowd that flocks here to drink and flirt. Occasional live music.

Port of Call -- 838 Esplanade Ave., 523-0120 -- A nautical-themed New Orleans fixture known for its Monsoon (a deceptively strong red drink) and big, juicy burgers.

R Bar -- 1431 Royal St. 948-7499; -- One of the best-decorated bars in town, displaying a campy collector's mentality and occasional kitschy films (with no sound, thank God). A popular late-night niche for the hipper-than-thou.

Red Eye Grill -- 854 S. Peters St., 593-9393 -- Down-to-earth spot next to the Howlin' Wolf, whose food and drink specials have built a strong late-night following of service industry types and music buffs.

Rene Bistrot -- 817 Common St., 412-2580 -- This authentic French bistro returns to the fundamentals of cooking, looking to classic French cuisine for contemporary inspiration.

Rivershack Tavern -- 3449 River Road, Jefferson, 834-4938 -- Weird collections of kitsch (tacky ashtrays, "character" barstools, all things Elvisian), plus crowd-pleasing bands, make this unpretentious spot worth the trek. Live music Saturday night.

Robert's -- 3125 Calhoun St., 866-9121 -- Robert's has relatively cheap drinks and is frequented by locals winding down after work Fridays. The jukebox plays everything: rock, jazz, blues, country.

Ryan's Irish Pub -- 241 Decatur St., 523-3500 -- All your best friends are here: Bass, Harp, Guinness ... plus a decent pool table and usually a game on TV.

Samuel's Avenue Beer Pub -- 1628 St. Charles Ave., 581-3777 -- A lightning rod for the young pager-and-cell-phone set to mix, mingle and fall in lust. Bar food and drinks help the process.

St. Joe's -- 5535 Magazine St., 899-3744; -- This religiously irreverent dive is the best place to "sin" in town, with great martinis and a dark, loud, lively atmosphere. Voted "Best Neighborhood Bar" in Gambit Weekly's 2001 Best of New Orleans readers poll.

Saturn Bar -- 3067 St. Claude Ave., 949-7532 -- Whimsical spot with leopard-print booths, vintage jukebox and gobs of neon. If you find yourself talking to the mummy on the ceiling, politely finish your conversation and call a cab -- fast.

Snake & Jake's Christmas Club Lounge -- 7612 Oak St., 861-2802 -- A cavernous late-late-night hideaway that's worth the frustration of trying to find it (hint: look for the Christmas wreath).

The Steak Knife Restaurant & Bar -- 888 Harrison Ave., 488-8981 -- Juicy steaks and seafood aren't the only attractions here; the Steak Knife offers a full-service bar, cigars, wines by the glass, and live jazz on weekends.

Stella! -- 1032 Chartres St., 587-0091 -- Located in the Hotel Provincal, Stella! serves new American cuisine with Oriental flair and bold Creole flavors.

Superior Grill -- 3636 St. Charles Ave., 899-4200; -- The food's tasty, the margaritas are strong, and you can enjoy your meal on Superior Grill's outdoor patio.

Tyler's Beer Garden -- 3841 Orleans Ave., 482-7207 -- A colorful joint known for its oysters, beer and professionals who converge here to unwind.

Vaqueros -- 4938 Prytania St., 891-6441; -- Upscale nuevo-Latino oasis with top-shelf tequilas and margaritas, and an extensive menu including favorites like habanero seafood soup, fried oyster burritos and seafood paella. Sunday brunch.

Vera Cruz -- 7537 Maple St., 866-1736 -- Staples at this Mexican hangout include margaritas and fajitas -- choose from beef, chicken, shrimp or vegetable -- all served with beans and rice or garlic mashed potatoes.

Vic's Kangaroo Café -- 636 Tchoupitoulas St., 524-4329; -- Straight-shooting Australian-themed hangout featuring a great draft beer selection, live blues on Saturdays, and Vic's signature meat pie.

Whisky Bar -- 730 Common St., 525-6660 -- The decor is crisp, dark and stylish, the waitresses are straight out of Pulp Fiction, and there is no sign (it's in the middle of the block). Friday night's Tantra party is an all-night affair beginning at 11 p.m. Proper attire required.

Whiskey Blue -- 333 Poydras St., W Hotel, 207-5016 -- Sleek, chic place to see and be seen.

Winston's Pub and Patio -- 531 Metairie Road, Metairie, 831-8705 -- A surprisingly fun and funky suburban hangout, with a coffee-shop atmosphere (sofas, coffee tables, lamps, etc.), great jukebox, and a Wall of Hats.

Wit's Inn -- 141 N. Carrollton Ave., 486-1600 -- Big bar. Loud jukebox. Couple of pool tables. Plenty of popcorn. Sunday is singer-songwriter night.

Dance Clubs

735 Club -- 735 Bourbon St., 581-6740 -- Dress to impress and dance like a rock star in this hot-hot-hot high-energy nightspot; 735 Club's theme parties have become hipster magnets. For a change of pace, check out movie night on Sunday and Tuesday.

