Friday, June 26, 2009

New Orleans - French Quarter

Pictures to come later this weekend.

We visited New Orleans for the third time in 12 years this April. We wanted to see some parts of the City we hadn't seen before, so I did my research and planned a Dive bar tour for us. These were the best we found in the French Quarter that were off the beaten path of Bourbon St.

The Abbey
Located at 1123 Decatur St. this bar is just two blocks from Bourbon St, but it seems a world removed. The dark woods and the decorations all point to a wonderful Dive. The back wall is lined with stained glass, presumably from an Abbey. It give the place a wonderful Gothic feel. Tons of stickers and magnets line the wall behind the bar, many with clever sayings you could spend hours reading. The bartender and the locals were the best part. The bartender made our afternoon a fun one with her sarchastic wit and prompt beer service. Prices were extremely reasonable, almost cheap, much more bang for your buck than on Bourbon St.

The R Bar
This was one of those stumble into joints. I had found it in none of my research for dives in the French Quarter. It is located all the way down at the other end of Royal St. at 1431. This place was awesome. The bathroom was scary as hell and that's what you look for in a dive, one of those bathrooms you could take bleach to and it would still look dirty. So much character. The patrons here were friendly and entertaining. This was the type of place you find the real drunks and a few in between drunks. Reasonable prices for drinks and a true dive worth the walk. Hell, you need to walk off that beer gut a bit anyway, right? Get to drunk to walk, stay in one of their rooms:

The Apple Barrel609 Frenchmen St
These last three bars are all close together. The Apple Barrel was a REAL dive. It is so tiny you can hardly turn around, yet they have live music. You can see a picture here: It wasn't our type of dive, but perhaps it is more your style. The best part? Abita beers were cheap and they had a full selection. Can't beat Abita. If you are ever there in the spring, try their Strawberry beer. It is to die for.

Honorable Mentions
The Golden Lantern - located at 1239 Royal St.
I am told this place is one of the oldest gay bars, yet I never would have known it. It's a nice, small, dank bar with very personable people working there. We stopped in several times during our journey from the Marigny B&B where we were staying to Jazz Fest. This was truly a neighborhood bar. Everyone knew everyone. Their prices were quite good as well. A word to the wise, I decided to start my journey to the fest with a frozen White Russian (they have two frozen drink machines) because it was a typical humid, scorcher that day in NO. I thought, no big deal, those drinks are always pussy drinks, no real liquor, so we drink a bar and get two White Russians to go. I was literally buzzed by the time we reached jazz fest. That was one strong pussified drink. So be warned!!

The John - located on the corner of Frenchman and Burgundy.
This place was decorated with toilets and a barber's chair. It is way too large to be considered a real dive but the bartender makes it worth a mention. She is the one who told us to head back towards the French Quarter from there and to not go past that intersection unless you want to get robbed. She had a thick English accent which entertained us Carolinians and was very personable. So if you want to stop in a dive with some pool tables and a unique juke box (by unique, I mean the songs listed aren't always what's played, it has a mind of its own), this is the place to do it.

The Kerry @ 331 Decatur
This was another place we stumbled into. It was so awesome we went back the next night and were pleased to see one of the coolest guitarist singing solo we have seen in a long time. The place is decorated with old beer signs and random stickers. Despite it's relative closeness to Bourbon St. this bar hosted locals. The first night we were there we were offered birthday cake for one of the bartenders celebrating their birthday while working. So if you enjoy a dive and some good live music and local culture, this is the place for you!

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