Even during its warmest temperatures, it’s hard not to take advantage of the beautiful outdoor ambiance in New Orleans. From picturesque scenes of historic architecture, tropical vegetation and of course highly entertaining people watching, sitting outside in New Orleans is an experience like none other. With summer heatwaves dissipating, now is the chance to linger outside, sipping and chatting with friends.
New Orleans may not have a monopoly on balconies and porches, but there’s no doubt that these exterior extensions are icons of the Crescent City’s architecture and exemplify New Orleans’ love of between spaces. Neither fully private nor public, balconies and porches offer us the chance to see and be seen while not having to negotiate the sidewalk throngs. Havens of the flaneur, these elevated galleries serve as intermediary zones, giving the comfort and interest of visual connection without the effort of physical interaction.
Drive through Anywhere, U.S.A. and chances are, you’ll be met with a fortified wall of double garages. However, in New Orleans, we’re too curious to tuck ourselves away out of sight. Visit any neighborhood and you’ll see people outside, sitting on stoops and porches. The city that invented the po-boy hasn’t forgotten that the cheapest form of entertainment remains the ever-unfolding drama of the human condition. And while other places may pride themselves on speed and movement, New Orleanians prefer to let the parade come to them. Sit long enough and chances are you’ll be treated to something worth the wait.
Balconies, Porches and Outdoor Spaces: Five Great Spots
This Bywater hotspot got its start as a low-key wine bar. Now it’s a popular destination with an internationally inspired menu and live music.
This micro-brewery houses a great balcony overlooking Decatur Street in the French Quarter with live music and upscale pub grub.
The deep front porch overlooking the century plus Live Oaks of Saint Charles Avenue is a favorite among Uptowners and visitors alike — a perfect spot to watch the streetcar roll by.
This Bayou Saint John french-inspired eatery has charm in spades. The dining room feels like a large covered porch; a wall of open windows overlooks tree-lined Esplanade Avenue.
Downstairs, this neighborhood bar prides itself on an extensive draft selection. Upstairs the small bar and wraparound balcony overlook Saint Charles Avenue. The depravedly famished may want to check out the “Dumpster Fries” on the grub menu.
– Allison Alsup is a co-author of The French Quarter Drinking Companion, a guide to 100 notable bars in America’s most eclectic neighborhood. Now available from Pelican Press.