Melius Bar & Cafe
1701 Lake Ave., Metairie, 828-9446 Melius Bar & Cafe opens its doors early with coffee and breakfast at 6 a.m for fishermen heading out to Lake Pontchartrain. In the evening hours, its dimly lit bar is a place for locals to belly up for a cold one and hot bar grub or just watch the game on a big-screen. Others enjoy the pool and dart nights. BYWATER Bud Rip's 900 Piety St., 945-5762 Open to patrons since 1860, the watering hole at the corner of Piety and Burgundy streets became known as Bud Rip's a hundred years later and has been a Bywater institution ever since. Friendly crowds of young and old with big money -- and no money -- call this place home. The highlight of the year for this earthy tavern comes every St. Patrick's Day when the Downtown Irish Club starts their march at Bud Rip's door.
634 Louisa St., 945-0742, www.countryclubneworleans.com Before you hit the clothing-optional, heated swimming pool, check out the newly redecorated and very posh indoor setting of this Georgian-style plantation mansion. Amid the columns and fireplaces dating to the 1800s, you'll find a friendly staff serving early happy hour specials. Ask about cabaret show times.
640 Louisa St., 943-0785 This traditional neighborhood bar is proud to still be under family ownership, so you're likely to find owner Roy Markey Jr. behind the bar. Offering free pool and darts, decent-priced beer, and a well-stocked jukebox, the bar has become a host to those unwinding after a long day of 9 to 5 as well as the occasional bohemian bunch.
3067 St. Claude Ave., 949-7532 Walking in, take the time to gaze over the collected junk, mementos, 'found' art and stuff that has accumulated over the walls of the Saturn Bar for the last 44 years. The hour for closing time gets earlier every year (midnight at last check), so get there early and take advantage of the $1.50 beers and $3 highballs.
Sugar Park Tavern
800 France St., 940-6226 An eclectic Bywater crowd calls the Sugar Park Tavern home. With a classic pub feel, the Sugar Park's personality depends on which neighbors show up, ranging from young artisans to older regulars stopping in for a beer on tap. Perfect for nightcrawlers, the kitchen is open until 11 p.m., with the bar closing around 4 a.m.
800 Lesseps St. 947-5562 It may blend in with the surrounding residential buildings, but on Thursday nights, Vaughan's fills the Bywater with the sweet sounds of Kermit Ruffins on the horn and the ambrosia-like scent of barbecue wafting through the air. Get there early to mingle with the crowd, which will later spill out onto the street and become a swinging block party.
Cajun Mike's Pub 'n' Grub
116 Baronne St., 566-0055, www.cajunmikes.com This bar prides itself on its relaxed yet upbeat attitude, and the patrons love the Pabst Blue Ribbon on tap and the tried-and-true bar food like chicken wings and cheese fries. If you're in the mood for something a little different, ask for a Streetcar Special -- a turkey sandwich on sourdough bread -- and a cold one on 'Welfare Wednesdays.'
World Trade Center, 33rd floor, 2 Canal St., 522-9795 Though downstairs things may be stationary and somber, visitors to Club 360 on the 33rd floor of the World Trade Center enjoy a beautiful, constantly changing skyline view of downtown New Orleans. Making a complete circle every 90 minutes, elegant patrons enjoy house music and conversation during the week, with a packed house and DJs spinning from midnight Thursday through 5 a.m. Sunday.
1100 Tulane Ave., 587-3737, www.clubampersand.com Look for the '&' symbol and the line of A-list cars awaiting valets, and you'll find where the pretty people meet to dance the night away to techno and house music. The look and smell of money resonates from the former bank vault interior, and the bass bounces off the lush red, gold and black decor.
The Core at the State Palace Theatre
1106 Canal St., 522-4435 When it's time for intermission at the State Palace, grab a cocktail at the downstairs bar or slip into the Core, a bar space that doubles as a stage setting for smaller productions. The bartenders mix the drinks strong, and the younger crowd will love the rave ambience of the cozy room, lit with murals of apocalyptic ruins and futuristic chaos.
Doc Smith's Lounge
1009 Poydras St., 561-0528 Competing with Hyttops as New Orleanians' choice of sports bar within walking distance of the Superdome and New Orleans Arena, Doc Smith's offers a home-away-from-home for Saints and Hornets fans without season tickets. Check out the action on a 60-inch plasma screen TV, or if football isn't your game, join the crowd on Thursdays for wine tastings.
Harrah's New Orleans Casino
512 S. Peters St., 533-6000, www.harrahs.com One of the easiest places to find in downtown New Orleans is Harrah's, throwing-distance from the river. This neon-and-fountain spectacle creates a looming, labyrinthine space inside with gorgeous murals. The energetic Earl Turner performs five nights a week in the Earl Turner Theater as the marquee act.
701 St. Charles Ave., 524-4114, www.herbsaint.com Sit in this casual bistro with a warm feel, watch the streetcar roll by and sip on the restaurant's namesake, the Herbsaint, a cocktail with a zesty anise flavor. Chef Donald Link offers 'small plates' at the bar, or enjoy a Key Lime Cosmopolitan to go with the pea-green walls.
Hyttops Sports Bar & Grill
Hyatt Regency Hotel, 500 Poydras St., 299-1169 New Orleans loves its sports, and New Orleanians love Hyttops, where the number of TVs competes with the number of patrons. A wide selection of spirits and food makes it almost worth missing the Saints game down the street at the Superdome.
1500 Cleveland Ave., 581-9809 A self-described 'neighborhood New Orleans' bar, this place sticks to tradition. Collections of foreign money, license plates and a corner dedicated to Jazz Fest paraphernalia all have their places at Joe's. A large selection of microbrews keeps the medical clientele from the nearby hospitals coming: Every Friday for the last 50 years, residents from Charity Hospital, in their scrubs and lab coats, have come to Joe's to unwind.
Kabby's Sports Edition Grille
Hilton Hotel Riverside, 2 Poydras St., 584-3880 The hotel bar has always given solace to those needing to unwind, and Kabby's is just such a bar. With more large-screen televisions than you can count, 24-oz. draft beers and a menu of classic pub food (did someone say wings?), it's hard to imagine what else might be called for after a long day at work.
Le Chat Noir
715 St. Charles Ave., 581-5812, www.cabaretlechatnoir.com If you need another reason to catch a show at Le Chat Noir, the Bar Noir is it. Watch a show performed on a swanky stage with martini murals and '50s flair, then head to the bar. The servers are acts in themselves, with specialty tricks (fire-breathing, for one) and mixed drinks. Occasionally, your first drink is included in your ticket price. Hours depend on shows.
Lenny's Piccadilly Lounge
113 University Place, 525-4083 If you're in Lenny's, chances are you're en route to the French Quarter or stopping in after a show at the Orpheum or other nearby venues. With its central location in the CBD, Lenny's boasts an impressive jukebox and retro red-leather booths. Piggybacked by the Half Shell Restaurant, Lenny's offers hot grub for conventioneers, tourists and service-industry workers, who kick back in the dark wood-and-brick decor after hours. Try the Cajun bloody Mary.
International House Hotel, 221 Camp St., 533-9550, www.ihhotel.com Like many other large hotel bars, Loa has upscale down to an art. Named for the voodoo word for 'spirit,' this darkly elegant bar treats its patrons to plush couches amid Gothic church mirrors. Lit only by candles, it's a place the hipsters and the elite come to sip a top-shelf martini or Manhattan, admire the veves (voodoo symbols), and perhaps soak up some mystery.
523 Gravier St., 200-6523, www.loft523.com The actual space that houses the bar in the Loft 523 Hotel looks weathered, with decades-old bricks exposed through the drywall. In Warehouse District style, this feel only adds charm when the room is reborn with modern, plush furniture, dramatic lighting and cocktails.
840 St. Charles Ave., 522-5517 Friends and family gather at Michaul's for famous Cajun dining, but more often than not the food plays second fiddle to the romping zydeco dance floor. The friendly regulars know how to stomp, and they also know to try the Mamou Blue, Michaul's own vodka-and-rum-based fruit drink.
New Orleans Original Daiquiris
1 Poydras St. #37, 525-3931; 1 Poydras St. #80, 566-8992;1 Poydras St. #167, 524-9504 Whether you're looking to cool down with a daiquiri for yourself or get a party-to-go with a gallon jug, New Orleans Original Daiquiris has you covered. Along with beers, 16 types of daiquiris are offered, from fruit flavors to White Russians to the Bloody Smurf.
Windsor Court Hotel, 300 Gravier St., 523-6000 The lounge feels like a country club as the Tom Collinses and martinis are sipped among cushy couches and dark stained-wood paneling. The wait staff pours glasses of wine at the guests' tables. The house specialty is the Polo martini, and the mint julep is served in an authentic silver cup.
Rasputin's Vodka Bar
Lafayette Hotel, 600 St. Charles Ave., 561-9261 Rasputin's is serious about vodka. The red-tinted room and slick Russian theme are pretty good indications of this, but in the end, it's the 100-plus varieties on hand -- including several that are actually flavor-infused on site -- that prove the bar's true merit.
Fairmont Hotel, 123 Baronne St., 529-4733, www.fairmonthotel.com New Orleans is generally acknowledged as the birthplace of the cocktail. And though it's disputed, the Sazerac is often referred to as the first cocktail ever invented. True or not, drinking a Sazerac always feels classy and traditional in this dark, cozy bar in the Fairmont Hotel.
Swizzle Stick Lounge
Loews New Orleans Hotel, 300 Poydras St., 595-3300, www.loewshotels.com Located in the towering Loews hotel, the Swizzle Stick Lounge brings out the Caribbean side of New Orleans' heritage with an atmosphere reminiscent of the West Indies. Old-time New Orleans cocktails like gin fizzes and absinthe cocktails are the lounge's specialties.
635 Roman St., 522-0440 Tuckers is known for -- gasp -- stuffed and deep-fried hamburgers. What's more, one sees scores of medical doctors slugging them down every day due to the bar's close proximity to several area hospitals. Friday night, however, is an entirely different scene when a full house of Harley riders celebrate the bar's 'Bike Night.'
W Hotel, 333 Poydras St., 525-9444, www.whotels.com Whisky Blue at the W hotel is posh. The softly illuminated cobalt wall behind the bar turns the bartenders into silhouettes and casts a sapphirine tint over the room. The young and trendy lounge on leather chairs and couches, and the shakers steadily pour martinis.
EASTERN NEW ORLEANS
7140 Downman Road, 245-8888 Top local and national hip-hop DJs spin at Club 7140, and when they do, the floor practically erupts with dancers. Each Friday night, the Praline Connection caters a happy hour. Unforunately, the party only goes on Thursday through Sunday.
517 Frenchmen St., 942-1345 This vegetarian-friendly restaurant and bar makes no beef about serving tofu dishes and veggie burgers. But 13 hasn't forgotten about its meat-eating friends either, and now even hosts a new Wednesday night Steak Night. The bar's jukebox dares to do what few other bars around town would think of: play albums by local artists.
Apple Barrel Bar
609 Frenchmen St., 949-9399 The Apple Barrel is as warm and cozy a neighborhood bar as its name suggests. Squeezed into this tiny barrel each night is a jazz or blues band, making for intimate performances. Sewing together this tiny musical bundle are the acoustics, which are so good that a number of local artists record here.
523 Frenchmen St., 948-2583 With its Spanish Caribbean decor, the Blue Nile is Havana on Frenchmen Street. Local salsa king Freddy Omar sends scores of dancers to their feet every Friday night, and free dance lessons make sure everyone can join in. On other nights, anyone from flamenco to jazz to zydeco musicians will play.
1500 Esplanade Ave., 301-9704, www.bigshirley.com Big Shirley's serves wholesome, Deep-South dishes that make the neighborhood proud and draw diners from all over the city to gobble their popular crabcakes. Dinner is washed down with a gin and tonic or ice cold beer.
1001 Esplanade Ave., 949-0038 The pool table, the darts, the friendly folks and the bar that hasn't been replaced since 1939 make Buffa's the neighborhood's rec room, where regulars feel at ease. Buffa's has its own savory Buffa Burger, delicious homemade soups and a two-for-one anything happy hour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
2100 Chartres St., 949-0851 Feet shuffle and bodies wriggle all around Cafe Brasil's massive dance floor as trumpets, toms and timbales disseminate some of the city's best local Latin and funk music. The space is dim but warm, with bright yellows and blues painted all around, and back toward the bar there are plenty of tables for lounging with Coronas and fruity cocktails.
Check Point Charlie
501 Esplanade Ave., 947-7012 Geographically, Check Point Charlie is where the French Quarter and the Marigny collide, making it a suitable location for the loudest music in either area. Hard rock is played on the stage most nights, and like many of owner Igor Margan's bars, it's open 24 hours daily, burgers are always on the grill, and you can do your laundry in the back.
2240 St. Claude Ave., 947-0505, www.cowpokesno.com New Orleans' only gay country and western dance club also happens to be New Orleans' only country and western dance club, period. The hardwood dance floor in this straight-friendly gay bar is always full of line-dancers and boot-scooters; myriad cowboy portraits adorn the walls.
618 Frenchmen St., 942-3731, www.drinkgoodstuff.com Some of the best drinks in town are found at d.b.a. The bar rotates an outstanding draft beer selection, including Guinness, Chimay, Boddington's and Lindemans Framboise, but to ensure freshness, it never keeps more than 20 on tap. Likewise, the bar also keeps an extensive list of scotches, tequilas, wines and more. The room would fit nicely into New York's East Village, and businessmen and bohemians alike find their way through its doors.
