New Orleans Nightlife: Best Bars & Clubs in the Big Easy
By day or night, New Orleans knows how to party. When the sun goes down, the city’s nightlife spots come alive with sultry jazz performances, elaborate cocktails, and rockin’ dance parties. Whether you’re in the mood for laid-back entertainment or want to dance ‘til dawn, these New Orleans nightlife spots will keep you coming back for more.
Music & Jazz Clubs
Music is a way of life in New Orleans – after all, the city is the birthplace of jazz. Here, you can find live music every night of the week at various music and jazz clubs from the French Quarter to Treme and everywhere in between. Seeing a live performance is a staple of New Orleans nightlife, so be sure to check out one of these great venues while you’re in town.
With a focus on local musicians, Uptown’s Maple Leaf music joint is the place to go if you’re in need of a new sound. You can expect to hear jazz and funk music here seven nights a week. The casual dive bar vibe provides a laid-back atmosphere that anyone can enjoy, giving an authentic feel to this New Orleans nightlife spot.
The Spotted Cat
Branding itself as the “quintessential jazz club of New Orleans,” The Spotted Cat is a can’t-miss music venue on Frenchmen Street that’s been recognized as an international destination for jazz music. Since it’s on the smaller side, the venue offers an intimate, personal feel that makes for a wonderful night out with a mix of tourists and locals sharing a good time.
Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro
Drawing a more mature crowd, this New Orleans jazz bar near the French Quarter is a classy and cozy venue with handcrafted cocktails and plenty of seating. The relaxed atmosphere really lets you focus on the music, which includes classics like the Neville Brothers. Dine on delicious Creole fare and take in the scenery of the brick-walled space that dates back to the 1800s.
There’s no need to fly to Vegas to gamble. The greater New Orleans area has a handful of casinos where you can roll the dice and try your luck at slots and table games. The buffets, restaurants, and bars in these New Orleans casinos aren’t bad either.
Harrah’s New Orleans Hotel & Casino
You don’t have to go far to get your New Orleans casino fix. With over 2,000 slot machines and 100 table games, plus a hotel right onsite, you could spend days at Harrah’s. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the restaurants serve up incredible dishes like surf and turf at the steakhouse and fresh seafood. There’s even a nightclub at the casino, so you can keep the fun going well into the night.
Treasure Chest Casino
Lake Pontchartrain – Kenner, LA
One of the best casinos near New Orleans, Treasure Chest is located just 15 minutes outside of the city, near the airport. Consider spending a few hours there before or after your flight! Situated right on the lake on a 24,000-square-foot riverboat, Treasure Chest Casino combines the vibrant atmosphere of Las Vegas with the good time vibes of New Orleans. Try your hand at craps and blackjack and refuel at the buffet that serves up NOLA specialities seven days a week.
Boomtown Casino New Orleans
West Bank – Harvey, LA
Is Lady Luck on your side? Find out at the Boomtown Casino just outside of New Orleans, only 15 minutes from the French Quarter. Challenge yourself in the poker room, pull up a chair for table games like baccarat, Cajun stud, and roulette, or fill up at one of the casino’s five excellent restaurants. With 30,000 square feet of gaming space, you won’t run out of things to do. Don’t forget to visit the in-house nightclub!
As one of the more liberal destinations in Louisiana, it should come as no surprise that New Orleans is home to top gay bars and LGBTQ+ party spots around the city. These bars and clubs are extremely friendly and welcoming, with everything from male go-go dancers to elaborate drag shows and year-round events celebrating sexuality, cocktails, and no-holds-barred fun. Most of the gay hotspots in the city can be found in the French Quarter (they tend to be grouped around Bourbon Street and St. Ann Street), but other neighborhoods have their favorite spots as well.
Bourbon Pub and Parade
Male go-go dancers and karaoke in one venue? Sign us up! This New Orleans gay bar is sure to show you a good time. Check out the crowd from the spacious balcony on the top floor or hit the lower level dance floor to mingle with a diverse crowd of couples, girl groups, and shirtless dancers – everyone is welcome here! Be sure to reserve tickets in advance for events like drag shows.
