If you want party like a New Orleans local, do yourself a favor and wander off of Bourbon street toward Frenchman street. In this vibrant and colorful street at night you will find fantastic live music flowing out of small to mid-sized venues along a short 3 block stretch. In our opinion this is a not-to-be missed part of the city for great and authentic live New Orleans music. What we love about Frenchmen street is that you can listen to a band for a couple of songs, take your drinks to go, listen to what is happening next door, and move on to another club without being trapped in any one venue or having to pay silly covers. On the weekends it feels like a big block party with amazing music performers on every block as well as artist that will write you a poem on the spot, street food and street dancers.
Here are our favorite spots to visit in Frenchmen Street:
At Café Negril, the live bands are well chosen and they tend to invite only very talented musicians. With a variety of genres scheduled throughout the week you can hear folk, rock, jazzy rock and country blues. Our favorite and most popular night to go is Reggae nights on Saturdays. Even though it is not your typical New Orleans jazz, you will dance and sing along to well-known reggae songs all night.
Pro Tip: At the back of the venue, they sell very delicious and authentic tacos.
If you would like to experience the distinctive sound of a New Orleans brass band, Blue Nile is the best place to go. Hearing a Brass Band live in an intimate environment like the one Blue Nile has to offer, it will make you feel as you were in the middle of a Mardi Gras parade. Some of the regulars at this venue are Kermit Ruffin, The Brass A Holics and The New Breed Brass Band. They also have a balcony room that tends to feature special performances.
Maison is one of the best known jazz/music venues on Frenchmen. The atmosphere is your typical jazz bar cool. If you come to Maison, come to hear the music, get cheap beer specials but don’t come here for the food.
Spotted Cat Music Club
The spotted Cat is a more intimate jazz venue with music ranging from Traditional and Modern Jazz, Blues, Funk and Klezmer. If Jazz is your thing, this is a must go see. The place will take you back to the 20s – 30s vibes.
They are mostly known for their Friday night with Ellis Marsalis Quinent. If you want to see where Jazz started then come and watch a living legend put on a school with his every evolving Quartet! This man breathes jazz out of the piano. The club offers limited seating and guarantees an intimate experience where you will be inspired to sit back, relax and truly connect with the music.
Pro tip: Snug Harbor and Port of Call share the same owner, so you will find the same delicious hamburgers and specialty drinks that you find at the always busy Port of Call.