Ampersand -- 1100 Tulane Ave., 587-3737; -- Fierce new dance club that's attracting the hipper-than-thou.

The Crystal -- 116 Bourbon St., 523-4030 -- A loud, smoky, late-night underworld of darkness and pulsating music. Big with French Quarter subculture.

The Dungeon -- 738 Toulouse St., 523-5330 -- Aptly named gothic lair featuring drink specials and dance music nightly.

Gold Mine -- 701 Dauphine St., 586-0745 --Low cover, cheap drinks (especially "$2 Flaming Dr. Peppers") and good dance tunes. Come spin the Wheel of Booze on Saturdays.

Metropolitan -- 310 Andrew Higgins Drive, 568-1700 -- Talk about bang for your dancing buck: the Metropolitan's Saturday "M" party features three different DJs playing three different music styles, in three different rooms. Proper attire required.

Opulence -- 111 Bourbon St., 581-9090; -- Step back in time on Friday and Saturday nights at Opulence, when this high energy dance club relives Saturday Night Fever with the best disco tracks.

Oz -- 800 Bourbon St., 593-9491 ; -- This uninhibited dance club features smoke, strobe lights, and mesmerizing videos of nude men doing gymnastics. Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore.

Live Music Venues

Café Brasil -- 2100 Chartres St., 949-0851; -- A culturally diverse melting pot -- both the clientele and the music (Latin, reggae, hip-hop, world beat, alternative). Live music nightly.

Carrollton Station -- 8140 Willow St., Riverbend, 865-9190 -- A favorite spot to catch hot local acoustic, blues and roots rock bands in an intimate setting. Live music Thursday through Sunday.

Check Point Charlie -- 501 Esplanade Ave., 949-7012 -- For when you're in the mood to do laundry, watch promising bands and drink like a sailor. Live music nightly.

Circle Bar -- 1032 St. Charles Ave. (Lee Circle), 588-2616 -- It's like being in your living room, only you're lit, and you're surrounded by similarly lit people, and there's a K&B drugstore clock on the ceiling. Eclectic live music nightly.

Donna's Bar & Grill -- 800 Rampart St., 596-6914; -- The undisputed home of the area's finest brass bands. Donna's has an old-school New Orleans jukebox, and is so small you have to walk through the band to get to the bathroom.

El Matador -- 504 Esplanade Ave., 569-8361 -- Eclectic crowds flock here for eclectic music and its dark, subdued-cool ambience, with a jukebox that shows musical knowledge and a nod toward the campy.

Funky Butt -- 714 N. Rampart St., 558-0872; -- This dim, intimate atmosphere sets the tone for an old-school jazz club. Big names and young talents frequently play here, and it draws a wildly diverse crowd. Live music nightly.

House of Blues -- 225 Decatur St., 529-BLUE (2583); -- Voted "Best Live Music Venue" in the 2001 Gambit Weekly Readers' Poll, House of Blues rocks with down-home food, funky folk art and impressive local and national music acts. Late-night dance parties Thursday through Saturday.

The Howlin' Wolf -- 828 S. Peters St., 529-5844; -- Voted "Best Live Music at 3 a.m." in the 2000 Gambit Weekly Readers' Poll, this groovy warehouse features a diverse menu of local and national talent.

Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Cafe -- 1104 Decatur St., 592-2565; -- An island in the city, serving Gulf Coast cooking and featuring live local music beginning at 3 p.m. daily. Multiple bar areas.

Kerry Irish Pub -- 331 Decatur St., 527-5954; -- Guinness, anyone? This comfortable bar offers live Irish and alternative folk music nightly.

Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop -- 941 Bourbon St., 523-0066 -- The oldest bar in the city. Ernest Hemingway would have hung out in this musky cave featuring world-class Bloody Marys.

Le Bon Temps Roulé -- 4801 Magazine St., 897-3448; -- A favorite all-around place to see live bands, drink local brews and grab a burger. There's free oysters on Fridays, never a cover, and a truly rockin' jukebox. Live music Wed-Sat.

Live Bait Bar & Grill -- 501 River Rd., Jefferson, 831-3070; -- Laid-back watering hole near the river, featuring blues, folk, R&B, jazz, zydeco and roots rock.

le chat noir -- 715 St. Charles Ave., 581-5812; -- Innovative music and theater performances, cabaret and cocktails; free parking. Piano bar and tango music regularly.

Maple Leaf Bar -- 8316 Oak St., Riverbend, 866-LEAF (5323) -- A cramped, out-of-the-way mecca with tons of personality and a loyal crowd. Tuesday-night ReBirth Brass Band shows are a guaranteed good time. Live music nightly.

Mermaid Lounge -- 1100 Constance St., 524-4747; -- Party with a casual, alternative crowd in this hard-to-find local favorite. It boasts great mermaid art and new bands you won't find anyplace else, playing rockabilly, alternative, funk and more.

