When Jazz Fest comes to a close for the day, most people run for the nearest cab, street car, or bike to head back to where they are staying. While this is understandable after a long day of festing (yes, that is a word here), this means passing up on a number of great places to grab a bite to eat or drink in the surrounding neighborhood of Mid-City. The added benefit is that you’ll give the crowds a chance to clear out. Here are some of our favorite places within a nice walk from the gates of the Fairgrounds.
Mid-City Dining: Restaurants Near Jazz Fest
1. Ralph’s on the Park By far the fanciest of the restaurants on the list, Ralph’s combines great food with one of the best views in the city. Enjoy the building’s history (it started as a coffeehouse in 1860) and its Creole-tinged dishes while looking out over the moss-covered oaks of City Park. Grab a hold of the “visiting fish” (Ralph’s cleverly named fish of the day) for a lighter entree to ensure room for dessert. The small but varied dessert menu has something for everyone, but I usually can’t get away from the homemade sherbet and ice cream. The beautiful bar also makes Ralph’s a shoo-in for this list.
2. Parkway Bakery & Tavern Parkway is famous for its po-boys, but this fame often means you’re encountering large lines. While everyone is rushing home after the Fest, why not walk on over and grab one of the best roast beef or shrimp po-boys in town? If you’re up to it, the surf and turf will deliciously let you take on both at the same time. Don’t forget your bottle of Barq’s and bag of Zapp’s to complete the meal.
3. Toups’ Meatery Toups’ is, without a doubt, one of my favorite places to satisfy my carnivorous side. Their amazing selection of charcuterie is how we start most of our meals, but experience tells me you can’t go wrong with any of the appetizers. The entrees are equally tasty, but my undisputed favorite is the massive pork chop with sweet and savory dirty rice on the side. A short walk from the Esplanade Avenue entrance to City Park and right off the Canal streetcar line, Toups’ is your closest option on this list.
4. MoPho The heart of a meal at MoPho, as the name suggests, is a build-your-own bowl of pho, the amazing Vietnamese soup. But don’t pigeonhole MoPho as just about pho, as they also have an amazing collection of bowls, appetizers, and other specials in which they showcase head chef Michael Gulotta’s take on Southeast Asian cuisine. Need more convincing to head MoPho? The experts have all lavished high praise and prestigious awards upon both MoPho and Gulotta, including a premier national food publication naming Gulotta a Best New Chef of 2016.
5. Revel Cafe & Bar Don’t let Revel’s sandwich-focused menu fool you: this is a place driven by craft. The sandwiches are all served on house-made breads and the cocktail program features one of New Orleans’ best known bartenders, Chris McMillan. McMillan, co-founder of the Museum of the American Cocktail, is one of the world’s foremost experts on pre-Prohibition cocktails and, in my estimation, makes one of the best mint juleps you’ll find anywhere.
Mid-City Dining: Bars Near Jazz Fest
Not quite ready for dinner, but want to grab a drink? Here are five no-brainers for grabbing a drink post-Jazz Fest, featuring something for the beer lovers, wine connoisseurs, and cocktail fanatics.
1. Bayou Beer Garden Head over to Bayou Beer Garden to continue the outdoor party on their outdoor deck and bar. With an extensive beer list with beers from around the world and an impressive selection of local brews, you’ll surely find something to quench your thirst. Having a few beers at sunset on the back deck seems like a perfect way to put an exclamation point on your Jazz Fest day. Also, as they’re just two blocks from Parkway, you could easily make this a two-fer and grab drinks and a bite.
2. Twelve Mile Limit While Twelve Mile is a little further away from the Fairgrounds, I had to include it on this list. Not only is this my favorite bar in town, it also provides some of the best bang for the buck. This treasure of a bar prides itself on its ability to deliver well-balanced original cocktails and all of the classics. But don’t worry if you just want something simple, Twelve Mile’s phenomenal bartenders won’t turn their nose up at you, no matter what your drink of choice is. Add in a fantastic array of board games and a Netflix account, and you may never leave Twelve Mile once you’ve arrived!
3. Pearl Wine Company In the American Can Company, Pearl is an amazing combination wine bar and liquor store. Sit and relax with a glass of wine at the Pearl Wine Bar, the connected wine bar or grab a bottle of your favorite red, white, or bubbly and stroll to watch the sunset over Bayou St. John. There aren’t many better ways to end a day than that, Jazz Fest or not.
4. Treo Treo is a cocktail-focused bar which often dazzles the eyes as much as the taste buds. It’s decked out with some very interesting New Orleans-centric art, and Treo’s second floor acts as an art gallery, hosting ever-changing pieces from New Orleans artists. Treo also has a large patio, which allows patrons to enjoy the evening sunsets. If you get a little hungry, Treo also has regional, Italian-inspired food from Chef Gulotta (from MoPho).
5. Pal’s Lounge If you need an easy place to plop down and grab a cold beer or a whiskey, Pal’s is your stop. Just be sure you’re not taking a regular’s seat! Pal’s is an unassuming bar (well, as unassuming as a sky-blue bar can be) nestled in a neighborhood just steps from Jazz Fest. Given Pal’s proximity to Jazz Fest, it serves as a great launching point for the rest of your day. Swing by, grab a drink, and then head on out to dinner at one of the five amazing places recommended above.