435 Esplanade Ave., 949-1750 From the dim lighting of a few candles and red light bulbs, the 10-foot high mirrors, floor cushions and low tables are barely visible in this bar, which has the exotic feel of an opium den. The stage is similarly mood-lit, but musicians and DJs from funk, jazz, hip-hop, rock, reggae, and more play almost every night.
The Friendly Bar
2301 Chartres St., 943-8929 Gay and straight neighbors alike convene at this corner bar for drinks and Grill Night Wednesdays. At this weekly event, the bar fires up the grill and provides all the fixin's, and customers bring their own cuts of meat and slap them on the grill. On other nights, customers entertain themselves with pool, an Internet jukebox and good conversation.
2239 St. Claude Ave., 947-9344, www.hiholounge.com With its zebra-print walls and go-go dancer cage, the Hi-Ho would be the perfect home for Shaft if it weren't for the loud drum 'n' bass and rock music played there. Most nights are booked with the city's newer rock acts, but the popular Bass Bin Safari electronic dance party goes down every Friday, and local experimental rapper MC Tracheotomy takes the mic every Sunday.
2040 Burgundy St., 942-7159 The John has actual toilet seats to perch on while drinking. Though not quite functional, the seats do exhibit an appreciation for the throne that foreshadows the utter cleanliness of the bathrooms. This is a neighborhood bar with a sense of humor and laid-back regulars.
The Marigny Brasserie
640 Frenchmen St., 945-4472, www.cafemarigny.com The elegant Marigny Brasserie has overstuffed, off-white sofas in a lounge area next to its full-service bar. Martini glasses swirl and ice clinks softly from scotch on the rocks, as patrons enjoy a great view of the Frenchmen Street scene. Sunday through Thursday evenings, the brasserie hosts a happy hour.
2601 Royal St., 942-0690 This bar on the corner of Royal Street and Franklin Avenue keeps its windows open as much as possible for fresh air and a charming view of the neighborhood. Upstairs is a tapas bar; downstairs, the exposed brick and wood give the room the sort of character that has made it a hangout for the young and hip in the neighborhood and a destination for many from Uptown and Metairie.
1431 Royal St., 948-7499, www.royalstreetinn.com With the bar under new ownership, the motorcyle that once stood on the beer cooler and the scuba diver that once hovered over the end of the bar are gone in favor of performance artists, and that's just the start. The club has been 'artified,' but it maintains the funky feel that made it a Faubourg Marigny favorite.
626 Frenchmen St., 949-0696, www.snugjazz.com The performance hall with a 25-foot ceiling is intimate yet immaculate, much like the regular performances put on here by many of New Orleans' most noted jazz performers. Customers eat Port O' Call steak burgers, BBQ shrimp and more in the dining room or have drinks by the stage at tables only inches away from performers such as Alvin Batiste and Maurice Brown.
The Spotted Cat
623 Frenchmen St., 943-3887 Every weekend, the Spotted Cat is filled to capacity with jazz fans, so much so that people often choose to listen from a spot out on the sidewalk. Two bands play every night, and there's never a cover. The room has leopard-print decoration in every nook, but the atmosphere is slightly formal.
Sweet Lorraine's Jazz Club
1931 St. Claude Ave., 945-9654, www.sweetlorrainesjazzclub.com Customers dine on traditional New Orleans fare while viewing a wide variety of local and national musicians. This colorful weekend-only jazz club is in fact no stickler for jazz, as plenty of better-known funk and soul acts also grace the stage from time to time.
201 Restaurant and Bar
201 Decatur St., 561-0007, www.201restaurant.com Taking its name from its address, 201 serves contemporary Louisiana cuisine and makes cocktails with only top-shelf liquors. The house specialties, the Chocolate Martini and the Raspberry Cosmo, are a clue to the restaurant's trendy, upscale demeanor.
735 Bourbon St., 581-6740, www.club735.com This dance club on Bourbon Street announces that ladies in bikinis drink free Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Different DJs spin hip-hop, '80s or Latin music nightly in the main room, which is large enough to host massive parties.
1123 Decatur St., 523-7150 The Abbey is gothic. Stained-glass abounds, and in the bar's dark and shadowy front room, a regular crowd of goths and punks talk over beer in a space that resembles a monastery from the Dark Ages. On Saturday afternoons, the regulars participate in the dark ritual of barbecuing.
811 Iberville St., 522-9187 Voted one of Stuff magazine's Top 20 Dive Bars in America 2003, the Alibi keeps it down to the basics visually, with not much more than brick walls and video poker. But local service-industry types make their way here after work for burgers, po-boys and more than 100 bottled beers.
Angeli on Decatur
1141 Decatur St., 566-0077 Angeli's is a one-of-a-kind collage of idiosyncrasies. Disco balls hang from the ceiling, angels are painted all around, silent movies are projected on the wall, and beer, mixed drinks and an entire menu of Mediterranean, American and Italian dishes is served 24 hours a day on weekends.
75 813 Bienville St., 528-9900 This famous restaurant's own eponymous cocktail, an elegant brandy and champagne libation, fits perfectly in the 19th century New Orleans style bar. This warm, deeply colored wooden alcove has the impeccable service expected from one of the city's top restaurants.
Aunt Tiki's Jewel Bar
1207 Decatur St., 680-8454 Aunt Tiki's Jewel Bar probably could not exist anywhere else on earth but in the middle of one of Decatur Street's more outrageous blocks. It is a tiki bar, yes, but the appearance of the room suggests that the underground culture from Decatur Street's past influenced the bar somewhere along the line. Now, the place looks like a combination of goth/industrial and Polynesian stylings and has a jukebox full of pounding electronica.
310 Chartres St., 522-2426 Wine drinkers muse as Bacchus makes merry on the ceiling mural above the bar in this Ralph Brennan establishment. The normal hubbub, which is part-and-parcel of bars located in busy restaurants, is gratefully absent here.
430 Dauphine St., 525-4455 The bar, like Bayona itself, is subtly elegant, but not so much that it makes anyone feel out of place. Overlooking the patio and garden, it's a fine place to sharpen the taste buds with a martini before dinner.
Big Daddy's Gentlemen's Club
522 Bourbon St., 581-7167 Big Daddy's is the gentlemen's club with the high-heeled mechanical legs swinging out of its front window. It's also the one hyped as Bourbon Street's only 'topless, bottomless club.' The women dance on a large stage that fills the middle of the room.
830 Conti St., 586-0972, www.thebombayclub.com The Bombay Club on the first floor of the Prince Conti Hotel boasts 115 different martinis, with several house recipes including The Breathless white creme cocoa martini and The Pink Pearl grapefruit martini. Piano music fills the burgundy-colored lounge and French courtyard.
144 Bourbon St., 522-0111, www.bourbonhouse.com Nowhere else on Bourbon Street does bourbon actually take precedence. This Brennan family oyster bar offers a vast collection of rare and fine bourbons and sponsors its own bourbon-tasting society. Diners as well as bourbon lovers make their way to the Bourbon House for fried oysters, shrimp cocktails and steak entrees.
801 Bourbon St., 529-2107, www.bourbonpub.com Across the street from the gay dance club Oz is the Bourbon Pub, a locals-oriented gay hang-out. The downstairs is not really designed for dancing at all: Plasma screen televisions show a number of sporting events or other programs while club-goers converse over drinks. Upstairs, the disco is one of the best in town, with blaring electronic music, bright lasers and fog machines.
Cafe Lafitte in Exile
901 Bourbon St., 522-8397, www.lafittes.com This gay bar's name fits, as it is somewhat in exile a few blocks away from the main core of Bourbon Street activity. It is open 24 hours a day and is less dance-oriented than the Bourbon Pub/Parade or Oz. Some bar dancing takes place in the video bar downstairs, but mostly people there would rather talk and mingle. The upstairs has pool tables.
214 Royal St., 523-3341, www.hotelmonteleone.com The bar is literally a life-size, carnival carousel. Written about by Ernest Hemingway, customers on barstools slowly chug in a circle around the bartender as they drink. Far from jarring, pastels fill the room, and the atmosphere is dream-like thanks to the sound of John Autin's smooth piano playing.
701 Bourbon St., 523-1157, www.catsmeow-neworleans.com This karaoke bar is always packed. Each night, an emcee takes the microphone, leads the bar in sing-a-longs, dances, pulls people on stage from the audience, makes fun of audience members, sings, introduces karaoke singers and more, always keeping the energy at maximum.
The Chart Room
300 Chartres St., 522-1708 Drop anchor among the regulars at the nautically appointed Chart Room. Drinks are cheap, the lights are low, and the jukebox is eclectic, giving this bar more of a neighborhood feel than you might expect from a French Quarter bar.
Chris Owens Club
500 Bourbon St., 523-6400, www.chrisowensclub.com After all these years, Chris Owens still entertains Bourbon Street visitors with her song-and-dance routines. After she sings, the bright lights keep flashing all around the black-and-white-checked floor, and the club converts into a Latin disco almost as spicy as its owner.
240 Decatur St., 581-6969 Club Decatur is where local twentysomethings go before hitting the Quarter and where they come again on their way back out. There are more than 200 different bottled beers, 20 on tap, and service-industry workers get a discount. People take pool seriously here.
201 Chartres St., 522-7729 Club Ritz is not a flashy Bourbon Street strip club. It's darker, smaller and less expensive, and the strippers tend to know at least a handful of regulars in the crowd.
1109 Decatur St., 525-9053, www.coopsplace.net Coop's looks and feels like any standard New Orleans pub, but it makes a great rabbit jambalaya and keeps the kitchen going until 3 a.m. Local Quarter dwellers feel right at home and make good use of the video poker machines, pool tables and Internet jukebox. Then, there's the kicker: free Internet access.
1201 Burgundy St., 522-9715 Cosimo's feels like an absinthe bar or the sort of haunt where one would find William Faulkner or Tennessee Williams. It captures a dusty yet distinguished ambience through Oriental upholstery, dark wood and crystal chandeliers without jeopardizing authenticity, particularly in the very civilized atmosphere of its billiard room. The free computer jukebox is also a nice treat. Its cafe, Hell's Kitchen, serves some of the Quarter's more popular bar food.
Coyote Ugly Saloon
225 N. Peters St., 561-0003, www.coyoteuglysaloon.com Coyote Ugly bartenders dance on the bar and pour booze onto patrons below, just like in the movie. The row of Harleys semi-permanently installed out front should tell you this roadhouse isn't for the faint of heart. Play anything from Hank Williams to Thomas Dolby on the vintage-looking jukebox and open wide.
Crescent City Brewhouse
527 Decatur St., 522-0571, www.crescentcitybrewhouse.com Crescent City Brewhouse serves ambers, pale ales, stouts, and wheat beers in addition to seasonal brews. The enormous burnished brass and copper brewing tanks dominate the open, airy downstairs bar and restaurant; upstairs, patrons can choose from the cozy German beer hall atmosphere indoors or the spacious balcony overlooking upper Decatur.
Deep South Lounge
329 Decatur St., 529-3331 www.deepsouthlounge.com Nothing screams country and western like a mechanical bull named Brisket. Combine that with open-competition mud wrestling on Thursday and Friday nights in the courtyard, two huge TVs to watch rodeo and NASCAR, Southern soul food, and a quirky and eclectic beer menu, and you have the closest thing to a down-and-dirty roadhouse in New Orleans.
Deja Vu Bar & Restaurant
400 Dauphine St., 523-1931 This traditional-looking 24-hour bar/restaurant is a before- and after-work favorite of the Bourbon Street service-industry crowd. Deja Vu is the hottest of people-watching spots in the wee-est of hours, providing reliable diner food and cheap booze. Steak Night on Tuesday and Thursday offers a $5.99 9-oz. New York Strip.
Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse
716 Iberville St., 522-2467, www.dickiebrennanssteakhouse.com This Brennan steakhouse offers the sort of slightly elegant, slightly casual New Orleans charm that's harder to achieve than it sounds. With a perfect balance of old-world, manly steakhouse atmosphere and modern touches, Dickie Brennan's sports a full bar menu and the relaxed setting to explore it. Ask about the monthly wine tasting.
Donna's Bar & Grill
800 N. Rampart St., 596-6914, www.donnasbarandgrill.com This is one of the hot spots to catch traditional New Orleans jazz and brass music. The bare-bones yet cozy atmosphere is as authentic as you can get, as are the top-shelf nightly local music offerings. On Monday nights, Donna's offers free red beans and rice and barbecue chicken at the set break. There's not a lot of room, so chances are you'll make new friends.
Fahy's Irish Pub
540 Burgundy St., 586-9806 This local pub serves more than 40 selections of bottled beer. It also has a pool league that's been running for 12 years, in which 20 teams compete on the bar's two tables every Wednesday night. A few blocks and a world away from Bourbon, this is the locals' side of the Quarter -- good booze and good company in a laid-back, no-frills neighborhood pub.
45 French Market Place, 528-9566 A tried-and-true oasis amid the gritty hipster bar strip of lower Decatur, Fiorella's serves up tasty and inexpensive New Orleans staples late into the night, from po-boys to spaghetti to fried chicken. The Decatur side has a strangely nautical feel with the roped-off front tables that look out onto the street. Daily dessert specials are a serious attraction. Hope for banana pudding.
