The Best Craft Cocktail Bars in New Orleans

New Orleans is—if you ask a local—the birthplace of the cocktail, so the city’s sea of alarmingly stellar cocktail joints is more a birthright and less a statistical abnormality. While many crème de la crème spots have made national waves or are home to fawned-over bartenders, others are cranking out fanciful cocktails while hiding in plain sight. —Sarah Baird

  • 1

    Barrel Proof

    Boasting the finest selection of whiskey, bourbon and rye in the city, Barrel Proof is a nerd’s paradise. A number of international and imported options will keep even the most learned whiskey lover guessing, and the beer selection is equally spot-on. While there are no cocktails on the menu, the highly talented bar staff will be able to whip up any sort of dark liquor concoction your heart desires.  

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    KNOWN FOR

    • cheap date
    • craft beer
    • sports
    • lots of whiskey
  • 2

    Bar Tonique

    Bar Tonique is the kind of secret, golden spot that teeters along the edge of neighborhood bar and craft cocktail paradise. The tiny space on the outer edge of the French Quarter is a perfectly tuned paradox, with video poker machines and a leather-bound menu full of nuanced cocktails coexisting happily.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • cheap date
    • craft beer
    • lots of whiskey
  • 3

    Beachbum Berry's Latitude 29

    Jeff "Beachbum" Berry's much ballyhooed tiki Mecca lives up to its hype and then some, with scholarly concoctions that straddle the past and present of tiki culture with graceful ease.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • tiki
    • full menu
    • lots of rum
    • craft cocktails
    • hotel bar
  • 4

    Cane & Table

    Located on what just might become New Orleans’ first tiki Main Street, Cane & Table is the kind of Hemingway-approved bar that feels simultaneously English colonial and exotic. The menu focuses on “proto-tiki” creations that pay homage to the tiki drinks of old with refined, updated flavors.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • tiki
    • craft cocktails
    • full menu
    • lots of tequila
    • lots of mezcal
  • 5

    Cure

    The bar that’s largely credited with sparking New Orleans’ craft cocktail renaissance, Cure has turned its Freret Street home into a hot bed of food and drink options. The ivy-lined patio, soaring shelves full of top-flight liquor and a “see and be seen” crowd still places this bar at the top of this list for an urbane night out on the town. The drinks are consistently stellar, with the menu rotating seasonally.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • bar food
    • craft beer
    • outdoor / patio
  • 6

    Empire Bar at Broussard's

    Paul Gustings is something of a New Orleans legend, not only for his masterful drink-making skills, but also for his take-no-guff personality. Paul's vision for Empire Bar is both accessible and inspired, with new inventions and classics living happily side-by-side in a hallowed space.  

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    KNOWN FOR

    • historic
    • craft cocktails
    • outdoor / patio
    • bar food
  • 7

    French 75

    People journey to French 75 for one reason—to see celebrated bartender Chris Hannah work his magic. (The lounging, 1940s vibe and animal print seating doesn’t hurt, either.) Part of the larger Arnaud’s empire, French 75 is the kind of refined, glitzy bar that seems to be quickly fading from this world. The place's commitment to classic drinks executed to perfection rivals anywhere else in the country (or universe).

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • bar food
    • historic
  • 8

    Loa

    With enough paisley-embossed velvet floor pillows and drippy, sensual lighting to make even the least romantic person swoon, Loa was a cocktail bar before New Orleans had a solid modern craft cocktail scene. Located inside the International House Hotel, Loa’s commitment to using fresh herbs in their drinks is the bar's calling card.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • hotel bar
  • 9

    Root Squared

    Located above the high-concept tasting menu spot Square Root, Root Squared is refined—yet relaxed—with plenty of leather couches for sipping and lounging. The cocktails are experimental and electric, with everything from tea infusions to flambéed fruit.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • craft beer
    • full menu
  • 10

    Twelve Mile Limit

    While the surrounding environs don’t look like much, Twelve Mile Limit draws in cocktail lovers and beer drinkers like moths to a boozy flame. The bar delivers the best cocktail bang-per-buck in the city, with a laid back atmosphere that caters to crowds shooting pool or watching the latest episode of Mad Men.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • cheap date
    • craft beer
    • sports
    • games
    • singles scene
    • outdoors / patio

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