8 Best Bars in Mid-City and Bayou St. John, New Orleans

Banks Street Bar and Grill


This comfortable Mid-City nightspot has become one of the city's most reliable venues for local music, with live shows—sometimes several a night—every day of the week. The bill of fare leans toward blues and funk. There is no cover charge for music.

Bayou Beer and Wine Garden


Claim a seat on the sprawling multilevel outdoor patio at this low-key neighborhood pub and sip a pint from the great selection of beers. Multiple TVs show the big game, and the bar occasionally hosts live music. Next door, and sharing an adjoining courtyard, a slightly more sophisticated sister property has opened as a wine garden. The wine garden offers gourmet meat and cheese boards and popular wines on tap.

Chickie Wah Wah


Right on the Canal Street streetcar line, this neighborhood music club is unassuming from the outside but hosts some of the city's most popular acts. With happy hour and early evening sets and a covered patio, this destination is a favorite among low-key New Orleanians who aren't into late nights.

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Finn McCool's Irish Pub


Created by devoted soccer fans from Belfast, this popular and expansive neighborhood bar beams in European games via satellite. Pool and darts tournaments are a regular feature as well, and the kitchen serves tasty pub fare. On Monday night, there's popular and competitive trivia. If you happen to be in town for St. Patrick's Day, don't miss their rollicking daylong festival.

Haifa Cuisine & Hookah Bar

Bordering St. Patrick Cemetery, this Canal Street lounge provides a perfect respite from a long day of being a tourist. It offers not only a variety of hookah options, but also an assortment of Mediterranean specialties like stuffed grape leaves and falafel. It's a humming, large space where you can wind down your day before an evening of fun or mingle and talk late into the night.
4740 Canal St., New Orleans, LA, USA


Bayou St. John

Tucked away in a quiet residential neighborhood, this hipster hangout updated a neighborhood bar with the kind of carefully designed run-down vibe that might make Tom Waits smile. All the details are there, down to the soft-core porn on the restroom walls. The bar regularly hosts beloved pop-up restaurants serving Thai, Mexican, and Cajun food.



Down-home Louisiana music, rockabilly, R&B, and New Orleans swing in a bowling alley? Go ahead: try not to have fun. This iconic venue has a terrific lineup of music Wednesday through Saturday. Thursday is Cajun, Zydeco, and Swamp Pop Night, when some of the best musicians from rural Louisiana take the stage. The Front Porch Grill serves burgers made from grass-fed Louisiana beef.

Twelve Mile Limit


This neighborhood joint might be off the beaten path, but it's worth the trip for its unlikely combination of an innovative cocktail menu and barbecue. This place compares favorably to swanky wine and cocktail bars like Cure or the Delachaise, yet it offers a decidedly down-home vibe with its pulled pork and brisket, its run-down exterior (a contrast with the nicely done interior), and reasonable prices.