French Quarter Bar at the Ritz-Carlton
Ritz-Carlton Hotel, 921 Canal St., 524-1331, www.ritzcarlton.com You can put on the Ritz without staying there in the intimate, sophisticated French Quarter Bar. It serves the Davenportini, named for Jeremy Davenport, who performs jazz Thursday through Saturday. The Sunday Jazz Brunch, when the Ritz offers seven different bloody Marys from behind the stately, marble-topped bar, is an experience worth having more than once.
Fritzel's European Jazz Club
733 Bourbon St., 561-0432 Fritzel's became the first American bar to serve Jagermeister in 1971, and it still serves Jager today in addition to other obscure schnapps. During the day, Fritzel's is a sports bar, showing soccer matches and basketball games in a European pub atmosphere; at night, it features traditional jazz.
714 N. Rampart St., 558-0872, www.funkybutt.com Big Sam from the Dirty Dozen and Big Sam's Funky Nation has hit the right note with this place. The art-deco decor, low red lighting and traditional Creole cooking recall the great music clubs of the '20s and '30s, and the club lives up to its name.
727 Bourbon St., 523-1960, www.tropicalisle.com Arr, matey! This port of call is an oasis for any thirsty privateer. If Hand Grenades suit your palate, buy one at Tropical Isle and take a walk next door to the Funky Pirate to see Big Al Carson throw down rollicking, slightly bawdy blues every night except Sunday.
Gennifer Flowers Kelsto Club
720 St. Louis St., 524-1111 Animal-print upholstery and a gold-leafed grand piano bear witness to the way in which a one-time pop-culture icon has evolved into a cabaret performer in a swank bordello atmosphere. The closest you'll get to controversy is a Gennifer's Kiss, a shot of Southern Comfort served in a lip-shaped shot glass.
727 Iberville St., 524-4354, www.goldclubno.com Get plenty of flash for your cash at the Gold Club, one of New Orleans' most upscale gentlemen's clubs. Its four stages, strobe lights, and music helped make it home to the annual G-String Awards, which brings in top talent from all over to compete for in a mind-boggling throwdown of theatrical nudity.
Gold Mine Saloon
705 Dauphine St., 586-0745, www.goldminesaloon.com Pull up a seat at a whiskey barrel, grab a flaming Dr. Pepper shot and soak up the culture at this bona fide New Orleans saloon. Satisfy your hankering for Centipede or Donkey Kong in the arcade or dance the night away to the enormous music library. Poetry readings on Thursday night feature popular writers such as Andrei Codrescu as well as showcases of lesser-known local talent.
Good Friends Bar
740 Dauphine St., 566-7191, www.goodfriendsbar.com There's never a cover at this amicable, gay-owned and -operated neighborhood bar that offers karaoke on Tuesdays and margarita specials on Thursdays. Head upstairs to The Queen's Head Pub for a more intimate atmosphere where you can hang out with friends around the piano and sip a martini. On Sunday afternoons, you can play a part in the entertainment at Sing Along with Tommy T at the piano.
The Gumbo Shop
630 St. Peter St., 525-1486, www.gumboshop.com You can guess the kitchen's specialty, but the bar has its own. In fact, it has quite a list, from fresh fruit daiquiris to bartender originals like the Funky Monkey and the Screaming Amoeba. Ask for the story behind the latter drink, which you can sip in the upscale casual front of the restaurant or in the lush French Quarter courtyard.
900 Chartres St., 524-1107 Just when you thought there were no more good ol' bars in the Quarter, you remember this corner spot. The no-frills atmosphere assures large cold beers and whatever sport is on TV. This is a destination for seasoned locals who like their downtown fun sans beads and Hurricanes.
301 N. Peters St., 522-9222, www.hooters.com Everyone knows that you don't go here just for the wings &138; because they pour a pretty mean beer, too. Right at the upper edge of the Quarter, this is a great casual, slightly naughty spot to kick off your night with great bar snacks and &138; scenery.
House of Blues
225 Decatur St., 529-2583, www.hob.com One of the premier music venues in New Orleans offers a lot more than great acoustics. The restaurant features modern takes on Mississippi Delta cuisine in a casual environment full of juke-joint folk art and blues memorabilia, and the Sunday gospel brunch is sure to please. Combine all this with the backyard patio bar, the elite Foundation Room and the cozy Parish club upstairs, and you have plenty of options for a day or night on the town.
Howl at the Moon
135 Bourbon St., 410-9000 The sounds of dueling pianos lure revelers into one of the more raucous clubs in the Quarter. The namesake drink -- the Howler -- is blue and fruity and might just live up to its name. Enjoy one, or perhaps a beer instead, at the Friday afternoon crawfish boils. Friday night is '80s night with a live remote radio broadcast from the wild dance party that often spills onto Bourbon Street.
The Jazz Parlor at Storyville
125 Bourbon St., 586-9022 This handsomely furnished nightclub is one of the few homes to live jazz on Bourbon Street, with turn-of-the-century decor that evokes bygone parlors of ill repute. Jazz acts rotate with blues bands nightly starting at 5 p.m. weekdays and 1 p.m. on weekends. The neighboring Zydeque serves the food, Creole-style barbecue.
141 Chartres St., 524-0493 Tucked away at the edge of the upper Quarter party zone, this relaxed, cozy sports bar is a favorite for service-industry and neighborhood folks around the clock. The game is always on one of the two giant TVs over the bar, and the bar food is top-notch. Happy hour offers half price on domestics and well drinks Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m.
Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville
1104 Decatur St., 592-2565, www.margaritaville.com Locals come out as well as tourists for all-day, no-cover showcases of the best local blues guitarists in the front bar. Parrotheads and civilians alike dig the burger-heavy, Key West-flavored bar menu and tequila specialty drinks served on one-of-a-kind LP-art tables designed by local artists.
Johnny White's Hole in the Wall
718 Bourbon St., 581-9200 There are no locks on the doors because Johnny White's never closes. This hideaway draws locals, bikers and tourists into a place where time doesn't seem to exist. Worlds away from the karaoke and shot-girl scene of the rest of Bourbon Street, this is a bar for grown-ups. Specialty cocktails like the Cajun Splash cure what ails you.
Kerry Irish Pub
331 Decatur St., 527-5954 What makes an authentic Irish pub? How about Guinness poured properly and a great selection of Irish whiskey? This locals-friendly bar is as homey as any in Dublin, with a ramshackle collection of Guinness and other Gaelic memorabilia covering every available surface, plus nightly live music ranging from Irish folk to bluegrass to local singer-songwriters.
Lafitte's Blacksmith Bar
941 Bourbon St., 522-9377 This unassuming shack holds the distinction of being the oldest building still standing in the French Quarter, having survived fires, hurricanes and hundreds of years' worth of Mardi Gras crowds. Legend has it the infamous privateer Jean Lafitte used the bar -- still lit only by eerie candles -- as his HQ back in the day. Watch for ghosts, or just sit around the piano bar and sing along.
725 Iberville St., 378-8200 This storied venue dates back to 1881 and has housed restaurants run by some of the city's most colorful characters. The Movers and Shakers Lounge continues the high life tradition with a chic, contemporary take on classic New Orleans for the young and affluent.
Larry Flynt's Hustler Club
225 Bourbon St., 524-0010 Larry Flynt's Hustler Club is all you'd expect from a Bourbon Street gentlemen's club. It's home to adult-industry parties like the Pole Olympics and the recent Ron Jeremy-judged Porn Idol competition. The real visual treat is the brass pole that extends the full two stories of the club; a friendly main stage dancer often shimmies up to the balcony level to say hello.
Ritz-Carlton Hotel, 921 Canal St., 524-1331 ext. 3620, www.ritzcarlton.com There's nothing to read or check out, but the cedar-paneled Library Lounge is a fine place to sip a first-class cocktail like a chocolate martini or a classic Sazerac in a luxuriously literate environment. Or peruse the walk-in humidor for a Dominican Cohiba. The ventilation system insures palatable air for all.
200 Decatur St., 598-1500 Everybody's close to the stage in this long, narrow room, where you can catch regional and national musical acts six nights a week. Come on Wednesdays and get in touch with your inner rock star at Lounge Lizards live band karaoke night. Red lights and purple walls adorned with rock posters contribute to the twisted-swank lounge atmosphere, and the eclectic jukebox (heavy on staff-made mixtapes with everything from swamp pop to Marilyn Manson) is one of the best in town.
Lucille's Golden Lantern
1239 Royal St., 529-2860 This neighborhood gay bar is the home of the annual Southern Decadence parade and the bi-weekly Saturdays Golden Age Revue. The walls sport paeans to the full 35 years of the bar's history as a drag hot spot and spiritual center to the Quarter's gay community. The bar hosts exhibitions of local artists' work monthly.
Mr. B's Bistro
201 Royal St., 523-2078 This is a good place to impress a date or enjoy a bit of refinement with friends. The front of the house features a piano player nightly, and the bar offers an enviable wine list and popular milk punches made with ice cream. Or try the enticing French 75 -- a combination of Champagne and gin. Customers can eat dinner from the regular menu at the bar during lunch.
1117 Decatur St., 586-8883 With a diverse crowd that runs from well-known musicians to business folks, the bar here is a great place to people-watch. The wine list of 200 bottles focuses on Italian reds, more than 50 of which are sold by the glass, along with port, grappa, champagne and premium cigars. The mood is set by jazz played through a good sound system and huge prints of Herman Leonard's striking black-and-white photos of jazz greats hanging over the comfy booths.
942 N. Rampart St., 569-9979 Meauxbar Bistro is a quaint and stylish establishment that caters to local clientele from Treme, the Marigny and the Quarter. With classic French cuisine populating the menu and Indochinese colonial decor, the place is perfect for slipping away for a glass of wine or a martini. For an added personal touch, the owner sometimes creates his own mix CDs to play for the guests.
Molly's at the Market
1107 Decatur St., 525-5169 Molly's has served as a center for New Orleans' bohemian community for more years than anyone can remember -- the mural on the back bar's wall features renditions of regular drinkers past and present, and the front bar is home to signs and other ephemera from bygone local watering holes. Over the course of a day, you'll see everyone from the local news media to pink-haired Ninth Ward punks getting their fix of frozen Irish coffee and Jameson's.
Molly's on Toulouse
732 Toulouse St., 568-1915 This distant cousin of Molly's on the Market offers many of the same amenities -- great atmosphere and a killer jukebox, plus a pool table and a location a little closer to the Bourbon Street action. In addition, it recently started wine tastings on Wednesdays (with munchies), and it still has bloody Mary specials on Sundays.
Monaghan's Erin Rose
811 Conti St., 299-8496 A welcome oasis for locals just steps away from Bourbon Street's chaos, Erin Rose offers all the quirky trademarks of the Monaghan bar empire -- walls full of visual non sequiturs, Guinness on tap, hot toddies, frozen Irish coffee, and a rock 'n' roll jukebox. Sample the Guinness ice cream or Erin's Pie, a variation on shepherd's pie, from the kitchen in the back bar.
Napoleon House Bar & Cafe
500 Chartres St., 524-9752, www.napoleonhouse.com Allegedly built as a hideaway for Napoleon Bonaparte, this Quarter staple boasts a romantic, dimly-lit front bar oozing with old-fashioned local charm. The emperor, who never made it to these shores, missed out on the highly civilized treat of a crisp Pimm's cup savored with a cheeseboard and charcuterie plate at one of the wrought-iron tables in the courtyard.
New Orleans Original Daiquiris
633 Bourbon St., 524-5185 Whether you're looking to cool down with a daiquiri for yourself or get a party-to-go with a gallon jug, New Orleans Original Daiquiris has you covered. Along with beers, 16 types of daiquiris are offered, from fruit flavors to White Russians to the Bloody Smurf.
O'Flaherty's Irish Channel Pub
508 Toulouse St., 529-1317 Live Celtic music every night has made O'Flaherty's a favorite of locals and tourists. For the hard-working service-industry crowd there is a new bar upstairs that's just for you -- complete with the two necessities in life: a pool table and drink discounts. The sprawling bar offers a choice of a picturesque patio or a no-frills Irish pub-style front bar.
Old Absinthe House
240 Bourbon St., 523-3181, www.oldabsinthehouse.com A curious mix of antique New Orleans decor (vintage crystal chandeliers and a gorgeous copper-topped wooden bar) and contemporary touches (boatloads of Saints memorabilia), the Old Absinthe House has held down its corner of Bourbon Street for more than 200 years. Maybe you can't get a real shot of wormwood here, but the house specialty Absinthe Frappe (made with Herbsaint) or any one of the extensive selection of single-malt scotches will have you seeing visions.
233 Decatur St., 529-3422 Open 24 hours, Ol'Toone's does more business at 7 a.m. than some bars do all day. The location doesn't hurt. Parked right next door to House of Blues, it is an ideal spot to grab a beer before the show starts or to keep the thrill alive afterwards. An eclectic jukebox sets the tone at this amiable dive for insomniacs and pool sharks.
615 Toulouse St., 569-8361 El Matador is gone but not forgotten. Much of its decor made the trip to this new building, the former home to the Shim Sham Club, including that great, circular bar. The front room has been opened up a little, while the showroom has been made a little more intimate. Vintage velvet nudie-cutie paintings and flocked red wallpaper create the perfect kitsch ambience to catch the hipster rock shows and DJ dance nights that made both the Shim Sham and Matador bulwarks of the local scene.
