In this town, the cocktail is king. What, then is there for the beer snob? Thankfully, there are an increasing number of specialized beer bars that cater to just this type of drinker. Of course, there are the obligatory Belgian, German, and San Franciscan brews. But the best part about New Orleans is that we never leave a genre of drinking untouched. We have several great breweries that are practically in our backyards: Abita Brewery, NOLA and Covington Brewhouse are all fantastic local makers of fine beer. They make regular appearances at the park for Sunday picnics, on papered tables during crawfish boils, and at pop-up bars outside of Saints games. So if cocktails aren’t particularly your thing, try out some of these places. They’re all great spots for letting your inner beer aficionado loose, and they're also fantastic spots for soaking up a little tipsy NOLA culture.
Locals generally agree that Avenue Pub is one of the best beer bars in New Orleans. It has a courtyard that is perfect for nice weather, and they serve food that goes great with beer—like hummus, candied bacon and a cheese plate from St. James Cheese Company. The drafts rotate continuously, so it’s usually best to ask the bartender for suggestions.
This bar and music venue opened on Frenchman Street in 2000, and was one of the first live venues in the area to go completely smoke-free. They also have a great beer selection of local, American and international brews that are chosen to keep the menu interesting and diverse.
Primarily a college hangout, The Bulldog has almost 50 beers on tap and a bottle selection that ranges in the 70s. It is also one of the cleanest beer bars in the city, thanks to the fact that they wash their draft lines every two weeks—something very few bars here do. Go on Wednesday and every pint you buy comes with the glass it’s served in.
Bayou Beer Garden
This beer oasis—my favorite for local New Orleans beers— is located in Mid-City, just a few blocks off the Canal Streetcar line. They have a huge relaxing patio for hanging out with friends and sipping cold local beer. If you’re hungry, try the Debris fries or the Portabella Sandwich.
First, a disclaimer: you can’t actually drink beer here. But what this legendary sandwich spot does have is a mind-boggling retail beer selection. Everything under the brewing sun is represented here, from Italy to Portland. They have over 450 different brews for sale here. You might not be able to drink on property, but I can’t write about beer in New Orleans without mentioning this gold mine.