New Orleans should rightfully hold the title of “City that Doesn’t Sleep.” The city currently holding that title – let’s call it the “Big Apple,” for anonymity’s sake – doesn’t stay up by choice; residents just can’t sleep through the din of honking cars, loud verbal exchanges and bars that close at nighttime, especially without the snuggly warmth of a trans-fat coma to lull a person to sleep.
New Orleans’ indispensable bon vivant spirit keeps things here a little less strict, but it’s only a matter of time before the Health Hammer squishes the fun out of New Orleans’ proverbial ketchup packet for good. While cheeseburgers are still legal, pause to appreciate late night Abita, greasy food and the freedom to get both at the same place.
Don’t Tread on Meat
Nothing says ‘America’ like red meat and beer, and New Orleans has plenty of both. GB’s Patio Bar & Grill serves tasty burgers in a cocktail- and kid-friendly environment. The spacious brick patio is kept cool with circulating fans. The deck is great on rainy afternoons, as guests are completely sheltered by the tin roof overhead. GB’s has indoor seating, too, good for the days when it’s just too hot to be outside. On Magazine Street, Storyville Spirits Co. keeps the grill sizzling late, offering burgers and beer into the night, as well as pool, skee-ball and video poker.
Down the street at Joey K’s Restaurant & Bar, poor boys balance out the menu, which also offers Grilled Salmon and Fried Softshell Crab entrées. For a taste of treasures of the deep (fried), try the Fried Oyster, Fried Shrimp or Fried Catfish poor boy with one of their signature 18-ounce beers served in a “frosted schooner.” Try the Sweet Potato Fries as a change from the same old sides.
In addition to tasty burgers, Balcony Bar & Cafe serves up a few Northern U.S. classic sandwiches. Inspired by the City of Brotherly Love, Balcony Bar offers a Philadelphia-style steak sandwich – try it with onions, peppers and cheese for an authentic experience. For those who’ve never sampled the delights of a cheesesteak, the sandwich’s key feature is the meat, grilled in paper-thin slices and served hot on a roll. But those aren’t the only hot buns in town. Parasol’s Restaurant & Bar, the center of St. Patrick’s Day revelry, crafts some sumptuous sandwiches as well. The Roast Beef poor boy is a favorite, as are the Ham and Turkey varieties. The Irish classic Corned Beef on Rye is a must-try as well.
Amongst nature’s most stunning wonders, the mini-taco is a marvel of modernity: Deep-fried meat and cheese, in a crispy tortilla shell, with fixin’s? You’d think it’s too good to be true, but you can find these hot, crispy wonders right on St. Charles Avenue at the Avenue Pub. Slather up the bites with sour cream for extra delicious calories.
Pat O’Brien’s Courtyard Restaurant serves a bevy of bar bites, and right on Bourbon Street! Though the focus at Pat O’s is their signature Hurricane, the kitchen makes appetizers as well as kids menu items. They even make their own dressings, including Bleu Cheese, which goes great with Pat O’s Hot Wings. Their wings are marinated in a Bloody Mary sauce and deep-fried. Seasoned, thin-cut strips of Des Allemandes catfish, also on the appetizer menu, are another tasty way to keep Hurricane sickness at bay.
Away from the hustle-and-bustle of Bourbon Street, on South Carrollton Avenue, Cooter Brown’s Tavern & Oyster Bar keeps the grill sizzling with tasty treats, offering burgers and beer deep into the night. Video poker and celebrity-inspired wallhangings keep visitors entertained. To up the ante, try the raw oysters. Landlovers may prefer the tasty poor boy and hoagie sandwiches. And then of course, there is a vast selection of beers.
French fries have been prescribed to counteract drunkenness since the Middle Ages (or so I assume), as they are starchy, filling and, if nothing else, occupy space in the mouth where beer would go. Of course in a French-friendly town like New Orleans, tasty fries aren’t in short supply. University students flock to F & M Patio Bar for the drinks, pool-table-dancing and late night edibles. Cheese fries are a staple at F & M’s like tight pants at a sorority party.
Moving up the glamor scale, The Delachaise is an intimate, dimly lit wine bar on St. Charles Avenue. The bar always offers a lovely selection of cheeses, which pair nicely with any of Delachaise’s many wines. A bit naughtier are Delachaise’s legendary Pomme Frites. These fries are deep fried in duck fat, which infuses the potatoes with a unique, savory richness.
A Southern anomaly in the family of deep-fried Twinkies, fried pickles are amongst New Orleans’ most distinct bar foods. Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar and Restaurant in the CBD not only serves a host of wacky, beach-theme cocktails but their chefs fry up a mean basket of pickle slices. Fried pickles aren’t on the menu (tricky, tricky) so you have to ask for them.
13 Monaghan’s on Frenchman Street stays open 11-4 a.m., making it an ideal, and centrally located, spot for nighttime munchies. The vegan-friendly menu features a number of options for cruelty-free fried food. The “Tater Tachos,” for example, are tater tots covered in a sexy mess of cheese, jalapeños, salsa and black beans. Other vegan dishes of note include the black bean burger and Roasted Vegetable Sandwich poor boy with cream cheese sauce.
13 Monaghan’s, 517 Frenchman St., 942-1345
The Avenue Pub, 1732 St. Charles Ave., 586-9243
Balcony Bar & Cafe, 3201 Magazine St., 895-1600
Cooter Brown’s Tavern & Oyster Bar 509 S. Carrollton Ave., 866-9104
The Delachaise, 3442 St. Charles Ave., 895-0858
F & M Patio Bar, 4841 Tchoupitoulas St., 895-6784
Fat Harry’s, 4330 St. Charles Ave., 895-9582
GB’s Patio Bar & Grill, 8117 Maple St., 861-0067
Joey K’s Restaurant & Bar, 3001 Magazine St., 891-0997
Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar and Restaurant, 701 Tchoupitoulas St., 523-8995
Parasol’s Restaurant & Bar, 2533 Constance St., 899-2054
Pat O’Brien’s Courtyard Restaurant, 624 Bourbon St., 588-2744
Storyville Spirits Co., 4416 Magazine St., 897-1940