The Best Outdoor Drinking in New Orleans

With sub-tropical temperatures and ample amounts of sunshine, New Orleans was made for outdoor drinking. New Orleanians take full advantage of this, and have figured out ways to incorporate patios, porches, alcoves and courtyards into just about every bar in the city. Those that truly shine create the kind of transcendent experience that can come from baking in the sun—a drink close by—whether surrounded by lush tropical plants or stationed near a streetcar whilst donning your best seersucker. —Sarah Baird

  • 1

    Avenue Pub

    This bar's structure dates back to the mid-18th century, and has a large second floor balcony that overlooks passersby and Mardi Gras parades come February. Avenue Pub boasts the city’s largest collection of beers—local, oddball, classic—and a very large list of whiskies. Recently smoke-free and open 24 hours, it's an ideal place to jump-start or round-out your evening with a craft brew.    

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    KNOWN FOR

    • cheap date
    • full menu
    • craft beer
    • day drinking
    • sports
    • outdoor / patio
    • lots of whiskey
  • 2

    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
  • 3

    The Delachaise

    The Delachaise’s tiny patio on St. Charles Avenue doesn’t seem like much at first glance, but its ability to catalyze a night of liquor-fueled merriment is legendary. (No wonder it’s always packed.) The restaurant’s wine selection leans on France, and a menu full of duck fat fries and hangar steaks make for the perfect drinking food.    

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    KNOWN FOR

    • full menu
    • craft beer
    • craft cocktails
    • good wine
    • outdoor / patio
  • 4

    Pat O'Brien's

    Most of the Hurricane’s origin stories point to Pat O’Brien’s in the 1940s, an while there's some evidence to refute the claim, it's still the drink's spiritual home, for better or worse. Today, the legendary French Quarter bar is routinely packed with belligerently drunk tourists sipping overly sweet versions of the classic tiki drink. Still, there's no denying that there is something charming about relaxing in Pat O’s massive French Quarter courtyard, sipping something red and sweet next to the famous “flaming fountain."

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    KNOWN FOR

    • day drinking
    • historic
    • outdoor / patio
    • lots of rum
  • 5

    The Rusty Nail

    Bars full of polo shirts and sports gear aren’t usually promising places to drink, but there’s more to The Rusty Nail—a little wood-sided bar tucked almost directly under the interstate in the Lower Garden District—than originally meets the eye. The bar’s owner is a scotch fanatic and the bar is stocked with a solid collection of craft beer and a giant outdoor space. It's also New Orleans unofficial Alabama bar, so come Saturdays, it's "roll tide" or bust.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • day drinking
    • craft beer
    • sports
    • singles scene
    • outdoor / patio
  • 6

    St. Joe's

    St. Joe's is rife with not-so-subtle religious overtones, with brightly painted church pews making up a good deal of seating in the ample outdoor drinking space. Inside, overhead are a dozen glowing red paper lanterns, under which you can order St. Joe's famous Mojitos (blueberry, in particular) or one of a strangely expansive selection of ciders and ales. The bar is named for the Sicilian saint venerated by the city's late-19th-century Sicilian immigrants, and whose lore is deeply ingrained in New Orleanean superstition.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • day drinking
    • sports
    • singles scene
    • outdoors / patio
    • jukebox
    • games
  • 7

    The Columns

    A stately mansion that largely resembles Tara from Gone with the Wind, the Columns Hotel is where frat guys bring their parents to brunch and first dates to drink. The massive front patio lined with wrought-iron chairs attracts people looking for a spot to experience a bit of old New Orleans charm, watching the streetcar roll by under the shade of live oaks.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • full menu
    • outdoor / patio
    • hotel bar
    • live music
  • 8

    Treo

    Tulane Avenue is a bold location for a restaurant opening, but trailblazer Treo has been fearless in commitment to their new home. It plays as a restaurant, but is actually more a cocktail bar with a range of small plates to accompany the excellent drinks. In addition to an upstairs gallery space and sizeable menu of Irish-inspired small plates, Treo has one of the biggest secret courtyards in the city.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • cheap date
    • full menu
    • outdoor / patio
    • oysters / raw bar

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  • bmoskowitz

    I would add both Sylvain and Cane and Table to this list. Both are excellent French Quarter cocktail bars with nice courtyards. And both serve great food too.

    And, of course, the best way to outdoor drink in New Orleans is to request a “go-cup” and stroll the beautiful streets.

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