Where to Drink in New Orleans

Top spots for one of the greatest drinking cities


With spring weather creeping up on us, it is time to consider places to spend a long weekend. After this recent taste of 70 degree weather, I can do without a return to the more typical weather of a New York spring time: temperatures in the 50s are forecasted for next week, with dampness set to accompany it.

When the weather turns wet and dreary I head for places south. One of my favorite places to go, in fact one of the world’s greatest drinking cities, is New Orleans.

You might be thinking of hurricane cocktails and cheap beer in the Big Easy, but it’s also an epicurean delight - with fantastic restaurants and some pretty amazing places to grab a drink. Won’t you join me as I laissez les bons temps roulez on this dreary Monday!

Photo courtesy Adam Reeder via Flickr/CC


As you can imagine, the New Orleans wine scene is pretty restaurant based, though there are a few odd wine bars. In my old neighborhood, yes I’ve lived in New Orleans as well, the warehouse district has gone from being a bit of a backwater to being a downright hip hood with all the prerequisites: fancy restaurants, hot hotels, and of course a great wine bar.

W.I.N.O, the Wine Institute of New Orleans, is a modest spot that is fully equipped with fancy self-dispensing enomatic machines that allow you to take a taste or a pour of a great selection of wines. In addition to a help yourself wine bonanza, W.I.N.O. offers small plates and classes to help round out an evening or an education!


610 Tchoupitoulas St
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 324-8000

The Delachaise

Getting back to the restaurant avenue, no pun intended. We are traveling to the world famous St. Charles Avenue to find Delachaise. With a simple menu composed of cheese plates, one dish wonders and sandwiches, The Delachaise might seem like an odd place to recommend as a destination wine bar, but this place has the feel. The feel that makes you want to go in and order a few glasses of wine. Since the weather is fine, let’s take a glass each of the Grüner, Loire Valley Chenin and that Txakolia! Add in an order of the Chicken Tagine and I’ll be sitting pretty!

The Delachaise
3442 Saint Charles Avenue  New Orleans, LA 70115
(504) 895-0858

Restaurant August

Since we’re talking about restaurants now, I have to give a shout out to Restaurant August, where a recent birthday dinner caused me to agonize over choosing between the under market priced Dujac or Giacosa! There’s no list online for Restaurant August, but it is a treat for both the food and the wine list each time I visit New Orleans. It’s location, just outside of the madness that the French Quarter can be, also provides a bit of a respite for a weary, hungry and thirsty traveler!

Restaurant August
301 Tchoupitoulas St.,
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 299-9777

Le Meritage

If you want to stay in the Quarter and want a serious wine experience, there is no place better than Le Meritage. The menu is designed to highlight which wines would be appropriate accompaniments to each dish. How’s that for dedication to the fruits of the vine?

Once you’ve chosen your dishes, you can order by the glass or by the flight, or take a look at the extensive wine list and choose from a pretty impressive selection of global offerings. Some things that caught my eye were the 2004 Nusserhof Lagrein ($71) and the 2007 Willakenzie Estate Terres Basse ($92). The shocking to find must buy of the list? 2007 Millton Chenin Blanc from Gisborne for all of $62. Can I make a reservation now?

Le Meritage
1001 Toulouse Street  New Orleans, LA 70112
(504) 522-8800


Another French Quarter standby is the indomitable Stella! I love the food at Stella! It’s got a creole edge exquisitely prepared and layered with rich flavors, but the wine list might just be a bigger draw! Extensive but not overwhelming, there are plenty of well-considered choices for every palate. Even if you stick to the tiny section titled “unique red wines,” you might find yourself struggling to choose between Kenneth Volk’s 2008 "Calleri Vineyard” Negrette! ($59), Magnin Arbins 2005 Monduese ($70), or Giorgio Clai’s 2009 Refosco ($75).

If offbeat doesn’t float your pirogue don’t worry, the list is packed with great selections that range from the Shrader 2008 To Kalon  ($450) and the 1990 Grand Puy Lacoste ($395) to Marcarini’s 2009 Fontanazza Dolcetto ($55) and Domaine du Closel’s 201 la Jalousie ($50).

