POSTED Mon. Jul 7, 2014

The Insider Guide to al fresco drinks in New Orleans


The Insider Guide to al fresco drinks in New Orleans
Kat Stromquist

When summer visitors arrive, it’s time to emerge from our air-conditioned cocoons and dish out a little Southern hospitality. Start the evening when the sun goes down with a drink at one of these courtyards, balconies or patios. The sultry, jasmine-scented nights are the New Orleans of the popular imagination, and the ferns and foliage in revolt make any outing seem dense with possibility.

This list should get you started, but ask about outdoor seating at almost any downtown bar. Many have unadvertised courtyards that are open to those in the know. And we can’t complete this list without a nod to the now-defunct Pravda, whose dim courtyard housed a turtle pond and intimated shady dealings. Rest in peace, vampire bar.

All images courtesy of Facebook.

1 El Gato Negro

After an obligatory trip through the French Market, take a seat in front of El Gato Negro (81 French Market Pl) for the city’s best margaritas. Regular variations include blackberries, pineapple and cilantro alongside classic lime; sit on the front patio to watch the market vendors breaking down shop or in the courtyard out back. The food’s a bit pricy, but the guacamole made at-table is worth the splurge.

2 Mid City Yacht Club

This much-loved neighborhood bar recently built a vast patio to accommodate their growing clientele and to placate holdout smokers (the bar proper is now smoke-free). A rotating selection of local and craft beers on tap, house-infused alcohols, and a new, chic-ified menu may keep you here all night; outdoor bar games like giant Jenga aim to entertain. 440 S. St. Patrick St.

3 St Joe's

During the school year, St Joe’s (5535 Magazine St) caters to the college and law-school set, but summer opens its jungle-forested courtyard to a more local clientele. The usual selection of craft beers and cocktails are present, with the amusing diversion of house specialty mojitos. (Review: a novelty, but not worth more than one.) The courtyard’s secluded romance makes it a good après-date hangout.

4 Muriel's

There’s a nice courtyard here too, but the balcony at Muriel’s (801 Chartres St) wins out, with its view of the cobblestones and Tarot readers of Jackson Square. Splurge on a bottle of wine and an appetizer, then head elsewhere for dinner—the food is a little dated. Like most Quarter restaurants, business slows down a lot in the summer, but call ahead to reserve a balcony seat. If they aren’t free, check in with Dickie Brennan’s Tableau, just across the Square.

5 Bayou Beer Garden

This unpretentious Mid-City spot can get crowded indoors, but the backyard picnic tables and the front porch always have plenty of space. As such, the beer garden (326 N. Jefferson Davis) a good place to bring a rowdy group, especially one on a mixed budget—you can order a Framboise lambic or a bucket of High Life. The bar is convenient to Obama’s favorite New Orleans restaurant, Parkway Bakery, or the eponymous bayou for late-night ramblings.

POSTED Nov 4, 2019


A New Orleans & Me Guide to Beer in the Crescent City

A New Orleans & Me Guide to Beer in the Crescent City

The beer scene in New Orleans has exponentially expanded since 2010, ballooning from a few beer-specializing bars and one homegrown brewery to a series of brewpubs, microbreweries and…....

Written by ADAM KARLIN
POSTED Nov 4, 2019


An Ode to Burger

An Ode to Burger

While I harbor no ill will towards vegetarianism, or its faithful, I worship at the altar of Burger. For my earnest and dutiful reverence, I’m frequently rewarded with…....

Written by AMIE MARVEL
POSTED Jul 18, 2019

Creative Culture

August in New Orleans

August in New Orleans

New Orleans may be known as a party town, but locals work as hard here as they do in any city. Take a break from the routine with…....

Written by CREE MCCREE
POSTED Mar 18, 2019

New Orleans Moments

The New Orleans & Me Guide to Irish Pubs

The New Orleans & Me Guide to Irish Pubs

Celebrate your Irish heritage — or that buddy of yours who always talks about their Irish heritage (we all have one) — with a good old-fashioned Gaelic pub…....

Written by NEW ORLEANS & ME

    Our Local Publisher Partners

    • The Arts Council of New Orleans
    • WWNO
    • WWOZ
    • PRC
    • NOMA
    • The Historic New Orleans Collection
    • Southern Food
    • Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities
    The Arts Council of New Orleans

    The Arts Council of New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated as the City’s official arts agency. The Arts Council serves as one of eight regional distributing agencies for state arts funds and administers available municipal arts grants and the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans. The Arts Council works in partnership with the City of New Orleans, community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the New Orleans community through a diversity of initiatives and services.


    WWNO, the NPR member station for New Orleans, serves southeast Louisiana and parts of southwest Mississippi by broadcasting balanced news, thought provoking analysis, classical music, jazz and other musical styles, intelligent entertainment, and unique local content. We broadcast on 89.9 FM, and KTLN 90.5 FM in the Houma-Thibodaux area as a public service of the University of New Orleans. All of WWNO’s programs, including its growing local news coverage, are available online at


    WWOZ 90.7 FM is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Station offering listener-supported, volunteer-programmed community radio. WWOZ covers many events live in and around the city and across the United States, and broadcasts live from the famed New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival annually. WWOZ’s mission is to be the worldwide voice, archive, and flag-bearer of New Orleans culture and musical heritage.


    Preservation Resource Center (PRC) has been preserving, restoring, and revitalizing New Orleans’ historic architecture and neighborhoods since 1974. Throughout its history, PRC has acted as an advocacy agent on a local, regional, and national scale, spreading the word about the city’s rich architectural heritage and the economic importance of preserving this heritage. PRC also takes a hands-on approach to preservation, with a history of successfully restoring over 1,400 properties. The center strengthens and revitalizes New Orleans in a way that is forward-looking and sustainable, yet sensitive to the city’s past and its heritage.


    As a nexus for the arts in New Orleans, NOMA is committed to preserving, interpreting, and enriching its collections and renowned sculpture garden; offering innovative experiences for learning and interpretation; and uniting, inspiring, and engaging diverse communities and cultures.

    The Historic New Orleans Collection

    The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Its holdings comprise more than one million items from more than three centuries, documenting moments both major and minor. Its four exhibition spaces–the Williams Gallery, the Louisiana History Galleries, the Boyd Cruise Gallery, and the Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for Louisiana Art–faithfully depict the multicultural stories of the region, from permanent displays exploring the evolution of Louisiana to rotating exhibitions showcasing history and fine art.

    Southern Food

    The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South. While based in New Orleans, the Museum examines and celebrates all the cultures that have come together through the centuries to create the South’s unique culinary heritage. The Museum is also home to the collections of the Museum of the American Cocktail, the Galerie d’Absinthe, and a demonstration kitchen.

    Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all Louisianans.

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ mission is to provide all Louisianans with access to and an appreciation of their own rich, shared and diverse historical, literary and cultural heritage through grant-supported outreach programs, family literacy and adult reading initiatives, teacher professional development institutes, publications, film and radio documentaries, museum exhibitions, cultural tourism, public lectures, library projects, and other public humanities programming.



    was added to your favorites.



    Share On Twitter Share On Facebook