If you’re visiting New Orleans, soaking up the spectacular nightlife the city offers is an absolute must. The Crescent City, as it’s fondly known, offers an eclectic mix of places to visit once the sun goes down. From nightclubs to dive bars to jazz lounges, New Orleans nightlife caters to every visitor.
Before you decide to spend all your time after dark on Bourbon Street be sure to use our guide to the nightlife scene in New Orleans. To make the guide even more useful, we’ve divided the best New Orleans nightlife selections by neighborhood.
This rustic warehouse space is the ideal spot to visit for Cajun dancing and live music. It began as a juke joint in 1977 when a group of music fans sought to provide a place for Professor Longhair to perform in his final years. Named for one of Longhair’s most enigmatic recordings, “Tipitina,” the venue holds up to 1,000 people. However, it still has an intimate feel. This world-famous music venue hosts local musicians like Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas as well as national hitmakers like the Goo Goo Dolls, Buddy Guy, Bonnie Raitt, Wilco, and others.
The Maple Leaf is another excellent music joint in Uptown New Orleans. This venue, however, focuses solely on local musicians. As a result, it’s a great place to go for New Orleans nightlife when you’re looking for some of the best funk and jazz acts the city has to offer. Even better, patrons can count on live music seven nights a week. The Maple Leaf is a casual spot and has a bit of a dive bar vibe. But it’s definitely one of the best places to experience an authentic New Orleans night out.
Head to the Republic in the Warehouse District of New Orleans to enjoy a stylish mix of industrial and modern décor. This open space combines vintage brick walls, elegant chandeliers, and exposed wooden beams creating a unique vibe. The concept lends itself perfectly to dancing—which is why Republic is one of the best dance clubs in New Orleans. Republic also hosts bands and other musical acts, so be sure to check their calendar before you go.
The Metropolitan Nightclub
For a classic nightclub experience, you can’t beat The Metropolitan Nightclub. This vast, two-story club is the place to be on Saturday nights when you want to shake your groove thang. With 11 bar stations, smoke machines, and strobe lights as well as rooms catering to techno music fans well as hip-hop and rock, this club aims to please a wide variety of visitors. And, we guarantee this party atmosphere will not disappoint.
Chickie Wah Wah
If you want to chill out but still have a good time, Chickie Wah Wah is for you. This friendly club is really more of a local hangout, which is fantastic if you’re the type of visitor who prefers hidden gems over more well-known haunts. And, while the vibe is laidback that doesn’t mean the live music doesn’t get everyone on the dance floor! The venue often has two musicians play nightly and there often cheap drink specials during happy hour.
The Spotted Cat
The Spotted Cat is the quintessential jazz club in New Orleans. It has a relaxed atmosphere, one where you can lounge on couches, sip a cocktail, and enjoy a mellow vibe. As such, this is not where you go to party rock. But, it is where to go when you’re looking for a more mature yet classic New Orleans nightlife scene. Music offerings range from jazz to swing to blues. And, while the music may change, there’s typically never a cover charge—just a one-drink minimum.
Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro
A visit to Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro is a real treat. This musical institution is an excellent place to hear the city’s first families of jazz, from the Neville’s to Marsalis’. This classy yet comfortable bistro attracts a mature crowd. As such, stay away if you’re looking for a rowdy night out! At Snug, you can focus on the live jazz music, sip on a handcrafted cocktail, and not worry about standing room only problems as there’s plenty of seating. In addition, you can dine on a savory steak or juicy burger at Snug Harbor. With that in mind, you can count on spending your entire evening here if you’d like!
Another Marigny hot spot for New Orleans nightlife is The Maison. This upbeat music club plays hosts to a diverse line-up of jazz musicians on three different stages. In addition, this Frenchman Street music hall is a fun place to dance the night away. I mean, those jazzy grooves are for more than just listening! The Maison is a unique venue in that the dining area directly faces the front stage. As a result, you can eat, drink, and watch a show all at once. Talk about a triple threat!
As you can see, there’s no shortage of nightlife options in the Marigny District. Another favorite is D.B.A. Located in the heart of the Frenchman Street music district, this New Orleans nightlife hot spot is hip yet not trendy. And, it caters to a respectable crowd so it’s a great spot to go to avoid the riff-raff that other bars can attract. In addition, D.B.A. plays host to a variety of live jazz bands and musicians, many of which are local. There is also an extensive selection of beers on tap ad the bar menu offers an assortment of top-notch items as well.
This historic jazz hall, with a location just steps away from Bourbon Street, is known to attract a crowd. Accordingly, admission is on a first-come, first-served basis. And, it’ll cost $20 to get in. Keep in mind, you can reserve your Preservation Hall admission for around $40. As seating is limited, do plan on standing for most of your time here unless you arrive super early. The old school vibe and one-of-a-kind jazz musicians who perform here make the cost and lack of seating more than worth it, though.
House of Blues
You might hear the name House of Blues and think “A chain restaurant and bar? Really?” But, hear us out! This iconic blues venue truly is a gem of New Orleans. Featuring a large music hall, a VIP lounge (Foundation Room), and soul to spare, the House of Blues offers it all. The music stage puts you up-close to the performers and you can expect everyone from blues artists to national touring artists to performer here. In addition, the venue features almost 300 pieces of interesting folk art that creates that rootsy vibe of a backwoods, rustic hangout.
For a truly upscale New Orleans nightlife option, you can’t go wrong with the Davenport Lounge. With a location in the Ritz-Carlton, the atmosphere is, well, ritzy! Named for the lounge’s headliner, Jeremy Davenport, who is a renowned Jazz musician, one can dance and drink the night away in comfort at this classy establishment.
One Eyed Jacks
On the opposite end of the spectrum, you’ll find One Eyed Jacks. This hidden gem of New Orleans nightlife spot features an eclectic mix of acts ranging from burlesque to comedy to music. There are also fun theme nights like 80s Dance Nights that always attract a crowd. One Eyed Jacks, with its multiple bars, giant dance floor, and reasonably priced drinks, is definitely one of the best places to go for a good time in the French Quarter.
The Saturn Bar is a New Orleans institution. It’s also totally a dive bar—which is part of its charm! Owned and operated by the same family for more than 40 years, this St. Claude Avenue landmark has a quirky vibe, cold beer, and cheap cocktails. It also has a back room where live music performs and is home to the wildly popular “Mod Night,” a monthly DJ night that keeps the music spinning until sunrise.
Central Business District
Monteleone Hotel Carousel Bar
Does sipping drinks on a spinning carousel appeal to you? If so, there’s only one place to go in New Orleans and that’s Monteleone. Open since 1949, the carousel bar here is a long-time favorite of New Orleans visitors. With only 25 seats, this bright, circus-like Merry-Go-Round is a memorable place to get a drink while out on the town in The Big Easy. If you generally try to avoid spinning while drinking, though, not to worry. There are plenty of stationary seats at the Carousel Bar as well. And, with large windows overlooking Royal Street in the French Quarter, the hotel boasts fantastic views of New Orleans nightlife.
Where Will You Go for a Good Time in New Orleans?
As you can see, there are plenty of places to go for a good time in New Orleans. Do you have a favorite place we should know about? Be sure to tell us about it in the comments. And, take our advice: don’t try to conquer every bar on this list in one visit!