It’s football season in New Orleans!
Whether you’re rooting for the Saints or your favorite college team, pigskin pairs well with pig out.
If season tickets aren’t on the menu, or if you’re looking for a place to pre- or post- game near the Dome, we’ve rounded up a list of spots where you can chow down and, in some cases, cheer on. Hosting or attending a football party? Check out our recs for tailgate takeout and wash down the wings with one of several seasonal beverage offerings from local brewers and distillers.
No matter what the scoreboard says, it’s a ‘W’ if you’re eating well. Now pass us a piece of that dirty bird, please.
Near the Dome
There are plenty of places to fill up before walking over to the Caesars Superdome for kickoff, or to celebrate (we hope) after the game. Even if you don’t have tickets, it can be fun to soak up the pre-game revelry in Champions Square then hit a neighborhood venue for viewing. Here are some downtown bars and restaurants that offer a festive game day atmosphere.
Virgin Hotels New Orleans
550 Baronne St., 504-603-8000, virginhotels.com.
The Virgin Hotels New Orleans is known for festivity, and Saints game days are no exception, when you can catch lively watch parties at the rooftop Pool Club. If you’re heading to the Dome for the game, hit the Commons Club for pre-game food and drinks, or drop in post-game between 3-5 p.m. for bar bites like hummus or smoked fish dip. Feeling a little extra? Book the Shag Room (located in Commons Club) for a private watch party replete with cozy sofas and a 95-inch screen.
Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux
Multiple locations, including 1009 Poydras St., 504-309-6530, locate.walk-ons.com.
For a classic sports bar experience in the shadow of the Dome, Walk-On’s delivers with boneless wings (buffalo, sweet chili, or spicy BBQ), an array of burgers, waffle cheese fries, and a LOT of screens. Order the super-savory Cajundillas (quesadillas stuffed with chicken, andouille, boudin, and more) for a zippy take on the standard.
Polo Club Lounge
300 Gravier St., 800-262-2662, windsorcourthotel.com.
To mix things up, trade rowdy for regal. This casually elegant spot in the Windsor Court Hotel offers elevated Saints game viewing, with comfy seating to enjoy food and drink specials. For Saints games, Polo Club Lounge will offer a specialty “Black and Gold” Cocktail for $10, Who Dat Golden Ale from Urban South for $5, half-off select bottles of sparkling wine, and $75 caviar service.
The Rusty Nail/Sidecar Patio & Oyster Bar
1102 Constance St., 504-525-5515, sidecarnola.com.
The Rusty Nail and its sister restaurant, Sidecar Patio & Oyster Bar, offer two flavors of laid-back yet festive atmosphere for game day, especially for Saints and big SEC matchups. At “the Nail,” guests can opt for a high-energy indoor scene or snag a spot on the Nail’s side of the shared patio, both with first-come-first-served seating. Planners might prefer to make a reservation in Sidecar’s half of the patio, which offers full table service (including the bounty of the raw bar and a tasty shrimp roll, among other options). Both sides can see the gridiron action on the patio’s two projectors, two big screens, and three other TVs. Inside, a DJ plays fight songs and hype music during commercial breaks to keep the crowd in the zone, and guests can also order from Sidecar’s food menu. Watch for food and drink specials, especially for Monday night games. The upstairs space is available for private events, whether viewing parties or pre-/post- game celebrations.
1001 Poydras St., 504-208-9535, coppervine.com.
If you’re seeking something a little sleeker than a sports bar, Copper Vine offers a classy spot to pre-game before heading to the Dome, or to stop in after the game. They also sell drinks through their to-go window for a pedestrian pick-me-up. Explore the extensive list of wines on tap, available in a range of pour sizes or flights, or check out the creative cocktails. For a hearty game day brunch, the cochon de lait debris fries and cornflake-fried chicken sandwich offer a creative twist on bar food staples.
Gospel Coffee and Boozy Treats
501 Tchoupitoulas St., 504-324-3073, gospelcoffeenola.com.
Located at the corner of Poydras and Tchoupitoulas in the Hotel Kimpton Fontenot, this sweet and saucy coffee shop is a straight shot to the Dome and a great spot for caffeine/sugar/something stronger to gear up for the game (plus breakfast sandwiches, pastries, and the like). On Saints game days, Gospel will feature a “Brew ‘Dat Mocha Freeze,” with house-made cold brew, served in a 16oz specialty cup. They suggest adding a shot of Jameson Irish Whiskey, and who are we to argue?
