New Orleans Cocktails and Drinking Guide
Are you wondering where to go out for drinks in New Orleans? This New Orleans Cocktails and Drinking Guide to is a one stop shop to the most popular and unique drinking experiences in the Crescent City. Whether your preference is cocktails, wine, beer or something truly original, then read on. There is something here for everyone.
Be sure to check out our self-guided New Orleans Cocktail Tour.
Boozy Brunch places in New Orleans
For those starting off early (hey you are in New Orleans), here is a selection of great brunch places that don’t just serve good food, but have a great booze collection to choose from. Late nights and easy mornings make for a lively brunch scene in New Orleans. Whether you’re bright eyed and bushy tailed or need a little hair of the dog that bit you, brunch is great way to start your day in the Crescent City. Remember, you can’t drink all day if you don’t start in the morning. It’s always best to begin your day of drinking in New Orleans with a good solid meal. So, set yourself up for success by starting your day of drinking with a good breakfast. Call ahead and make a reservation to start your day off easy at one of these favored brunch locations.
The Court of Two Sisters. Located at 613 Royal Street, this popular brunch locale is rich in history and legend. Featuring hot and cold selections containing the finest, freshest seasonal ingredients, and a three piece jazz band, The Court of Two Sisters is a great way to start your day in the French Quarter. Their bar is top notch, and serves a wide selection of New Orleans’s most famous cocktails. Ask your bartender to mix up one of these famous New Orleans libations: Brandy Milk Punch, Bloody Mary, Ramos Gin Fizz or a Sazerac.
Ruby Slipper. Offering four locations city wide: two locations in the Downtown (1005 Canal Street) and Central Business (200 Magazine Street) Districts, the original Mid City location (139 S. Cortez Street), and a Marigny location (2001 Burgundy St.) no matter where you find yourself, there is a Ruby Slipper near you. Ruby Slipper does not offer a full bar, however, they more than make up for it with their signature Mimosas and Bellinis, Irish Cream Coffee, Bloody Marys, Brandy Milk Punch, and “The 19th Hole”, a spiked Arnold Palmer. Ruby Slipper does not take reservations, but you can reserve your spot via the NoWait App at most of their locations.
Willa Jean. A Besh Restaurant Group establishment, Willa Jean, is a bakery and restaurant, located at 611 O’Keefe Avenue in the Central Business District. Featuring fresh breads and pastry, along with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, Willa Jean is dedicated to supporting local farmers and sustainability. Along with their delicious desserts and savory treats, Willa Jeans offers a full bar, including a unique line of coffee and tea infused cocktails to start your day off right. If you are looking for unique cocktails, fresh food, and a modern yet warm environment, Willa Jean is the brunch spot for you.
Brennan’s. Brennan’s Restaurant, located at 417 Royal Street, is famous for its unique and delicious brunch cocktails. It’s rumored they have the best Brandy Milk Punch in town, having perfected this decadent New Orleans original. If you are looking to be pampered in an elegant atmosphere, Brennan’s is the place to start your day. Try one of their eye-opening cocktails like the Cajun Bloody Mary, Hibiscus Pimms Cup or Absinth Suissesse. Brennan’s does have a dress code, so save the tank tops, cut-offs, or athletic shorts for after brunch.
Since its settlement in the early 18th century, New Orleans has been a town dedicated to revelry and delighting the senses. This tradition has given rise to some of the world’s most unique cocktail creations, and mixologists across the city continue to honor New Orleans’s love for drinking and the unusual by mixing up new creations and notable classics.
Old New Orleans Rum Distillery. Rum lovers will not want to miss an opportunity to tour the Old New Orleans Rum Distillery. Distilled in in-house made barrels on Frenchmen Street from pure Louisiana sugarcane, Old New Orleans Rum is a celebration of New Orleans you can take home in a bottle. Distillery tours include a cocktail, and will take you through Old New Orleans Rum’s six step distillation process. You can sample all their products in their tasting room after the tour, and purchase bottles to take home. The distillery ships domestic and internationally, so you can purchase freely without worrying about taking bottles on the plane. Call ahead to reserve a place on their complimentary shuttle. They offer several convenient pick up locations in the French Quarter so you can enjoy your tour without worrying about driving back to your hotel.
