Crowded, crazy Bourbon Street isn’t the only place to find a party in New Orleans; a few streets over lies Frenchmen Street, a home to great music, food, and people watching. While tourists do come to Frenchmen Street, it’s far more local-friendly than Bourbon Street, and is well worth your attention. This itinerary will tell you which spots to hit, and which order to do it in.
Photo Courtesy: @mitchredeye
Start things off at the edge of Frenchmen Street, where you will hit the Louisiana Music Factory. This indie shop is home to a full floor of records, CDs, and DVDs, but what you’re really here for is the curation of local Louisiana music, including swamp pop, cajun, and Southern soul. Do note that the LMF is only open until 8pm, so be sure to start here if browsing some LPs is a priority.
Live music performances
Photo Courtesy: @ananunes70
Past Decatur and Chartres is where you’ll find the best jazz clubs, starting with Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro, located between Chartres and Royal. The vibe here is more upscale than most, with a dining room, bar, and jazz club located across a three-room property dating to the 1800s. Jazz shows go on at 8pm and 10pm, and you’re expected to mind your manners — all phones must be silenced and you’ll be asked not to speak during the performance. As far as drinks go, this isn’t the type of place to grab a hurricane, a glass of wine is the move. Delectable Cajun cooking is also on offer, making it the perfect place to fill up before a night of heavy drinking.
Baked potato, burger, fish Marigny, BBQ shrimp, fried chicken sandwich
Photo Courtesy: d.b.a.
For a change of pace, head to d.b.a, which spotlights local and regional acts in a cozy but cool pub environment. Here you’ll find one of the area’s best beer and whiskey lists, as well as a lengthy cocktail menu (beware, the bartenders tend to pour heavy). Do note that there’s a cover charge on most nights, but it’s hardly ever over $10.
Gnarley Barley Jucifer IPA, NOLA Jurrican Saison, Crispin Original Cider
Photo Courtesy: PM
Across the street from Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro and d.b.a is the Palace Market Frenchmen. If you need a break from jazz and drinks, this is the place to find it. Home to 38 nightly booths, local artists sell their wares, including paintings, jewelry, clothing, and crafts. Lined with tea lights and entirely outdoors, it’s a pleasant change of scenery.
Photo Courtesy: marcvillerephotos
After shopping, go check out some of the best musical acts in the city at The Spotted Cat. Here you’ll find traditional and modern jazz, blues, and funk performances. The acts are typically local, and the drinks are strong (be sure to have cash on hand; cards aren’t accepted). It’s an ideal mid-night stop, after you’ve had a couple drinks and are ready to dance.
Photo Courtesy: @rocky_mountain_oyster_poboy
The Golden Lantern isn’t technically on Frenchmen Street, it’s around the block on Royal, but it’s well worth the detour. This cozy gay bar is famous for dollar jello shots, spicy bloody marys, and potent drinks, all of which are “local-priced”. But what you’re really here for is the drag show — the queens make their way through the crowd, leap into splits, and serve some sickening looks that rival the stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Be warned: just like at The Spotted Cat, cards aren’t accepted, and you’ll want to have some extra bills for tipping the ladies.
Bloody Mary, jello shots
Photo Courtesy: datdogus
Before turning in for the night, soak up the booze by walking back towards the middle of Frenchman Street to Dat Dog. The food here is far tastier than it needs to be at a late-night spot, with everything from classic bratwursts to alligator sausages to spicy chipotle veggie dogs on offer. (Cheddar bacon ranch fries, blue-cheese-topped burgers, and milkshakes round out the menu.) Dig in, relax, and enjoy the kitschy decor; yes, that is a six-armed Chewbacca on the wall.
Sea Dog, crawfish etouffee topping, alligator sausage, Polish sausage, fries
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