T-Minus 72 Hours (10AM Check in on Bourbon St.)
Arrive at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and grab a cab to the Royal Sonesta New Orleans where you’ll check into your Bourbon Balcony Entertainment Suite (when booking, be sure to specify that you want one of the suites with a balcony actually facing Bourbon St.). Your huge party-ready suite has special touches like a wet bar and parlor and, most importantly, a bird’s eye view of our favorite street in New Orleans. Remember to bring beads to throw at the envious crowds below.
T-Minus 70 hours (12PM Po-Boys)
Take a walk over to Johnny’s Po-Boys for one of NOLA’s favorite sandwiches. This no-frills place is all about the food, and trust us, for what it lacks in atmosphere it more than makes up in taste. Choose from over 40 different Po-Boys ranging from classic (like the Ham and Cheese) to the very unique (the Surf and Turf has hot roast beef and fried shrimp).
T-Minus 66 hours (4PM Swamp Tour)
Airboat Adventures will pick you up from your hotel and travel out of town for a 2-hour Swamp Tour in your own private airboat. You’ll get up close and personal with gators, snakes, turtles, and other bayou wildlife. This comes before the drinking on your itinerary because it’s best to be 100% sober when hand feeding alligators. The groom can’t give his hand in marriage if it’s been taken by a giant reptile (don’t worry, the pros will give you instructions to make sure that doesn’t happen).
T-Minus 62 hours (8PM Creole Cooking)
Just a few doors down from your hotel is Galatoire’s, a French-Creole restaurant that’s been on top of the French Quarter’s fine dining scene for over a century. Whatever you choose for your entrée, kick off your meal with a big bowl of gumbo. This place serves some of the best in New Orleans, with the menu featuring two variations, Seafood Okra Gumbo and Duck Andouille Gumbo.
T-Minus 60 hours (10PM Big Easy Bar Crawl)
With more than 50 bars on 13-block long Bourbon Street alone, there’s no way to hit every place in the area. Luckily, we’ve put together a bar crawl that skips the crap and drenches you in alcohol and NOLA culture. Excited? You should be.
Start the night old school, like 1700s old school, at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar. It’s the oldest building in America currently used as a bar, so it carries a hell of a lot of history (and maybe a few ghosts). Careful, there are no electric lights in this place so it’s pretty dark. It’s a lot easier to watch your step when you’re still a little sober. That’s why this place is first on the list. Enjoy your Voodoo Daiquiri (yeah, you have to get it).
You can’t do NOLA without stopping in at the original home of the Hurricane, Pat O’Brien’s. Head to the piano bar (they have dueling pianists) and try the world famous cocktail, voted the best specialty drink in New Orleans. For variation in weather themed drinks, order a Cyclone or a Rainstorm (also favorites).
In case you didn’t get enough Piano Man at the last bar, your next crawl stop is The World Famous Cats Meow, a karaoke bar that’s hosted celebrities ranging from Bill Gates to Smashing Pumpkins to Playboy bunnies. With a 3 for 1 happy hour, there’s absolutely no excuse to skip out on the drunken singing. If nothing else, you’ll get a good laugh out of it and claim the bragging rights. This is also a great way to thoroughly embarrass the groom, so don’t forget to film it!
Saints and Sinners is another buzz worthy bar on Bourbon owned by Channing Tatum and business partner Keith Kurtz. This Big Easy mainstay (whose tagline is “where the red light is always on) is modeled after the red-light district bordellos and burlesque halls so prominent in NOLA’s racy past. Start with a round of Saints (Malibu, Blue Caracau, house vodka and gin, sweet and sour, and Sprite) and Sinners (Southern Comfort, Amaretto, house bourbon, peach schnapps, cranberry juice, and sweet and sour). It’s always interesting to see who orders what. This is also a great place to eat something like Grown-Up Mac & Cheese (with béchamel sauce, shrimp, and Panko topping) or, if you want to go all out Louisiana, Fried Alligator Tail (yes, it’s literally an alligator tail).
Next up is Spirits On Bourbon, a barbershop turned bar said to be haunted by it’s former owner Edward DeBoire. To please the ghost, the bar kept his barber chair and allows daring patrons to take a shot while sitting in it. Make sure the groom is a daring patron. The must try drink here is the Resurrection (a spiced rum based cocktail with a jalapeño garnish).
Rita’s Tequila House is the perfect place for any tequila enthusiast to find a new favorite. The bar has over 135 different kinds of tequila, so pick your agave based poison carefully.
Erin Rose, a classic Irish pub with an extensive whisky selection and local beers on tap, is just steps off of Bourbon Street, and very much worth a stop. This is no tourist trap either- you’ll definitely bump elbows with the locals and experience real southern hospitality.
You started the night old school and you’ll end it the same way at Old Absinthe House, which has been in business since 1807 (the bar was hidden in a warehouse during Prohibition). Although the wormwood derived spirit is now illegal in the United States, the bar uses a similar tasting substitute called Herbsaint, which lacks absinthe’s narcotic properties. Even if you won’t experience “hallucinations, delirium, madness and even death,” the Absinthe House Frappe is definitely worth a try. There’s no doubt you’ll all sleep soundly tonight.
