Are you ready??? ARE YOU READY for an utterly insane bar crawl down the wildest party street in the United States? We're talking, of course, about New Orleans' notorious Bourbon Street - the capital of sin, the epicenter of celebration, the MECCA OF MAYHEM! Whether your goal is to dance until you can't stand, ride mechanical alligators, sing your heart out, enjoy some classier establishments, drink signature New Orleans cocktails, or throw beads from hanging balconies, this bar crawl will satisfy your desires and navigate you through the crowds and around the murky puddles (that exist regardless of recent rainfall...eek) to the very best bars and clubs on and around Bourbon Street. So I ask again, ARE YOU READY? If not, GET READY because you're about to have an epic night!
Disclaimer: Don't drink and drive. Don't accept drinks from strangers. Know your limits; don't consume more alcohol than you personally can handle. DRINK RESPONSIBLY.
Suggested Time Required: 5 HOURS
1. Carousel Bar and Lounge (214 Royal Street)
Hotel Monteleone’s sophisticated Carousel Bar is an excellent place to start your Bourbon Street Bar Crawl. This’ll likely be the fanciest bar you hit tonight, so it’s best enjoyed while you’re feeling your classiest too (assuming your group only gets less sober as the night progresses).
Highlight of the Bar: The circular bar is actually a slowly rotating Merry-Go-Round.
Suggested Drink: Vieux Carre or another cocktail from their "Local Classic" bar menu.
$3 off each New Orleans City Sightseeing bus pass when you use promo code FTVNOLA at checkout.
2. 21st Amendment (725 Iberville Street)
21st Amendment, a small and classy Prohibition era themed speakeasy, is located 1 block from the “mouth” of Bourbon (Bourbon Street entrance on the canal side). Listen to a couple live Blues or Jazz songs while sipping on a standard New Orleans cocktail. After this bar, you’ll be warmed up and finally ready to ENTER BOURBON STREET.
Highlight of the Bar: Live music (usually blues or jazz)
Suggested Drink: Sazerac – the Official Cocktail of New Orleans
3. Beach on Bourbon (227 Bourbon Street)
Time to get pumped! Seriously though…you’re finally on Bourbon Street, the southern capital of chaos! There’s no better way to fully embrace your current situation than immediately joining the dance party at the Beach on Bourbon! If you have any doubts, listen to “Koala” by Oliver Heldens immediately and I think you’ll change your mind.
Highlight of the Bar: Dance Party!
Suggested Drink: Test Tube Shot – It’s hard to miss the shot girls; But don’t worry, they’ll find you…
4. Old Absinthe House (240 Bourbon Street)
Once you're ready for a break from the dance floor, cross the street and enter the Old Absinthe House. You won't hallucinate like in EuroTrip (sorry if this disappoints you...), but you definitely can (and should) try one of the absinthe cocktails served at this nearly 200 year old tavern.
Highlight of the Bar: Absinthe drinks and old bar with a lot of history.
Suggested Drink: The Absinthe House Frappe…or another absinthe drink.
5. The Swamp (516 Bourbon Street)
Next up, THE SWAMP! After you've finished your wormwood drinks, walk two blocks to one of the craziest bars this side of the Mississippi. To get an idea of how ridiculous this place truly is, read their website homepage...it won't disappoint. To top it off, they are home to the "SWAMP THANG," which is a mechanical Bull-Gator! So if you're feeling particularly saucy, show off your gator wrestling skills on this one! The Swamp also has one of those iconic Bourbon Street balconies, perfect for people-watching and throwing beads.
Highlight of the Bar: The "SWAMP THANG" and a Bourbon Street balcony.
Suggested Drink: The shot girls will be out and about at this bar too. So if you chickened out on the test tube shot at the Beach on Bourbon, now's your chance for redemption.
6. Pat O'Brien's (718 St Peter Street)
After trudging through The Swamp, walk about two blocks to Pat O'Brien's, one of the most spirited and famous bars in the French Quarter. The excitement and energy is felt immediately upon entry into this establishment as dueling pianists play timeless hit after hit to a crowd so electrified about each song that they can't help but sing along. Pat O'Brien's IS New Orleans' largest sing-along session. If you need a break from singing your heart out or just aren't feeling the dueling pianos, the courtyard at Pat O's also has a great atmosphere.