711 Tchoupitoulas St., 504-301-1476, districtnola.com.
Located in the Warehouse District, The District shows college and NFL games on multiple big screens (all 55 inches and up). The hearty game day menu includes an array of dips, sandwiches, nachos, and panko shrimp.
Bars and restaurants all over the city know game day is something to celebrate. At these venues, you can bring your own cheering section or just root for your team in the company of fellow fans.
Port Orleans Brewing Co.
4124 Tchoupitoulas St., 504-266-2332, portorleansbrewingco.com.
This uptown brewery and taproom has released its Gleason IPA to mark football season. The hazy India Pale was created for former Saint Steve Gleason, with a portion of proceeds benefiting Team Gleason’s mission to provide support for those living with ALS. Port Orleans offers watch parties for games throughout the season, with indoor and outdoor screens and seating (first-come, first-served). Their event space in the beer garden is also available to rent for private viewing parties. Soak up Port Orleans’ range of brews with munchies from onsite Avo Taco, including football-friendly wings, nachos topped with green chile queso and slow-roasted carnitas, and an impressive selection of tacos.
3236 Magazine St., 504-891-1516; 5135 Canal Blvd., 504-488-4180, thebulldog.bar.
Both of this local institution’s locations (Uptown and Mid-City) make excellent watch spots. Each offers screens indoors and on their outdoor patios that broadcast college and NFL contests, with priority going to whatever local team is playing in that slot. The Bulldog menu hits all the classic bar food cravings, with nachos, quesadillas, burgers, and wings aplenty. The waffle fries are the stuff of legend, especially when you order them ‘Amber’ style: blanketed in cheddar, Monterey Jack, and bacon crumbles with a side of ranch for dipping. Those seeking lighter fare can find grilled chicken sandwiches and salads in a variety of preparations. The Bulldog also takes its beer seriously, with 45+ taps rotating selections of craft, local, domestic, and imports, plus ciders, seltzers, and more.
Urban South Brewery
1645 Tchoupitoulas St., 504-267-4852, urbansouthbrewery.com.
Reserve a colorful table at Urban South and settle in for a watch party. LSU and Saints games are shown on the projector and multiple screens, with a DJ covering commercial breaks, and beer specials. Seating is available indoors and out, and kids can hit the onsite bounce house and arcade games while their parents enjoy the ball game. Cheeseburgers and other bites from Urban Smash provide sustenance. Pets welcome too (in case Fido is a fan).
813 Bienville St., 504-523-5433, arnaudsrestaurant.com
Arnaud’s offers a festive, pre-game Sunday jazz brunch all season long, with Saints attire encouraged and a jazz band playing tunes to pump up the crowd. The three-course ‘prix fixe’ menu includes cool classics like remoulade-based Shrimp Arnaud and stick-to-your-ribs grillades and grits, or get fired up with Crepes Suzette for two, flamed tableside with orange liqueur and brandy.
509 S. Carrollton Ave., 504-866-9104, cooterbrowns.com.
This classic Black Pearl haunt serves up tavern fare and oysters in a comfortably boisterous atmosphere, with dozens of screens covering all fan bases. Buffalo wings or shrimp, gravy cheese fries, po-boys, and sandwiches – along with an 80-tap beer selection – fuel the cheers (or tears). NFL Sunday Ticket means they have access to every NFL game every week. For college games, the big screen typically shows the day’s marquee matchup, but local teams (like LSU) will always be on prominent display.
4330 St. Charles Ave., 504-895-9582, fatharrysnola.com.
This legendary bar and grill has been serving up good times on the Avenue since 1971. Fat Harry’s is a no-brainer for football, with nine screens and a projector showing NFL and college matchups, including Saints, LSU, and other SEC contests all season long. In addition to the well-stocked bar, the kitchen puts out killer Buffalo wings and intriguing apps like the “Drunken Crunchies” (loaded tater tots) and fried pickles. Sandwiches, quesadillas, salads, and burgers round out the offerings, with menu additions to come throughout the season. Monday night games coincide nicely with a regular weekly special on wings and pitchers starting at 7 p.m.
