Combined suggestions, New Orleans
Decatur Street - Grungier but cooler than Bourbon. Start at the upper quarter near Canal at The Kerry Irish Pub (by the House of Blues), then work your way down. Be sure and hit Molly's at the Market, always a fun place. Check out some of the small places like The Abbey. Head to the corner of Decatur and Esplanade for Checkpoint Charlies. Great live music, burgers, and you can do your laundry!
Decatur Street runs next to the Mississippi. While there are some big name clubs like Margaritaville and the House of Blues on it, check out all the smaller places. You'll see a few more scary characters and people sleeping in doorways on this side of town, but it's way cooler than Bourbon Street
Dress Code: Whatever
The cab drivers in New Orleans recommended that we check out 'them fine bubble-ass girls' at the local gentlemen's establishments.
My friend and I eschewed his salutory advice, and instead sampled one of the many delicious bistros dotted around the French Quarter.
Dress Code: Cowboy hat, bottle of beer.
From the Pat O's piano bar to the Cat's Meow karioke stage to raves at the State Palace, you will LOVE partying in NOLA. Bring an open mind and a good attitude and you will leave with incredible memories (although, sometimes, not too clear memories) of a city with overflowing energy.
Dress Code: Never worry about what you wear in this city!
Bourbon Street - This is one incredible street. Fabulous music. Catch Dwayne Burns at Maison Bourbon for some Dixieland Jazz, or St. Louis Slim at 711 for mindblowing blues - both incredible talents and quite the treat. Food and drink can be found along the way. Pat O'Brians is always good with great atmosphere. Cat's Meow has 3 for 1 drink specials that can't be beat. Skip the block of retaurants Petout's, Cajun Cabin, and Bourbon Viex - all next door to eachother by same owner - rude, dirty, and overpriced. There's so many fabulous places to go - so don't waste your time.
Dress Code: Plan on having dirty shoes and sore feet by the end of this wonderful street.
I enjoy the live music presented nightly all over New Orleans, almost any type of live music in any type of setting can be found nightly. A quiet night at a piano bar is easy to find along with Jazz, but anything from Brass Bands to Zydeco happens at least weekly in several night spots in the French Quarter and in several areas of the City.
The Big Easy is teeming with nightlife. if you want to get out of the touristy areas, head uptown. Looking for the college crowd? try The Boot on Broadway. A local's joint? The Patio on Carrolton.
House of Blues and Margaritaville on Decatur is always kickin'!
Dress Code: cool and casual
Hah! What can I say?! You got two places in the States where the bars are open 24h a day; Las Vegas and New Orleans. Say no more, say no more.
I loved Decateur St.; O'Malley's got some kickass frozen Irish Coffe. The Abbey( Scabby Abby by locals) got it's own scabby charm.I could go on and on...
Check out The Shim Sham, especially on thursdays. I loved ther Dungeon! And House of Blues. Just go there and see for your self, will you!
During Mardi Gras the nightlife can be found on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. The streets are filled with people drinking, dancing and propositioning for beads.
Jazz Fest is a bit more spread out with concerts uptown and downtown. If there is one bar to go to during your stay it's Pat O'Brien's - try their legendary Hurricane drink.
Dress Code: Whatever you don't mind getting dirty
Cool strip of bars and clubs that most tourists miss. You can hear world music, jazz, reggae etc in many of the clubs. Check out who's playing at Cafe Brasil, or head to the R Bar to shoot some pool. This is also the place to be on Mardi Gras day, with some of the wildest costumes and parades.
Dress Code: Whatever
You have come to the right place ! Bourbon Street is a little wild these days i'm told ( but is safe, plenty of Police around ) , again check the guides for latest night spots .Before checking out a club , try the world famous Cafe du Monde, try beignets ( little fluffy doughnuts )and a coffee. This place is a gem, a ' people watchers paradise since the 1800's '
Joie de Vivre in America, New Orleans is a vibrant, cosmoplitan , fun, slightly wild, yet cultured city which loves to party. Laissez les bon temps roulez ( let the good times roll )
Dress Code: Smart and Casual depending on establishment .
Another of my favorite bars in NOLA is not in the French Quarter and is called Igor's. I truly have never seen a bar like this before anywhere - it is a combination bar, restaurant, pool hall, and laundromat (yes, you can do your laundry there). Its it open 24 hours a day, has an awesome jukebox, and the Bloody Mary special (which I think is $2 after 3:30am) is the perfect way to wind down a bender.
Another good place for live music is the Maple Leaf, which attracts great musicians and a fun crowd, although its a 10 minute cab ride from the Quarter and it can be difficult to find a cab back. I went and saw Marcia Ball (a local bluesy keys player) and had a blast.
It depends on what you're into. If you're into a loud, college bar, strip bar, touristy type atmosphere, Bourbon Street is the place to go (I assiduously avoid it).
Personally I like the bars on Decatur and Frenchman (the Marigny area).
