5 Great Blocks for Food, Drink & Live Music

By Matt Marsiglia, NOLA Brew Bus Founder
March 17, 2017

New Orleans is known for her live music. 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Pretty much any hour of the day, you can find some type of live music in the city.

But let’s take a step off the well-traveled Bourbon St where you will find live music at every corner bar for a half mile straight.

Let’s also leave the friendly confines of Frenchmen St, another famous street for live music that is on the verge of overtaking Bourbon St. as the “must see attraction” in New Orleans.

Alas, despite a majority of our vacationers keeping the party within the limitations of these two famous streets, we want to take you to a road less traveled by revelers. Places that are insanely popular to locals, but you may miss the mark during your NOLA travels.We certainly understand why though:

We certainly understand why though:

With hundreds of live music, food, and drink options within walking distance from your bed, why take the time to leave?  Plus, it sure does seem like a lot of work, huh?

In the age of the smart phone, we now have information coming at us in warp speed pulling us in a hundred different directions. Let us answer all your questions. Sit back, relax, and find your way to the rhythms of the city outside your usual tourists destinations.

The List

 Music, Gasa Gasa, 4920 Freret St.

Tucked away onto the active Freret St, this is one of the smallest venues in New Orleans that brings in big name artists. The art, décor and atmosphere are all top notch at this venue. The sound system is also really nice, almost too loud if that’s even possible.

Gasa Gasa

The drink prices are very fair. This could be one of the more underrated music venues in the city simply based on size alone.

The quality of music they bring to the table makes for one of the more intimate shows you will find.

What to eat & drink?

Freret Street is virtually 100% local, and it’s loaded with food and booze options.

Within walking distance, grab a cup of coffee at Mojo Coffee Roasters, a bad-ass sandwich and craft beer at Wayfare, or grab two of the best burgers in the city at either Company Burger or The High Hat Café.

This recently gentrified 6-block portion of Freret is a smaller scale version of the famous Magazine St.

Company Burger

 

 

How to get there?

 

Hop on a St. Charles streetcar at the corner of Canal and Carondelet  and get off at Robert St, then walk 10-15 minutes, .7 miles, lakeside (north) to Freret St

 

Or, Uber:


Music Tipitina’s, 501 Napoleon Avenue

 

 

Tipitinas

Quite possibly one of the most famous music venues in New Orleans is Tipitina’s, also known as Tips to the locals. This spot nestled on the corner of Tchoupitoulas and Napoleon has been hosting live music since 1977.

 

Tipitina’s has been a great stepping stone for many famous Jazz Fest artists. Expect some serious jam sessions inside. A few of our favorite regular local artists play here consistently:  Dumpstaphunk, Lettuce, Flow Tribe & Galactic.

 

Tickets generally sell out for big shows such as Anders Osborne, and there is almost always a line at the door. Once inside though, this two-story venue will capture your heart from Day 1. This is a must visit venue to scratch off your bucket list.

What to eat and drink?

 The even better news about this night trip to Tips? The food and drink options. You are right smack in the middle of Uptown.

Walk to world class restaurants, Shaya or La Petit Grocery (the best burger in the city). Hang low at the #BrewBusJam Bronx Bar for $5 pint and slice or $6 for a craft beer option.

Shaya

If you want something in between world class and dive bar, check out Nirvana for great Indian food (the $10 Sunday buffet is an awesome deal), or head over to Del Fuego for some of the best Mexican and Margaritas in the city.

The options are unlimited in this area.

 

Del Fugeo, a hip little taqueria near the end of Magazine st. Tacos? Got’em, with weekly selections. Tequila? Plenty, with flights. Craft beer? Abita, Nola & Parish. Indoor & outdoor dining? Check. Weekly specials? Yes, $3 taco Tuesday and others. Happy hour? Of course. Also, if you purchase one of their tumblers you can get it refilled at happy hour prices any day at any time. Happy hour 3pm-7pm Mon-Fri. $6 Juan dailys (tequila drink), sangrias, and margaritas. $2.50 Tecate or Presidente. 3 salsas for $3. Currently enjoying 3 salsas, a margarita, and cheese. #brewbushappyhour #happyhournola #drinkingnola #nolanights #tequila #parishenvie #abita #nola #delfuego #margarita #sangria #salsa #tacos #followyournola #showmeyournola #tacosnola #taqueria #taquerianola #comidaybebida #eatanddrink

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From a drinking perspective, Ms. Mae’s is probably another bucket list item if you are a dive bar fan. One of the most eclectic dive bars in the city and also the place with the cheapest drinks. $2 wells daily. $3 craft beers, and Thirsty Thursday is pretty dangerous, doubles for the price of singles.

The Club Ms. Maes

Brothers III, Tchoup 45, Igor’s and Le Bon Temps are other walkable dive bars. We can’t think of a better way to spend vacation then dinner at Shaya, four dive bars, then a jam session at Tips.

  How to get there?

Take the Magazine St. bus  to Napoleon St. then walk riverside (south) 4 blocks

Uber for $11 bucks.


Music Maple Leaf Bar, 8316 Oak St.

Oak St., home to the most underrated festival street parties in the city, the Wednesday before week 2 of Jazz Fest in May.  This street is also home to one of the most famous live music venues in the city, Maple Leaf Bar

We would be remiss not to mention Maple Leaf and the Rebirth Brass Band’s weekly show every Tuesday. The show is two-sets long, each set one-hour in length. Every show starts at 11PM sharp.

The secret is definitely out about this night, but the entire secret is not lost.