Zony Mash Beer Project
3940 Thalia St., 504-766-8868, zonymashbeer.com.
At this funky brewery, taproom, and courtyard hangout, visitors can spread out indoors and out to enjoy food from a rotating selection of pop-up eateries along with a selection of Zony Mash beers or Zony Pop spiked seltzers. Fans can catch NFL action inside on the big screen or enjoy live music outside in the beer garden – a great option for pleasing groups whose members aren’t all die-hard football fans.
Mid City Yacht Club
440 S. St. Patrick St., 504-483-2517, midcityyachtclub.com.
Don’t expect to find boats here – the name stems from post-Katrina flooding – but this neighborhood spot offers casual indoor space plus a quaint courtyard and 18 screens for viewing NFL and college football (with particular emphasis on Ohio State, though visitors can request any game). Fans can fill up on ‘Bar Bites’ like fried seafood tacos and ‘Yachtchos’ as well as chargrilled burgers and hand-cut fries. On the beverage front, MCYC offers frequent ‘bucket specials’ for domestic and imported beers and non-brew or no-booze options like White Claw and Topo Chico. The venue also offers two party rooms where groups can arrange private viewing parties and catering.
3532 Toulouse St., 504-302-1503, wrongiron.com.
This haven on the Lafitte Greenway consistently draws a crowd for Saints and LSU games. Fans can guarantee a watch spot by reserving a table through the website for those games, either indoors or on the porch or patio. Wrong Iron offers more than 50 beers on tap, as well as dozens more in cans/bottles plus wine, cocktails, and frozen drinks. For eats, the menu includes wings, nachos (including a tuna nacho offering with seared tuna over wonton chips), and a selection of tacos, burgers, and salads. They also have a DJ playing tunes through the commercials to keep the energy up.
Bywater Brew Pub
3000 Royal St., 504-766-8118, bywaterbrewpub.com.
Catch the Saints game on the projector screen and enjoy some Viet-Cajun fare at this casual neighborhood brew pub. Chef Anh Luu’s crispy wings – among the city’s best – are given the nuoc cham syrup treatment and pair perfectly with refreshing chili bamboo slaw. A unique take on shrimp remoulade adds welcome crunch, setting bite-sized dollops atop tapioca chips with sweet chili, pickled onions, and crispy fried shallot amping up the flavor. House brews like the Stimulus Czech, a tasty Pilsner, make an appealing game day addition.
Palm & Pine
308 N. Rampart St., 504-814-6200, palmandpinenola.com.
While they don’t show games onsite, Palm & Pine has the pre- and post-game hookup, offering their Happy Hour/Late Nite beer and shot specials all day on game days. Throw back a Tecate plus any well spirit for $6, Shiner Bock plus Don Q Rum for $7, or Victoria plus Banhez Mezcal for $9. Tasty eats include hot sausage carimanolas and sticky grilled rib tips.
NOLA Art Bar
2128 St. Claude Ave., 504-708-4804, nolaartbar.com.
If you’re looking for a setting that’s more stylishly cerebral than a sports bar but still relaxed and lively, this soul-satisfying bookshop and wine bar lounge is a great spot. NOLA Art Bar will show college and NFL games all season long, so settle into a cozy couch, a seat at the bar, or relax on the patio to enjoy the game over a glass of wine or craft cocktail. Look for food and drink specials on a menu that ranges from “doubles” rich with chickpeas and chutney to shrimp tacos. Bonus: if the game goes south, you can pick up a volume from the store’s excellent selection.
If you’re attending or hosting a football gathering or tailgate, these tasty offerings will fit into a no-cook game plan.
Banh Mi Boys
With locations in Metairie and Uptown, you’re probably close to picking up a delicious haul of Banh Mi Boys catering. Fans can fill up on a range of banh mi varieties, from the pork cold cut combo (Dac Biet) to bang bang shrimp to portobello mushroom, while crab Rangoon or spring rolls make perfect football finger food. Banh Mi Boys can also satisfy cravings for classic New Orleans-style po-boys (including fried shrimp or oyster) on Leidenheimer bread. And yes, they’ve got wings – in styles ranging from katsu to Korean BBQ to straight-up Buffalo. If you feel like staying a while, the Uptown location will broadcast all Saints games and offer drink specials throughout the season.
