Confessions of a Bruno’s Rat

If there ever was an award given to the person whose life is spent mostly in one bar, I wouldn’t get it. Sure, I have my regular establishments to drain my bank account, but I at least throw a curveball in there every now and then to keep my bank guessing.

With so many bars in this city, who would even want to restrict them to just one location? You could do what I do, follow the drink specials like some drunken zealot looking for his dollar-savior. Or, you could try out what’s new, where you haven’t been, or what’s been recommended lately. We’re incredibly lucky to live where we could probably go a whole year of only going to new bars on the weekends and never get tired of it.

I’m going to step down from my soapbox for a minute, though, and admit that I do have a few favorites. And of those favorites, I probably frequent one place more than any – Bruno’s Tavern.

[Bruno's is open during the day, so grab lunch and a beer]

Bruno’s is open during the day, so grab lunch and a beer
Bruno’s Tavern, which has been “An Uptown Drinking Place” since 1934, is no stranger to New Orleans nightlife. Ancient photographs of drunk pre-Internet customers adorn the walls of the bar. Loyola and Tulane sports memorabilia is sprinkled about. There’s a (free) popcorn machine at the corner of the bar. The patio outside overlooks Hillary street. It hasn’t always been in its current location on the corner of Maple and Hillary, though…

It started off across the street, on the other corner of Maple and Hillary, in a building which how houses Redd’s Uptilly Tavern. My dad tells me stories of how his name is probably still scratched on the wall of “Old Bruno’s.”

Bruno's has a spacious bar and plenty of TVs to catch the game

Bruno’s has a spacious bar and plenty of TVs to catch the game

New Bruno’s, though, is in a completely modern building, with a full service bar, kitchen, clean bathrooms, TV’s, Internet jukebox, pool table, two dartboards, and even a shuffleboard. If it’s the bar that brings you in, it’s the service that keeps you there. They have a full wait staff who will act as your legs to carry your money to the bar and bring back drinks. It’s illegal for a bar with more than 50% of its revenue in food to have indoor smoking, so for that crowd, it’s nice to be in a traditional smoky bar atmosphere while retaining the service’s restaurant feel.

Speaking of the restaurant, though, don’t come to Bruno’s on a full stomach – you’ll want to try their food. With burgers, salads and barfoods, you really can’t go wrong with eating here. Where Bruno’s really shines, though, is its cheese fries. Whether you get traditional, loaded baked potato, debris, or Boudreaux, it’s almost guaranteed to be one of the best drunk meals you’ve ever had.

Boudreaux fries!

Boudreaux fries!

After dinner, check what day it is, because Bruno’s has some of the best specials in the Uptown area. Look out for Tuesday and Thursday nights, $3 is the price of the night. Other daily specials can include service industry discounts, to half off food for students. Check their website and Facebook for details.

The Goods

TL;DR, it’s a great, slightly above average class sports bar close to the universities where the minimum age is 19, almost guaranteeing no high schoolers. The drinks are cheap enough, the food is incredible, and the crowd is great. Free popcorn. There’s also TVs above the urinals, gents.

The Not-so-Goods

There’s only one pool table, so unless you’re a pool shark, chances are you aren’t winning next round. Parking is a little difficult. There’s a few tables, but no booths, so it can get pretty crowded during games (but there’s plenty of room to stand and walk around)

Overall, I give Bruno’s four stars. It’s surely better than a lot of the options in the area when it comes to catching a game, getting a beer, or eating some cheese fries. This zealot has found one of his saviors.

Brunos Beer


Check out this Groupon – good for pub food and drinks for two or four at bruno’s Tavern (50% off)

About Eric

Eric is a New Orleans native and graduate of Loyola. He grew up in Kenner and is embarrassed to tell you that. He lives Uptown and frequents local watering holes to socialize with peers. His hobbies include writing, making bad jokes, and casually observing the day to day life of New Orleans.

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