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Best Bars in New Orleans

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Raise your glasses to a toast at Mimi's in the Marigny. If the mention of calamari with chorizo, garlic and cream, mushroom manchego toast with sherry cream mushrooms or grilled pork tenderloin makes your mouth water, don't think twice about coming here. Walk into Mimi's, who's chefs are culinary magicians. Try the cold tapas menu; Spanish cheeses with roasted red peppers, or Jamon Iberico con Pimiento (ham and red peppers on toast) are always delicious. Follow it up with dessert while enjoying the melody of live local music.

With the growth of New Orleans, Mississippi River Bottom has become a cool spot and is frequented by people belonging to all walks of life. As with other bars in the neighborhood, friendliness and a simple decor set the scene. Head here for drinks and bar snacks, and to pass your time, you can try your hand at a game of pool. An outdoor patio overlooking the river is a good setting to end your day with cool glass of beer, while the locals cheer on their victory shuffling weights over the board.

Rusty Nail is one of those unpretentious places where one can actually unwind after a long day at work or simply come here to enjoy the music and ambiance. Rusty Nail is an off-track bar that boasts a wide selection of cocktails and a well-stocked bar. Blues and jazz are the order of the day, as this is a stage for many upcoming New Orleans musicians. Sit outside and try their signature Rusty Nail cocktail or something from their vast scotch collection.

Fancy good music and a cold beer at the end of your day? Head to d.b.a., where they host live performances and serve draft beer, Belgian draft beer, and hand-drawn ales. There is also a wine list, a whiskey list and a brandy list. The amount of liquor served here is mind-boggling. If you're there for the live music, you won't be disappointed.

John Austin tickles the ivories at this piano bar from Wednesday through Saturday, but the real attraction is the Carousel Bar & Lounge itself at Hotel Monteleone. It's a carousel and really does revolve - all the time. The music goes until late and the cocktails served are out of this world like the "Truffletini" which is a mix of Bailey's Irish Cream with liqueurs. The ambiance has a slight feel of a Moulin Rouge setting, with bold lighting and motifs.

If you are down on Bourbon Street and your feet are tired from walking and you have had your fill of raucous mayhem, you need only walk a little further to find this famous bar. Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar is (as its name implies) located in a former blacksmith's shop and safe house for smugglers during the 1800s. It boasts of having survived the fire that burned down the French Quarter in the late 1800s and being the oldest building to house a bar in the United States. In the back of the bar, a musician plays a grand piano and croons through drunken sing-a-longs like Piano Man and You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling. The bar has reasonably priced drinks compared to many of its Bourbon Street counterparts.

Named one of the top 25 bars in the United States, French 75 is all about sophistication. Premium spirits and custom cocktails win the day here, a taste in refinement that fits in nicely in the French Quarter. The drink menu changes with the seasons, but the cocktail for which the bar is named, a combination of brandy and champagne, is always available. Beer and wine are also present, as well as cigars, so indulge in whatever you're partial to in a setting that is classically New Orleans.

While the clubs in the French Quarter usually get most of the attention, they are not the only ones that hold good times with even better music. This hot spot in the Carrollton District does require a cab ride, but is well worth the fare. A funky but fun atmosphere characterizes this club that is popular mainly for dancing. Club goers pick their spots then move and groove to the sounds of blues, zydeco and R&B.

Grab your favorite brew and enjoy the underground bar scene at One Eyed Jacks. If a refined and elegant ambiance and soft music is what you are looking for, this definitely isn't the place for you! Burlesque performances, edgy punk and rock live acts, low-grade films and plenty of testosterone are what you can expect to find here. The bright colors and enthusiastic performances add to the vibrant atmosphere. A lot of events are scheduled, so check the website for your favorite.

There are several bars on Bourbon Street that are indistinguishable from one another after several drinks. Razzoo Bar & Patio separates itself from the others with an incredible back courtyard, ample seating and live music that is usually pretty good. The musicians here play with soul, which is a rare thing to hear on Bourbon Street. Drink prices are reasonable and there is a daily three-for-one happy hour.

Molly's at the Market opened its doors for the first time in 1974 and has been an integral part of the New Orleans experience ever since. This bar is unique for its diverse set of customers, relaxed atmosphere and excellent service. Every year Molly's unites regular customers and guests for a host of events as a tribute to their relationship with New Orleans and its people. This is the neighborhood's favorite old bar where beer taps flow into the wee hours of the morning.

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