Frolicking on Frenchmen

15 places for dancing, dining and enjoying

Looking for a place to hear live, often local, music? In need of a nosh? Like to people-watch but don’t want to go to Bourbon Street? Has New Orleans got the place for you! In just three blocks, Frenchmen Street offers all this and more.

On any given night (including often-quiet Mondays), past the French Quarter, across Esplanade Avenue at Decatur Street, you might experience some jazz at Snug Harbor after eating at the Praline Connection; or reggae at Café Negril and then garlic bread at Adolfo’s; or salsa lessons at Blue Nile and then hummus at Mona’s Café … the list is long.  If you’re not in the mood for a club atmosphere, there are often bands playing for tips in the street and, especially on holidays such as Halloween and Mardi Gras, Frenchmen Street is packed with as many characters – if not more – than Bourbon Street, but with a little breathing space to see them.

Here are a few music options to get you started, and a few food options for when you’ve worked up an appetite.

Music:
Apple Barrel (609 Frenchmen St., 949-9399) Signed dollar bills paper this tiny space that features jazz and blues music and cheap drinks; cash only.

Blue Nile (532 Frenchmen St., 948-2583, BlueNileLive.com) Located in the first building constructed on Frenchmen Street (in 1832), this two-roomed nightclub offers national and international acts of all kinds, as well as The Balcony Room upstairs, which is available for private parties.

d.b.a. (618 Frenchmen St., 942-3731, dbaBars.com/dbano) Offering one of the largest selections of beer and spirits in the city – especially whiskey – the cypress wood-paneled warmth creates a homey atmosphere in which to hear some of the best local and regional musicians.

Spotted Cat (623 Frenchmen St., 943-3887, SpottedCatMusicClub.com) What tourists imagine a jazz club to be, complete with great music, a little room for dancing and music lovers who don’t talk over the performance; cash only.

Food:
13 Monaghan’s (571 Frenchmen St., 942-1345, 13Monaghan.com) A full bar, pizzas, sandwiches, salads and breakfast items served until the wee hours makes this restaurant a hit.

Adolfo’s (611 Frenchmen St., 948-3800) Known for its garlic bread and Veal Ocean. Put your name in upstairs and walk downstairs for a drink and the music of the Apple Barrel.

Marigny Brasserie (640 Frenchmen St., 945-4472, MarignyBrasserie.com) This upscale, plush restaurant serves modern takes on Creole classics, including crawfish cakes and  poor boys.

Mona’s Café (504 Frenchmen St., 949-4115, MonasCafeNola.com) Whether you’re famished or just craving a bite, locally owned Mona’s (with three other locations) has flavorful Middle Eastern food for vegetarians and meat lovers alike.

Praline Connection (542 Frenchmen St., 943-3934, PralineConnection.com) A New Orleans tradition, this soul food restaurant serves large portions of Southern favorites such as meatloaf, ham-filled greens and chicken livers, as well as tried and true gumbo and red beans and rice.

Yuki Izakaya (252 Frenchmen St., 943-1122, myspace.com/yukiizakaya) This modern Japanese izakaya or “tavern” specializes in small plates that change with the seasons.

Both:
Café Negril (606 Frenchmen St., 944-4744) This palm tree-fronted club offers a mix of roots and reggae music “363 nights a year” up front and a limited menu – tacos, gorditas, burritos – off a grill in the back.

The Maison (508 Frenchmen St., 371-5543, MaisonOnFrenchmen.com) Three levels with a bar on each, three stages for music, a full-service restaurant and a wrap-around balcony on the second level mean one-stop shopping from dusk until dawn.

Snug Harbor (626 Frenchmen St., 949-0696, SnugJazz.com) Go to Snug for the food, move to the music room for the jazz, the seating, the air conditioning and the most intimate feel on Frenchmen.

Three Muses (536 Frenchmen St., 298-8746, TheThreeMuses.com) An extensive menu – sectioned into snacks, meat, fish, vegetarian and dessert – as well as specialty cocktails and live music every night it’s open with many residencies.

Vaso (500 Frenchmen St., 272-0929) An “ultra lounge” atmosphere often featuring brass or R&B music and food that’s Southern-inspired, such as fried chicken and crawfish pies.
 

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