Pat O'Brien's, New Orleans
Pat O'Brien's is perhaps the most famous location in the French Quarter. it has been in existence since 1933 or so, and is famous for its drink called the Hurricanes--made with lots of rum, fruit juices, and garnished with an orange. The hurricane was invented during World War II when whiskey was in short supply and local bars replaced it with vast quantities of rum... create a new rum-based drink, serve in a glass shaped like a hurricane lantern, and voila! The only complaint? The fruit juices in a Pat O'Brien's hurricane are actually a powdered drink mix; other local bars serve hurricanes with real fruit juice.
Everyone gathers at Pat O'Brien's for drinks in the late evening. The courtyard is huge and packed; you might have trouble finding a seat around sunset. The fountain in the middle of the courtyard features a flame coming out of the center of the colorfully lighted water, which is kind of cool. You might also catch the house marching band, though I would complain that they are far too loud if you want to have a comfortable conversation.
I have enjoyed the outdoor patio bar (Paddy O'Bar?) during a number of visits, but in the heat of the summer it was just too hot, so you may want to try the dark, cozy bar to the left of the entrance.
Pat O'Brien's probably is the most famous pub in all of the French Quarter. Dating back to 1933, it is mostly known for being the birthplace of the Hurricane cocktail, a drink people have come to automatically associate with New Orleans. It's made with rum, fruit juice and Patty O's secret mix, which you can buy at the bar - it's a bit on the sweet side, but it's still pretty refreshing. Every bar in town serves its own version of the Hurricane now, but I thought it would be nice to taste the original one so we took a seat in the pub's huge courtyard, next to the fountain (it's definitely worth going in the evening when fire comes out of the fountain!). When you order one of the pub's specialty drinks (they have lots on the menu besides Hurricanes) you pay a little extra because it comes in a souvenir glass, but if you decide not to keep it you immediately get reimbursed once you're done. The menu looked interesting, with lots of local and American dishes to choose from, but since we weren't very hungry we were happy with the free bags of popcorn they gave us. Even though it's a really big pub with five different sections (there's one entrance on St. Peter Street and another one on Bourbon Street) it can get pretty crowded at night so it's not a bad idea to show up early in the evening, especially if you plan on having dinner there. I thought the crowd was lively but still well behaved, which makes it a good place to go if you're looking for something a bit more mellow than what you usually get on Bourbon Street.
pat o' briens is one of the most visited bars in the french quarter. during prohibition pat o' briens was a speakeasy. after the repeal of prohibition pat o' briens opened on st. peter street in 1933. pat o' briens is best known for it's rum cocktail "the hurricane" and it's dueling piano show. a fun place to drink in the french quarter.
Dress Code: casual
Another New Orleans' institution that seems to have escaped becoming an absolute tourist trap and even manages to exude a certain old world charm that beckons you back to a New Orleans of another era. Housed in a classic old NO building with wooden doors that lead to a foyer and then into a courtyard, the ambience is tough to beat. Though the outside seating looked to be most popular, we found the small (well, relative really, small compared to the rest of the complex) off of the foyer as soon as you enter to have the most cozy. The barman was dressed to the nines and treated us like we were too, even if we were both quite casually attired.
Dress Code: They do have food but most people come here to drink and even myself, a confirmed beer drinker opted for their world famous Hurricane. It was a nice tall drink and despite being a lot of ice it also contained a fair amount of rum as well. It's a sourish but quaffable drink and I could see getting into a lot of trouble if you drank as much as you might like. Actually, you would think they would be super expensive due to their notoriety but at $7 it was the cheapest drink I had while in the Quarter. Compared to the $8 beers at Crescent City Brewing, they were a bargain!
As it drizzled, we were anxious to find a dry place in which to take a break, so we gave a friendly nod to the smartly dressed doorman and entered a former carriageway which led to Pat 'OBrien's courtyard.
A little oasis in the city appeared with large trees edging a dining patio and a tropical looking garden on the fringes (pic #2). Fortunately, the courtyard's umbrella tables protected diners from the rain and no one seemed inclined to move to another part of the restaurant. A unique feature of this area was a flaming fountain--and you may have thought the only ones were in Dubai!
Pat O'Brien's has been in business since the early 1930's when it was a speakeasy. After prohibition it developed into a drinking establishment, developing an interesting adult concoction known as The Hurricane. However, we weren't there to imbibe, but to look around. After a short while, the weather repeated the pattern that it followed each day we were there--the rain ended after a brief shower, allowing us be on our way.
Hours are Mon.-Thurs. from 12n to 2am; Fri.-Sun. 10am-2am. Private events are welcome.
At one time or another - EVERYONE comes to Pat O's. There are three bars - the Main Bar, Courtyard Bar, and Piano Bar. My favorite is the Courtyard Bar, with the flaming fountain which is a lovely photo op at night. Snag a table and let the waiter bring you your drink of choice - there is a menu with photos and descriptions on the table. Then just sit and enjoy the ambiance and festive feeling that being in the French Quarter in New Orleans exudes. Pat O's is very popular year round, but insanely so at Mardi Gras, St. Patrick's Day, and Halloween.
Please note that this is a drinking establishment, and therefore you must be 21 years old to enter the premises. There is a small restaurant on the Bourbon Street side at which families can dine, but will not be allowed into the courtyard.