T-Minus 46 Hours (12PM Wake Up Sleepyheads)
Cure your intense hangovers with a Bloody Mary (or three- there’s a make-your-own Bloody Mary bar), brunch, and live jazz at Atchafalaya. We can pretty much guarantee you’ll have a new answer to “how do you like your eggs?” after dining at this place. We like them best Louisianne style (poached with crab cakes and creole hollandaise). Also, be sure to order a side of the jalapeño cornbread.
T-Minus 44 Hours (2PM Behind the Scenes)
Even if your bachelor party isn’t during Mardi Gras, there’s no reason not to get a taste (literally, if you count Kings cake) of this fabulous New Orleans event. Take a trip (via the free shuttle- just call when you’re ready to be picked up) to Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World to see the floats pre-parade and also get a lesson in NOLA culture and tradition. A word of caution: this place is not for people with a fear of clowns.
T-Minus 42 Hours (4PM Snack Time)
Head over to Creole Creamery on Prytania Street to beat the heat with some incredibly creative ice cream. Skip the vanilla and try original flavors like Candied Bacon & Cinnamon, Wasabi-Pistachio, or Coffee & Sambuca Cheesecake. Feeling ambitious? Make an attempt at the Tchoupitoulas Challenge (which involves 8 scoops of ice cream, 8 toppings, whipped cream, cherries, wafers, and no help). Anyone who is successful will be immortalized in the Tchoupitoulas Hall of Fame, and probably won’t be joining the rest of the group for dinner.
T-Minus 38 Hours (8PM Dinner at Jacques-Imo’s)
Jacques-Imo’s Café is known for its amazing Creole cooking in addition to its insanely artful décor. It’s so well known, however, that you really need to call ahead and try to get a reservation in advance. Tell them it’s a bachelor party and they might be willing to bend the rules on their “no reservations” policy. Otherwise, you’re going to be waiting quite a while. Anyhow, when you do manage to snag a table, make sure you order the Shrimp and Alligator Sausage Cheesecake appetizer (no, we’re not kidding), and the house specialty, Austin Leslie’s Fried Chicken.
T-Minus 36 Hours (10PM Ghost Tour)
Riddled with stories of every ghost and ghoul in the book (not to mention a heavy dose of voodoo magic), NOLA’s history is a spooky one. Book a private tour with French Quarter Phantoms (the highest rated ghost-tour group in New Orleans) and prepare for a proper American haunting. Your tour guide will lead you through every skeleton in NOLA’s closet with historically accurate accounts of serial killers, ghosts, and vampires. Tours begin at The Voodoo Lounge, on the corner of Orleans Street and N. Rampart Street in the French Quarter. We hope you like ghost stories.
T-Minus 24 Hours (10AM Italian Breakfast)
Red Gravy on Camp Street. Cannoli pancakes. Enough said.
T-Minus 22 Hours (12PM Bike Tour)
Biking is a great way to see a city. Confederacy of Cruisers offers a tour called Peddles to Paddles, which includes a two-hour bike tour and two hours of kayaking. For $15 more, you can keep the bikes and locks for an extra four hours and explore the city on your own. They’ll even provide you with a handy map with points of interest.
T-Minus 18 Hours (4PM Late Lunch)
Even though you had a big breakfast, there’s no doubt you’ll be hungry after 4 hours of strenuous activity. With big portions of delicious, very reasonably priced food, Coop’s Place is the solution to your problems. In all honesty, the Place looks more like a pub that might serve up bar snacks than an all-out restaurant, but don’t be fooled. The menu is extensive and definitely “real food.” If you like trying a lot of different things in one meal, we recommend ordering Coop’s Taste Plate, which includes seafood gumbo, shrimp creole, cajun fried chicken, red beans & rice with sausage, and rabbit & sausage jambalaya.
T-Minus 16 Hours (6PM Jackson Square)
Jackson Square is the best place in the French Quarter for people watching, viewing street performers, art gallery browsing, and shopping (can’t go to New Orleans and come back without a Mardi Gras mask). You also have the option to stop by St. Louis Cathedral to pre-absolve yourselves of the sins that will undoubtedly be committed later tonight. This is also a prime photo op location.
T-Minus 13 Hours (9PM Sylvain)
Sylvain, a gem of a restaurant hidden in a candlelit alley, is not to be missed on any NOLA trip. While finding the entrance is a bit more difficult than most, it’s definitely worth the effort. Whatever you’re in the mood for something sophisticated (like braised beef cheeks) or just good and simple (like a fried chicken sandwich), this is your place. Try to save room for desert because you won’t want to miss the Sylvain Float (a non-traditional root beer float made with caramel ice cream and ginger crisps).
T-Minus 11 Hours (11PM Down to Debauchery)
The time has come to hit up The Penthouse Club, the hands down best Gentlemen’s Club in NOLA. For the ultimate experience, book a Bachelor Party Package ahead of time. The Moet Triple Play comes with everything you would expect (front of the line access, premium table, liquor, and champagne) in addition to a few things you usually don’t get with table service (strawberries and whipped cream). You’re imagination can take over now.
T-Minus 8 Hours (2AM Beignets)
Drunchies? No trip to New Orleans is complete without beignets (fried dough covered in powdered sugar) from the original Café Du Monde. The Café, located in the French Market on Decatur St, is open 24/7, so no worries about the late hour. Do not be deterred by the line (trust us, it’s more than worth it). Just remember, when there’s only one heavenly pillow of deliciousness left, let the groom have it. He just had his last 72 hours.