THE FRENCH QUARTER
Most of you tourists will be staying here and will rarely venture out of this area. You really should though. New Orleans isn't only the Quarter. But if you must here is my list of places to go:
1) Rouses on Royal St.- This is a grocery store but they've got a great selection of beer. Stone, Bayou Teche, Abita plus 24oz cans of whatever cheap beer you may want. REMEMBER: You CAN walk around the streets with beer but it needs to be either in a can or a plastic cup.
2) Rouses in the CBD- This Rouses is NICE! Great beer selection and you can even pick up some sandwiches, tacos or pizza to go! I recommend the croque monsieur with some NOLA Hopitoulas. Located close to Lee Circle this is a great place to pick up a quick sixer or case of your favorite brew.
3) Jimani Lounge- Located at the corner of Chartres Street and Iberville this French Quarter hole in the wall has a great mix of low priced brews, local craft like NOLA and Abita as well as many other craft beers.
4) Jager Haus- an authentic German restaurant in the French Quarter? Yes. Their beer selection is ALL imports but hey, it's a German restaurant. What do you expect? And you should have the Wiener Schnitzel with an Ayinger Celebrator. It's delicious. And you get to say wiener when you order.
Basically this is the area with all the big buildings not in the French Quarter. Not much going on in this area beer wise but here are my recommendations:
1) Gordon Biersch- There is no beer to go option but if you want to get away from the crush and chaos of the crowd this is a great place to get fresh beer and good food.
2) Cochon Butcher- GREAT food and nice beer selection. This place is a must go! Pork and beer? It doesn't get any better. I recommend the Cochon Muffaletta with the Bayou Teche LA 31 Biere Pale.
3) Capdeville- The almost hidden gem is located on Capdeville St right off of Camp St. 8 beers on tap with a nice bottle list. Good local craft beer mix and other craft favorites like Green Flash and Sierra Nevada should make any beer geek happy. Without a doubt get the Capdeville burger and some Green Flash West Coast IPA.
If you're looking for good music go to Frenchman Street. If you're looking for good music and good beer go here:
1) dba- Good beer selection and amazing live music. You don't need anything else.
As usual I'm calling everything from I-10 up to the Riverbend "uptown". Deal with it. Some of these places are not near a parade route either but you still should get over there to try them out.
1) Avenue Pub- In my opinion there is no other place to go bar wise. You can catch almost ALL the parades from right here and also have the best beers in the city to choose from. Please note that the beers will be served in plastic cups because of the no glass outside rule and because it'll get way too busy in there for them to serve in proper glassware.
2) Steins Deli- If you're looking for a great selection to take back to your hotel room look no further than Steins. You still can't drink on premise but you can stock up here. My favorite sandwich? The Rachel. Get it.
3)Slice Pizza St Charles location- Damn good beer selection and even better pizza! AND located right on the parade route.
4) Squeal- This BBQ joint has a very nice selection of craft beer while also having some kick ass BBQ. Oh and the BBQ tacos kick major ass!
5) Whole Foods- It's Whole Foods. You've been to Whole Foods I'm sure. This one on Magazine St has a great beer selection. Perhaps one day they will have taps like their stores in New York.
6) Breaux Mart- This small locally owned grocery store also located on Magazine St has a nice diverse selection of craft and imports. They do a fantastic job supporting our local craft beer scene.
7) Cooter Browns - a legend in New Orleans. Nice beer selection on tap and huge bottle selection. DO NOT go by their online beer list as it hasn't been updated in a long time. They have beers on the list that aren't even distributed here. I would highly recommend the cheese fries, Radiator's Special and the NOLA Philly.
8) The Bulldog - Large selection of beers on tap and decent bottle selection. Nice outdoor patio which can be irrelevant in cold weather. Check out the outside fountain made from taps and also make sure to try the Crawfish Banditos.
9) Le Bon Temps - This place is a great neighborhood dive bar and can get rowdy at times. A must check out though for sure.
10) Midway Pizza- I really dig this place. They have a great beer selection and I really enjoy the pizza here. It's not quite deep dish but similar and good. They also do a lunch buffet. Yes, a buffet. Of pizza. Not that I need that.
11) Ms. Maes- Hell yeah I did again! Located right at the corner of Magazine and Napoleon there is no better place to get your cheap beer(and well drinks!)fix then Ms Maes. Get your Miller High Lifes and wait to check out the 610 Stompers!
12) The Irish House- Authentic Irish upscale pub grub with an amazing beer list? Yes, please. And no it isn't just Irish beer. They have options like Mikkeller, Lindeman's, Stone, Delirium and local favorites like Abita, NOLA and Heiner Brau. Oh yeah, by the way Chef Matt Murphy won Food Network's Chopped. So there is that too.
13) Boucherie - Upscale southern cuisine with a fantastic beer list? Check. A bread pudding made from Krispy Kreme donuts? Check. Need I say more? Oh yeah, Chef Nathaniel Zimet won Food Network's Chopped too.
If you're in Midcity it's only because a local dragged you to see Endymion. But if you find yourself out there here is where you go!
1) Cork & Bottle- This small store is mainly wine focused but has a nice beer selection. I used to be the former beer guy here so hopefully they kept it up!
2) The Bulldog Midcity - See The Bulldog Uptown. The difference is there is a lot more space at this location. Crawfish Banditos still apply.
3) Bayou Beer Garden Bayou Beer Garden is right near Cork & Bottle on Jefferson Hwy. Located in a unassuming double with neon all about this bar looks like your neighbor is just throwing a party. Great beer selection with nice food options. I recommend the Disco Fries with an Abita Andygator. Could be a really bad move but give it a try.