Stick around for the second set for a crowd about half the size as a majority of the vacationers go back to rest up for another day of partying after set one.

Locals, show up at midnight and enjoy the intimate weekly show with one of the most well respected Brass musicians in New Orleans, Rebirth Brass Band.

In addition to Rebirth, Maple Leaf hosts music 7 nights a week starting at 10PM most nights. In between sets, grab a beer and head to the courtyard in the back for some fresh air.

Check out some of our Spectacles footage of Rebirth jamming out one Tuesday night with the Brew Bus krewe:

What to eat and drink?

Very similar to Freret St. this 6-block area is great for food, drinks, and music. For a cup of Joe, check out Zotz (open 7am-1am) and Rue De La Course, two of the cooler coffee shops in the city.

 

Ale on Oak is serving up all your craft beer needs. Mellow Mushroom if you want a quick pizza & brew—they also sponsor weekly events.

Mellow Mushroom

For a really good meal before the event, head next door to Jacques-Imo’s, whose slogan is “Warm Beer, Lousy Food, Poor Service.” Be sure to try the Alligator Cheesecake. Trust us. Be prepared to wait or they do accept reservations if you have a big party. Plenty of spillover eats & drinks if you are getting hangry.

Jacques Imos Alligator Cheesecake

How to get there?

 

This is not the easiest trek to make as it’s the opposite spot of the French Quarter. We recommend an Uber or Lyft, but a fun day trip would be to make your own Street Car Pub Crawl. Start at Carondelet and Canal at the edge of the French Quarter. Exit Avenue Pub, beer. Then,  The Delachaise, beer or cocktail. Third, end at Cooter Brown’s for a craft beer & food. Finally, a five block walk to Oak St. That would be a pretty fun day & night.

 

 

 


Music Republic NOLA, 828 S. Peters St

Republic NOLA

For all the House music fans out there, Republic & Metro are your two spots to find all the hottest artists from around the globe. House music festivals have been popping up all across the United States in the past 5 years and New Orleans has joined the scene with Buku Fest and now these two venues hosting elite artists.

 

When you think of the word intimate, you may think small, cozy, not loud. Quite the opposite actually for this venue. Small yes, but cozy and not loud, no. The difference that separates Republic from house music venues from across the country is the size of the venue.

 

Republic is tiny. An artist like Marshmello can pull 30,000 fans in almost any city in the world! At Republic, you can get a front row ticket for $50 and showing up when the doors open.  And watch the show with less than 1,000 people.

Republic NOLA

Metro is more of a “club” atmosphere as it’s about three times the size of Republic. They also have more options for table and VIP services. Big name artists play here as well, but the Republic is the  best option from our experience.

 

House music is the most popular music in the world, and having a major label artist play in a small venue is the equivalent of transitioning a sold-out show at the Smoothie King Center (15k capacity where the NBA’s Pelicans play) into a venue a fraction of its size.

New Orleans has its own music vibe and while house music may not be a part of it, it’s great to see our around-the-world vacationers who do love the electronic beats satisfy their earbuds.

What to eat and drink?

For starters, you are in the most expensive place to live in the city, so there will be no shortage of food and beverage options. Literally within 2 blocks, you will find some of the best food in the city.

We recommend Cochon Butcher for some of the best cured meats and sandwiches. Wood, Pizza is a great, affordable spot for delicious appetizers, pizzas, and tons of local craft beer on tap. Rock-n-Sake is one of the more popular sushi places in the city. They also play house music loudly on weekend nights. The atmosphere is a fun pre-game for a show.

Cochon Butcher

Regardless, whatever you choose, you can walk to find food & booze anywhere near Republic.

 How to get there?

You can walk from the French Quarter if the weather is nice. An Uber is less than $7 bucks though.


Music The Hi-Ho Lounge, 2239 St. Claude Avenue

 

The Hi Ho Lounge

A local’s hangout off the bustling St. Claude Ave., you will find an eclectic mix of Bywater hipsters, Uptown college kids, and a few roaming tourists who have done their homework. This

What to eat and drink?

Lucky for you, Hi-Ho Lounge has outsourced Fry & Pie for all your food needs. Fry & Pie has some of the best fries in the city. They are open late and you get to hangout in the artistic courtyard.

There’s also Kebab, one block away, which is a really underrated Middle Eastern restaurant open until 11PM.

St. Roch Market, an open air market home to many eateries t is your perfect spot to day drink and eat some small bites. It does close at 10PM so feel free to grab dinner too at the one of multiple pop-ups inside.

St. Roch Market

Siberia next door to Hi-Ho also has live music almost nightly and serves really good Slavic food. Speaking of Siberia, for drinks, you are also in luck, as Hi-Ho Lounge and Siberia are home to two of the four bars located at the corner of St. Claude & Marigny St. There other two bars are Kajun’s and AllWays Lounge.

Siberia

Kajun’s is the best karaoke bar in the city, 7 nights a week, also open 24 hours a day while AllWays also hosts live music. From a live music standpoint, you can’t go wrong with this entire four-corner area.

How to get there?

You can walk although we would recommend an Uber or Lyft. There’s also a new streetcar line off St. Claude you can take as well. Given the proximity to Frenchmen and the French Quarter, a simple Uber would be your best bet.

Conclusion:

New Orleans, home to thousands of bars, restaurants, and live music venues. It’s easy to walk outside your hotel, and find a comfortable spot in Bourbon or Frenchmen St.

But, don’t forget about the rest of what our city offers! Take away those two streets, and you are still vacationing in a world class city.

So, grab an Uber, a streetcar, bus, or car, and explore New Orleans like a local!