718 Orleans Ave., 523-1930 The granite, horseshoe-shaped bar is built to impress, and the Orleans Grapevine does just that. With 300 wines on the list, 60 of which are available by the glass -- and bistro cuisine -- this quaint French Quarter spot is sure to wow that special someone.
800 Bourbon St., 593-9491, www.ozneworleans.com The heart of the gay Quarter boasts entertainment every night of the week: Bianca del Rio drag shows, satirical theater and Calendar Boy contests, to name a few. Cheer from the dance floor or gawk from the balcony. Smoke, strobes, go-go boys, suggestive videos and happening DJs keep things moving all night.
Palm Court Jazz Cafe
1204 Decatur St., 525-0200, www.palmcourtjazzcafe.com With its traditional jazz and authentic New Orleans cuisine, the Palm Court is a one-stop cultural experience. The Palm Court features some of New Orleans' finest traditional jazz musicians keeping the style alive. During breaks in the music, ask the staff to pick something from the album collection at the bar.
718 St. Peter St., 525-4823, www.patobriens.com What's your favorite corny old song? Someone is sure to know it in the piano bar at Pat O's. That's just one of the reasons that this venerable bar is such an institution. The other is the Hurricane, a drink more potent than it initially seems. Revel in the wonder of the flaming fountain, and then you'll fully understand: Some places really are legendary.
533 Toulouse St., 568-1940 You can't help but feel hip just walking into this bar, with its mod-meets-old-New-Orleans wacky, colorful style. Try one of the specialty martinis from a list of 45 flavors (including pina colada and key lime) with some coconut shrimp skewers off the unique bar menu. These should go down especially well with the go-go dancers on Friday and Saturday. And if you are in the biz, come in for Service Industry Mondays.
740 Burgundy St., 525-8106, www.rawhide2010.com The only leather bar in the Quarter is open 24 hours and welcomes a gay crowd up for just about anything. From lube wrestling to pool tournaments, Rawhide has it all (or at least really close to it) and draws lots of regular customers. It's rough and tumble but good-natured, just like the clientele.
241 Bourbon St., 566-1341 Drinking and dancing are two major areas of study in the field of partyology, and Red Rhino provides an excellent venue to research both with live music every night. Sexy shot girls and a spring break atmosphere make it a college favorite for all-night dancing. If the dance floor gets too full, there's an emergency dance area located on the bar and the balcony, which features its own drink specials.
315 Bourbon St., 524-4222 The sweeping staircase in the entry gives off a sultry, old New Orleans atmosphere, and the main showroom is as ritzy, clean and pretty as a new $100 bill. Private VIP rooms offer a little extra for big spenders who know how to party, and the full kitchen and great lunch specials offer a perfect opportunity to combine food and scenery.
Ryan's Irish Pub
241 Decatur St., 523-3500 If you have a proclivity for pints and Premier League football (the other kind), then you might just fit in at Ryan's Irish Pub. With new televisions and satellite games, this is a hot spot during the summer for baseball fans and a popular place for a bloody Mary with Sunday NFL games.
239 Decatur St., 525-9595 A stop in Samurai Sushi is a nice, light way to start an evening in the Quarter, and there's something beautiful about starting dinner by ordering a large Sapporo, a Kirin or a buttery sake. The feeling is doubled in a room as elegantly simple as Samurai.
423 Bourbon St., 571-6340 Part of the Florida-based men's club empire, Scarlett's combines the bordello atmosphere of old Bourbon Street with contemporary sex club excitement. Conventioneers get in to the bar and adult film screening area free, there are special bachelor party packages, and promotions including $100 bottles of champagne. VIPS with plenty of disposable loot will want to visit the special room upstairs.
327 Bourbon St., 525-4470, www.temptationsclub.net This antebellum mansion, with its Wild Game Bar, Billiard and Cigar rooms, and private suites, caters to high rollers but also offers local residents a 'Big Easy Local Advantage Card' good for $2 tap beer and $6.75 top-shelf call liquor. Featured entertainers include women with exotic names like Sweet Melissa, Ginger, Honey, Thai, Angela and Jolie.
Tricou House Restaurant
711 Bourbon St., 525-8379, www.711bourbon.com The restaurant features bountiful Cajun fare that includes a free cocktail with any entree. Live jazz and blues by the 711 Blues Band and St. Louis Slim provide background music downstairs, courtyard dining is available surrounding the gorgeous Lover's Fountain, and the upstairs balcony offers views of Bourbon Street. Look for the ghost of nurse Annabel, who died during the 1834 yellow fever epidemic, floating over the spiral staircase.
721 Bourbon St., 529-4109; 738 Toulouse St., 525-1689, www.tropicalisle.com They ain't called Hand Grenades for nothin', so be careful. Sip one of those trademark drinks, or try one of the Isle's plethora of daiquiris. The atmosphere is black light on Bikini Atoll, the entertainment geared toward Parrotheads. You can even buy your own shipwreck straw hat, which somehow seems appropriate after that second Hand Grenade.
823 Decatur St., 525-8676, www.tujaguesrestaurant.com Grab a seat at the old cypress bar and soak up the conversation at one of the Quarter's most venerable establishments. Try an absinthe frappe (sans wormwood) or Tujague's own beer. The Grasshopper (a milk and creme de menthe concoction) was invented here. The legendary brisket po-boy, dressed in Tujague's horseradish remoulade, is available only in the bar and feeds two.
Utopia Night Club
227 Bourbon St., 523-3800 Homemade bikini contests on Thursdays draw the barely legal and the barely-legal-at-heart to this land of the eternal spring break. The patio heats up, but don't try sticking dollar bills anywhere other than the bartender's hand -- those aren't exotic dancers, though they may act like it. Located close to Canal Street, Utopia gives conventioneers a hint at what Mardi Gras in the Quarter can be like.
731 St. Peter St., 523-2888 This martini lounge in the French Quarter is a popular stop for people waiting for a haunted tour or on their way to Preservation Hall. Open 24 hours a day on the weekends, it's a mellow, candlelit room with an eclectic jukebox that keeps up with contemporary alternative hits with some cool, swinging favorites mixed in. The Champagne Room in the back is appointed with couches and amber lighting.
Ye Olde Original Dungeon
738 Toulouse St., 523-5530, www.originaldungeon.com Access to these shadowy rooms comes via a dark alley and tight, winding staircases, and the nonstop headbanger's soundtrack makes communication by anything other than rounds of shooters a challenge. Don't mind the cages on the walls and nooses hanging from the ceiling or concoctions like Dragon's Blood and Witch's Brew. The party starts at midnight and isn't complete until you wanly face the morning sun.
808 Iberville St., 565-5520 Never come stuffed on a Tuesday night because it's all-you-can-eat ribs for only $10.67. Patrons can gorge, kick back and watch sports in front of 11 32-inch television sets. The decor is rural Louisiana, heavy on folk art. On any other day, slow-cooked meat is still featured, particularly a melt-in-your-mouth cochon du lait, in addition to the signature watermelon daiquiris and the frozen Bayou Blaster.
2101 N. Claiborne Ave., 944-9600 Every Monday, ladies get in free and drink free until midnight! Men, don't feel left out because the first 50 gentlemen to walk in the door that night get their drinks at half price! Plus, there's exotic dancing on Wednesdays. And on Thursdays, both genders can get happy at happy hour.
Brooks' Seahorse Saloon
1648 Gentilly Blvd., 948-7050 After blowing your money at the Fairgrounds (located across the street), you don't have to be frugal here. This completely refurbished bar is no longer just a hangout for backstretch beerheads, but caters to the newly-gentrified Gentilly crowd with a fully-stocked bar, late hours, two pool tables, a decent jukebox and a friendly staff. The no-frills bar menu features daily specials and free red beans on Mondays.
5000 Old Gentilly Road, 942-2400, www.bigeasytravelplaza.com Catering to an eclectic bunch from truckers to trenchermen, the bar in the Big Easy Travel Plaza off the Louisa Street exit of I-10 prides itself on its daily all-you-can-eat specials -- including rib and seafood plates -- plus $1 beers during its daily happy hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. This sports bar also offers a live band every Tuesday and a DJ on Thursdays. GULF COAST Casino Magic 711 Casino Magic Drive, Bay St. Louis, Miss., 228-466-0891 If you're gambling, the drinks are free. If your luck is sour, you can count on Casino Magic's various lounges for libations and entertainment. Pete Fountain plays Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and there are touring acts with a slightly retro twist like the Temptations and the Legendary Ladies of Rock 'n' Roll. JEFFERSON PARISH HARAHAN
5808 River Oak Road, Harahan, 733-8144 This friendly local place moves a steady stream of draught Abita and Newcastle Brown Ale at reasonable prices. Monday is all-night happy hour with red beans and rice, Tuesday is $2.50 margarita and bloody Mary night, and Friday is $2 pint night. Two pool tables and a dart competition provide plenty of old school bar entertainment. Wednesday is ladies night -- $1 for domestic beers, $1.50 for well drinks, $2 for call drinks.
New Orleans Original Daiquiris
1000 S. Clearview Pkwy., Harahan, 733-0545 Whether you're looking to cool down with a daiquiri for yourself or get a party-to-go with a gallon jug, New Orleans Original Daiquiris has you covered. Along with beers, 16 types of daiquiris are offered, from fruit flavors to White Russians to the Bloody Smurf.
Deckbar & Grille
1715 Jefferson Hwy., Jefferson, 830-0104 This musician-friendly bar boasts its Big Daddy's Juke Joint Blues Jam every Wednesday night, one of the longer-running blues jams in New Orleans. Thursdays through Saturdays also feature a variety of live bands. But there are other things to brag about, such as beef brisket po-boys offered daily and the grilled oysters casino offered every Wednesday and Friday, both of which can be washed down with a cold Schlitz.
Fox and Hound
1200 S. Clearview Pkwy., Jefferson, 731-6000 The self-described 'Best sports bar in New Orleans' shows all local, regional and national games -- baseball, football and basketball -- on 32 TVs, including two projection screens. The upscale bar also offers pool, shuffleboard and darts, 36 tap beers, and a menu whose specialties are baby back ribs and beef brisket. Wednesday is Girl Power Night featuring specials on Cosmopolitans and margaritas.
New Orleans Original Daiquiris
2712 Jefferson Hwy., Jefferson, 831-7001 Whether you're looking to cool down with a daiquiri for yourself or get a party-to-go with a gallon jug, New Orleans Original Daiquiris has you covered. Along with beers, 16 types of daiquiris are offered, from fruit flavors to White Russians to the Bloody Smurf.
5608 Citrus Blvd., Jefferson, 818-0111, www.reginellis.com Diners can stuff themselves with gourmet pizzas and specialty calzones while drinking pitchers of Bud and Abita Lite beer, which go for $2 all day on Mondays and Tuesdays. New additions to the menu include baked shells and cheese and eggplant and spinach manicotti. Reginelli's also has Uptown and Lakeview locations and free delivery. Internet customers can get a $2 discount on orders over $10.
3449 River Road, Jefferson, 837-7118 Set in an old grocery store with walls festooned with old Barq's and Dixie signs, this friendly joint opens every day at 11 a.m. The Rivershack offers patrons entertainment from casual games of pool to rockin' blues from acts like the Blackened Blues Band on Friday and Saturday nights. Regulars like to toss back one of the couple ofdozen beers on tap with one of the Cajun-cooking lunch specials.
200 Monticello St., Jefferson, 835-2903; www.newsouthport.com Check out the old keno board and try to figure out where the tunnel once connected this former gambling house to Orleans Parish on the other side of the tracks. This sprawling club features a huge inside bar and expansive open-air deck. The bar is open seven days a week and live bands perform on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Wednesday night is bike night with Pig Pen and the Porkchops.
New Orleans Original Daiquiris
2801 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 468-8302 Whether you're looking to cool down with a daiquiri for yourself or get a party-to-go with a gallon jug, New Orleans Original Daiquiris has you covered. Along with beers, 16 types of daiquiris are offered, from fruit flavors to White Russians to the Bloody Smurf.
Treasure Chest Casino
5050 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 443-8000, www.treasurechestcasino.com This riverboat casino prides itself on being consumer-friendly, with generous pours from the bartenders and high quality music. The Treasure Chest Casino's lounges are comfortable and the drinks reasonably priced, while top-flight bands include such R&B headliners as Jean Knight and Irma Thomas. Friday night is karaoke night. Play in the Sports Pit, and you can watch sporting events while you drink and gamble.
3100 19th St., Metairie, 834-8583 With more than 300 wines by the bottle and 50 by the glass, you could spend some quality time at this venue, which serves northern Italian cuisine. Regulars come in and order Negroni cocktails (gin, Campari, soda and sweet vermouth), an old Italian favorite. Brandy milk punches are also in high demand, particularly with Sunday brunch.
The Bengal Lounge
4612 Quincy St., Metairie, 456-0986 Make it a tone-deaf Tuesday at the Bengal's karaoke night. Sing your favorite song while members of the Molly Ringwalds, Metal Rose and Chee-Weez play along. There are live bands on Friday and Saturday. Enjoy two-for-one happy hour from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Bravo! Italian Kitchen
3413 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 828-8828, www.bestitalianusa.com From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., there's more to this Italian restaurant than brick-oven pizzas and fresh housemade pastas. It has nightly happy hour drink specials in addition to its extensive wine list. Part of a national chain noted for its white-tablecloth casual style and a Roman ruin decor, the restaurant still manages to offer a relaxed, neighborhood feel.