Mid-City Lanes Rock 'n' Bowl -- 4133 S. Carrollton Ave., 482-3133; -- This laid-back, friendly bowling alley is one of the favored places in town to catch the best in zydeco, blues, swing, Latin and R&B. Live music Wed-Sun; sister club downstairs features live music nearly every Saturday.

Mulate's -- 201 Julia St., 522-1492; -- This restaurant/bar features hearty authentic Louisiana fare, which will fortify you for a night of Cajun two-stepping. Live music nightly.

O'Flaherty's Irish Channel Pub -- 508 Toulouse St., 529-1317; -- This authentic slice of Eire offers the Informer pub, the intimate Ballad Room music venue, and a Celtic gift shop. Live music nightly.

Old Point Bar -- 545 Patterson St., 364-0950; -- Welcoming stop near the ferry on the Algiers Point side, with top-notch live local music. Darts, pool and spontaneous dancing included.

Palm Court Jazz Café -- 1204 Decatur St., 525-0200; -- The quality of traditional jazz musicians who play here regularly, plus the classy setting, is worth the cost of the food. Live music Wednesday through Sunday.

Pete Fountain's Jazz Club -- 2 Poydras St. (Hilton Riverside Hotel), 523-4374 -- The legendary clarinet virtuoso performs New Orleans music the way it's meant to sound. Fountain and his band play shows every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.

Praline Connection Gospel and Blues Hall -- 907 S. Peters St., 523-3973; -- Authentic soul, blues and gospel music performed by rising stars and New Orleans mainstays. The Sunday gospel brunch is a don't-miss.

Preservation Hall -- 726 St. Peter St., 522-2841; -- Jazz institution extraordinaire, featuring the city's finest Dixieland and traditional New Orleans-style jazz performances. Live music nightly.

Red Room -- 2040 St. Charles Ave., 528-9759 -- A classy supper club that features jazz, dance music, swing, and eclectic performers, and draws big crowds of all ages depending upon the show. Live music Wednesday through Sunday.

Shim Sham Club -- 615 Toulouse St., 299-0666; -- It features diverse musical acts, but the emphasis is on alternative, rockabilly and punk, and seasonal burlesque shows by the Shim Shamettes, and scrappy local theater productions.

Snug Harbor -- 626 Frenchmen St., 949-0696; -- Its ultra-intimate setting is perfect for jazz shows, and Snug Harbor presents some of the best in New Orleans and national acts. Live music nightly.

Storyville District -- 125 Bourbon St., 410-1000; -- This joint venture between the Ralph Brennan restaurant family and Jazz Fest producer Quint Davis brings top-flight New Orleans musicians back to Bourbon Street. Live music nightly.

Tipitina's -- 501 Napoleon Ave., 891-7994; 233 N. Peters St., (French Quarter), 566-7062; -- The original Uptown location is a New Orleans landmark, and continues to present a wide range of stellar New Orleans and national acts. The French Quarter location occasionally features special events.

Utopia -- 227 Bourbon St., 523-3800; -- Boogie to live music five nights a week at Utopia, and catch a breather in its beautiful courtyard -- a great place to savor nightly drink specials.

Vaughan's -- 800 Lesseps St., 947-5562 -- This stomping, romping bar is as remote as they come, but what it lacks in convenience, it makes up for in genuine New Orleans soul. Kermit Ruffins' regular Thursday-night performances are legendary.

Event Producers

Mega Music -- 290 Sunrise Drive, suite 3-K, Key Biscayne, FL 33149, 862-6623 -- Mega Music can fill all your special event needs, offering promotion, DJs, live bands and production.


Continuum -- 296-1950; 245-1401 -- This new band from Coolbone member Thaddeus Ford II plays people-friendly, swinging modern jazz. The seven-piece band features drums, piano, acoustic bass and a four-piece horn section. Catch them at the Funky Butt Oct. 10, with guests Irvin Mayfield, Delfeayo Marsalis, Tricia Boutte and more.


Hotel Monaco New Orleans -- 333 St. Charles Ave., 310-2707; -- Experience New Orleans' new hip hotel with its $75 friends and family rate for the month of October. Subject to availability.

Hyatt Regency New Orleans -- 500 Poydras Plaza, 561-1234; -- The Hyatt Regency boasts 1,184 newly renovated rooms, plus four restaurants and lounges, adjacent to the Superdome and the New Orleans Arena.

Put on your boogie shoes at Club Ampersand.
  • Put on your boogie shoes at Club Ampersand.
Pull back the curtain on fine dining and martinis at the Bombay Club. - AMANDA FRANK
  • Amanda Frank
  • Pull back the curtain on fine dining and martinis at the Bombay Club.
Get revved up over the beer selection at R Bar.
  • Get revved up over the beer selection at R Bar.
The Rivershack Tavern beckons from River Road.
  • The Rivershack Tavern beckons from River Road.

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