Visiting New Orleans and looking for a good bar, or want to avoid a bad one?
Want to play video poker in nickel denominations, instead of quarters?

Want to pet a bar cat?

I’ve got you covered, bruh. Let me show you around my town…

NOLA Dive Bars

🍸🍸🍸🍸 172 Bars 🍸🍸🍸🍸

NOLA dive bars (and the not-so divey craft cocktail bars) that I have personally visited. My rating system includes the two vital key elements:

  • Dive Level: how much of a ‘dive’ is the bar? (1 = fancy place… 5 = total dive!)
  • Norm Factor: will everyone know your name… eventually? (1 = could care less about you… 5 = like family!)

I’ve included a list of bars that have their own little bar cat… all of which the cat just showed up one day and became a regular or just didn’t leave.

New Orleans parish has outlawed smoking in bars, but bars in other parishes still allow smoking, as long as they aren’t classified a restaurant. The bars allowing smoking are noted as well.

All bars are allowed up to three video poker machines. The odds are pretty bad, about 93% return, and max bet being $4 to get the better odds, but they feature some interesting games you can’t find in casinos, and do auto-hold the best possible hand… so you can just button smash mindlessly for easy gambling fun. Talking to a bartender, these machines can make $15k-$20k a month. A fascinating economy for sustaining bars with $2 drinks. Every bar I’ve seen with $10 drinks never have video poker machines. I’m building a list of the ones I noticed that had nickel and penny denominations. You can spend a long time sitting there with a drink, enjoying playing with just a few dollars. All other bars are strictly quarter denominations and you don’t really want to start with anything less than $20 (just 80 credits). These smaller denominations are truly rare gems. You cash out with the bartender, if you were wondering.

Finally, I’ve included an overall rating of 1-5 for the overall general awesomeness. If it has a 5, you can bet I go there often, or wish I could. If it has a 2 or lower, definitely skip it.

Open the NOLA Dive Bar Map in Google Maps


I’m a lush who moved to New Orleans in 2016. I started making notes of the bars I’ve been to. You can also follow me on Twitter at… you guessed it… @spiritedgeek. I also make computer games. But that’s not why you are here…


If you need to contact me, you can find me at my local dive bar, Melius Bar & Grill. I’m the one wearing the obnoxious tiki shirt and cargo shorts, singing in a deep voice, at karaoke on Friday.

Or try some of those links below…