The Best Places to Drink Wine in New Orleans

New Orleans may be synonymous with dive bars, jazz haunts, craft cocktails and Bourbon Street debauchery, but the city’s also home to an under-praised, especially strong wine game that’ll turn on the most discerning of drinkers. As wine trends continue to veer toward natural, grower-producers and reemerging enclaves like Beaujolais and Jura in the most cosmopolitan of American cities, NOLA’s own small army of wine geeks is keeping pace. — Amy C. Collins

  • 1

    N7

    Named for the meandering French highway that snakes south from Paris to the coast, N7 lies tucked behind a six-foot-tall wooden fence in the St. Claude neighborhood with discreet signage that’s intentionally easy to miss. The small-plate menu is a nod to French roadside fare (specializing in imported tins of seafood, natural wine and zero self-promotion), and the covered patio and rustic Left Bank Parisian decor might make you forget where you are.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • natural wine
    • outdoors/patio
  • 2

    Doris Metropolitan

    Doris flies somewhat under the radar in New Orleans, but is on the lips of everyone who is interested in the city’s most fashionable spot for dry-aged steaks and esoteric cocktails. A giant, horseshoe-shaped bar anchors the restaurant, and liquor bottles are suspended overhead as if magically levitating. The walls are lined floor-to-ceiling with bottles of wine, lying end-to-end like a bacchanalian daisy chain: Sommelier Buck Williams has built out the 900-bottle list beyond the expected. There’s plenty of grower Champagne, cult Rhône producers and Loire Valley gems, plus a selection of Burgundy and Cru Beaujolais in ...

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    KNOWN FOR

    • full menu
    • craft cocktails
    • good wine
    • Champagne
    • vintage wine
  • 3

    Bacchanal

    New Orleans’ famous backyard party began as much as a haven for budding wine geeks as a live music, under-the-radar bacchanalia. Prices reflect the DIY experience (the “list” is literally a retail shop where you pull your own from the shelf) with a mix of good values and allocated treasures for the savvy drinker. Rosé reigns supreme here, and their pink selection is easily the largest and best in town.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • live music
    • outdoor / patio
    • good wine
    • natural wine
    • craft cocktails
    • bar food
    • day drinking
    • low wine markups
  • 4

    Shaya

    James Beard Award-winner Alon Shaya pays homage to his roots with a modern take on Israeli cuisine. While the incomparably smooth hummus and pita made in a wood-burning oven are must-haves, equally impressive is the succinct, well-matched list of Middle Eastern- and Mediterranean-focused treasures from quality producers, such as Château Musar, Château Pradeaux and Occhipinti.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • full menu
    • outdoor/patio
  • 5

    Commander’s Palace

    One of New Orleans’ oldest and most revered establishments (complete with strict dress code) is also home to an extensive multi-vintage selection of superstars from across the globe compiled by wine director Dan Davis. Here, you’ll find notable producers representing every major region, from big boys like Vega Sicilia and Ornellaia to cult labels like Grange de Peres and Lopez de Heredia, often in magnum, older vintages or both.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • full menu
    • historic
    • Champagne
    • vintage wine
  • 6

    Brennan’s

    Another New Orleans classic from the Brennan family (also the minds behind Commander’s Palace) with a heavy list and charming French Quarter courtyard dining. Classic Creole cuisine meets modern New Orleans fare in an eight-dining room venue that celebrates the city’s historic, grand style. Former New York sommelier Joe Billesbach has built an impressive list of both expected players and outliers, categorized by region and grape in the U.S., in Europe by region, and for Burgundy, by village and cru.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • historic
    • full menu
    • bar food
    • Champagne
    • vintage wine
    • outdoors/patio
  • 7

    Paladar 511

    Located in a 1907 building that once housed a sock factory in the Marigny, one block from the levee, a Mediterranean-influenced menu focuses on seasonal, locally sourced produce and housemade pizzas. The atmosphere is casual-cool with an equally matched if small French- and Italian-focused list of cult favorites at fair prices.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • full menu
    • low wine markups
  • 8

    Keife & Co.

    John Keife and team run this retail shop with a clear point of view, specializing in terroir-driven, minimally handled small-production wines from the most revered producers across the globe. A specialty foods section mirrors that ethos with charcuterie and artisanal cheeses sliced to order. There’s no drinking on site, but it’s well worth swinging by to stock your home bar. 

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    KNOWN FOR

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