Drinking Across New Orleans in 7 Steps

Well, it was recently pointed out to me that every post I have on this website is about alcohol.

Securing myself as the resident booze connoisseur wasn’t exactly my plan when Red Beans & Life was first conceived, but I’ll take the bastard child responsibilities of being your go-to guy when it comes to inebriation. I’ll take it, and I’ll make you proud, New Orleans.

So, my degenerates, once again it’s Thirsty Thursday, and once again it’s time for me to tell you my thoughts on a bar. But this time, I’m going to do it a little different. New Orleans is a magical place with something unique to do every night, but what about those nights you want something a little different? You know, the ones the week after Jazz Fest where there’s really nothing special going on, or the Saturday night after a Friday night where everyone partied a little bit too hard. It’s nights like those that you don’t want to be stuck as the usual bar drinking the usual shitty drinks, you want to be trying something new.

So with that in mind, here’s a guide to the perfect off night out in New Orleans.

The Night Begins

Step 1: Take the bus to Frenchman

[Kermit Ruffins Throwing it Down at Blue Nile]

Kermit Ruffins Throwing it Down at Blue Nile

All y’all who may be afraid of public transportation: you probably shouldn’t be drinking anyway. I’m a recent convert to city bus transportation myself, and I must say, it’s impressive. It’s not as sketchy as you may think, and for a guy who’s never had reliable public transportation, I was amazed that I got downtown without the hassle of parking. Once you get to Frenchman, get some dinner at Adolfo’s. My boy Adolfo will hook you up with some great food. Cash only, and bring an extra stomach. Maybe polish off a bottle of wine or two there. After you’re done, head downstairs to the Apple Barrel or down the street to Blue Nile, Maison, or any other venue to catch some tunes. Buy at least two drinks at each venue. Drink count: 4-5 (if you hit every spot).


Step 2: Walk to The Gold Mine

The Gold Mine gets grimy.
The Gold Mine gets grimy.

I get it, this place is a dive, and why would anyone want to go to a dive this early in the night? Your friends will be asking you just that. You know what you say? Gold Mine has Flaming Dr. Peppers. If you had any sense of what’s good for you, you had a big ass meal at Adolfo’s, and now you’re a little tired. Nothing turns on the party switch like a good ole’ Flaming Dr. Pepper and romancing a 35+ year old babe at a bachelorette party who’s trying her hardest to be 21 again.  All of this goes down around 9 pm, and now you’re ready for a weird night. Drink count: 1-2 (you’ll want to hold off after two of those bad boys)


Building Inebriation

Step 3: Play tourist – walk the Quarter

[You can't miss that sign.]

You can’t miss that sign.

Well you’re down there, so you might as well. Plus, you need to get to the streetcar, anyway. If you’re brave and can handle the smell, get a HUGE ASS BEER and walk through Bourbon towards Canal. Maybe stop in to see some dueling pianos at Pat O’s. Just please don’t request Wagon Wheel. Or Calling Baton Rouge. Make your way to the St. Charles streetcar where it intersects Canal St. Drink count: 1 (if you can count a Huge Ass Beer or a Hand Grenade as one)


Step 4: Streetcar to Avenue Pub

[Drinking on the Avenue.]

Drinking on the Avenue.

Aside from having one of the best brew selections in the city, Avenue Pub also has a killer kitchen. If you’re somehow not full from earlier, or just need some snacking food, get the Fromage Grille – it’s a grilled cheese on steroids. I once dipped it into a beer. Don’t do that. By now it’s probably around midnight or 1ish, so let’s get a little weirder… Drink Count: 1-3 


The Dive Commences…


Step 5: Walk to The Saint

[Definitely no sinners in this Saint.]Take a ten minute walk down St. Mary Street to this hipster dance party and dive bar combined into one. The Saint is a dark, dark hole of a bar. I mean that in the most endearing way. You never know who you’ll run into here, and you’re probably going to have a blast. Drinks are cheap, and there’s blurred out nude photos on the wall. But you’re not coming here for tasteful decor. Drink count: 2-3 cheap ones.


Step 6: Take a cab to the club

[Mae's is open 24/7.]

Mae’s is open 24/7.

Everyone should know what I mean by the club. Ms. Mae’s, a favorite of his holiness Rob Ryan, is the cheapest place you can get drinks in the city. Cash only, but you could probably bring your change jar and buy the whole bar a round at these prices. Also, nothing’s better than some drunken air hockey. Bring your game face, because after you booze it up here, it’s time to watch the sunrise at… Drink count: 4-5


Step 7: Snake and Jakes

[Dimly lit and drunkenly awesome.]

Dimly lit and drunkenly awesome.

Congratulations, you’ve made it this far. If you haven’t quit yet, you might as well go for the long haul. It’s a feeling that’s uniquely New Orleanian to walk out of Snake and Jakes to the morning sun. The red lit interior messes with your internal clock, and before you know it, it’s the morning and you’re still drinking Schlitz. Well done. Drink count: Who the hell knows


The Verdict

At this point, you’re upwards of 15+ drinks, and you’ve taken the whole night to embark on a journey across the city. From the Marigny, through Downtown, the Garden District to Uptown, you’ve successfully drank your way across New Orleans. Congrats! Now sober up and get to work.

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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