Cure. Offering beer, wine and unique cocktails, Cure is a traditional cocktail bar that harkens to days gone by. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into an old world apothecary when you visit this firehouse turned cocktail bar at 4905 Freret Street. Cure brings the cities best mixologists together to produce unique cocktails and fresh twists on old favorites. Located in the newly revived Freret Street corridor, Cure is the perfect way to cap off dinner and music or enjoy a few cocktails in a dimly lit, refined and sophisticated atmosphere. Their seasonally rotating cocktail and food menu is sure to be the cure for what ails you.
Barrel Proof. Barrel Proof is a whisky lovers dream, offering over 250 whiskies from across America and around the world. Their full bar serves an impressive collection of domestic and international beers, wine and a variety of house made cocktails, but whiskey, bourbon and rye are their specialty. Barrel Proof is located at 1201 Magazine Street in the Lower Garden District. Open at 4pm daily, Barrel Proof is a great way to sample the world’s best whiskey in a low-key, casual environment.
Sazerac. The sazerac is not only unique to New Orleans, it is said to be the world’s very first cocktail! Developed by New Orleans apothecary Antoine Amedie Peychaud using French brandy and his special bitters in 1838, the sazerac quickly grew in popularity, and by 1850 was the country’s first branded cocktail. The recipe has gone through a few changes over the years, and today includes sugar, rye whiskey, Herbsaint, and Peychaud’s Bitters. Try Arnaud’s French 75 for this original.
Hurricane. You will want to visit Pat O’Brien’s on Bourbon Street for this original New Orleans mixed drink. Pat O’s is the home of the Hurricane, and offers a variety of atmospheres with their main bar, piano bar, patio bar, and courtyard restaurant. The Hurricane, named for the hurricane lamp shaped glass it is served in, was born during World War II when whiskey supplies were limited. This sweet and fruity rum drink packs a punch worthy of it’s name. Take home a bottle of Pat O’Brien’s hurricane mix and a signature souvenir glass.
Ramos Gin Fizz. Favored drink of Louisiana’s most infamous governor, the Ramos Gin Fizz, was invented by Henry Ramos in his Gravier Street bar in 1888. The orange flower water and egg white make the Ramos a truly unique gin fizz. Legend has it that during Carnival 1915, Ramos’s Imperial Cabinet Saloon employed 32 bartenders hired specifically to mix this famous drink. This frothy fizz requires 12 minutes of mixing time, and is well worth the wait. Enjoy your Ramos Gin Fizz in the same place Huey Long enjoyed this favorite, The Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt Hotel.
Bloody Mary. The Bloody Mary is not technically a New Orleans creation, but with city’s love for all things spicy and the cocktails reputation as a meal in a glass, the two are a match made in heaven. There are no shortage of establishments with legitimate claims to the best tomato juice and vodka in the city, and many brunch establishments feature bloody mary bars where you can mix your own. For a Bloody Mary that is truly unique, try Gusto located in the Cinema at Canal Place (333 Canal Street, 3rd Floor), Cafe Adelaide & the Swizzle Stick Bar (300 Poydras Street) or Molly’s at the Market (1107 Decatur Street).
New Orleans offers up a variety of options for the wine lover. If wine is your alcohol of choice, you can enjoy tastings, take classes, and experience the best food and wine pairings available under one roof. Try these uniquely New Orleans offerings that would make Dionysus proud.
Bacchanal. Situated on the corner of Chartres Street and Poland Avenue in the Bywater, Bacchanal stands as a testament to the heart and soul of what it means to miss New Orleans. Pick a bottle from their careful, handpicked selection, and take it back to your courtyard table. Committed to preserving the wine making traditions of small producers, Bacchanal offers only those wines that meet their exacting standards. An afternoon or evening at Bacchanal is a wine drinking experience that is definitively New Orleans. Bacchanal is an adults only establishment.
