Maple Leaf is an all-night bar. Repeat: All. Night. You don’t have to stay up until the wee hours, but if you do, you’ll be rewarded with live performances from local New Orleans musicians who rock and roll all the way ’til sunup. Stop in for a drink, and admire the bar’s delightfully dive-y details — the tin ceilings, the framed portraits of vintage Mardi Gras kings and queens. Keep an eye out for NOLA painter Frenchy, who might be working on a new masterpiece inside the bar. And if you hear the music queue up, you’ll probably want stay awhile. Maybe even all night.
Before You Cozy Up to the Bar…
It just so happens that the Maple Leaf Bar is tucked into one of the cutest little enclaves in New Orleans: Oak Street. You could spend a full day browsing the neighborhood, and you should, especially on a Tuesday when Rebirth Brass Band is at the end of the tunnel. Here’s a Tuesday Oak Street-area itinerary before you hit the bar.
Get breakfast to-go at Breads on Oak
I’m partial to the pain au chocolat and a cappuccino — sweet, vaguely European, and expertly made. Pastry in hand, stroll down to the riverfront and walk along the levee with your cup of coffee. If a sit-down breakfast complete with live music is more your style, Live Oak Cafe features live jazz from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.
Work in a little shopping
There are so many unique, local shops on Oak Street — make it your job to pop into each and every one. A few ideas? Browse NOBS and plan your next bicycle cruise (check out our guide here); pet the resident shop cat, Kitty Meow, at Blue Cypress Books, or admire the handmade blades at Coutelier NOLA.
Adorable shops are just one half of the Oak Street equation. Restaurants comprise the very delicious other half. For lunch, head to Cowbell at the far end of Oak Street, and definitely order the mac ‘n’ cheese. Also worth your Taco Tuesday is the new location of La Casita Taqueria, serving up the same savory, Latin items in a space five times bigger than its original locale in the Warehouse District.
Browse Frenchy’s studio and gallery
You might find a masterpiece to take home — plus, it’s good to get a feel for the artist’s work just in case he’s not live-painting inside the Maple Leaf later in the evening.
It’s 5 o’clock somewhere…
You’re probably thirsty after all that walking, right? Try Ale on Oak or its slightly more sophisticated sister, Oak Wine Bar for a happy hour treat.
Keep it casual with burgers, fries, and shakes at TRUBurger — it’s Susan Spicer’s favorite place to eat. Elsewhere on Oak Street, there’s the Creole charm of Jacques-Imo’s or sushi and sake at Chiba NOLA; or, you could just stay put at Oak Wine Bar, which also serves a variety of small plates.
…And finally, the Maple Leaf Bar
Head to Maple Leaf for Rebirth Brass Band at 10:30 p.m. Doors are at 10 p.m., giving you enough time to order a drink and find a prime viewing spot. Check out our photos from a recent Tuesday all-nighter (when Rebirth Brass Band beckons with its weekly residency) below.
All photos by Rebecca Ratliff unless otherwise noted