1501 Metairie Road, Metairie, 834-9773 This Lebanese and Mediterranean restaurant is constantly expanding its wine list, which currently boasts more than 50 selections. The bracing aperitif Ouzo and its Lebanese counterpart, Arak, are popular with diners. The restaurant, which also has a Magazine Street location, offers daily specials on a menu of salads, flaky pastries and savory, slow-cooked chicken and lamb.
Caddyshack Cafe and Bar
3217 Ridgelake Drive, Metairie, 833-1799 You don't have to be athletic to play at Caddyshack. With four 42-inch TVs and one 105-inch large screen, fans all get a good view of the game. Monday through Friday ladies drink free during happy hour from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and a DJ spins records on Thursdays and Fridays. Daily lunch specials include sandwiches and hot plates. Saturday there's a steak special -- an 8-oz. filet with sides for $8.50.
4628 Rye St., Metairie, 888-0078 This popular cocktail bar and Chinese restaurant boasts 50-foot ceilings and an elaborate, hand-blown Italian glass chandelier. Specializing in both traditional and fusion Chinese food and a fully-stocked bar, the place is known for its mai tais, martinis, hot and cold-fused sakes, and Louie XIII cognac (among the world's finest), sold for $110 a glass. The week-night happy hour features discounts on martinis, sake and house wine.
2303 N. Causeway Blvd., Metairie, 837-4444 Astrologers study the positions and aspects of celestial bodies in the belief that they have an influence on the course of natural events. Little did these astral travelers realize they would inspire a club where the bodies in question are decidedly terrestrial. With big-screen TVs and six to eight of its 15 dancers performing at one time, there are plenty of bodies to study at this club. Patrons also enjoy Tuesday's two-for-one cocktails.
3229 Lisa Drive, Metairie, 456-3853 This suburban gentlemen's club is the kind of place Tony Soprano would be proud to own. Semi-pro exotic dancers do their pole work to an enthusiastic local crowd. The club opens daily at 5:30 p.m. with a $5 cover. Promotional features include $2 drinks on Tuesdays, two-for-one and bike night on Wednesdays (free admission with bike key), and amateur night on Thursdays.
4725 Quincy St., Metairie, 887-9809 At Critic's Choice, you can enjoy the warm, comfortable 'basic bar' ambience, complete with five televisions. There's live entertainment on the weekends and munchies on football nights.
4450 Wabash St., Metairie, 885-2426 DBD offers an array of beverages to meet the needs of its diverse crowd. This neighborhood martini bar has more than 400 liquor selections, including 100 varieties of vodka. Combine this with a lengthy 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. happy hour topped off by Friday's super version that starts at noon, and everybody goes home happy.
The Edge Bar & Grill
3400 Hessmer Ave., Metairie, 780-2266 Young adults frequent this restaurant and bar to plant themselves in front of a 20-foot-screen TV and a dozen smaller ones during sporting events. Customers plow through the doors every Thursday for the steak special and wine tasting. Ladies drink free on Fridays from 9 p.m. until.
3206 Metairie Road, Metairie, 833-9226 A mixed clientele frequents Gennaro's and enjoys occasional live shows and a recently launched karaoke night on Fridays. Large oval windows give folks a view to the outside world, and the walls are decorated with plaques and pictures of famous people. Sounds like the dictionary definition of a neighborhood bar.
1300 N. Causeway Blvd., Metairie, 834-6474 This large neighborhood bar claims to have the best burger in Metairie, but it won't divulge why, only saying that it's a family secret. Its most popular drinks are anything with either Crown Royal or Bacardi in it.
Wyndham Hotel, 4 Galleria Blvd., Metairie, 837-6707, www.wyndham.com Frequented by Metairie professionals and Wyndham hotel guests, Hedges features nightly specials, such as martinis on Wednesdays. Patrons are attended to by the hotel's service-oriented bartenders and surrounded by the bar's elegant, upscale decor, which includes a classic hardwood floor.
4748 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 889-0160, www.hooters.com Everyone knows that you don't go here just for the wings &138; because they pour a pretty mean beer, too. The T-shirts aren't half-bad either, but you probably shouldn't take one home to your significant other. This is a great casual, slightly naughty spot to kick off your night with great bar snacks and &138; scenery.
Hurricane's Sports Bar and Grill
1414 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 833-0050 Formerly a martini-esque bar, this spot now focuses on sports fans. Decorated with various athletic paraphernalia and 15 TVs including one big screen, this newcomer should be a hot spot during the upcoming football season. Late hours on the weekends and a kitchen offering daily lunch specials and bar food top it all off.
Kenny's Key West
3012 N. Arnoult Road, Metairie, 456-9500 Kenny's hasn't lost its willingness to provide a wild night out for socializing guests. Two rooms of dancing and a third for pool and video games means there is something for everyone. Fridays are devoted to hip-hop, and anything goes the rest of the week, including numerous drink specials and free pool night on Wednesdays.
Legends Bar & Grill
2708 N. Hullen St., Metairie, 887-3877 Legends relates to all kinds, drawing a wide variety of Metairie denizens to live local music on weekends and 'Bike Night,' featuring $6 steaks, on Wednesdays. Women drink free on Thursdays, and on Fridays there are seafood boils on the patio. There is a front bar and a back bar so it's double the pleasure, double the fun.
3201 Houma Blvd., Metairie, 780-2961, www.moschalet.com There is never a shortage of entertainment in Mo's large, airy environs. Whether it's karaoke on Mondays, DJ on Tuesdays or live music every other day, folks are sure to hit the dance floor, especially on weekends.
Mulligan's Taverne, Sports Bar and Grill
3535 Severn Ave., Suite 10, Metairie, 888-5858 Sports bar meets karaoke Friday nights at Mulligan's, where anyone who wants to can sing a song. Other nights, Mulligan's patrons partake of one-third-pound burgers and mingle in an ambience slanted towards the black and gold colors of the Saints. Appropriately, there are drink specials during Saints games, and they will even have a pig roast for the first road game.
New Orleans Original Daiquiris
3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 837-8474; 6201 Airline Dr., Metairie, 736-0066; 6830 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 454-9995 Whether you're looking to cool down with a daiquiri for yourself or get a party-to-go with a gallon jug, New Orleans Original Daiquiris has you covered. Along with beers, 16 types of daiquiris are offered, from fruit flavors to White Russians to the Bloody Smurf.
2027 Metairie Road, Metairie, 831-9540 The age range at Oscar's is 21 to 80 years old, and the income tax brackets vary from the dirt poor to the filthy rich. Basically, Oscar's is a good ol' American bar and grill with a decor that conjures the owner's wife's favorite pop culture icon, Marilyn Monroe. Food, pool and darts are all available.
3536 18th St., Metairie, 454-3200 Look no further than Rainbow to find a swanky and upscale lesbian nightclub in the New Orleans area. Soaked in pink and black, the place is open Wednesday through Saturday and features DJs and an electric dance floor the whole time.
3217 Melvil Dewey Drive, Metairie, 834-4010 This former dance club now caters to the country and western set. The theme even incorporates a bona fide mechanical bull. You can still hit the dance floor in the heart of Metairie, but expect mostly country songs.
Shooter's Bar and Grill
3655 Division St., Metairie, 456-2618 You are driving around Metairie at 1 a.m. on a weeknight and thinking you're in the mood for a few cocktails, some dancing and a half-pound burger to finish it all off. In this scenario, Shooter's is the perfect fit. In its relaxed atmosphere, you can enjoy pool tables, a large-screen TV and a DJ on Fridays.
Sidelines Bar & Grill
1229 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 831-4002 A Metairie sports bar stalwart, Sidelines has 10 TVs playing whatever the sports event of the moment might be. Meat lovers should turn out for steak night on Thursdays and pig roasts for the first LSU and Saints games. Sidelines has Abita Amber on tap, and if your team isn't doing well, you can always give the Golden Tee machine a go.
Stitches Bar & Grill
3941 Houma Blvd., Metairie, 454-6266 This neighborhood bar near East Jefferson Hospital has two big screens and drink specials for football games. It prides itself on its admittedly slightly sick sense of humor, which might explain the picture of Seinfeld's George Costanza in the Ladies Room, as well as the names of some of the dishes on the late-night menu. Ask about the Deliverance, named for the movie.
5216 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 888-5242 People come to the Swamp Room for the burgers and stay for a laid-back good time. A diverse crowd of service-industry regulars and neighborhood folk make up the clientele and enjoy the roominess of the Swamp Room's comfy booths, pool tables and extra-long bar.
3721 Hessmer Ave., Metairie, 455-8681, www.sweetsagain.com If you have a hankering for the Rat Pack, make sure you swing by Sweet's Again and check out the jukebox, which is stocked with albums from Sammy, Dino and, of course, The Chairman of the Board himself, Frank Sinatra. Or you can just sit back and imagine you are in Brooklyn by staring at the large mural of Manhattan that decorates the bar. Other entertainment comes in the form of live music on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Whitey's Pool Hall
3764 Derbigny St., Metairie, 833-9122 Since the '50s, Whitey's has been providing an atmosphere of competition for pool players who don't want to have to win a table at a local bar to play a game of pool. With nine tables, the sharks should be satisfied. Even if you're not a great eight-ball player, Whitey's offers beer and mixed drinks, darts, and one video game. There's also a grill in the back serving bar food if you rack up an appetite.
531 Metairie Road, Metairie, 831-8705 A younger crowd haunts Winston's, an easygoing English pub that is a true original in the Metairie scene. It's decorated with a menagerie of antiques and memorabilia the owner has collected from garage sales and shops. Adding to the English theme is Guinness, Harp, Bass and Murphy's on tap, along with authentic fish and chips. Ladies enjoy specials on Wednesdays, and large groups should inquire about party specials.
The Triangle West Bar
10801 Jefferson Hwy., River Ridge, 737-9083 The Triangle West Bar claims to serve the coldest beer in town, powered by a pair of imported coolers using a process called frost fusion that chills beers down to 30 degrees without freezing them. 'It is damn cold beer,' says the bartender. The beer's also easy on the pocketbook, and customers can belt out familiar songs on karaoke night every Saturday beginning at 10 p.m. Thursdays, the pool table is free 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. (50 cents other times) and every Friday is DJ night.
1 Stars & Stripes Blvd., 248-3200, www.ballysno.com Even if you didn't win $3 million like all those utterly normal-looking people on the Bally's billboards that dot I-10, you can still have a good time at the casino. May we suggest the Wild Card Sports Bar that features a 10-foot television screen? There's also blues on Wednesdays and local music on Saturdays for those looking for a safe bet.
1926 West End Park, 284-3625, www.thedockno.com By land or by sea, visitors to The Dock on Lake Pontchartrain will be rewarded with live music on weekends followed by DJ Speedy. The wharf theme and inside and outside dining areas make you feel like you're almost on vacation -- helping cold beers and frozen Bushwackers go down all the better.
7400 Lakeshore Drive. 282-1511 Whether you prefer the large glass windows that provide a lovely view of Lake Pontchartrain or the colorful mural of Asian women painted by a former patron, there is plenty to gaze at in Hong Kong. Mai Tais and Singapore Slings are specialties, and a recent expansion just provided a little more atmosphere.
5135 Canal Blvd., 488-4191, www.draftfreak.com The former Parkway Tavern site is now home to the Bulldog, the first expansion of the popular Uptown bar. Following the Magazine Street precedent, the new location offers a huge variety of beers on tap and by the bottle -- and two patios. There's live music on Thursday nights and a big-screen TV just in time for football season.
618 Homedale Ave., 488-5519 Expect an all-new Homedale Inn this fall. It's under new ownership, and plans are underway to triple its size. The music selection has already been updated, and with it comes a younger, livelier clientele. Also, look for an expanded bar selection to go along with the fun, festive atmosphere.
911 Harrison Ave., 486-4887 No gimmicks, no pretensions. You'll meet everyone from neighborhood locals to community baseball teams grabbing a beer at the candlelit, copper-top bar and watching the two TVs. Young, attractive bartenders make Lakeview's specialty drinks: the Typhoon, the Willy Willy and the Dinghy.
McNulty's Bitter End
5129 Canal Blvd. 483-7930 Some say the dead walk the earth around this neighborhood bar, located on cemetery grounds. McNulty's serves up tasty bar grub to service-industry crowds and locals looking for a little dark ambience to wet their gullets and fill their bellies. Wash down a McNulty's hearty steak sandwich with a cold one or try one of their signature cheeseburgers.
Parlay's Bar & Lounge
870 Harrison Ave., 482-4700 A large neon 'P' watches over the environment of Parlay's, a neighborhood bar with an older crowd during the day and a younger one at night. Things really pick up on Wednesdays when they have a swing jazz band, and on Thursdays when ladies are offered free wine, domestic beer and well drinks.
874 Harrison Ave., 488-0133, www.reginellis.com Enjoy Reginelli's relaxed, airy atmosphere while sipping wine and munching on specialty pizzas, calzones and foccacia sandwiches. For a real treat, try 'Tony's Play,' a pie piled high with prosciutto, onions, pancetta, mushrooms, green peppers and even capers. This should go down especially on Wednesdays when they have wine specials with the purchase of a meal.
888 Harrison Ave., 488-8981 Come sit at the bar or grab a candlelit table for live jazz on Friday and Saturday nights, when the Steak Knife really gets hopping. It's mainly a draw for the 30s and 40s crowd, who order brandy freezes and signature steak sandwiches from the long, black-top bar.
