Bulls fans heading to NOLA, here’s the plan:
The USF Alumni Association is hosting an event from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday night at the House of Blues Voodoo Garden
From there, USF Volleyball is playing at 7 p.m. vs. Tulane in Fogelman Arena at Devlin Fieldhouse. We’re heading there as well.
After the match, probably about 9-9:30 p.m., we’ll head to the fantastic cocktail bar Cure for some beverages. It’s on the way back to the French Quarter (where it appears most of you are staying) from Tulane, and it is a glorious spot. I’ve been there before during Tales of The Cocktail (no, I’m not a bartender, I just play one for a week in July), and they can handle a decent-sized group.
We’re going here because my fellow Bulls heathens need to do at least a little bit of drinking west of Canal Street. New Orleans is one of the great cities of the world, and the cocktail culture is the best on the planet. This doesn’t mean Hurricanes and Hand Grenades either, you hack tourist lush. Try some different things and expand your palate a bit. Let’s try and not be ECU fans when we’re traveling.
After Cure we’ll head to Saint Lawrence in the French Quarter (but away from Bourbon St.), where we’ll have $9 fresh squeezed double margaritas and $8 spiked strawberry lemonades for all Bulls fans in attendance. Most of you are staying in the French Quarter/Canal St. area according to our highly scientific Twitter poll that we did earlier this week, so this will be closer to your hotel.
If you are coming to Saint Lawrence (probably around 11ish??), let me know in the comments or on Twitter. They want an idea of how many folks are coming if we can give it to them.
He did NOT disappoint. It’s the best locals guide I’ve read on one of my favorite cities in a long time. Enjoy this:
(*) indicates JP’s favorites
Bourbon Street/Canal Street
Bourbon: You can make it through it!
Have to do it because I am sure you will end up there at some point... but let's talk Bourbon Street. It's overpriced. It's filled with tourists. But you can survive it and get the experience, and still have a good time. Here are the must hits.
1. Pat O's - Old school bar that invented the Hurricane. That is what they are famous for. Two tips. First, they serve them in these massive glasses that everyone will Instagram. Take them back to the bar after, and you get $4.00 back for turning them in. Second and more importantly, from the entrance facing Bourbon, there is a dueling piano bar that I would definitely recommend. Good place to hang out, request songs, and start or finish your night.
2. Carousel Bar* - Not on Bourbon, but it's a block over on Royal. This bar rotates and serves awesome cocktails. It's in a hotel -- you’ll see the entrance inside on the right -- and has a less shambly clientele. Drink of choice is the Tom Collins.
3. Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop - Near the end of Bourbon. Doesn’t look like much, but it’s the oldest bar in America. Get a mixed drink and walk the rest of the street.
Once you've done Bourbon, I recommend walking away from Canal to everyone's favorite...
Frenchmen Street (Where the Real Fun is):
Frenchmen is not a long walk from Bourbon, but it’s a totally different vibe. The focus here is live music, and it’s much more local-oriented, so this is a great spot to get away from Bourbon.
It’s on the edge of the Marigny (which is basically NOLA’s Brooklyn) and the FQ. If it’s late at night, I’d recommend Ubering to save time / a walk.
1. Blue Nile - The bar downstairs constantly has live music. If Big Sam's Funky Nation is there by chance while you're around, get tickets. Same with Flow Tribe. It's a cool venue. If there isn't anyone playing or there's a cover, go upstairs and there is another bar with a balcony overlooking the madness below.
2. Maison - This is the best jazz bar in the FQ, in my opinion. Absolutely worth a stop.
Quick Eat Alert:
3. Dat Dog - If it's late and you need somewhere to grab food in a non-restaurant setting, Dat Dog is really cool. It's a hot dog joint... but they have like 30 different kinds of sausages (everything from beef to gator to crawfish) with a million toppings on a killer bun. The cheese fries are dope too. This is where I usually will stop past 1 am. They also have a secret balcony upstairs that is cool to post up at and watch the craziness below.
Jackson Square (Good Stop During the Day)
Jackson Square has a few things that people usually hit, including Cafe du Monde for beignets and the French Market. This is a good spot to walk around during the day, and there are a few things in this area.
1. Muriel’s Jackson Square - They have a Jazz Brunch on Sunday mornings that is awesome. Ask to go to the upstairs room. Great view of the city.
