New Orleans’ Top 100+ Bars: Bars with Music


Many New Orleans bars pull double duty as music clubs. Here are some spots that present live music throughout the week.

Blue Nile
The bar at this Frenchmen Street staple reaches from the door to the stage and offers $3 domestics. Hieroglyph-esque relief paintings line the walls above a lighted bar display. It's also Kermit Ruffins' current residency (7 p.m. Fridays) and home to funk, jazz hip-hop and singer-songwriters, like Little Maker (7 p.m. Thursdays). The upstairs Balcony Room hosts more free entertainment and one of the best people-watching views of the street. 532 Frenchmen St., (504) 948-2583;; @bluenilelive

Chickie Wah Wah
Mid-City's smoke-free music spot — current home to the don't-miss duo Alexis & the Samurai, who often perform with special guests (8 p.m. Mondays) — hosts jazz, blues, R&B and rock 'n' roll for $5-$8 admission. It's a beer bar, whether you want the latest from Abita or discounts on Dixie during happy hour (4 p.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday). 2828 Canal St., (504) 304-4714;; @chickiewahwah

Circle Bar
The intimate spot at Lee Circle has grown into the city's premier spot for scoping out buzz bands before they break (the chalkboard calendar advertises one-of-a-kind illustrations for upcoming acts). If a stage-less, lamp-lit dim dive and indie rock is your calling, this is your bar. Or come during happy hour for a $5 shot and a beer, sit in a booth and watch the streetcars as the sun drops. 1032 St. Charles Ave., (504) 588-2616;; @circlebarnola

House of Blues
There are a few options for music and booze at this folk-art-covered venue. While bars at the main room and the upstairs Parish venue charge a little extra during its ticketed events, the downstairs Big Mama's Lounge serves cheap beer and charges no cover for the singer/songwriters. The covered patio at the Voodoo Garden has plenty of seating and a small bar for mixed drinks and beer (there's also comedy on Tuesday and Thursday nights). 225 Decatur St., (504) 310-4999;; @hobnola

Kerry Irish Pub
Pair a perfect pour of Guinness with traditional Celtic music as well as bluegrass and folk singer/songwriters at this 20-year-old pub offering free nightly music. It's a few blocks from Bourbon Street but is less a tourist destination than a friendly, smoky French Quarter dive, with dollar bills pinned to the ceiling and plenty of bathroom graffiti reading. 331 Decatur St., (504) 527-5954

Maple Leaf
aple Street's nightlife nucleus is the Uptown home to a who's who of New Orleans music — including Rebirth Brass Band and Walter "Wolfman" Washington — and attracts tourists and locals alike. Go for the sweaty dancing in a packed crowd of strangers, stay for the likelihood of running into a famous face (The Office's Craig Robinson is a fan). 8316 Maple St., (504) 866-9359;; @mapleleafnola

One Eyed Jacks
The front bar at this music hotspot serves beer and cocktails in a dim, velvet-lined lounge. The venue is a go-to for touring indie rock, punk and metal bands, and a frequent host to comedy, burlesque, local favorites and a weekly '80s dance party (10 p.m. Thursdays). The horseshoe-shaped bar in the middle of the main room is surrounded by small booths, a great view of the stage and perfect for people- and band-watching under the Twin Peaks-y, low-level lighting. 615 Toulouse St., (504) 569-8361;; @oejnola

The eclectic schedule at this St. Claude Avenue dive favors punk and metal acts but also hosts singer/songwriters, burlesque, bounce and even a game night — specifically board games and card games (more Magic: The Gathering than poker). Kukhyna — the kitchen at the back of the bar — serves Slavic-inspired bar fare, from burgers to borscht. 2227 St. Claude Ave., (504) 265-8885;; @siberianola

New and Notable | Farm to Glass | Bars with Wine-Based Cocktails | Bourbon Street | Whiskey Bars
Neighborhood Bars | Arcade Drinking | Walk of Shame Bars | Craft Cocktails
Courtyard Drinking | Frozen Drinks | Wine Bars | Bars for Beer Nerds | French Quarter Bars
Bars with Music | Sports Bars | Not-Just-A-Restaurant Bars

Add a comment