Dress Code: Casual - come as you are. Depending on time of year, you will see everything from tourists in t-shirts and shorts, to tuxedos and evening gowns on those coming from or going to Mardi Gras balls, weddings, theatre, etc.
Popular among tourists and locals alike this landmark institution in the French Quarter claims to be the home of the ever so popular libation called a hurricane. With several bars within the bar there is a different ambience for almost anyone. There's an outdoor setting around a lighted fountain, a standard bar and my favorite, the piano bar. Two pianists on stage entertain a crowd of locals and tourists with requested songs as well as piano bar staples. I've yet to make a song request that hasn't been performed. No entrance fee but you'll be seated and a drink order will be taken. Try the hurricane, a fruit punch like concoction packing a punch. There can sometimes be a wait for the piano bar so enjoy a drink across the passageway as you wait.
Dress Code: No particular dress code as in virtually any establishment on bourbon.
I'm not knocking Pat O'Brien's. It's an institution. And unless you have huge boobs or are best friends with the bartender have fun getting some attention on a weekend night.
We decided to go about 11pm on a Friday night....not a good idea. First of all it was sort of confusing where to go in haha. We walked back into the courtyard and found a dirty table. We waited probably 20 minutes for a waiter...I guess they don't do waiters at that time. However, I swear I saw a few waiting on big groups of people. Now, I don't really liked being starred at and this is the scene where the wolves are out checking out anything that walks so it was kind of uncomfortable for me. Needless to say, my friend felt the same way.
So, instead, we decided to go to the bar, order a quick hurricane (since I hadn't had one before) and be on our way. Well I stood at the bar for a good 10 minutes. Sure enough, I met a nice couple and some men who were teachers (like me and my friend) and had a great conversation. One of the men spoke up and got the bartender's attention. It took 5 minutes to "make" the hurricane although it was more of a cliche mix put into a Pat O'Brien's plastic cup. Regardless of the experience I did get plenty drunk. Hoorah for the positive!
Dress Code: Dress as you do for a night on the town...
Pat O's has several bars you can choose from. I opted this trip to head to the courtyard area. I was surprised that there were available seats. Post Katrina has impacted the number of tourists coming to the city, so you'll find that you usually have no problems getting seats at places you usually had to wait.
The waitresses and waiters were attentive and friendly. I am always amused by the cool fountain with the fire on top. I was glad to see that the Hurricane's were just as strong as I remembered. You can get a souvenir glass if you want for $3 more.
The price of a Hurricane is about $7 (you can get a souvenir glass if you want for $3 more). The price is not bad because the drink is full of alcohol. You totally get your money's worth.
Dress Code: You can wear pretty much anything.
Great bar with a beautiful open air courtyard and fountain in the middle. Restaurant and bar. Loacted in the heart of the french quarter. Lots of room, however very trendy and touristy, and often overcrowded. Fun to go with a group and get drinks. Took home some hurricane mix from here (their signature drink) and used it back in Baltimore when I went throught my first hurricane. Was the perfect drink for the hurricane party at my place!
Dress Code: Causal, or dress to impress
My parents and brother and I went to Pat O'Briens because it's my understanding it is a must see. However, I was not impressed at all! There were too many crowds and after waiting for some time we finally were seated at a table in the piano bar area. There was a strange old man who stood and tapped his fingers on a tin plate much to the crowds' pleasure. I found him more annoying and a distraction from the music of the pianos personally. But to be honest with you the piano music left MUCH to be desired and I would probably never care to go back.
Dress Code: Does dress code really matter in New Orleans?
It's been a few years since I've been to the Pat O's shown in the photo, but it's a memorable place to visit and I recommend it to anyone. Pat O's is most famous for its marquis drink the Hurricane, which is a concoction of rum and fruit and fruit juices. Tourists often buy the Hurricane glasses as memoribilia...mine's on display in the dining room!
Dress Code: Casual
If you are looking for the drink that defines Mardi Gras, most people would send you to Pat O'Briens.... also know as Patty O's or Pat O's or "That really good place to get a hurricane".
This location is right off of Bourbon street, and also has a shop associated with it, where you can purchase the hurricane mix for your own mardi gras parties!
Enjoy, but drink safely!
Pat O'briens is a great place to hang out day and night. Food is pretty good as well. Don't forget to try a Hurricane or another one of their fun drinks.
Dress Code: Seems anything goes. Then again, it was Halloween when I was there.
Home of the world famous Hurricane drink - you have your choice of the garden patio, the juke box room (kind of cramped as the evening goes on), or the dueling piano bar (a classic favorite).
Be sure to look for the little old man who "tap dances" on the tray with thimbles on his fingers. He's been there for at least the 20 years I've been frequenting this place, and he's in his 80s. He loves it!
He's as much an institution as this place itself.
Caution: if you order the "Rainbow" drink, do NOT stir it up. It tastes great just as they pour it out, but if you stir it, it somehow becomes diluted and the mix of alcohols is lethal!
Note: If you're more than 3 people, it's worth it to order the "MAGNUM" -which is a gigantic glass filled with Hurricane -you'll see a lot of people with Magnums out on the patio.
Pat O's stays open until 5:00 am...and you won't leave that place without a friendly bouncer handing you a "to go cup" - you get to keep your Pat O's glass, too!