2. Pirate Alley - So there’s the iconic church that everyone always takes pictures of at Jackson Square. If you walk near the side of the church, this brings you into Pirate Alley. As you get closer to Royal, there are a lot of antique/art stores, if that is your kind of thing.
Marigny/Bywater (By Cab or Long, Long Walk)
1. Brunch at Elizabeth's*
Make sure to get the praline bacon, but everything on the menu is good. Check the back wall for the specials. Protip: there is a bar upstairs that a lot of people miss. Good for a morning bloody Mary or mimosa.
2. Drinks/Food at Bacchanal
This wine bar is pretty popular, especially if you are getting your night started before going to the quarter. They do tapas and have live music too.
Uptown (By Cab, Streetcar)
From Canal/Bourbon, there is a streetcar that runs Uptown for $1.25. It's an awesome (but very, very slow) ride that will roll past the lower Garden District with some amazing beautiful mansions and houses. If you are checking things out during the day, I’d recommend it. If not, cab/Uber are the play.
There are a few great stops, and I'll go in order from downtown to the end of Uptown.
1. Columns Hotel Bar/Happy Hour*
This is my favorite happy hour. Super classy hotel bar. 2-5 is the time to go usually, and they have a great patio outside. If it's full and it's not too freaking hot, there are also tables to the left (and inside too). Good wine list, and the appetizers are real solid.
2. Tipitinas* (Music Venue)
This is my favorite music venue in NOLA. It's a little off the path (you probably want to cab there), but check out their website. They do free shows on Fridays during the summer with some awesome local groups. It's an experience.
3. Jacques Imos* (Food)
It's far Uptown (you can take the streetcar to the end basically and walk down Oak Street), but this is one of my favorite NOLA restaurants. They do reservations for five or more, and it fills up quick. Really, really awesome joint.
4. Magazine St (Activity)
A short-ish walk from the streetcar line is Magazine Street, which is a pretty awesome row of restaurants, shopping spots, and bars. If you have some time and you're looking to walk around, this is a fun place to do it, especially with a group. This is a great Saturday/Sunday during the day option. A few favorites:
- The Bulldog - If you are a beer drinker, this is the spot. Cool outdoor seating area and 100+ beers on tap
- Juan’s Flying Burrito - Casual burrito spot
- Dat Dog - There’s another location here!
- Rum House - Caribbean/Mexican fusion with a good tequila selection. If it’s Tuesday, go to Taco Tuesday
5. Audubon Park / The Fly (Activity)
If you have some time and want to relax, go to Audubon Park. It’s directly accessible from the streetcar, and it’s right across from Tulane. There is a running trail where Drew Brees hangs out, and a lot of green space.
The park itself is cool, but there’s an especially awesome spot in the far back right of the park area. This is called the Fly, and it’s a grassy area on the levee where a lot of local folks will hang out and bring daquiris or drinks. If you are having trouble finding it, it’s directly right of the entrance to the zoo that is also at Audubon.
6. Commander’s Palace (Food)
This isn’t technically uptown - it’s lower Garden District. Probably the most famous NOLA restaurant, so it’s worth it to say you did it. They have great drinks during lunch, and that’s a cool time to go. New Orleans is a lunch city.
7. Atchafalaya (Food)
Close to Magazine Street, this is a cool spot for Louisiana cuisine and good drinks, especially if you like a Bloody Mary. Best brunch in the city. Anthony Bourdain kicks it here, so you know it’s real.
Ok. There's a few to get started with. Closing thoughts.
- Bring cash. NOLA bars are really not into credit cards. It's weird but true. Have cash for going to bars, or you end up having to kill a $10 minimum over and over
- When around Bourbon, keep your wallet/phone in your front pocket / purse secure. It's a tourist trap, so folks know that it's easy to grab someone's iPhone there, which can be a real bummer, so just stay aware! I've seen a few people spoil their trips that way.
- Download Uber if you don't already use it. It just got to NOLA, and finding a cab can be precarious sometimes. Makes life a lot easier.
- Get a poboy and a snoball at some point during the trip. Parkway Poboys in Mid-City is my personal favorite, especially if you are in town for Jazz Fest (as it’s very near the race track where they have the big event)
- New Orleans is unique in that it does not have an open container law. It is completely legal to bring your drink on the street, but with one requirement: no glass. This is an awesome thing, because you can literally decide you do not like a bar, walk to the door, grab a plastic go cup, and then start walking to your next location.
Ok, that's it for now. Let me know if you have any questions!