The city is blooming and the air is sweet, as spring has surely arrived. Embrace this perfect weather with some outdoor sitting and sipping at a local New Orleans patio bar. Patio bars are fantastic because they’re so versatile — they’re excellent during both day and night in this city, and you’re certain to find a spot to quench whatever kind of thirst you have, whether it’s an obscure draft beer or signature cocktail that you’re looking for. New Orleans has a solid offering of nice patio and courtyard bars, but these are some of our favorites.
Patio Bars in New Orleans
When you say patio bar, I say The Bulldog. It’s traditional, simple, and unpretentious — the perfect patio bar. It has a huge selection of draft beers from all over the world, served by friendly bartenders who will help you decide and sample some brews. The Bulldog has two New Orleans locations — on Canal and Magazine Street — though I’m partial to the Magazine Street location’s corner patio. The bar draws a crowd (of humans and dogs alike) at all hours of the day for casual drinking and gazing out onto the busy street. Though it does get pretty crowded, be sure to make it to Wednesday pint night, where you get to keep your glass.
Another Magazine Street pick further Uptown is St. Joe’s Bar. At first glance, St. Joe’s seems like an oddly decorated dive bar. It’s dark and small, with a pool table you’ll have to carefully navigate around when people are playing. Go to the bar and order a blueberry mojito. It’s a top contender for the best in the city, and the bartenders craft each cocktail in a well-practiced labor of love. Once you’ve got your delicious drink in hand, head straight back to the courtyard patio. Sit down and settle in — St. Joe’s is the kind of place where the hours will fly by as you have long conversations with old friends and ones you just met at the bar.
The Rusty Nail
There’s always something going on at The Rusty Nail. The Warehouse District spot is a popular stop for food trucks and local musicians. Inside, the bar is quick and offers a solid selection of cocktails, and the small stage lends itself to intimate, up-close performances. Follow the big black and white sign pointing to the right for the patio, and you’ll find a spacious courtyard full of tables, palm trees and white lights. The patio has a much more relaxed, chilled-out feel than the bar rocking loud inside, so where you choose to camp out entirely depends on your mood. I definitely recommend giving the Disco Lemonade a try — it’s well-priced and tastes pretty much like an alcoholic lemonade snoball. Can’t go wrong with that.
There’s a stark difference between a tourist trap and a local staple. Pat O’Brien’s is certainly the latter, as it’s adored by locals and visitors alike. The French Quarter bar is the home of the delightfully strong and sweet hurricane (It’s made with 4 oz. of rum, so be careful!). There’s a roomy outdoor courtyard complete with a flaming fountain, and inside, there’s a dueling piano bar. It’s hard to describe the atmosphere with an adjective other than “fun” because it can vary so much depending on which part of the bar you’re in — it’s a big place with a lot happening. Be prepared for a crowd and a good time.
At Bacchanal in the Bywater, you’ll find a three way crossroads where wine shop, restaurant and patio converge to make one awesome, multi-layered experience. Pick out a bottle and some cheese in the front section and bring to the counter where the friendly cashiers will give you glasses and take your cheese to the kitchen for assemblage with delicious accouterments. Then head out to the spacious back patio and find a seat to settle in for hours of noshing, sipping and conversation. If you bring your appetite, order more food from their full American, Mediterranean, and Latin-inspired menu of small and entree-sized plates that will please both meat eaters and vegetarians alike. Bask in the outdoor ambiance surrounded by trees and enjoy local music nightly on this blissful New Orleans patio.
Enjoy your springtime patio bar hopping, and also check out our picks for the best spots for al fresco dining in this beautiful weather.