Banks Street Bar & Grill
4401 Banks St., 486-0258 Cozy, fun and friendly, this Mid-City favorite always offers cheap pitchers of Abita and Coors and a game of pool. The local 'juke joint' feel makes you want to stay a spell, especially with live music every night. Local funk band Juice performs every Wednesday.
201 N. Carrollton Ave., 484-0525, www.brewhousegrill.com In-house brewmaster Doug Lindley keeps customers coming back with a constantly changing selection of unique microbrews and guest beers on tap, along with his Lagniappe creation. This fall, he offers a hellesboch and a pilsner.
Delta Blues Grill
542 Jefferson Davis Pkwy., 822-0358 Delta Blues Grill fills in the surprisingly large void of good blues in New Orleans, serving as a regular home to favorites such as Walter 'Wolfman' Washington, Bill Shaka Heart and the Soul Blues Band, and Little Freddie King, plus smaller local acts. The decor matches the soulful music with photos of musical heroes, such as Jimi Hendrix, on the walls. The appreciative crowd is a refreshingly diverse blend of neighborhood regulars, hipsters and music lovers.
200 S. Galvez St., 522-8014 While not a typical bar, the Deutsches-Haus, the official home to local Oktoberfest celebrations, knows a thing or two about beers. The dark paneling inside and authentic beer garden create cravings for a Warsteiner Dark and bratwurst. Both can be satiated during Oktoberfest.
3340 Canal St., 822-8268 Full of infectious punk energy, the Dixie Taverne likes its music loud and fast. A sponsor of local acts in the hardcore, heavy metal and punk genres, the Dixie also hosts a number of popular touring acts. Overlooking all the raucous fun is a mural of a 'space dragon' zooming through the planetary realm. And if you need a break from the rockin' cosmos, there are two pool tables and a pinball machine.
Eddie Bo's Check Your Bucket Cafe
2107 Banks St., 581-5505 A smoke-free cafe, Eddie Bo's is a top choice for those looking to keep their lungs clean and clothes odor-free after a night out. Offering a garden room overlooking a patio, which is also smoke-free, and a sunroom overlooking Banks Street, the establishment embodies that certain cafe aesthetic. A baby grand piano is the focal point of the main room where you can also check out pictures of famed pianists like Fats Domino and Dr. John. As you might expect, the revered namesake owner frequently performs.
3701 Banks St., 486-9080 Celebrating its second anniversary, this authentic Irish pub stays true to its roots with a bar offering Celtic favorites of Guinness, Harp's and a variety of Irish whiskeys. Every nationality enjoys the homey environs where you can surf the Internet, watch international rugby and soccer games, and just generally have a good time.
Liuzza's Restaurant & Bar
3636 Bienville St., 488-3714, www.liuzzas.com While it's hard to ignore the tempting aromas of Liuzza's special brand of New Orleans Italian cuisine, the bar offers its own attractions, namely huge frozen mugs filled with cold beer, frozen Bushwhackers, frozen margaritas or bloody Marys. There's also sports on the television and friendly conversation. Filled with neighborhood charm, Liuzza's offers a quiet, yet fun, spot to relax.
Liuzza's By the Track
1518 N. Lopez St., 943-8667 While the kitchen stops serving at 8:30 p.m. sharp, this funky and friendly neighborhood spot serves drinks until you go home. On Thursdays, things really get jumpin' with an open hootenanny. This Liuzza's also serves draft beer in huge frozen mugs, and the spicy and salad-heavy bloody Marys are the perfect start to your weekend morning (or really any old day).
Michael's Mid-City Grill
4139 Canal St., 486-8200 Regulars at this casually refined neighborhood bar and restaurant keep coming back for the big martinis that are made with a variety of liquor brands and served in large glasses. Another specialty is the Big Bucks Burger that is topped with caviar and served with a bottle of Dom Perignon -- all for a well-spent $150 that also promises your framed photograph on the wall. The pictures fit right in with the cozy, laid-back atmosphere.
Mick's Irish Pub
4801 Bienville Ave., 482-9113 This Mid-City favorite is a no-frills bar that also offers plenty of bells and whistles, such as the vintage arcade and pinball machines. The Irish Car Bomb is a house specialty, and if you're a bit more pacifistic, there's Irish dancing on Tuesdays.
Mid City Lanes Rock N' Bowl
4133 S. Carrollton Ave., 482-3133, www.rocknbowl.com A local institution with a unique blend of bowling and live music, Mid City Lanes has hosted Thursday zydeco night for 12 years, in addition to some of the best in New Orleans blues and R&B. Thanks to joint ownership, there's free entry if you have a dinner entree at Ye Olde College Inn beforehand. On Tuesdays, a flat $5 garners live music, bowling and even shoe rental on a first-come, first-served basis.
New Orleans Original Daiquiris
301 N. Carrollton Ave., 486-9938 Whether you're looking to cool down with a daiquiri for yourself or get a party-to-go with a gallon jug, New Orleans Original Daiquiris has you covered. Along with beers, 16 types of daiquiris are offered, from fruit flavors to White Russians to the Bloody Smurf.
Nick's Big Train Bar
2400 Tulane Ave., 821-9128 Originally opened in the '20s as a train stop, Nick's is the cool dive for college kids to veg out before and after final exams. A diverse crowd of locals enjoys a good jukebox, modest prices and Dixie on tap at this 76-year-old Tulane Avenue bar. Charming and antiquated, Nick's is famous for its house drink, a vodka and punch elixir that has rightfully earned its unprintable name.
949 N. Rendon St., 488-7257 This neighborhood joint embodies that New Orleans eccentricity we hold so dear and has a killer jukebox to boot. Nightly specials include enticing cocktails like sangria and services like manicures on Thursdays. Housemade corn dogs are available everyday, which you just might crave after a workout on the air hockey table in the back.
910 N. Carrollton Ave., 482-2680 The place to sit back, have a smoke, watch the game or shoot some pool. Spillovers from Fellini's Restaurant next door frequent this no-frills watering hole. Beer is the mainstay, but the bar makes a mean margarita on Monday nights and offers wine specials on Thursdays.
Parkway Bakery & Tavern
532 N. Hagan St., 482-3047 Very cold beer and scenic views of Bayou St. John make this newcomer a natural gathering ground for those in the know. The owners have preserved many of the historic details from its former days as a fulltime bakery. Bricks from the old oven are seen in the foot rail of the bar and interior stairs, and old signs line the walls. Throw in a daily happy hour and rocking roast beef, and you just might have another neighborhood landmark.
Ralph's On the Park
900 City Park Ave., 488-1000; www.ralphsonthepark.com This addition to Ralph Brennan's restaurant empire has a 'smart casual' atmosphere and a sense of humor that's reflected in its specialty drinks, named after rejected suggestions of names for the new business. Treat yourself to a Roux La La Cosmopolitan or Roulex Margarita as you look out the large windows onto City Park. The large glass bar and lantern chandeliers complete the elegant effect.
141 N. Carrollton Ave., 486-1600, www.witsinn.com Time-honored wry observations line the walls of Wit's Inn. Customers are welcome to scrawl their own witticisms on chalkboards while they sip on a variety of drinks from the full-service bar. Free high-speed Internet connection, beaucoup televisions (including a plasma and big screen) and an Internet jukebox make this a focal point on the new streetcar line.
Abita Brew Pub
72011 Holly St., Abita Springs, (985) 892-5837, www.abita.com The Fall Fest is in season at this home-grown pub at the entrance to town and not far from the renowned brewery itself. This pub also offers a line of select brews each season that have a limited distribution; autumn offerings include a kolsch. The brewpub features a full restaurant menu and Abita merchandise -- not to mention serene views of the Tammany Trace and a small-town feel.
21516 Hwy. 36, Abita Springs, (985) 892-1662 New Orleans residents looking for a pleasant day trip should keep Artesia in mind. Crafted out of an old plantation home built in 1876, Artesia's bar features all the elegance one would expect from such a heritage. Antique paintings and gilded mirrors adorn the walls and Sundays see the mint juleps start to flow as everyone relaxes in the after-brunch atmosphere. On weekends, lounge singer Mike Morris performs.
81250 Hwy. 1082, Bush, (985) 892-9742, www.pontchartrainvineyards.com For a sampling of Ponchartrain Vineyards' selection of wines, check out its Old World-style bar area and tasting room, where one can order the local stuff by the glass or bottle and sit on the outdoor patio among the grapes. For a little extra ambience, come on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month May through October and enjoy jazz, blues, zydeco and bluegrass music while sipping away your worries.
71495 Chestnut St., Covington, (985) 809-7669 Annadele's lounge area serves more than 100 varieties of wine by the glass and by the bottle, along with the requisite martinis and highballs. Adorning the walls is an abundance of original contemporary and abstract art, and on the menu are such quality hors d'oeuvres as sesame crusted tuna and grilled sea scallops. The seating is comfortable couches and chairs, so feel free to relax in this restored antebellum home-turned-restaurant.
Boule Prime House
1202 N. Hwy. 190, Covington (985) 809-0969 Pronounced 'boo-lay,' Boule's bar area offers guests a rustic, comfortable setting along with a swanky, upscale charm. All over the walls are photos of historic Covington, and the menu features an extensive list of specialty martinis along with the classics. All the world's best wine regions are also represented, with special attention paid to Napa Valley. There is also live music on weekends.
Columbia Street Taproom and Grill
434 N. Columbia St., Covington, (985) 898-0899, www.columbiastreettaproom.com Brick walls, oak tables and old photos of historic Covington blend to form a very casual and wide open interior at the Taproom. The ceilings are so high the staff has to call an outside service to change the light bulbs. Helping everyone feel right at home is the food menu, which features comfort food and a hot plate special that depends on what's coming in fresh that morning. There is also good old-fashioned rock 'n' roll every Friday and Saturday.
409 N. Columbus St., Covington, (985) 893-8873 Owned by New Orleans artist James Michalopoulos, Etoile's restaurant and bar caters to a sophisticated Northshore crowd. The bar's interior displays the artistic skills of its owner as Michalopoulos' art decorates the walls along with a broken tile bar and tall copper-topped tables throughout the seating area. There is also a long wine list and a retail wine store on premises so you can take home your favorites.
Schwing's Seafood Three Rivers
1536 Hwy. 190, Covington, (985) 893-9577 In Schwing's bar area, a Polynesian theme surrounds numerous artifacts of sports memorabilia collected over the years by Schwing's owner, John Deutschman. Of special interest is the vast collection of ticket stubs under the glass-topped bar collected from major sporting events all over America. The Wednesday and Thursday drink specials include 50-cent margaritas and bloody Marys.
Friends on the Tchefuncte
407 St. Tammany St., Madisonville, (985) 845-7303 This neighborhood seafood restaurant has a cozy bar with 12 bar stools, but many come looking to sit on the deck overlooking the river for which the restaurant is named. Happy hour is 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. every day. The menu features daily specials.
702 Water St., Madisonville, (985) 845-4970 Fish is king at Morton's Seafood, where the full menu is available at the bar, which seats 25 to 30 people. Happy hour runs from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. with $2.25 well drinks and $1.75 long necks. Saturdays feature half-price food specials from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday and Thursday half-price oysters are available all day.
1200 W. Causeway Approach Road, Mandeville, (985) 727-7212 This popular Mexican restaurant features the full range of Central American cuisine with beef, chicken and seafood specials and a fully stocked bar specializing in tequilas and margaritas. The house special margarita is a mixture of Jose Cuervo and Grand Marnier. Open until 10 p.m. seven days a week.
115 Gerard St., Mandeville, (985) 624-5330 Juniper offers a lovely view of Lake Pontchartrain. With stucco walls, a fireplace and cozy couches, it's a comfortable, intimate place to watch the sun set over the lake and enjoy a cocktail. After dark, the discreet lighting maintains the mood.
2223 Causeway Blvd., Mandeville, (985) 727-5585 Their motto is 'Louisiana food at its finest,' meaning center-cut steaks and fresh Gulf seafood. Lobster nights are Tuesdays and Thursdays, with Maine lobster for $15.95. The trout Myrtle, crawfish Florentine dip and old-style turtle soup are also popular items. The large bar area features a big-screen TV and accommodates up to 125 people.
New Orleans Original Daiquiris
900 N. Causeway Blvd., Mandeville, (985)-626-6990 Whether you're looking to cool down with a daiquiri for yourself or get a party-to-go with a gallon jug, New Orleans Original Daiquiris has you covered. Along with beers, 16 types of daiquiris are offered, from fruit flavors to White Russians to the Bloody Smurf.
246 Gerard St., Mandeville, (985) 626-5619 This well-regarded Italian restaurant has a separate bar that can accommodate up to 40 people. The full menu is available at the bar, where appetizers such as crabmeat ravioli, escargot and crawfish, and small pizzas are hot commodities. The large wine selection features 60 different reds and 60 whites.
840 Lamarque St., Mandeville, (985) 626-9748, www.rubysroadhouse.com The sign behind the stage reads 'explosives --- keep away,' and that's a pretty good advice when the bands start to crank at Ruby's. Memories of parties past take the form of scrawled graffiti that mingles with various music and other memorabilia on the walls of this all-American roadhouse that is so true to form that one might expect Patrick Swayze to appear at any moment.