Bars on Decatur remind me of the East Village in New York City, a bit similar to those I went to on Haight in San Francisco. Every city has a area like this, doesn't it? My favorites include Coops, Angeli (you can eat at these too), Molly's, the Matador (the crowd here reminds me a lot of our past glam/punk mecca, Coney Island High on St. Marks Place), which also has live music sometimes.
Bars on Frenchman are more like the West Village. Lots of gay bars. There is a DBA (also one in New York City) and this really rockabilly-type place called the R Bar (though the last time I was in that bar, the crowd was different and somewhat annoying) which has a great jukebox. I've heard everything from Nick Cave to Johnny Cash in there.
Dress Code: Anything goes in this area. As you walk away from the crowded area of Frenchman (generally between Royal and Decatur), it gets a bit desolate, so be aware of your surroundings. I wouldn't necessary flaunt my wares or any skin for that matter:)
New Orleans IS Nightlife! We weren't there long enough to really get into it, but we did visit a couple of popular places.....The Cat's Meow on Bourbon Street and Pat O'Brien's (of course)!
The Cat's Meow was fun---it's a karaoke bar with a 3 for 1 Happy Hour that starts at 4:00PM (they get you started early!) You never know what you're going to hear at this place---could be someone who has a great voice, or could be Joe the Custodian (sorry Joe!)
Dress Code: Didn't look like there is a dress code! Wear whatever!!!
Where to hear traditional jazz in the French Quarter... Preservation Hall (726 S Peter St; tel:504-523-8939; $3.00 cover)- jazz in its purest form. Palm Court Cafe (1204 Decatur St; tel:504-525-0200; $4.00 cover)- very stylish; records for collectors. Fritzel's European Jazz Pub (733 Bourbon St; tel:504-561-0432)- worth the visit!
Where to hear contemporary jazz... Snug Harbor (626 Frenchman St in Faubourg Marigny; tel:504-949-0696; $5-$10 cover depending on the performer- one of the most vibrant jazz clubs in the country
Hot new jazz clubs...Funky Butt (714 N Rampart in the French Quarter; tel:504-558-0872)- features late-night jam sessions. New Showcase Lounge (1915 N Broad St in Gentilly; tel:504-945-5612)
Where to hear the blues...House of Blues (225 Decatur St in the French Quarter; tel:504-529-1421; $5-$15 cover) offers an eclectic mix of everything from bluegrass to alternative. The town's best buried blues treasure is John Mooney's Sunday night gig at Madigan's (800 S Carrollton Ave in Uptown; tel:504-866-9455). Other choices include Tipitina's (501 Napoleon Ave in Uptown; tel:504-895-8477); Mermaid Lounge (1102 Constance St in the Warehouse District; tel:504-524-4747; closed Mondays; $5 cover); and Vic's Kangaroo Cafe (636 Tchoupitoulas St in Uptown; tel: 504-524-43290- excellent blues music on Thursdays from 10pm to 2am and on Saturdays from 11pm to 3am
Where to hear Cajun & Zydeco...Maple Leaf Bar (8316 Oak St in Uptown; tel:504-866-9359; $3-$10 cover) is the place to be for great Cajun & Zydeco music- Thursdays are the best day. Other choices include: Michaul's on St Charles (840 St Charles Ave in the Warehouse District; tel:504-522-5517)- also good cajun cuisine; Mulate's (201 Julia St in Uptown; tel: 504-522-1492; Patout's Cajun Cabin (501 Bourbon St in the French Quarter; tel:504-529-4256); and don't miss Mid-City Lanes (4133 S Carrollton Ave in Mid City; tel:504-482-3133; about$5 cover)- very popular zydeco nights on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Where to hear Rock 'n Roll...By far the most consistent, progressive, high-quality rock venue is downtown in the Warehouse District. The Howlin' Wolf (828 S Peters St in the Warehouse District; tel:504-523-2551; 45-$10 cover) presents both local and touring artists. Other rolling places include: Check Point Charlie's (501 Esplande Ave in Faubourg Marigny; tel:504-947-0979; open 24 hours)- local up-and-coming blues and rock bands; plus there is a 24 hour laundromat in the back; also check out the Mermaid Lounge (1102 Constance St in the Warehouse District; tel:504-524-4747).
Where to meet the Latin beat...Caribbean and Latin-American music has always played an important role in the New Orleans sound. Today, the outfit called the Iguanas is the city's best-loved dance band, and you can often catch the 'Iggies' playing a border sweep of swamp pop, Tex-Mex, Mexican, and South American styles for packed houses at any number of clubs, especially Mid-City Lanes (4133 S Carrollton Ave in Mid City; tel:504-482-3133); Cafe Brasil (100 Chartres St in Faubourg Marigny; tel:504-947-9386); Howlin' Wolf (828 S Peters St in Warehouse District; tel:504-523-2551). For the best merengues and salsa; it's well worth venturing out to the suburb of Metairie to join the local Latin crowd at Cima Super Club (2726 Causeway Blvd in Metairie; tel:504-833-6766; $5 cover)- city's best Latin dance band.