Dat Dog Dat Packs
Multiple locations, datdog.com.
Yes, we can all throw a pack of hot dogs on the grill, but they will (probably) not be as delicious as the weenies from Dat Dog. Those pillowy buns, all the tasty toppings… The good news is they offer their fare in ‘Dat Packs’ for takeout to feed a crowd. Each pack holds a dozen dogs, cut in half for easier eating. Choose three varieties for your pack, from traditional beef to duck sausage, Vaucresson hot sausage, or one of several vegan options. Toppings come on the side. And don’t skip the seasoned tots or fries.
Pro’s Dip is a First Round Pick
Local chefs get into the tailgate game too. Sophina Uong, Chef/Owner of Uptown hotspot Mister Mao, scores with this bubbly hot Mexican corn dip, which can be heated on a grill or in in the oven and scooped with tortilla chips or Takis.
2 cups shucked corn (can use canned whole kernel sweet corn)
1 cup diced jalapenos (or the green chiles in a can)
1 cup scallions, sliced
½ cup chopped cilantro
2 (8 oz.) packages of soft cream cheese
8 oz. grated pepper jack cheese
Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients and put mixture into a heatproof dish (can be heated on grill or oven). Bake 10-20 minutes. Serve hot with chips or Takis.
The Ultimate Tailgate Playbook
If your tailgate needs a training camp, Chef John Currence offers some guidance in his book “Tailgreat: How to Crush It at Tailgating.” Currence should know. Raised in New Orleans, the James Beard Award-winning chef honed his craft in local kitchens like Gautreau’s and Bacco before moving to Oxford, MS and opening City Grocery, Big Bad Breakfast, and several other acclaimed eateries. Home to Ole Miss, Oxford takes its tailgate tradition seriously, and Currence offers plenty of ways to up your game, with recipes like Grilled Corn Guacamole and Sweet Mustard Pulled Pork.
Multiple locations, popeyes.com.
It’s not a tailgate list without the ultimate NOLA crowd-pleaser, especially when the beloved chain is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Offerings vary across locations, but there is always a special on a big box of fried chicken and sides (plus tenders if you need something easy-to-eat-while-standing). Whether Team Spicy or Mild, we can all raise a biscuit to a half-century of loving that chicken from Popeyes.
Multiple locations, eatbarracuda.com.
While Barracuda’s locations will be broadcasting the Saints games onsite (and cooking up novel gametime menu specials), they also have a tempting taco takeout setup, with family packs, ‘Taco Party’ packs, and ‘happy hour’ packs to feed as many as 45 hungry fans (For the Uptown location, order through the catering platform on the website; for the Algiers location, reach out to the store directly). The Taco Party includes fixings for 36 flour tortilla tacos and your choice of two fillings from a selection of meats and veggie-friendly options as well as cheese and other garnishes. Barracuda also exports 32-ounce jugs or gallons of their margaritas, cocktails, and non-alcoholic beverages to complete the party.
Larder Gourmet Market + Eatery
3005 Veterans Memorial Blvd., 504-766-6157, lardergourmetmarket.com.
Larder Gourmet Market + Eatery has the takeout game nailed. This season, they will be offering “Pick 6 Family Meal Packages” for $150, which allow customers to preorder from six football-themed categories including “Fumble Snacks” like popcorn and Larder Chex Mix; dips such as Touchdown (seven-layer style) and Special Teams (shrimp and Mexican corn), sides, entrees, beverages, and desserts (including Black and Gold Bread Pudding). Larder will also offer tailgate-sized catering trays of items like jambalaya, red beans, and Game Day cheese and charcuterie.
5757 Magazine St., 504-324-7770, eatwithsaba.com.
For a departure from standard wing fare (or to feed folks seeking vegetarian options), catering from Saba is a solid play call. Many of Saba’s greatest hits, like the creamy hummus, can’t-stop-eating-it pita, and ‘salatim’ like roasted beets or Moroccan salad, can be ordered in large format servings scalable for various crowd sizes. For heartier fare, the restaurant offers trays of falafel or lamb kofta, among other options. Saba Samplers can be ordered through the website; for other large format to-go requests, contact the restaurant directly.
Every celebration needs something a little sweet. Try these tailgating inspired goodies at your next get-together.
