When in New Orleans, experiencing Bourbon Street nightlife is one of the top things you should have on your list. Surrounded by neon lights and loud music, in every corner of the street, you can see lots of people dancing, singing, and walking while holding and drinking from their “to go cups” outside.
Bar hopping is the most popular activity you can do on Bourbon Street. Most bars are open 24/7 to cater to all visitors, but it is best to spend your time there when the night falls.
To make the most of your visit, here are the bars you cannot miss if you want to experience the best nightlife in New Orleans.
1. Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop
Location: 941 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70116
The bar is said to be standing in the oldest building in the entire United States, built around the 17th century. The Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop is rich in history. According to some locals, it used to be a storehouse of Jean Lafitte, a privateer and a pirate.
It is also popular for people, both locals and tourists, who are interested in urban legends since the place is said to be visited by the ghost of Jean Lafitte.
At night, the only thing that brightens up the bar is candlelight. So if you prefer to drink in dim lights, take a trip to the past, and experience bizarre things, then this is a perfect spot for you to spend your Bourbon Street nightlife.
2. Cats Meow
Location: 701 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70116
Cats Meow has been popular with people who love karaoke. Built in the ’90s, this is the perfect place if you want to showcase your singing or have fun with the music as they have more than a thousand hit songs to choose from. Plus, you can also record your performance!
The bar is also a popular stop for some musicians or singers like Seal, “Weird Al” Yankovic, and Miley Cyrus. There’s a chance for you to catch them onstage singing or meet other celebs in the audience.
Cats Meow offers a three-for-one happy hour every day which goes from noon to eight in the evening.
3. Beach on Bourbon
Location: 227 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130
There’s a beach on Bourbon Street? Well, don’t take it literally. The Beach on Bourbon is not an actual beach but it can give you the same tropical vibe.
The bar features a water fountain at the entrance and boasts the largest dance floor among the other local bars. The place is quite large, as it can accommodate 50 to 600 guests.
If you prefer to party with your friends and not deal with the crowd, you can go to their VIP balcony section. Get ready for some games though, since the Beach on Bourbon is also popular in hosting sports games.
4. Bourbon Cowboy
Location: 241 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130
If you want to have a Mardi Gras experience all year round, then the Bourbon Cowboy is the bar you should not miss.
Are you familiar with mechanical bull-riding? Well, they have it available for your enjoyment here. Don’t be surprised to see lots of people, especially drunk ones, flying off this bull. Or if you are brave, you can try it yourself.
For those who are a fan of country, pop, and rock music, this is also the perfect place for you to hangout. To make it more perfect, you can buy their three-dollar tooters or pre-mixed shots inside the bar.
5. Tropical Isle
Location: 721 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70116
Want to try the world-famous Hand Grenade drink? You can have it here at Tropical Isle! It is the most powerful drink in New Orleans. Be careful if you are a light-weight drinker, though, as you might get knocked out easily!
The place gives you a great Caribbean vibe with its live music. It also has a live streaming webcam where you can show yourself around the world.
Indeed, Tropical Isle is the best option for an unforgettable nightlife. Just like what their tagline says, “Where the fun begins and memories last forever.”
6. The Swamp
Location: 516 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130
A buzzing club where you can enjoy a great Bourbon Street nightlife experience, The Swamp is designed with aged stucco walls with rustic brick, making it one of the newest landmarks of New Orleans.
It is quite big and can accommodate around 70 to 500 guests. Its main bar can serve as a live music venue, a sports bar, or a nightclub. It also has a balcony that gives a grand Mardi Gras experience and a great spot for an overlooking view of the entire Bourbon Street.
7. Spirits on Bourbon
Location: 615 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130
In the Spirits on Bourbon, you can get a chance to try their famous Resurrection drink while sitting on Edward’s Chair. It is a barber chair owned by one of the successful business owners in New Orleans, Edward DeBoire.
The management of the bar claimed that Edward’s spirit enjoys the place because of the presence of his chair. As part of visiting Spirits on Bourbon, most guests try their house drink while sitting on the chair. It is one of the coolest things you can do to enjoy your time on Bourbon.
8. Bourbon O
Location: 544 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Want to try more substantial and healthy drinks? Bourbon O is the place to visit. They serve an impressive quality whiskey and healthy cocktail drinks mixed with house-made ingredients and fresh citrus squeeze.
Though you may tend to pay more for drinks here compared to its neighboring bars, it is worth it. You can’t find any other drinks throughout Bourbon Street similar to what they offer. As the night falls, you might want to stay more, as they showcase live jazz music that starts at eight.
9. Funky 544
Location: 544 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Do you know Studio 54 in New York, a famous disco club? Well, you can have a similar vibe as you enjoy your nightlife in Funky 544.
For fans of rhythm and blues, this place offers a regular live music show as you dance the night away. Their sweet cocktails will surely give you all the buzz you need to enjoy your time partying in New Orleans.
Things You Should Know Before Experiencing Bourbon Street Nightlife
Before you plan your visit, be sure to keep these things in mind for you to have a safe and unforgettable experience, in a good way.
Please be mindful of your surrounding
You are a tourist, therefore, you might not be familiar with everything around you. Since you will be visiting a place where you intend to party, you might not notice some pickpockets and scammers around the area. So be careful with your belongings and leave everything at your hotel or rental that you do not need to carry with you through the night.
Don’t worry, it is still safe in Bourbon Street as there are no violent crimes that often occur in the place aside from this.
You are partying and drinking in a place that might not be familiar with you, so be in control of what you consume. Make sure to only drink what your body can take. Don’t forget to use common sense!
Don’t bring kids with you
If you are traveling with your family and have kids with you, please don’t bring them to Bourbon Street. The entire place is geared towards adults and there will certainly be things there that you will feel uncomfortable exposing kids to.
There are still other places around New Orleans where you can take your kids with you. So be sure to check on those places as well.
Rent a property near the area
This is the most convenient way to prepare before you go and party out there: rent a vacation home. If you can rent or book a place nearby, you can have a safe place to leave your belongings or your kids before you go and enjoy the night.
You can browse listings on Rental Trader and book your preferred accommodation. Rental Trader is home to numerous affordable vacation rental properties throughout the USA. By simply inputting your destination and the date of your trip, you are certain to find the perfect place to stay.
And now, it’s easier than ever for you to experience nightlife in Bourbon Street, New Orleans. We hope you will have fun and enjoy your visit!