New Orleans is known for its iconic bars and its somewhat gritty image, but when those things come together, you wind up with some of the nation’s finest dive bars.
Dive bars and New Orleans go hand-in-hand, if you think about it. The city revels in debauchery and dive bars revel in their “against the grain” mindset. The best dive bars in New Orleans are dark, open all hours, off the beaten path, and legendary for their rundown aesthetic and open-minded nature.
Snake & Jake’s Christmas Club Lounge – 7612 Oak Street – New Orleans, LA 70118
Located in New Orleans’ Uptown neighborhood, between Tulane University and S. Carrollton Avenue, this seedy late night hangout has become the stuff of legend. It’s been widely hailed as one of America’s best dive bars and the real-life experience suits the reputation. Snake & Jake’s looks like a shack, a real one, not a bar designed to look run down. Once you enter the rundown building, you’re greeting by a hole-in-the-wall illuminated almost exclusively by Christmas lights, of the multi-color variety, obviously. Schlitz in the can is the house special and the spot doesn’t usually get kicking until 3 a.m.
Aunt Tiki’s – 1207 Decatur Street – New Orleans, LA 70116
This is not one of those cheesy Bourbon Street clubs known for tourists singing karaoke. Aunt Tiki’s is the real deal thanks to its eerie facade and Lower Decatur location. This iconic New Orleans dive bar is open 24/7 and known for its eclectic crowds. You can find all walks of life inhabiting this bar including gutterpunks, goths, strippers, French Quarter residents, and even the occasional stray tourist taking in the sights of this uniquely New Orleans dive bar. The drinks are cheap and strong so pace yourself or else you could wind up in front of the video poker machines for hours.
Ms. Mae’s The Club – 4336 Magazine Street – New Orleans, LA 70115
Ms. Mae’s The Club, commonly called Mae’s, is one of the hottest all hours drinking spots in New Orleans, and is also of favorite of Rob Ryan. The bar is open 24/7/365 and doesn’t offer drink specials because every hour is happy hour when you’re in this legendary New Orleans institution. Most drinks are just a dollar or two, making it a very affordable place to start or end your night, or day, or whatever floats your boat. Pool tables, foosball, and video poker can keep you entertained and fans of heavy metal will love the jukebox at one of New Orleans’ hottest dive bars.
Brothers III Lounge – 4520 Magazine Street – New Orleans, LA 70115
The other three bars on this list of the best dive bars in New Orleans are pretty well established and renowned for their dive status, but Brothers III sits just a bit under the radar and right down the street from Ms. Mae’s. There isn’t really a scene at this so-called dive bar as it is mostly populated with blue-collar workers seeking refuge from hipsters and yuppies. The Brothers III jukeboxes are possibly the best country jukeboxes in the New Orleans metropolitan area. They’re not digital internet jukeboxes, but those real jukeboxes from the good ole days when choosing music for a jukebox was an art and the classic country tunes that fill this bar truly do remind you of a different time.
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