W.I.N.O. Wine Institute of New Orleans, or W.I.N.O. is a tasting room and wine school all wrapped up into one. Enjoy a day of tasting a selection of 120 different wines on tap or take a class ranging from Wine Tasting 101 to an exploration of wine from Italy or France. The tasting room experience provides you with a wine card that acts as your personal wine tab. Choose from 120 wines ranging from $1 per ounce to $20 per ounce, select the size of your pour (1, 2 or 4 oz.), and bring your card to the cashier when you’re ready to tap out. The wine card makes it easy to keep tract of your spending while giving you the opportunity to sample an impressive selection of wines from around the globe. If you need a snack to keep you going, order one of their small plates. W.I.N.O also offers Happy Hour, including 1/2 off bottles on Monday, with purchase of a cheese board, and 25% off all 120 taps. Wine Institute of New Orleans is open daily at 2pm and is located at 610 Tchoupitoulas Street; Happy Hour runs Monday & Tuesday 5pm-7pm and Wednesday & Thursday 9pm-Close.
The Tasting Room. While visiting the Garden District, wine lovers will want to make a stop at The Tasting Room. The Tasting Room offers wine tasting daily and features $5 select wines during Leisure Hour, all day Wednesday and 3pm to 6pm Tuesday through Monday. While there, you might want to try one of their signature wine flights. Flights are $20 and include three and half glasses of wine. The Tasting Room also offers a selection of appetizers and small plates. Ask about their Wine Club, and receive a monthly selection of wine from around the world. If you’re traveling with your dog, don’t leave them in the hotel! The Tasting Room welcomes the furry member of your family.
New Orleans Food and Wine Experience. There is no better way to sample a diverse selection of wine and the finest New Orleans cuisine than the New Orleans Food and Wine Experience. Hob knob with the cities most celebrated chefs and winemakers from around the world at this food and wine focused fundraising festival. If you are a die-hard food and wine lover, you won’t want to miss this festival held every year over a full weekend in late May. The weekend includes special tasting events and menus offers from winers and restaurants across the city, seminars for honing your palate, and a grand finale featuring live music, crafts, and specially prepared dishes from over two dozen local restaurants. Each dish is perfectly paired with a selection of wines. The main event is an all you can eat, all you can drink food and wine experience true to the food and drink loving joie de vivre of New Orleans. During it’s 23 year run, The New Orleans Food and Wine experience has donated over $1 million dollars to local charity organizations.
Looking for 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall? New Orleans has one up on that old tune. How about 100 beers from the tap to the can all under one roof, amazing local breweries, and a way a pet loving beer drinker can do good? From tailgates to crawfish boils, New Orleanians love beer, and there are plenty of offerings in the city to prove it. Whether you are looking for something local and crafty, domestic and ice cold, or a unique import, New Orleans has something for every kind of beer drinker. Try out one of these selections during your trip to the Crescent City.
Nola Brewery. New Orleans was once home to several national beer brands: Falstaff, Jax, and Dixie to name a few. It is this New Orleans beer brewing tradition that Nola Brewery sought to revive whenit began brewing craft beer in New Orleans in 2008. Dedicated to quality beer, the people who brew it, and the community it serves, Nola Brewing Company offers a variety of year round, seasonal, and experimental, limited edition brews. You can taste whatever is flowing from the tap seven days a week at Nola Brewery at 3001 Tchoupitoulas Street. The Tap Room features 32 beers on tap and fresh BBQ daily. You can learn how they brew that brew they brew so well on Friday (2pm-3pm) and Saturday (2pm-4pm) by taking a brewery tour.
The Avenue Pub. The Avenue Pub brings old world charm to the Garden District. Take the Historic St. Charles Streetcar to 1732 St. Charles Avenue (between stops #11 and #12). Sporting an impressive selection of over 100 beers to choose from, The Avenue Pub is serious about beer. With a rotating selection on tap and a strenuous dedication to purity, from cleaning their own taps to selecting the perfect glass for you beer of choice, The Avenue Pub might just be a beer drinkers paradise. For those who may not be quite so enthusiastic about beer, The Avenue Pub also offers an impressive selection of Bourbon, Rye, and Whiskey. Their balcony is great for people watching,and the pub also offers a nice food menu to get help get you through all those taps.
