New Orleans is a drinking city, which is one of the reasons it’s so great for a bachelor party. At last count, New Orleans had the most bars per capita of any major American city. Restaurants put their bars front and center, corner delis sell booze and the open-container law makes alcohol like water here. If you’re not drinking, you’re not experiencing Nola.
While most bachelor party groups generally huddle up at some of the most well-known establishments, you’ll want to know where to pregame (i.e., grab your first drink) before you booze your way to oblivion. Pay attention, because these are the bars you want to remember—but not necessarily spend your entire night.
BarcadiaBarcadia New Orleans, Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA, United States
In the Central Business District (or Entertainment District), Barcadia is an ADD-friendly wonderland for all types of dudes. The bar’s schtick is its commitment to nostalgia, with old-school arcade games, skeeball machines, air hockey and life-size Jenga that drills the 1980s into the modern era. While there’s also a nightclub attached, we recommend hitting the bar earlier in the evening, when you can play Galaga and Pac Man while shooting back booze at happy hour prices ($8 Miller Lite pitchers, $5 doubles) and also get some huge-portion bar food to boot. Barcadia can get significantly douchey later in the evening when the crowds arrive, which is why we recommend pregaming before the inevitable invasion.
Moxy Bar210 O'Keefe Avenue, New Orleans, LA, United States
Moxy is Marriott’s millennial-centric hotel, opened last year in the CBD. For guests who are staying here, the front check-in desk actually moonlights as the lobby bar, and the first drink is on the house.
Even if you’re not a booked guest, the bar is the perfect pregame spot. The lobby bar is expansive and feels like a hip man cave with cozy couches, board games, foosball and plenty of New Orleans inspired decor like vintage instruments and metal voodoo skulls. The communal bar concept encourages social interaction, and the cocktail menu even has fun juice on tap (like the signature libation, Got Moxy).
Carousel BarCarousel Bar, Royal Street, New Orleans, LA, United States
Hotel Monteleone in the French Quarter is legendary. Everyone from Ernest Hemingway to Tennessee Williams has boozed through this historic hotel (it’s also haunted, if you’re into that kind of thing). The most talked-about feature of the hotel, however, is the swank, ground-floor Carousel Bar, which attracts bachelor party groups every weekend.
The 25-seat bar is the only revolving bar in the city, literally going in one direction like a merry-go-round. While you could spend all night saddled up on this novelty ride, the bar gets packed to the bone, almost uncomfortably at peak hours, so get there early for one of the signature cocktails ($12) the bar has become famous for, or a martini, if that’s how you roll.
Markey's BarMarkey's Bar, Louisa Street, New Orleans, LA, United States
Markey’s is one of the most chilled-out, laid-back sports bars in the French Quarter. It’s near the back of the Quarter on Louisa, so it’s somewhat removed from the lunacy of Bourbon Street. No frills, no gimmicks, no desperate drink-specials to seduce tourists. Markey’s is as divey as it gets, and it’s treated like the local version of Cheers. Because it’s so stripped down, it doesn’t have that sports bar feel you’ll find at other spots. It’s basically a hole-in-the-wall bar that happens to play sports on bracketed TVs, which makes it a magnet for all types of patrons. There’s cheap booze, 27 craft beers on tap, good bar food and outdoor seating that gets packed on weekends. It’s the perfect spot to fire up your engines before heading to Bourbon.
R BarR Bar, Royal Street, New Orleans, LA, United States
R Bar is seriously cooler than it thinks and, as many visitors would attest, “so New Orleans.” It’s actually part of a small boutique hotel, Royal Street Inn (rooms are upstairs) but, mainly gets attention for the chilled-out, perfectly located one block from Frenchmen Street in the Marigny and one block from the French Quarter (so it gets that cross-through crowd).
While many groups actually end up spending the entire night here, this friendly, low-key neighborhood bar is the ultimate spot to pregame. The bar is known for their shrimp boils, pig roast barbecues, even haircuts (yes, there’s a barber chair and a cute chick with a clipper), all of which take place on the earlier side (generally 7 to 9 pm), and the food is free for patrons. There’s also a pool table to help pass the time.
Coop's PlaceCoop's Place, Decatur Street, New Orleans, LA, United States
Decatur Street in the French Quarter is the most “punk” spot you’ll find in New Orleans. It’s rough around the edges (famously known for camped-out street kids and buskers in ripped jeans) but there’s some kick-ass bars here worth diving into, especially Coops Bar. This scruffy place is big on retro decor (not for ironic style attempts by any means; old signs and photos have just stayed on the walls for decades), and it’s mostly garnered attention for home-cooked, spicy meals (the fried chicken is among the best in the city). Saddling up at the bar for cheap booze is too good to pass up. There’s truly nothing fancy here, just low-key, good vibes that’s perfect for grabbing some grub and a beer before heading out.