Certainly the wave of talented craft cocktails is strong in NOLA. … Be advised you can take your drinks with you; it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for a go cup or a traveler. … Tiki bars have arisen in recent years, and there will be a few making the chart. … Also, there are summer drinks and winter drinks, should you care about etiquette. So, some craft cocktail bars, including the Sazerac Bar in the hotel lobby, will have a drink menu that changes with the seasons. A good Pimm’s Cup or a nice gin drink can go a long way. … Unlike the restaurant guide, when I ventured into some of the nearby neighborhoods, I’m going to keep this list closer to ground zero for two reasons: A, safety’s sake; and B, well, some of the best in the world or so nearby, why do you need to go any further?
How about a non-alcoholic/local option? Please look for Swamp Pop, which is made in Lafayette. … The strawberry soda alone could be used as a dessert. In fact, I often do this. The ginger ale is the best I’ve ever had (and makes an exceptional mixer for a Pimm’s Cup or a caipirihna). … Fest is another local soda.
Sno-Balls are a point of pride. You may have to take a cab for these, but they are worth it – for atmosphere, taste and a break from the heat.
Hansen’s Sno-Bliz (Garden District)
SnoWizard Snoball Shoppe (Garden District)
Imperial Woodpecker Sno-Balls (Garden District)
Red Rooster (Uptown)
Plum Street (off the street car line)
IN THE HOTEL
SAZERAC BAR: The signature drink is the sazerac, and it’s splendid. The Ramos Gin Fizz was a favorite of legendary populist Governor Huey P. Long. … If you must order a beer, feel free. But you really should treat yourself to something on the menu. These folks are masters of cocktails, and you owe a good splash to yourself. … The bartenders will take their time and do it right. You should do the same. Enjoy sipping and socializing. … Plus, the atmosphere is stunning. Wonderful. You’ll see.
French 75/Arnaud’s: Classic and elegant. The French 75 is made with champagne, and it’s terrific.
Empire Bar at Broussard’s: Looking for great drinks and a great setting? The courtyard here is amazing, a perfect complement to classic New Orleans cocktails.
Bar Tonique: Great craft cocktails. Unpretentious.
Old Absinthe House: Be like legendary French artist Toulouse-Latrec and treat yourself to an absinthe drink.
Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29: Tiki bar run by Jeff Beachbum Berry, who is evidently the world’s authority on tiki culture.
Cane and Table: A rum bar, with some Tiki drinks, toward the far end of the Quarter.
Napoleon House: I’ve read where they have the best Pimm’s Cup in town. Give this a try.
Ice House Bar in Hotel Provinicial: Far end of the Quarter, on Chartres Street. Fantastic bartenders, shaded patio.
Loa in the International House Hotel: You can thank me later. There are fresh herbs in your drink. Deal with it.
Alto Bar in the Ace Hotel: This is a funky, hipster hotel. And the rooftop bar is a cool way to see this part of the city.
ICONIC PLACES YOU’VE HEARD OF
Be fully aware I’m going to be picky, but, hey, at the price of a cocktail, I insist on better, especially when so much better is so easily available. But these are stops that you should maybe at least peak in and try. If you like it or love it, wonderful. Your happiness is the most important thing to me.
Pat O’Brien’s: Home of the hurricane – a big, fruity rum drink.
Carousel Bar & Lounge, Hotel Monteleone: The rotating bar is gorgeous – and doesn’t rotate so fast as to interfere with your drinking. It’s a must-see. Right on Royal Street. Sometimes, I’ve had passable cocktails. Sometimes, meh. … If you’re here, you should go and try your luck.