New Orleans Dive Bar Guide

Patchwork of Neighborhood Dives

If there was ever a city made for history-steeped, authentic to the core dive bars, it has to be New Orleans. Few cities can match the confluence of cultural forces that exist within the city, forces that have left in their wake a patchwork of completely unique, true-to-their-neighborhood dive bars that makes visiting the city a new adventure time.

It’s hard to know where to begin, but one logical spot may be two New Orleans dives that are in the running for best dive bars in America, Jake & Snake’s Christmas Club Lounge and Vaughan’s Lounge. Both are far flung from the traditional tourist spots and both boast a history, a story and enough faded paint to build a brand new bar.

And it is the neighborhoods that create the experience in New Orleans, from the quasi-French Market hidden gems in the French Quarter (Aunt Tiki’s, The Abbey) to the supremely well-stocked Bywater (BJ's Lounge, Bar Redux) to a shotgun scattering of Garden District & Uptown selections (Out In The Cold, Ms. Mae’s The Club). Visiting the best dive bars in the city means visiting a host of New Orleans neighborhoods and any trip is better for it.

No, the tourists probably cannot be avoided (the Chart Room is a good way to try), given the magnet status of the city, but selections here provide a window into the parts of the city that aren’t tourist destinations but neighborhoods, dive bars serving decade after decade of New Orleans resident.

New Orleans Dive Bar Reviews

Ranked Order

Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Snake & Jake's Christmas Club Lounge

Pray for your eyes to adjust to the red lights and embrace the best dive bar in New Orleans.
Review Rating: 10 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Vaughan's Lounge

Faded paint, rusted roof, timeless history, Bywater location, a powerful dive bar confluence of forces.
Review Rating: 10 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Brothers III Lounge

The ceiling tiles sag, the walls look a little suspect, but canary yellow is a siren song on Magazine.
Review Rating: 10 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Mayfair Lounge

The bar’s interior feels like a Mardi Gras float exploded all over the ceiling, in a good way.
Review Rating: 10 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Out In The Cold

Despite the controversial addition of a sign, the buzz-me-in romance is still alive in the Irish Channel.
Review Rating: 9 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Chart Room

Cash only French Quarter refuge from the roaming tourists and bachelorette parties 24/7.
Review Rating: 9 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Bar Redux

The dive bar at the end of the world, kind of, between abandoned buildings on the edge of the Bywater.
Review Rating: 8 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Aunt Tiki's

More visual stimulation per square foot than your average dive bar, a needed French Market distraction.
Review Rating: 8 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Igor's Lounge & Gameroom

Play some pool, have a Bloody Mary and do your laundry all along St. Charles.
Review Rating: 8 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Le Bon Temps Roule

The original floors are worth the rating alone for this corner neighborhood spot.
Review Rating: 8 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

R Bar & Royal Street Inn

Ritzy hotel up top, $2 High Life in the dive bar below, the right kind of combination.
Review Rating: 8 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

The Abbey

A black hole that absorbs the glaring New Orleans sun, duck in-ready dive near the French Market.
Review Rating: 8 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Port of Call

Somehow the combination of tiki drinks, great hamburgers and uncommon baked potatoes works.
Review Rating: 8 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

BJ's Lounge

The wall art is best left to an in-person visit, the photo filled Bywater New Orleans dive.
Review Rating: 8 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop

Invaded by a frozen purple drink, but still the dimly-lit, very much blacksmith-feeling Bourbon king.
Review Rating: 8 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Corporation Bar

Cinder blocks near the convention center, the perfect place to skip a seminar or two.
Review Rating: 7 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Cooter Brown's

Because sculptures of celebrities drinking Little Kings is worth the trip along the Mississippi.
Review Rating: 7 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Parasol's

There may be no better neighborhood dive bar slash po boy one-two punch in the city.
Review Rating: 7 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Molly's At The Market

Because sometimes people need a beer more than they need a pile of beignets.
Review Rating: 7 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

J&J's Sports Lounge

Where there’s a Blatz sign above the door and a Pabst sign in the Bywater window.
Review Rating: 7 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Black Penny

Renovated but in a way that accentuates the building on the edge of the French Quarter.
Review Rating: 7 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Pirate's Alley Cafe

It’s an alley, it’s cobblestone, it’s got a pirate theme, it’s near the French Quarter, it’s everything.
Review Rating: 7 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Vic's Kangaroo Cafe

Like a worldly, hole-in-the-wall coffee shop decided to start selling cold beer instead.
Review Rating: 6 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Ms. Mae's The Club

Uptown classic that has since gotten a facelift and a few coats of paint to save it from extinction.
Review Rating: 6 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Redd's Uptilly Tavern

Because you’re either a student at Tulane or you want to drink just like one.
Review Rating: 6 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Buffa's Bar & Restaurant

Renovated to remove the dive distinction, now home to live music steps from the French Quarter.
Review Rating: 6 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

3rd Rock Tavern

Blacked out windows and cheap drinks for those near the New Orleans airport.
Review Rating: 5 of 10

New Orleans Neighborhood Crawls

The Bywater

Bier Stube - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior
The perfect dive bar neighborhood on the edge of the New Orleans map.

French Quarter

Beck Tavern - Columbus Dive Bar - Interior
A worthwhile hunt for dive bar authenticity among the tourists.

Magazine St / Uptown

Mickey's Dive Bar Columbus
One of the main arteries of the city with some of the main dives too.

Carrollton

Bier Stube - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior
Deep history where the street cars start to stop.

New Orleans Dive Bars Not Yet Reviewed

Must Visit Recommendations

Unfortunately, we have not yet been to every single dive bar in the city, but there probably a few more punch cards on our livers, so we’ll make it there soon. In the meantime, the curated list of dives below comes highly recommended by a variety of friends, online sources and drunks.

French Quarter

Toulouse Dive Bar

738 Toulouse St
New Orleans, LA 70130
Google Map

Lower Garden District

The Saint

961 St Mary St
New Orleans, LA 70130
Google Map

St. Claude

Saturn Bar

3067 St Claude Ave
New Orleans, LA 70117
Google Map

Other Dive Bar Options

Reader Submitted

Candlelight Lounge

925 N Robertson St
New Orleans, LA 70116
Google Map

Reader Submitted

Pal's Lounge

949 N Rendon
New Orleans, LA 70119
Google Map

Reader Submitted

Parkview Tavern

910 N Carrollton Ave
New Orleans, LA 70119
Google Map

What Did We Miss?

6 + 6 =

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