1032 Chartres Street  New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 587-0091

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  • Snooth User: Amanda Schuster
    Hand of Snooth
    870341 1,996

    Great list! I would also add Bacchanal on Poland Ave. It's a lovely setting where you pick your wine in the front store then take it into the beautiful, lush and viney back garden patio setting to drink. It's like stepping into another world. Good food too! http://www.bacchanalwine.com/

    Mar 26, 2012 at 12:48 PM

  • Snooth User: DJ Katie
    787252 8

    Having lived in New Orleans last year I must say I was impressed by some of the local finds you listed. Of course, there are hundreds more, but you touched on some of my favorites. Next time you visit, you may want to visit some of the wine bars that all over the french quarter & warehouse district. Great read & thanks!

    Mar 26, 2012 at 2:13 PM

  • Snooth User: robinkjsd
    864931 11

    laissez les bons temps roulez

    Mar 26, 2012 at 2:16 PM

  • Well done. I was just in NOLA and found Patrick's Bar Vin, http://patricksbarvin.com right off Bourbon Street. A great place to escape the insanity.

    Mar 26, 2012 at 3:02 PM

  • Snooth User: Idareyato
    1061044 12

    Took notes I feel like I'm ready to take the trip of a lifetime.

    Mar 26, 2012 at 3:18 PM

  • Snooth User: InWineTruth
    Hand of Snooth
    220106 1,634

    We're visiting the Big Easy next month and can't wait to follow-up on your recommendations. Thanks to everyone!!

    Mar 26, 2012 at 7:30 PM

  • Snooth User: Jadedx
    1061205 1

    Lived in NOLA in the late '90s during my Gothic/Vampire phase. Dropped a plate of beignets in my head to toe, black clad, lap at the Cafe' Du Monde. Still laugh about it to this day. Love and miss you NOLA. My heart will always belong to Igor's Buddha Belly on Magazine and Jenna.

    Mar 26, 2012 at 8:38 PM

  • Snooth User: drathmell
    941718 2

    Bacchanal should definitely be on this list as Amanda noted. It's got a laid back atmosphere and great food on an outdoor patio with live Music. It's located in the Bywater near the Industrial Canal. I would also add to that list the recently renovated Carousel Bar in the Hotel Monteleone, located in the heart of the French Quarter. There are so many other great watering holes the list could go on and on. These are just two that came to mind.

    Mar 26, 2012 at 9:23 PM

  • Snooth User: drathmell
    941718 2

    Also, the Maison Depuy Hotel is celebrating the New Orleans Wine Festival with dinner and wine tastings every Tuesday and Wednesday night thru April, I believe. Information is available on their website.

    Mar 26, 2012 at 9:27 PM

  • Snooth User: smithdaj54
    829879 871

    Great picks! Just got back from NOLA and LOVED WINO! Lafites has the best hurricanes in town. Napoleon's house seems to be where locals go if on Bourbon St., enjoyed the Pimms!

    Mar 27, 2012 at 1:09 AM

  • Snooth User: jprepass
    1046620 14

    Some great picks, especially the Napoleon House where this author and New Orleans native has been a customer since 1969, and where bartender Mario is amazing --- truly knowledgeable, great personality, and he can make a proper Ramos Gin Fizz! But you left off one place that is just as outstanding, the bar at TuJacques on Decatur not far from Cafe du Monde, presided over by the brilliant bar master Paul, who makes cocktails the old-fashioned way --- with hard work, and attention to detail --- and who has a deep knowledge of what makes New Orleans tick. Paul is not talkative --- but he is very, very wise.

    Mar 27, 2012 at 8:06 AM

  • This does look like a great list but I'm having a problem printing it (computer crashes). I wish Snooth would set up printable files of their articles instead of always having to print the web pages, usually multiple web pages to get the whole article.

    Mar 27, 2012 at 8:54 AM

  • Snooth User: Kirsy
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    880543 1,786

    Love this article! my best friend and I have been planing a trip NOLA and now we have the perfect itinerary to complement our volunteering experience! Thank you GDP!

    Mar 27, 2012 at 11:37 AM

  • Snooth User: rhoff28
    425384 36

    Spent a weekend in NOLA last summer and stumbled upon Coquette Bistro in the Garden District. Adorable little corner spot with inventive cocktails and delicious wines. Didn't get a chance to eat, but I could have spent all day there throwing back rose like water.

    Mar 27, 2012 at 6:28 PM

  • Wow. I wandered all through the NOLAFE web information. Looks like great fun with good winery participation. Maximo's Italian Grill is still there and doing a Wine Dinner. We ate there over twenty years ago and we named a dish on our menu after our dinner there. Nice to know there is longevity.

    Mar 31, 2012 at 11:12 PM

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