Coolest Music Venues in New Orleans
Credit: LEE CELANO/Reuters/Corbis

In the current tech era, even the tiniest earbuds can deliver luxurious high-quality sound. YouTube streams in 4K now, and even the most obscure bands have high-definition videos of their shows. So why do we still feel the need to watch live music? The drinks are usually fairly expensive, the crowds are hot and rowdy, and if you’re lucky you’ll only make it kind of close to the front. But live shows offer something that you can’t get at home. They are electric. When the crowd moves around you like a school of fish something magical happens. The raw sound, flashing lights, and cheers from the audience can’t be replicated. Groups like the Revivalists and Galactic frequently rock the stages of this town’s best music clubs. And New Orleans, known as the city that brought America jazz, has some of the most incredible live venues in the world. Here are a few of my favorites:

Maple Leaf

Home to legendary jazz group, the Rebirth Brass Band, this venue is easily one of my favorites. Every Tuesday Rebirth plays to a packed house. And they deserve it. After rocking out to the funky tunes plan to go for dinner next door at Jacques-imo’s, a fantastic New Orleans style restaurant.

The Spotted Cat

This little Frenchman Street joint is a favorite among swing bands, gypsy jazz groups, and the local celebrity Meschiya Lake. They do have a one drink per set minimum, but I’m willing to bet you won’t need your arm twisted to enjoy the experience here.

Howlin’ Wolf

This music club is a favorite among local musicians. They say that because of the talented audio engineers that work here, and the venues great acoustics, every show sounds fantastic. If you come to New Orleans during Jazz Fest they routinely have free late-night shows by some of the same artists that played during the fest.


Opened in the late ‘70s as a local juke joint, this historic venue is a thriving homage to the late New Orleans blues legend, Professor Longhair. “Tips” as the locals call it, is fairly uptown so if you are planning on seeing a group like Galactic or Anders Osborne make sure to plan on taking a cab.

One Eyed Jack’s

Every Thursday One Eyed Jacks has a really fun ‘80s night dance party. Popular with the locals and tourists it’s definitely a night to plan on being around for. If ‘80s tunes aren’t your thing, the rest of the week they regularly host some of the country’s best metal, alternative, and indie groups.