4) Crescent Pie and Sausage Company- Ah, pizza and beer. Almost seems to be a recurring theme here. But this place isn't just a pizza shop. It's a Bart Bell owned restaurant complete with Bad Bart's Black Jambalaya, pizza and also a wide array of amazing sandwich options. Did I mention that they have homemade sausages and a great craft beer selection too? Well then yeah there ya go.
5) Theo's Pizza- More pizza and beer. Not sure how this place got left off last year with it being located on the parade route. With beers like NOLA Brewing and Green Flash how could you go wrong. And get the Hawaii 5-0. Love it.
6) Finn McCool's- This Mid City favorite is a must visit when in town. Make sure you get the Deep Fried Truffle Mac N Cheese Balls. Nothing else matters. I don't even care what you drink. Just get them.
If for some reason you find yourself in Metairie for Mardi Gras here are my picks of where to drink your sorrows away. Just kidding. Or am I?
1) Lagers- This place is like The Bulldogs younger ginger kid sister. Great beer selection and oh yeah they have crawfish banditos too!
2) Phil's Grill- Possibly one of the best burger joints in the area because you can create your own burger. I'm still working on them working with me to create The Beer Buddha Burger. 100% black angus on an onion roll with creole aioli, beer sauteed onions, bacon and havarti cheese served with your choice of LOCAL brew!! Vegetables? What's that? Maybe we can get this in the works for American Craft Beer Week? Come on Phil!! What do you say?
3) Martin Wine Cellar Metairie- This Martins location is right on the parade route and has the best beer selection out of all the locations. Their cold selection is kind of slim but they do have a nice selection. And while you're at it grab some grub! I recommend the boneless pork loin with some havarti. And yes you can drink some beer at the deli!
4) Dorignacs- Amazing beer selection at this locally owned grocery store which is located at the beginning of Veterans Blvd which I believe is the end of the parade route for the Metairie parades.
5) Whole Foods- Again. It's a Whole Foods. But this is on the parade route. Great beer selection and you can order sammiches and stuff!
Okay so if you find yourself on the North Shore you are kind of far away from Mardi Gras. BUT you aren't far from a great beer bar!
1) The Barley Oak- HUGE beer list with a great food menu. THIS is the place to drink good beer when on the North Shore!
There are parades over on the West Bank but you probably don't want to go to them. You should however take a free ferry ride across the Mississippi and visit Algiers Point. Why? Because this place:
The Crown and Anchor- Remember hearing about little bars nestled in old neighborhoods that you could just walk to? Yeah, this is that place. Great beer selection with a wonderful mix of English and local beers. Ciders too! No food options but you can bring some grub to the bar. My recommendation is to order from Gulf Pizza.
BEER BUDDHA'S TIPS AND THINGS TO REMEMBER
1) Don't be a douche. Tip your bartender.
2) You are "allowed" to drink outside. Make sure it's either in a plastic cup or in a can.
3) BE CAREFUL! Like any major urban city New Orleans can be dangerous. We have our share of crime so always beer aware.
4) Downtown generally equals the "adult" Mardi Gras whereas Uptown is mostly the "family" Mardi Gras. Gray areas occur.
5) If you don't like crowds Mardi Gras isn't the place for you but Uptown would be your best bet.
6) Drink local! We could use your money!
7) Showing your boobs and or junk is still a crime. You could still get arrested for this. But we do like boobies. At least I do.
8) Unlike the parades you've been to our floats throw stuff off of them so like your old football coach from high school said, "Keep your head on a swivel!" Or if you played golf, "FORE!!!!" Getting a smack in the face from some beads isn't fun so pay attention.
9) Yes it's true the beads aren't jewels or anything valuable but be careful. People will fight and claw for those damn beads. And DON'T pick them up off the ground cause you may have a little old granny stepping on your hand to get them.
10) Just because there is trash on the ground doesn't give you the right to throw more. Please respect our city and look for a trashcan. If it's full at least get the garbage in the general vicinity of the can.
ADDITIONAL TIPS FROM POLLY OF AVENUE PUB
1) It's a marathon not a sprint.
2) Most places charge for bathrooms but if they don't please try and buy something.
3) Know what you want before you approach the bar and order everything all at once. It'll make your life and your bartenders life much easier.
4) Get off your cell phone when ordering from your bartender.
5) TIP your bartender!
6) Don't play Jimmy Buffet on the jukebox over and over again.
7) Bringing food to the bartenders would be a nice gesture since most of them have probably not had something to eat for over 9 hours. Makes a great impression.
TOP 5 CANNED BEERS AVAILABLE IN NEW ORLEANS
1) NOLA Blonde or Brown- Yup. In cans.
2) Abita Amber- Classic Abita in a can. Perfect for that crawfish boil you are attending.
3) Tin Roof Perfect Tin- This Baton Rouge beer is perfect for any parade.
4) NOLA Brewing Houpitoulas- Yes it is canned. Finally. Get some!
5) Miller High Life 16oz or PBR 16oz- cheap and good. Sometimes you gotta keep it simple.
Well that's it folks. Hope you enjoyed the 2013 edition! As you can see we have some old standbys and we lost some but we also added a bunch of new places to visit! If I forgot somewhere please let me know! Laissez les bons temps rouler!!
The Beer Buddha
PS I know I am leaving off some great places in the Marigny and Bywater. This isn't me being an ass just not sure I need that area for a Mardi Gras post. If you think I am wrong let me know and I will rethink it if I can get enough interest.