The Best Bars in New Orleans

Where to get liquored up in The Big Easy

The editors at and contributors to travel site Fathom always satisfy their wanderlust. This time they’ve rounded up their five favorite New Orleans spots, just in time for Mardi Gras. Let the good times roll.

Bar Tonique
Teetering on the edge of the French Quarter (on a nondescript street behind a nondescript door) is a fine establishment for modern cocktail enthusiasts. Drinks are made with more than TLC: Fresh juices, homemade tinctures, and rare liquors go into every concoction.

Carousel Bar & Lounge
At the Hotel Monteleone, there is a real carousel — complete with carnival lights on the cresting — rotating ever so slowly in a counterclockwise fashion around two bartenders and their top-shelf liquors. Stools act as chariots. Saddle up and take a spin. Things really get interesting after a few gin cocktails.

Familiarize yourself with the house rules (no baseball caps or shorts, boys) before heading to this schmancy cocktail bar on a happening little strip Uptown. The space, a reclaimed firehouse, is roomy and sharp. Small plates are carefully prepared and served late.

Erin Rose
Here you have a classic dive bar and the headquarters of awesome sandwich operation Killer Poboys. French bread is stuffed with meat and veggies and other stuff that soaks up the booze.

The Spotted Cat
Tiny and old-timey with a piano in the ladies’ room. Catch the New Orleans Cotton Mouth Kings — a motley crew playing classic, lo-fi swing. They do a great medley of spirituals and really get the crowd moving.

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Mardi Gras Unmasked
Foam clouds, foamy beers, and floats. Follow NOLA native Clare Crespo’s lead and hit the streets for Fat Tuesday revelry.

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Best Day Ever in NOLA
The progression of the day: mellow morning, bowl of gumbo, leisure ride, cheap cocktail, fancy cocktail, howlin’ wolf. It’s a proper ramble.

Photos: John Coletti / Getty Images; Clare Crespo