A fun trip is a wander down Magazine Street. Once you get past the I-10 underpass, you’ll pass by many bars, restaurants, and shops. On a nice day, (i.e., not raining or summertime) you could probably have a nice walk starting from downtown at Magazine and Canal. Now, I’m not gonna lie to you. There’s a lot of Magazine Street to cover, and if you walk it, it will take up a big chunk of your day. Happily there is also a bus that runs up and down Magazine Street: the #11 bus. Just hop on and off when needed.
If you begin your stroll downtown, you can stop at Capdeville which is right past the courthouse area; you’ll see the teeny street (called Capdeville Street, that’s your first clue) and if you duck up it, you can grab a NOLA Blonde or Hopitoulas, or a Pimms Cup or Champagne Julep if you’re in the mood for that kind of thing instead.
Carrying on, you’ll pass the World War II Museum and John Besh’s American Sector restaurant within it. I highly recommend checking out this museum if you are at all into history, American or military or otherwise. It’s excellent. If you are anything like me, you will need a drink after it though... so hit the American Sector for a draft beer specially created for the restaurant by Heiner Brau, or an old school cocktail or tiki drink. They also have a pretty small but decent microbrew can selection. If you hit it between 3-6pm, you can get drinks for half price AND a snack of 75 cent BBQ sliders.
Now is the time to cross under the ugly I-10 underpass and emerge in the Lower Garden District. A couple blocks up on the right you will see a nondescript looking green corner establishment called the Bridge Lounge. There my be people sitting at the outdoor tables, possibly with dogs! Go on in and grab a beer or one of their famous mojitos. Ah, refreshing.
The next stretch is very pretty but quiet. Take a look at the houses and architecture, stop for a juice at Surrey’s or a snoball at the Corner Muse or a coffee at Mojo Coffee House. Once you pass Felicity (which you’ll know because there’s a mural of a very large cat decorating the side of the Cat Practice on the corner of Magazine and Felicity) you’ll see that the commercial area is starting. Tons of shops and restaurants and cafes between Felicity and Jackson Streets. Drop in at the Garden District Pub for a quick pint of NOLA Blonde or Abita Jockamo IPA and carry on. If you’re feeling peckish, you can stop at Juan’s Flying Burrito for some cheap but tasty (and vegetarian/vegan friendly) Tex-Mex-NOLA food and margaritas!
OK, once you cross Jackson, on the right hand side of the street, you will find Stein’s Deli. You may want to save your appetite for here, because in addition to having one of the most eclectic and extensive beer selections in town, they have great deli-style sandwiches. Their daily special sandwiches are always excellent too. Oh, I hope you brought your backpack, because you can’t drink any of the beers you find here on site, and you still have plenty of wandering to do.
We go back to mostly houses for a few blocks (though you can stop at Magazine Street Po-boy on the corner of Magazine and First) until you hit the cross street of Washington. (if you take a right up Washington from here, you’re only a few blocks away from Commander’s Palace- I like going to lunch and rocking their 25-cent martinis.) Coquette has a beautiful bar and excellent (and fancier) food. They also have $5 Wine By The Glass Wednesdays and $5 Specialty Cocktail Thursdays. If you are into either or both of those things, I strongly urge you to check them out. They have a great wine list and their cocktails are top notch and very creative. They also have a nice but small bottled beer selection. Sit at the bar and marvel at the care they take in executing their cocktails as well as the bartender’s friendliness.
NOTE: Between Washington and Louisiana, you can duck down 7th Street and walk about 10 minutes or so to the end of the street where it stops at Tchopitoulas. Look to your right. There it is, NOLA Brewing, the only brewery in New Orleans. They have tours every Friday at 2pm and I strongly, STRONGLY suggest you attend if at all possible.
Continuing (up Magazine): SO MANY SHOPS. Antique shops, clothing stores, cafes, gelato shops. Everything is a lot of fun. Some of my personal favorites are: Fleurty Girl, Funky Monkey, La Divinia, Neophobia, Rue de la Course, Storyville T-Shirts, the Magazine Antique Mall, Sake Cafe, Rum House, Petcetera... and there are plenty of places to whet your whistle. You can hit the Rendezvous or the Balcony or Tracey’s or Parasol’s, but I’d stay strong till you hit the Bulldog. It has a great beer garden, and a large tap list. Over the way is Breaux Mart, if you want to pick up a NOLA draft pack or other local 6 packs. As you carry on toward Louisiana, you’ll also pass Slim Goodie’s, a very popular breakfast joint. On the other side of Louisiana, you’ll pass Mahoney’s which has some very innovative po-boys and usually Bayou Tesche Biere Pale on draft (try the onion rings, they are amazing). Also on that stretch is Martin’s Wine Cellar, which in addition to wine, they have many beers for sale as well as a bistro/deli area for snacking.
Heading further and further uptown towards Napoleon, you will pass by many places to window shop, actual shop, eat, and drink. Enjoy! Right before Napoleon on the left hand side of the street (after passing La Petite Grocery) is Casamento’s which is amazing for oysters. If you like oysters, and it’s open, stop here. Next to Casamento’s is Ms. Mae’s, where you can get cheap cheap drinks. If you take a left down Napoleon to Tchoupitoulas, you’ll find Tipitina’s which is one of the best places in the city to listen to live music. It is also smoke-free and has NOLA Brewing and Parish Brewing beers on draft.
If you keep heading up Magazine Street, though, you’ll come to Le Bon Temps Roule on the right hand side (after passing Dominique’s on Magazine, a yummy bistro) and they have NOLA beers and music and a pool table and general merriment.
You can keep heading up Magazine past Jefferson Street up to Nashville or beyond for more exploring, hitting Whole Foods to check out their beer selection, or Guy’s Po-boys or Blue Frog Chocolates or Pinkberry or Buddha Belly dive bar/laundromat/karaoke or Vom Fass (for olive oil, vinegars, and liquor) and bless you if you do. There’s always something on the next block (and in fact if you press on you’ll come to Audubon Park and Zoo). But there’s no shame in grabbing the bus (or a cab- you do have have United’s numbers programmed into your phone, right? 504-522-9771 or 504-524-9606) back for a nap to sleep off all the food, beer, drink, and walking!
Up next: Mid-City tour!