Times Bar & Grill
1896 N. Causeway Blvd., Mandeville, (985) 626-1161 You never know who you'll meet at the Times in Mandeville. You may find a group of doctors next to you or businessmen stopping in for happy hour. The walls are a tribute to local sports, with newspaper clippings reporting LSU and Saints highlights.
1901 Bayou Lane, Slidell, (985) 643-0050 Nestled on the edge of Bayou Bonfouca about 20 minutes by boat from Lake Pontchartrain, Palmetto's offers its clientele a place to dock their boats, listen to local music, enjoy various soups and seafood dishes, and guzzle the bar's specialty drink, the Bayou Punch. As an added bonus, Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown is said to be a regular patron and even sings a little blues whenever he gets the hankering.
Patton's Salmen-Fritchie House
127 Cleveland Ave., Slidell, (985) 645-3600 This is the place that makes the crawfish sack and crawfish beignets for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Its Sun Parlor Lounge is located on what used to be the porch when the house was built in 1895. The copper-top bar gives the room a touch of class, but it's a casual place to enjoy a drink either inside or outside on the front patio as the weather gets nicer. Coffeehouse music gives Friday nights a looser atmosphere.
Ernie K-Doe's Mother-In-Law Lounge
1500 N. Claiborne Ave., 947-1078 Opened in 1994 as a home away from home for New Orleans' living music legends to come perform and hang out, the lounge is run by the late Ernie K-Doe's wife Antoinette -- 'Mrs. Emperor of the World.' The bar was named for K-Doe's 1961 hit and is known far and wide for its jukebox packed with one of the best collections of New Orleans artists around. But if the music and tribute to K-Doe aren't enough, perhaps the lounge's signature drink, Burn! K-Doe Burn!, is a surefire way to lift someone's spirits.
Little People's Place
1226 Barracks St. Little people would feel right at home in the minute setting of Pat Arriola and family's quaint and storied Treme bar. Mostly open on weekends, Little People's makes up in character what it lacks in space. A full bar and swinging jukebox are added amenities.
Balcony Bar & Cafe
3201 Magazine St., 895-1600 The Balcony Bar and Cafe keeps its clientele entertained with drink specials all week long, an Internet jukebox, a menu with pizza and gyros, 10 televisions on two floors and Uptown's biggest bar balcony overlooking the traffic on Magazine Street. There are more than 50 different draft beers from all over the world for students trying to learn geography, and a 40-foot-long copper bar adds a touch of class. It's also open from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. so one never has to think too hard about when it opens and closes.
1039 N. Broadway St., 866-9008 Though it began life approximately 30 years ago as a place called Eddie Price's, a close proximity to Tulane and Loyola universities has made The Boot into quite the college hangout. With drink specials until 6 a.m., two 10-foot television screens and a late-night menu of pub grub, The Boot is the average college student's home away from home.
Bravo! Italian Kitchen
1711 St. Charles Ave., 525-5515, www.bestitalianusa.com Primarily a chain of Italian restaurants, Bravo! Italian Kitchen has cultivated a crowd of Uptown regulars who enjoy a neutral-toned decor and an assortment of red and white wines from the wine list. Order some of the menu's appetizers, such as calamari fritti or wood-grilled portobello mushroom. It's right on the streetcar track as well so Uptowners and downtowners both have easy access.
The Bridge Lounge
1201 Magazine St., 299-1888 So named for its location near the Crescent City Connection, The Bridge Lounge is all about the warmth of life in a modern and minimalist setting. The bar is heavy on marble, steel and iron fixtures, yet it also features a bring-your-dog night on Tuesdays(actually, every night is bring-your-dog-night but people make a point to do it on Tuesdays). For all those hard-working professionals out there, there are chair massages on Wednesdays.
7601 Maple St., 861-7615 Decorated with Tulane-inspired sports memorabilia and horseracing images, Bruno's is home to a crowd of regulars who frequent the bar a few times a week to try their hand at pool or darts, listen to the jukebox, and devour lots of salty, thirst-producing popcorn from the popcorn machine. There is a patio for when the bar gets too packed.
3236 Magazine St., 891-1516, www.draftfreak.com A neighborhood bar and then some, The Bulldog has a character all its own. More than 50 taps of draft beer should be a tempting sight to any beer lovers, and on Wednesdays, the brew comes with a free Bulldog glass. Due to its popularity and narrowness, the Bulldog's crowd often gets intense and spills out onto the side patio on Magazine Street, not that anyone cares.
3218 Magazine St., 894-1233 Byblos' stylish interior fuses Old World and contemporary design and bathes the whole thing in soft lighting and cozy colors under a pressed-tin ceiling. But don't let the comfortable setting fool you -- Byblos gets red hot on Thursday nights when belly dancers and $3 Belvedere martinis are the order of the day. If plane tickets to the Mediterranean aren't feasible, a trip to Byblos might be the next best thing.
8140 Willow St., 865-9190, www.carrolltonstation.com Named for the streetcar barn across the street, Carrollton Station has been home to a number of businesses since the early 1900s and still closely resembles the grocery store it once was. These days, it is home to a robust assortment of live rock 'n' roll musicians who keep both the beer and the love flowing most nights. A grill was added earlier this year, and the bar's Philly cheese steaks are a real crowd pleaser.
4336 Magazine St., 895-9401 It's the bar so nice they named it twice. Some say The Club. Some say Ms. Mae's. Whichever the case, the joint is jumping 24 hours a day. An old-fashioned decor filled with New Orleans memorabilia surrounds The Club's mixed crowd of college kids, neighborhood residents and the occasional old timer. The bar also brags that it has the cheapest drinks in town, and with $1 well drinks, it might be right.
The Columns Hotel
3811 St. Charles Ave., 899-9308, The Victorian Lounge is what The Columns Hotel calls its lounge, and it certainly lives up to its grandiose name. Top-notch service, classy ambience, satisfying drinks and the occasional celebrity sighting make a night at the Victorian Lounge romantic indeed. There are working fireplaces for the colder months, and on Tuesdays, jazz fills the air, giving the patrons yet another reason to feel special.
1403 Washington Ave., 899-8221, www.commanderspalace.com Commander's Palace's unique bar area is literally standing room only as patrons enjoy cocktails or glasses of wine before they are seated in the dining room. For eye candy, there is a window behind the bar, which looks into Commander's busy front kitchen line where world-renowned dishes are crafted. For an added touch of class, try a Commander's bloody Mary. The mix is created right there in the kitchen from tomatoes and other vegetables normally reserved for the dinner menu.
Cooter Brown's Tavern and Oyster Bar
509 S. Carrollton Ave., 866-9104, www.cooterbrowns.com A person could go to Cooter Brown's every day for a year and never drink the same beer twice. There are 400 different types of bottled beer from around the world. The walls are covered with caricatures of famous celebrities, all with appropriate drinks in their hands. But seriously, it's not just about the beer. Cooter's -- as regulars call it -- also delivers a diverse menu of seafood, sandwiches and appetizers for those who are trying to put something on top of all that ale.
3442 St. Charles Ave., 895-0858 A French-style decor with maroon shades and white accents dominates the elegant surroundings of The Delachaise. Adding to its European flavor are the menu's tapas and various international liquors. A typical night sees a professional crowd in the early evening give way to a service-industry scene around 2 a.m. A jazz singer serenades the place on Sundays.
Dos Jefes Uptown Cigar Bar
5535 Tchoupitoulas St., 891-8500 More than just a cigar bar, Dos Jefes also offers a palpable wine list, a thoughtful menu and more than 60 different types of cigars within its two levels and patio. The bar specializes in liquors that go well with cigars such as single-malt scotches, ports and cognacs. Images of celebrities smoking decorate the walls, reminding everyone how cool they look with stogies. The bar features live jazz and blues from local artists every night of the week.
F&M Patio Bar
4841 Tchoupitoulas St., 895-6784 Music memorabilia from back in the day decorates the F&M's multiple rooms as college students, service-industry workers and the occasional old timer enjoy spirits until the break of dawn on most nights. Food is served Wednesday through Saturday until late, and the bar doesn't close until the last patron has gone home.
4330 St. Charles Ave., 895-9582 Many tourists have undoubtedly gazed out of their streetcar window and wished they were in front of Fat Harry's enjoying a few cold ones. Located a stone's throw from the St. Charles streetcar line, Fat Harry's is a good place for college students or after-work professionals to catch a game, order some grub, have a few beers, and get a cheap ride home when it's all said and done.
5130 Freret St., 891-4080 This college bar is within walking distance of both Tulane and Loyola universities. Among the banners and memorabilia commemorating the area colleges, there's a mural on the wall reminding customers that the Krewe of Tucks was launched by the bar's first owner. With a late lunch, a late-night grill, a DJ, games and satellite football packages -- college and pro -- Tuck's covers most of the ways college students entertain themselves.
Grit's Bar and Pool Hall
530 Lyons St., 899-9211 During the week, Grit's exists as a modestly busy pool hall with a full bar, four pool tables, darts and cheap drink prices. On the weekends, things get a little crazier as the local college students blow off some steam, dance to the DJs and pack the place by the hundreds. The interior features neon signs and beer memorabilia.
2133 St. Charles Ave., 568-9811 Another streetcar stop bar, Igor's is home to an eclectic group of regulars, tourists and everything in between. A small kitchen behind the serpentine bar grills burgers and, on Mondays, free red beans and rice. On the mezzanine, pool tables overlook the festivities. While a laundry room in a bar is not unusual in this neck of the woods, the library certainly is.
Igor's Buddha Belly Burger Bar
4437 Magazine St., 891-6105 Think of the Buddha Belly as the original Igor's dark, brooding little brother. Decked out in red and black with rotating wall decorations that salute various fetishes and burlesque shows, the Buddha Belly appeals to an underground rock 'n' roll crowd but still welcomes college kids and regulars from the neighborhood. For a real excursion, try the bar's specialty drink, the Swampade. Burlesque shows are reportedly coming back to the bar soon.
1307 Lyons St., 891-2373 A neighborhood bar with no shortage of character, the Kingpin's red walls are decorated with local art, band posters, hubcaps and velvet oil paintings of icons like Hulk Hogan and Elvis. Serving a college and service-industry crowd, The Kingpin features acoustic music every Sunday and shuffleboard and darts every night. Twice a year, the bar hosts an Elvis party to honor his birth and another to mourn his death. Wait, Elvis is dead?
Le Bon Temps Roule
4801 Magazine St., 895-8117 The good times certainly roll here. With ornaments like authentic streetcar lamps lighting up the music room, the bar is rich with tradition and rustic New Orleans ambience. Friendly local clientele enjoy the Soul Rebels, who play every Wednesday. Various other acts will follow in September as live music takes over every Thursday through Saturday. Also on Thursdays, the drink special actually breaks the $1 drink barrier with 75-cent High Lifes. It's open as long as its patrons are awake and coherent. If the good times roll into the next day, so be it.
Lucy's Retired Surfer Bar Uptown
5961 Magazine St., 895-0240 When the coast is just too far of a drive, visit Lucy's and pretend you are in on a California beach eating Mexican food and sipping exotic drinks. Assisting you in this daydream will be the bar's brightly colored murals and hanging surfboards. Along for the ride will be a family scene in midday that gives way to a college crowd and thirtysomethings as the sun begins to set.
800 S. Carrollton Ave., 866-9455 A wood bar and brick paneling dotted with past Jazzfest posters make patrons feel right at home at Madigan's. While enjoying nightly drink specials and burgers from the menu, the college crowd can watch Saints games on the bar's 50-inch plasma televisions. On most days the place opens at 3 p.m., except on Sundays, when it's bumped up to noon so everybody can catch the kickoff.
The Maple Leaf Bar
8316 Oak St., 866-9359 A main artery of the New Orleans blues and funk scene for three decades, The Maple Leaf keeps the beat alive with revered local music every night of the week, including ReBirth Brass Band every Tuesday night. Other acts known for frequent appearances at the club include Walter &179;Wolfman&178; Washington and Papa Grows Funk. Pressed-tin walls and ceilings add to the funky vibe of the place and an outdoor patio gives patrons a chance to breathe before heading back in.
1505 Amelia St., 895-9163 A very inspiring and much-loved Amelia Street bar, the Mayfair has attracted locals with it's quirkiness and interior Christmas lights for years. It has also recently undergone renovations. The pool room in the back is gone, but a new pool room has been created adjacent to the front table.
1312 Milan St., 895-1836 Apparently, there are more Chicago Cubs fans lurking around New Orleans than one might think -- at least enough to keep the Milan Lounge in business for years. Adorned with all manner of Cubs memorabilia, including a foul pole flag on the roof, the bar is open until 5 a.m. most nights. With a tradition dating back to the '30s, it is only in recent years that Cubs fans have started congregating there. How did this situation come to pass? &179;It's a long, involved story,&178; a bartender says.
6100 Magazine St., 899-4800 A very swanky interior with overstuffed couches and soft lighting casts a classy spell on Monkey Hill's laid-back clientele and beautiful bartenders. On Thursdays, things take a lighter turn when local comic Red Bean hosts three different local comedians who try their hardest to elicit yuks from the crowd. Local trivia buffs will be pleased to learn that the bar is named for Audubon Zoo's Monkey Hill, which is said to be the tallest natural spot in town.
New Orleans Original Daiquiris
8100 St. Charles Ave., 866-1846 Whether you're looking to cool down with a daiquiri for yourself or get a party-to-go with a gallon jug, New Orleans Original Daiquiris has you covered. Along with beers, 16 types of daiquiris are offered, from fruit flavors to White Russians to the Bloody Smurf.
