Ready to see—or hear—the real New Orleans? Skip Bourbon Street and skip on down to Frenchmen Street for the highest concentration of New Orleans’ best live music. Don’t let the lack of neon lights fool you; behind those plain wooden signs and dark windows dotting the 500 and 600 blocks of Frenchmen, you’ll find some of New Orleans’ most storied music venues alongside dashing up-and-comers.
Live Music on Frenchmen Street in New Orleans
The Grand Dames: Blue Nile, Spotted Cat, The Apple Barrel are iconic and unique. These clubs have hosted the authentic sounds of the streets for as long as anyone can remember. And they look it—so don’t look at the buildings; listen to the sounds.
The Famous and Famous-er: At d.b.a., rub shoulders with New Orleans’ biggest names in music in a club as comfortable as your living room while enjoying Frenchmen’s best beer selection. Rising stars play with established names at this longtime musicians’ favorite. Catch folks like John Boutte (of Tremé fame), Walter Wolfman Washington and Glen David Andrews. Some nights there is no cover while other nights pay a mere $10-$20 to hear some of New Orleans' best.
The Delightful Debutante: Three Muses has the swinging jazz sounds of the Pfister Sisters that have crowds packing Three Muses. Between the soulful jazz, the artisanal cocktails and the chic yet affordable small plates menu, any way you swing it, Three Muses is the newest darling of Frenchmen, and its funky, friendly vibe feels right at home.
BONUS Tip: Forget the clubs. You can—and locals do—spend your entire Frenchmen visit in the street itself. Any given night you’ll find poem-writing hipsters, Hula-Hoop troops, traveling brass bands and Uncle Lionel Batiste making his rounds.
Your final tip? Sound like a real New Orleanian by ordering "tachos," a tater tots-meets-nachos combo, from 13 Bar and Restaurant when late-night munchies hit.