A chill has blown into the Crescent City, and we’re embracing the telltale sign of the season by diving headfirst into all things cozy.
If you enjoy a quiet corner in a historic, candlelit, high-style establishment, boy, do we have the list for you. These five cozy bars in New Orleans all boast big vibes in small spaces, and they’re set in the historic buildings of the French Quarter and surrounding areas, all within a mile of Hotel Monteleone.
Dripping in rich velvets, saturated jewel tones, and a tasteful dose of animal print, the former law library of the old City Hall Annex is unrecognizable, but abundant bookcases pay homage. If you’re looking for a high-end hang with a low-barrier lack of pretension, this is it. Plush conversational seating sets the perfect tone for an intimate time with friends or a snuggly date night with your sweetheart.
Bar Marilou offers a captivating blend of European apéritif culture, New Orleans’ cocktail history, and a nod to the Caribbean’s vibrant spirit. On the cocktail menu, you’ll find everything from spirited rum-forward specialties to low-ABV sippers to espresso drinks, all topped by a curated wine list featuring organic options, natural wines, and French favorites. If it’s small plates you’re after, you’ll have a hard time choosing between elevated bar snacks like Fry Bread, the Bar Burger, or Pommes Marilou and delicacies like the Scallops, Frog Legs, or Bone Marrow. The best part? Happy hour is daily from 4–6 pm.
Photo by @thenoladiaries
Another historic gem, the Carousel Bar located in The Hotel Monteleone, stands as a world-renowned destination steeped in a rich history. Over its illustrious 75-year tenure, it has witnessed the creation of countless cocktails and hosted legendary encounters featuring luminaries like Liberace, Tennessee Williams, and Louis Prima. This revolving haven, guided by world-class bartenders, continues to captivate patrons with its timeless allure and warm, inviting, regal seating, perfect for an intimate night out.
The Carousel Bar doesn’t just rotate; it spins tales of visionary cocktails that have taken center stage in its storied history. Among the star-studded lineup, our most renowned Vieux Carré is a tribute to the soul of New Orleans’ French Quarter and was created right here in The Hotel Monteleone in 1938. Also featured are bright takes on classics like the Pimm’s Cup, French 007, and a rich bourbon menu sure to please aficionados. Those craving more than just a sip can indulge in irresistible dishes like Blue Crab Beignets, Cochon Quesadillas, and Oysters Rockefeller.
Photo by @coryjames_fontenot
Fives Bar, just four months old, is a cocktail lounge and oyster bar wise beyond her years. Emerging as a blend of history, romance, and locally focused libations, this hidden gem is nestled within the historic Lower Pontalba Building. Although it’s just steps away from Jackson Square, the space feels a world away from the bustling French Quarter. Oozing with ambiance, the stylish Parisian space is the perfect intimate setting to duck in for an escape.
As you step into Fives Bar, you’re met with a raw bar expertly curated to reflect the essence of both New Orleans and Paris. The cocktail menu blends classics like its collection of absinthes, brandy, and five martini options with in-house creations that offer a modern twist on timeless flavors. The oyster options are equally thoughtful, sourcing from East, West, and Gulf Coast farms. One standout is the “Pretty Babies,” its very own in-house oyster from the Crimson Bay Oyster Company in Bayou La Batre, Alabama. Hungry visitors worry not; you can also get heartier dishes like the lobster roll or Tomahawk Porkchop. All this, with a view of the St. Louis Cathedral to boot.
Photo by @studio.west.design
Tucked away in the center of the vibrant French Quarter, this historic haven pays homage to the city’s rich cocktail heritage, taking its name from former resident Antoine Amedée Peychaud, the originator of the renowned Peychaud’s bitters. A quaint and timeless interior invites you to unwind and soak in the storied past of the building, the French Quarter, and the city itself while the tranquil, shaded courtyard beyond envelops you in lush greenery and vibrant blooms.
The bar program centers on predominantly classic cocktails that showcase the spirit of New Orleans. From the timeless Sazerac and Vieux Carré to the frothy delight of a Ramos gin fizz, visitors can indulge in local favorites like the French 75, Pimm’s Cup, and the comforting warmth of bourbon or brandy milk punch. A curated list of beer and wine rounds out the selections, ensuring something for everyone.
Photo by @cejarchitect
When you step into the tiki-inspired haven Latitude 29, you’re transported to a tropical oasis masterfully curated by the legendary tiki historian Jeff “Beachbum” Berry. Adorned with tasteful tiki artifacts, maps, and iconic décor, this is a must-see destination for those seeking an authentic and enchanting experience.
The vibrant, expertly crafted array of cocktails at Latitude 29 is a testament to Berry’s passion and diligence. The classic Mai Tai, true to Trader Vic’s 1944 recipe, remains a perennial favorite, followed closely by the classic Navy Grog and Painkiller. Through December 24, you can revel in the festive spirit with the annual Sippin’ Santa event, featuring delights like the crowd-pleasing Shaka Kalikimaka and shareable Jingle Bowl. The menu also includes a mouthwatering spread that spans culinary delights from boudin to lumpia, Rangoon to musubi.
Looking for more travel tips? Our friendly Hotel Monteleone staff are always keen to share their New Orleans knowledge. Start planning your getaway today!