Nola on Tap. Animal lovers and those traveling with their dog in September, will want to visit City Park for the Louisiana SPCA annual fundraiser. Nola on Tap is a FREE admission beer festival that also raises money for animal rescue and adoption services. Enjoy games, live music, food, contests, and non-beer beverages. Purchase beer drinking tickets to help support LASPCA and try over 400 national, craft, micro and home brewed beers. The festival is dog and kid friendly.
Abita Brewing Company. If you have a car, take a trip across Lake Pontchartrain, and visit Abita Brewing Company in Abita Springs. For 30 years, Abita Brewing Company has been turning the pure artesian water of Abita Springs into the tastiest beer around. You can take a Guided tour of Louisiana’s original craft brewery Wednesday through Sunday, and Self Guided Tours Sunday through Wednesday. Abita Brewing Company also offers a fully updated Visitor Center and Tap Room, with indoor and courtyard seating. Sample 4 ounce flights of year round favorites, seasonal beers, and limited edition brews, along with their delicious root beer. Abita Brewing Company is a one hour drive from the New Orleans French Quarter. https://abita.com
Bourbon Street is New Orleans’s most famous street for revelry, known for its bars and debauchery, and finding a watering hole will be easy. If you’re wandering down Bourbon Street, be sure to hit up the Steak Pit. Located at 609 Bourbon Street, Steak Pit is the official home to the famous Huge Ass Beer. Grab a bite, a T-shirt and a huge ass beer for a real Bourbon Street experience. When a regular beer just isn’t enough, grab a Huge Ass Beer at Steak Pit. The name says it all.
Looking for the most powerful drink in town? You’ll want to make a stop at Tropical Isle and order a Hand Grenade in one of their famous green cups. There are five Tropical Isle locations stretching along three blocks of the iconic street. We can’t tell you what’s in it, its proprietary blend, but we can warn you, and this drink packs a serious punch!
If you’re looking for some history to go along with your drinking, visit Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop at 941 Bourbon Street, Lafitte’s is the oldest barroom structure in the United States. A reflection of New Orleans’s French past, the structure is built in the old French provincial style, and due to its slate roof, has survived both of the city’s great fires.
New Orleans was made for revelers. Before we get into the whats and the wheres of drinking in the Crescent City, here are a few safety tips to get you home safe and in one piece.
Go cups. There are few places where you can drink in the streets, and New Orleans is definitely one of them! The famous ‘go-cup’ is a New Orleans tradition. Ask any bartender for a drink to go, or take your half-finished drink with you on your way to your next stop. To help keep our streets safe, leave glass and bottles in the bar, and take your to-go in a plastic cup.
Don’t drink and drive. There are plenty of options for those wanting to enjoy New Orleans’s famous libations without the risks of drinking and driving. Taxis are plentiful in the French Quarter, and great for getting around the Downtown area. If you’re venturing out toward the residential areas and you’re an Uber user, then the popular driving service is a great option, and a nice way to meet friendly locals. Pedicab services are plentiful in the French Quarter and the Marigny, and offer an inexpensive way to travel without missing the sites.
Use the Buddy System. If you are traveling on foot or waiting for a ride, use the buddy system. Traveling with a group, large or small, is a great way to safe and pass a good time.
Stick to well populated, well-lit areas. Walking around the French Quarter at night is a truly magical experience. Choose roads and routes that are free of construction, well lit, and well populated.
Watch out for cars. While enjoying the sights and sounds of New Orleans’s downtown, be sure to watch out for cars. New Orleans is a very walkable city. However, you are likely to encounter locals running errands, on their way to work, or trying to get to appointments on time. While cars are restricted around Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral, most streets in the French Quarter are drivable pathways. Stop at every intersection, look both ways, and obey all traffic signals.