Frenchmen “Locals” Street, New Orleans:
Know for its hip and eclectic night scene, Frenchmen Street is the one of most lively area to visit in New Orleans. Within a walkable few blocks to the East of The French Quarter the heart of the Frenchman area is at the intersection of Charters Street and Frenchmen Street. Lined with shops during the day and bars at night, this is where the locals go when they want to have fun.
Insider Food Tip:
If you’ve been waiting your whole life for a legit burrito, you want to be on Frenchmen. The famous street vendor dubbed “Burrito Man” comes out on the weekends, at least Friday & Saturday night and for just $5 you get a burrito literally the size of your head. Pineapple pork is the best. If you can’t find the Burrito Man there are always other street vendors serving up great food including grilled chicken and BBQ ribs.
The stretch of town between the core of the French Quarter and Frenchmen Street can be super shady after dark even though both neighborhoods themselves are pretty safe. To avoid the rough stretch either take the Riverside street car (ends at 11pm) or a cheap cab to Frenchmen. If walking, we suggest going in a group and staying on the side of the street opposite of the parked cars to avoid muggers. At the end of the night cab back to your hotel. It is a small hassle to avoid the rough stretch for how fun Frenchmen Street is.
Top Ten Frenchmen Street Bars for Live Music:
1. Apple Barrel (609 Frenchman Street): This blues club lives up to its name, as you can make the place crowded with 5 people. Apple Barrel is super legit chill bar with good live music. One time we saw a guy playing two guitars and a bass, all at the same time. He did this with a guitar in each hand and played the bass with his feet. In this crowded little blues club it was amazing.
2. DBA New Orleans (618 Frenchman Street): Excellent beer choices: imports, micros, chocolate beer and many more. The servers are beautiful people, but it often takes longer than desired to get a beer (10-15 minutes) and they sometimes have bad attitudes.
Usually DBA has legit music. Talented underground national touring acts frequent DBA, as well as New Orleans all stars like Walter Wolfman Washington. DBA will usually have a cover charge of a couple dollars but it is worth it. Bar Website: (HERE).
4. Cafe Negril (606 Frenchman Street): All around legit bar for dancing, drinking, music, locals. Considered a neighborhood bar as it is a favorite with the locals. Legit bar music with real ‘Bar music’ such as Smokey Greenwell and the Blues Gnues. Check out the smoke man, he’s got something to say and it’s all from the heart. One of his albums is titled ‘Between Iraq and a Hard Place’, and it has a picture of the smoke man on the front cover of the album pointing at a house destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
5. The Maison (532 Frenchman Street): The Maison has a much wider range of music than most of the Frenchmen clubs and carries everything from Jazz, to Rock, to Hip Hop. The stage and lighting are really cool, and we like that they have a 2nd floor wrap around balcony level. Bar Website: (HERE).
6. Blue Nile (532 Frenchman Street): Legit music club. One of the largest in terms of size. The Blue Nile has two separate music events / clubs, Upstairs and Downstairs. Upstairs is hella awesome because it has a balcony overlooking Frenchman Street, which is usually filled with excitement, occasionally a brass band, bluegrass band, one man blues dude who sets up a little amp, portable generator, amps an acoustic guitar (19th Street Red). Downstairs is arguably the biggest venue on Frenchman. Check wwoz.org‘s music calendar link to see who is playing at the Blue Nile because usually its someone obscure or awesome or both. Bar Website: (HERE).
7. Snug Harbor (626 Frenchman Street): Jazz club, the only club/bar that is devoted strictly to ‘jazz music’ on Frenchman. Both traditional and modern/progressive groups from New Orleans locals to national touring jazz acts play here. Also serves food, the most expensive club on French’s but is usually worth it. Club is indoors with a 2nd floor balcony and the overall small space makes it feel like you are in the same living room as the jazz musicians. Not necessarily a dress code but some will dress to impress. Bar Website: (HERE).
8. Yuki (525 Frenchman Street): Asian cuisine, drinks, and atmosphere. Tuesday nights there is a really good acoustic trio, Yuki, playshere; upright bass, sitar, and guitar. Serves Saki, Sashimi, and more to drink. Not much for entree type food, more bar and appetizer food. Legit place for sure.
9. The Dragon’s Den (435 Esplanade Avenue): Located further down Frenchmen, the Dragon’s Den is a quasi-goth/alternative bar. Anywhere from heavy metal music to industrial techno
to experimental noise rock to abrasive free jazz poetry to dirty New Orleans soul blues. Dragon’s Den upstairs has a chill balcony and downstairs has an outdoor patio. Usually a small cover charge. Bar Website: (HERE).
10. The John (2040 Burgundy Street): Sitting at the North end of Frenchmen you probably wont find any tourists at The John. Named after the re-purposed toilet chairs in part of the bar, this is a great place to save money with an all day happy hour. There is also pretty good local music.