The Palms Martini Bar
7130 Freret St., 861-0236 A confessional sits behind the wood bar at the Palms to remind any God-fearing patrons what they have to look forward to if they continue their evil ways. For the rest of us, there are red-clothed pool tables, a couple of comfy lounge couches and a happy hour from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. The kitchen will begin serving this month so if you're working on your seven deadly sins, add gluttony to the list.
2533 Constance St., 897-5413 An Uptown institution, Parasol's bar and restaurant caters both to families looking for dinner and neighborhood denizens looking for a little ale. The walls are painted green to give the place a distinctly Irish feel, and the memorabilia on the walls dates back to the establishment's inception in 1952. Po-boys and seafood dishes populate the menu, and the casual atmosphere is comfortable and inviting. On Sundays during football season, it offers a satellite package for serious pigskin fans.
1838 Napoleon Ave., 895-4877 Everybody is familiar with Manale's famous barbecue shrimp, but what about its classy and refined bar area? An antique solid mahogany bar dating back to the '30s is the centerpiece. Surrounding it is a raw oyster bar, old-fashioned ceiling fans and a wagon wheel light fixture hanging from the ceiling. Pictures of celebrities and politicians decorate a special nook of the bar dubbed Pascal's Corner. So visit for the food and stay for an after-dinner drink or two.
Peppers Restaurant & Bar
4416 Magazine St., 897-1940 Peppers' patrons form a diverse crowd of local police, judges, roofers, waiters and waitresses, college students, local business owners, and an occasional industrial rocker who will remain nameless. Serving cheap drinks and a wide variety of food, the bar covers all the basics, such as a jukebox and a plasma television, then it throws in a stained-glass window and working fireplace just to keep things interesting. And if you're the type who hates leaving a bar smelling like an ashtray, the owner has installed &179;smoke eaters&178; just for you.
Phillips Restaurant and Bar
733 Cherokee St., 865-1155 A modern and inviting decor greet the third- and fourth-year college students who make up a generous number of Phillips' clientele. Then again, there's also the rouge-bathed Red Room, Phillips' bar-within-a-bar where comfortable couches and a softer ambience take over. Night owls should stay late for happy hours that start at 1 a.m., a very happy hour indeed.
3101 Magazine St., 891-1777 A recent renovation saw the Rendezvous gutted and transformed into a comfortable and cozy, low-key establishment that caters to Uptown professionals. The mahogany bar is the centerpiece of a decor that includes Indian benches and paintings from local artists. Football fans can look forward to the satellite sports package come football season.
St. Joe's Bar
5537 Magazine St., 899-3744 Drinking and faith have always shared a close relationship, and at St. Joe's the two get even closer. Crosses, buddhas and pictures of St. Joseph himself decorate the bar's interior and patio and help turn a night out on the town into a truly religious experience. St. Joe's gives a whole new meaning to the word &179;spirits.&178;
The Saint Bar and Lounge
961 St. Mary St., 523-0050 With a decor described as &179;'70s ski lodge&178; by the bar manager, what's not to love? But wait, there's more. Around the bar are religious images of faux saints such as Bruce Lee, Dirty Harry and Evel Knievel. The bar is surrounded by a lounge area replete with comfy couches, foosball and an Elvis pinball machine (that's the young '50s Elvis, not the pasty '70s version).
4529 Tchoupitoulas St., 895-1456 Some of New Orleans most skilled DJs hold court over the dance floor at this Uptown music lounge, spinning the tracks that reach deep down in a person's soul, where the rhythm is. On Wednesdays, &179;The Blue Project&178; involves a DJ spinning trip-hop and down tempo with live horns. A hipster motif resplendent with blood-red couches and draperies only adds more spice to an already hot ambience.
Snake and Jake's Christmas Club Lounge
7612 Oak St., 861-2802 Being in Snake and Jake's is like hanging out in your cool uncle's basement. The ceiling is too low and the only illumination comes from candles and Christmas lights. The place never closes before dawn and doesn't even open until 9 p.m. The requisite dive bar artist/bartenders are also present and accounted for.
501 Napoleon Ave., 895-TIPS, www.tipitinas.com This historic music venue is one of the most well-known in the city, if not the nation. The huge floor space and big balcony provide plenty of audience room for the popular local and national acts that play here, and you can hear everything from funk to jazz to rock to Cajun.
7600 Maple St., 866-5205 This popular Maple Street bar is crowded with college students every weekend. During peak hours, there is no room to move, all the way from the game area in the back to the wraparound bar in the middle to the enclosed patio in front. Pool, foosball, popcorn and the Jagermeister shot machine make sure there's plenty to do.
1544 Tchoupitoulas St., 587-3721, www.twiropa.com With multiple bars and a variety of stage areas, this is one of the most unique and versatile venues in the city. Haunting metallic sculptures, an airplane-wing bar and a bar made out of an Airstream Trailer are only a few of the offbeat design elements.
7537 Maple St., 866-1736 Vera Cruz is one of the few restaurants in town where customers (mostly students and young professionals) come as much for the drinks as they do for the food, thanks to the housemade sangria and two-for-one margarita pitchers on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Its Cinco de Mayo block party is very popular.
1032 St. Charles Ave., 588-2616 With the wide variety of music acts that play this intimate space and the bar's retro, modish decor (think red walls and big mirrors), the Circle Bar is a hipster hive with a smattering of barflies. Check out the Mod Dance Party on Saturday nights and join the tight crowd getting down on the dance floor.
Dino's Bar and Grill
1128 Tchoupitoulas St., 558-0900 Dino's is the watering hole of choice for many local regulars and young professionals. It features curious bar munchies, such as the Fried Martini, a martini glass filled with cheese-stuffed and deep-fried green olives.
600 S. Peters St., 525-8544, www.ernstcafe.net Established in 1902, Ernst Cafe is a landmark New Orleans site. The building's structure has remained the same since it was built more than 150 years ago, with neat touches like mosaic tile floors. The kitchen serves chicken sandwiches, burgers and salads, but the CBD crowd mostly orders appetizers and drinks after work. Tuesday night is $10 steak night, and a new fall menu features Atkins-friendly fare.
Generations Hall/the Metropolitan
310 Howard Ave., 568-1702 Every Saturday night, Generations Hall undergoes a transformation into the Metropolitan, a huge industrial-style nightclub that often rakes club-goers in by the thousands. DJs spinning techno music and hip-hop keep everything in high gear as twenty- and thirtysomethings get their groove on in the venue's six different bars. Coming soon to the Metropolitan will be a VIP bar.
The Howlin' Wolf
828 S. Peters St., 522-WOLF, www.howlin-wolf.com With bars on either side of its spacious floor, it's never work to get a drink in the Wolf. With its relatively low ceiling (for a live music venue), even big gigs with national touring acts feel intimate. The back corners of the room are deep enough to become hangout spots for those who just want to talk.
Lucy's Retired Surfer Bar
701 Tchoupitoulas St., 523-8995; www.lucysretiredsurfers.com Founded by surfers, Lucy's is bedecked with Pacific Ocean murals and beach memorabilia. Whether you take your food (south California Mexican cuisine and New Orleans favorites) and drinks in the bar or courtyard, you'll find half the fun is the staff. Lucy's famous Friday happy hour spills out into the streets.
1100 Constance St., 524-4747; www.mermaidlounge.com Offbeat and cutting-edge music, cheap beer, loads of atmosphere, and inside and outside bars are the cornerstones of the establishment, owned and operated by musicians and artists. Miller beer fuels the flea market, which begins at noon on the first Sunday of every month, and the country happy hour on Friday is kid-friendly.
869 Magazine St., 525-9301; www.polyjoes.com Life's a beach, even in the Warehouse District. Poly Joe's -- which gets into the spirit of the name with leis and Polynesian decor around a 30-foot bar -- features dancing, pool tables and a bar-based sand volleyball court. Weekly highlights include happy hour specials and lingerie shows on Tuesday and Thursday.
Red Eye Grill
852 S. Peters St. 593-9393; www.redeyegrill.net The decor is basic, as are the eats -- bare walls, exposed beams and vents, cheeseburgers and French fries -- and regulars tout the hearty burgers and ice-cold beer. It's known as a bartenders' bar and a late-night gathering place for service-industry workers, locals and young faces, who like to clear out the tables and dance to the jukebox or weekend DJs.
Rock-n-Sake Bar and Sushi
823 Fulton St., 581-7253, www.rocknsake.com This restaurant bar is no mere waiting area for diners. Rock-n-Sake freshly infuses its own vodka with weekly flavors such as pineapple-watermelon or apple cinnamon. And of the course, there's the sake, hot or cold. Local art and bright colors add a New Orleans flair to this sushi restaurant's atmosphere.
Tchoup-n-Joe's Restaurant and Bar
870 Tchoupitoulas St., 581-2858 Neon art by local artist Eric Ehlenberger casts a trendy glow over the bar at Tchoup-n-Joe's. Blend that with ultra-cool plasma televisions, 30 different imported beers and an upscale bar menu that is served until 3 a.m., and it should come as no surprise that the Warehouse District loft community has made Tchoup-n-Joes into one of its neighborhood hangs.
Ugly Dog Saloon
401 Andrew Higgins Drive, 569-8459 This restaurant and bar in the Warehouse District offers lunch and dinner daily and sports a casual saloon atmosphere with sympathetic bartenders. It's a great hangout to fill up on barbecue and beverages, shoot pool or watch the game. There are nine large TV screens equipped with NFL Sunday ticket, so you don't ever have to miss a play.
Vic's Kangaroo Cafe
636 Tchoupitoulas St., 524-4329; www.satchmo.com/vics/index.html Experience a taste of life Down Under at this friendly Aussie neighborhood pub, which has six famous Australian wines and 11 beers on tap. Decked out like you'd imagine an Australian-themed bar to be, it has a mixed crowd of tourists, locals and other live wires who come to sample Australian favorites such as shepherd's pie.
The Wine Loft
752 Tchoupitoulas St., 561-0116; www.thewineloft.net Located just four blocks from the Mississippi River, this trendy bar offers 200 wines by the bottle and 70 by the glass in a sophisticated jazz bistro atmosphere with murals, modern decor and large windows looking onto the street. There are specials on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. Wine, Women and Wednesday classes on Wednesday nights offer a chance for women to brush up on their wine knowledge.
The Crown and Anchor
200 Pelican St., Algiers Point, 227-1007; www.crownanchor.com This small, authentic English pub (most of the decorations were brought over from England) is nestled in Algiers Point. It's a great neighborhood crowd, although you will find the occasional transplanted Brit. The pub stocks a wide selection of Britain's best ales and lagers, and fine single-malt scotch from Scotland. As is popular across the pond, Crown and Anchor holds regular pub quiz and darts nights.
Old Point Bar
545 Patterson St., Algiers Point, 364-0950; www.oldpointbar.com Right off the levee in charming, historic Algiers Point, the Old Point Bar is considered by some to be the Maple Leaf of the West Bank. Slightly rustic with its wood paneling, this little jewel attracts music lovers young and middle-aged from all over the city to hear jazz, swing and brass bands.
Clementine's Belgian Bistrot
2505 Whitney Ave., Gretna, 366-3995 This restaurant's intimate bar is a comfortable place to wait for a table, but diners shouldn't miss Clementine's wide selection of Belgian beers. Their spicy, complex natures are provocative on their own and a wonderful accompaniment to a meal. Clementine's has been mocked up to resemble a traditional Belgian bistrot, and a warm atmosphere and candlelit bar invite you to relax.
Red Maple Bar and Lounge
1036 Lafayette St., Gretna, 367-0935 What started as an old-line watering hole for oilfield workers and politicos in the early '60s has become a standard for West Bank professionals. Attached to an upscale restaurant, the attractive bar decorated with antiques draws a more sophisticated crowd, including attorneys from the nearby Gretna courthouse.
The Rugby Pub
2802 Belle Chasse Hwy., Gretna, 363-0007; www.neworleansrugbyclub.com/pub.htm The Rugby Pub is a cozy neighborhood West Bank bar with a New Orleans-style setting that brings in young professionals and sports enthusiasts who like to sip cocktails and watch events on two bar TVs. The pub boasts a respectable selection of imported beers and occasionally stages live music shows. Come in on Wednesdays for two-for-one domestic beers.
Boomers at Boomtown Casino
4132 Peters Road, Harvey, 366-7711; www.boomtownneworleans.com The casino is always open and drinks flow freely, but Boomers is closed Sunday through Wednesday. The rest of the week, it opens at 3 p.m. Musical guests include locals such as the Topcats and the Chee-Weez as well as national acts including Billy Joe Royal.
New Orleans Original Daiquiris
3637 Genl. De Gaulle Drive, 366-8351; 8304 W. Judge Perez Dr., Chalmette, 277-9952; 456 Lapalco Blvd., Gretna, 393-1551; 6240 Lapalco Blvd., Marrero, 371-4823; 620 Terry Pkwy., Terrytown, 362-0364, 197-33 Westbank Expressway, Terrytown,361-7837 Whether you're looking to cool down with a daiquiri for yourself or get a party-to-go with a gallon jug, New Orleans Original Daiquiris has you covered. Along with beers, 16 types of daiquiris are offered, from fruit flavors to White Russians to the Bloody Smurf.