Highlight of the Bar: Dueling Pianos!
Suggested Drink: The Hurricane (Pat O's is best known for their monster and sugary Hurricane cocktail).
7. The World Famous Cats Meow (701 Bourbon Street)
Now that the adrenaline is pumping from singing SO MANY popular hits at Pat O'Brien's, its time to take your singing career to the next level and perform for a live audience...walk the half block back to Bourbon and sign-up for karaoke at The World Famous Cats Meow. No joke, if you were to ever going to be brave enough to try karaoke, this is the place to do it. They aren't just called "World Famous" by accident; in fact, this bar has been named the BEST Karaoke Bar in the World for over 25 years! Also, they have a sweet balcony wrapping around Bourbon Street and Saint Peter Street.
Highlight of the Bar: The BEST Karaoke Bar in the World
Suggested Drink: Whatever drink will make you brave enough to get on stage. I'd choose a tequila shot or a vodka red bull.
8. Tropical Isle Bourbon (721 Bourbon Street)
Tropical Isle Bourbon, not to be confused with the other three Tropical Isle's located on Bourbon Street (all under the same owner), is one of the most wildly decorated bars in the French Quarter. The energy and absurdness of this island-beach-hut themed venue matches Tropical Isle's signature sugary and exceptionally strong drink, the Hand Grenade, which they claim is "New Orleans' Most Powerful Drink." If you really want to raise a ruckus while in this bar, order a Shark Attack, another Tropical Isle signature drink. This'll definitely be one of the noisiest drinks you've ever had...
Highlight of the Bar: Absurdly decorated bar.
Suggested Drink: Hand Grenade and/or Shark Attack.
9. Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar (941 Bourbon Street)
After Tropical Isle, crawl your way (you might literally be crawling by this point) to Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar, the last and most historic bar on Bourbon Street. Lafitte’s boasts the fame of being the oldest structure in the United States used as a bar. The structure was built sometime between 1722 and 1732 and was allegedly owned by Jean Lafitte, the famous pirate and hero of the Battle of New Orleans…trust me, you’ll hear about this guy all over the city…he’s kind of a big deal.
Highlight of the Bar: Oldest Structure in the United States used as a Bar.
Suggested Drink: Abita Amber...a delicious local beer.
10. Where to End the Night
If you've made it all the way to Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar, CONGRATS! You're an absolute Bourbon Street Champ! You all DAT! Go Saints (felt like that needed to be added somewhere in this article). The question now becomes: "Where do we go from here?" Well...it all depends on what you're feeling for the rest of the night. Here are my suggestions:
Dancing On Bourbon: If you're ready to start dancing again, head over to Razzoo Club and Patio (511 Bourbon Street). This is one of the better dance floors on Bourbon. If its happens to not be poppin', you could always hit the Beach on Bourbon again.
Latin Dance Club on Bourbon: Check out Chris Owens Club on Bourbon for Latin music and dancing.
Incredible Live Music: From Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, you're only 8 blocks (roughly half a mile) from Frenchmen Street. If jamming out to live jazz, blues, or rock sounds like the answer, it may be worth the extra walk. You could always Uber or Taxi too.
Late Night Dancing Spot: If its really late (post 2am), check out The Saint (961 Saint Mary Street) in the Lower Garden District. This is an extremely popular and local late night dance spot. If an energetic dance floor, solids DJ's, and a truly local scene are what you need, make sure you end your night at The Saint.
Night Clubs: Who knows? At the end of this bar crawl, you may be in the mood for a more traditional nightclub. If that's the case, check out either Masquerade (228 Poydras Street - located in Harrah's Casino) or the Ohm Lounge (601 Tchoupitoulas Street, connected to Barcardia). Just note that these establishments may have stricter dress codes.
Late Night Food: It's perfectly natural, after a bar crawl of strong drinks, to be feeling a little hungry. For something quick on Bourbon, grab a slice from one of the various bars selling pizza. They're pretty much all the same and who doesn't love pizza. For something pretty unique to New Orleans, head over to Dat Dog on Frenchmen Street. They serve gourmet hot dogs! You can even get a crawfish dog!
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