@BackspaceNola 139 Chartres St. (504) 322-2245; www.backspacenola.com
The vibe: The literary-themed bar's kitchen is open late, and the bar is just quiet enough to hold a conversation — a rare find in this part of the Quarter. What you'll drink: Try the Death in the Afternoon cocktail, made with absinthe and Champagne, supposedly invented by Ernest Hemingway.
@CafeGiovanni Cafe Giovanni, 117 Decatur St., (504) 529-2154; www.cafegiovanni.com
The vibe: The jewel-toned space has a date-night feel and is a good place for drinks before dinner at chef/proprietor Duke LoCicero's inventive Italian restaurant or en route to other adventures. What you'll drink: Signature flavored martinis, or something from the respectable list of Italian red wines.
@chartreshouse 601 Chartres St., (504) 586-8383; www.chartreshouse.com
The vibe: Prep for a night in the French Quarter or a concert next door at One Eyed Jacks at this low-key outpost. There's plenty of seating and a lighthearted but enjoyable cocktail menu. What you'll drink: The Cajun martini is a vodka martini spiked with hot sauce.
Royal Sonesta New Orleans, 300 Bourbon St., (504) 553-2122; www.sonesta.com
The vibe: Revelers can grab a seat at Le Booze's island bar and enjoy a birds-eye view of a busy block of Bourbon Street before entering the fray. What you'll drink: Whiskey, craft beers and cocktails.
@NapoleonHouseNO 500 Chartres St. (504) 524-9752; www.napoleonhouse.com
The vibe: With faded walls and dark wood trim, the bar is like a turn-of-the-century American speakeasy — with a shaggy but inviting Parisian courtyard. What you'll drink: Champagne cocktails, signature Pimm's Cup and Sazeracs.
@PatOBriensBar 718 St. Peter St. (504) 525-4823; www.patobriens.com
The vibe: The piano bar and courtyard are mainstays of brochures and concierge recommendations. Special-event parties (notably, St. Patrick's Day and Derby Day) attract plenty of locals as well. What you'll drink: The company's iconic hurricane, which resembles jungle juice in color but mercifully not in impact.
@StLawrenceNola 219 N. Peters St., (504) 525-4111; www.saintlawrencenola.com
The vibe: Relaxed ambience, gourmet pub fare and craft cocktail daiquiris make this a good destination or launching point for an evening in the Quarter. What you'll drink: frozen Pimm's Cup slushies.
435 Bourbon St.; 600 Bourbon St., 504-529-1702; 721 Bourbon St.; www.tropicalisle.com
The vibe: There are several locations of the brightly colored, neon-lit oases beckoning Bourbon Street revelers with potent frozen drinks and more. What you'll drink: A frozen or iced Hand Grenade in a signature molded plastic cup.
@Tujagues 823 Decatur St., (504) 525-8676; www.tuja- guesrestaurant.com
The vibe: The 160-year-old restaurant has one of the Quarter's oldest stand-up bars, where eminence grise bartenders talk about cocktails when cocktails were young. What you'll drink: A classic foamy Ramos gin fizz, made with egg white.
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