4821 Veterans Memorial Blvd., 504-885-7500, gambinos.com.
Another sure-to-delight offering at any gathering is a football-themed treat from iconic Metairie sweet shop Gambino’s Bakery. Saints and LSU decorated cakes and petit fours will be unlikely to last ‘til the fourth quarter of any gathering. They’ll have some in the case, but you can pre-order to secure your stash.
Creole Creamery goodness
Multiple locations, creolecreamery.com.
Creole Creamery gets into the Saints spirit every year with its signature Black & Gold crunch (a vanilla and chicory base with semi-sweet chocolate chips and crushed Oreo cookies). Pick up a pint (or several) for your watch party.
Brach’s Tailgate Candy Corn
Here’s a Halloween/football mashup nobody saw coming. Brach’s has released a limited edition ‘Tailgate’ flavor of their signature candy corn. The colorful morsels encompass a range of tastes one might encounter at a tailgate, from fruit punch and vanilla ice cream to the head-scratching hot dog, hamburger, and popcorn flavors. They’re available exclusively at Walgreen’s through the end of October. Maybe next season will bring the Buffalo wings and beer edition?
Cheering can work up a thirst, so here’s a round of beverages suited to gametime enjoyment.
Who Dat Golden Ale
This brew from Urban South is available year-round but especially appropriate during football season. Fermented as an ale and then conditioned as a lager, the result is a crisp, sideline-satisfying brew.
Faubourg Brewing Co.
3501 Jourdan Rd., 504-867-4000, faubourgbrewery.com.
The sporting ties at this local brewing behemoth run deep, given that it’s majority-owned by Gayle Benson (also the majority owner of the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans). You’ll spy Saints-themed packaging on 12-packs of its signature lager, which also includes a QR code to enter its Saints Fan Cave giveaway. Grand prize includes a kegerator, TV, bar stools, and more. First prize is two tix to a Saints home game. Faubourg will also be hosting watch parties in their taproom all season long. Every beer purchase gets you a raffle ticket, with raffles at the end of every quarter for prizes like free pints, merch, and gift cards.
Made in New Orleans by Happy Raptor Distillery, this rum infused with American oak chips makes a delightful addition to a ‘black-and-gold’ old fashioned.
Pinhook bottled a 2022 limited-edition Bourbon Whiskey for Rouses Market, and its yellow wax seal begs to be paired with black or purple on a Louisiana game day bar.
634 Orange St., 504-442-0432, wetlandssake.com.
Both the filtered and unfiltered varieties of this spirited sake are made from Louisiana rice and brewed right here in New Orleans. The black and gold packaging on the canned varieties and local ties make this sake a Saints-worthy accompaniment. You can catch Sunday noon Saints games in their taproom, with screens inside and out on the patio seating area. Enjoy a sparkling sake mimosa over brunch cooked up by The Commissary next door – including the delectable Smash Patty burger and the Creole Cuban (which packs a smoky punch with sliced house tasso and pork debris). Rotating sake varieties reflect seasonal flavors and infusions of fresh fruit juices and herbs.
NOLA Trinity Vodka
This vodka, flavored with sweet onion, celery, and green bell pepper, is distilled in New Orleans and makes a simple, streamlined accompaniment to tailgate bloodies.
This vodka has solid tailgate credentials, with its label proudly proclaiming it the ‘official vodka of the New Orleans Saints’ (the black and gold label) and an ‘official partner of LSU Athletics’ (purple and gold), so you can sip it (or throw it back) with team pride.
Seven Three Distilling Co.
301 N. Claiborne Ave., 504-265-8545, seventhreedistilling.com.
Seven Three is getting in the game this season with two limited edition runs of St. Roch Vodka designed to celebrate the LSU Tigers and New Orleans Saints: Purple and Gold Reserve and Black and Gold Reserve. “We are very passionate about football in Louisiana,” says Joseph Quilio, Vice President at Seven Three Distilling Co. “With our ties to New Orleans, we felt this was a good way to pay homage to both of these organizations and to our customers – who are more than likely also fans.” The vodkas are produced here in New Orleans by Seven Three Distilling Co. and are available at the distillery and in select local stores. Quilio recommends starting game day early with St. Roch vodka in a bloody Mary and eventually moving on to martinis (depending how the game goes).