Cafe Lafitte in Exile
Claiming to be the oldest continuous gay bar in the country, Cafe Lafitte in Exile is located in a historic building with two levels of fun. Famous patrons over the years include Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams. On the ground floor, don’t miss a chance to sample experimental happy hour drinks, watch videos, and hit the dance floor. Upstairs, challenge your friends to pool or head out to the balcony and enjoy the view of Bourbon Street. There are weekly events like retro night and movie night!
The Country Club
Need a break from the high energy of Bourbon Street? Look no further. The Country Club in the nearby Bywater neighborhood offers a delicious morning brunch, cabana bar, heard pool, hot tub, and sauna, making it the perfect place to spend the day in a gay-friendly, bohemian environment. Don’t miss the weekend drag brunch!
If slow jazz isn’t quite your thing, or you just need a space to let loose and dance the night away, New Orleans’ selection of nightclubs leaves nothing to be desired. The NOLA nightclub scene is perfect for all you EDM and house music fans, from the wide open spaces of the Warehouse District to the more intimate venues of Frenchmen Street. When it comes to partying, New Orleans has all the bases covered, and then some.
This massive dance club is located in an old warehouse space from the early 1800s, so you know there’s plenty of space to let loose and show off your best moves. Although it’s in the Warehouse District, it’s less than a mile from the French Quarter, so it’s a fun place to end your night after a few drinks in the heart of the city. DJs and live music set the scene for a high-energy dance party under giant, twinkling chandeliers.
The Gold Mine Saloon
Late-night drinking, outrageous dancing, and killer beats… It’s easy to see why the Gold Mine is a New Orleans nightlife staple. Known for drawing a younger crowd, this NOLA night club is also famous for its signature drink, the flaming Dr. Pepper shot, made with amaretto and high-proof liquor. We’ll let you in on a little secret – Dr. Pepper is not one of the ingredients. When you need a break from shimmying to the club’s fabulous DJs, try out one of the retro arcade machines.
A Frenchmen Street staple, Blue Nile is located in one of the oldest buildings on the street, dating back to 1832. The establishment features spaces on two floors with an upstairs balcony that offers great views of the street. This New Orleans nightclub is so well known that it consistently draws nationally touring musicians playing a variety of music like reggae, blues, and more.
New Orleans burlesque clubs and shows offer racy entertainment, incredible costumes, and charismatic performers ready to strut their stuff for your night out. From intimate venues to elaborate circus acts, burlesque shows in New Orleans are a unique nightlife option if you’re tired of the old club scene. Celebrate freedom of expression and the human body at one of our favorite burlesque spots.
The AllWays Lounge & Cabaret
This locals’ favorite bar in the Marigny neighborhood has an intimate theater where it hosts pretty scandalous shows by well-known performers like Bella Blue. On Monday nights, catch burlesque bingo and don’t miss the chance to attend the nationally touring Boobs and Goombas, a burlesque adaptation of Super Mario Bros. There are also drag shows and jazz brunches from time to time.
Swanky and spendy, the Burgundy Bar is located in the upscale Saint Hotel on Canal Street. Enjoy retro decor, fancy drinks, and many entertainment options. This speakeasy-style venue transforms into a sultry hang to host the Trixie Minx Burgundy Burlesque Troupe. Don’t miss it!
Society of Sin at The Dragon’s Den
The Society of Sin burlesque troupe puts on the Talk Nerdy To Me revue every week at the Dragon’s Den on Esplanade. See new burlesque acts, musicians, local comedians, and other performers. Expect the show to include sideshow, drag, dancing, and neo-burlesque performances.
Ready to hit the town? If you’re looking for more recommendations or want a local touch, consider booking a pub crawl or bar tour to enjoy the New Orleans nightlife scene with other visitors and locals.