Five French Quarter Cocktail Bars That Rock the Spirits and Are Your New Orleans Haunted Bar Crawl

Updated: Apr 15, 2021

--Read Time: 6 Minutes--

Interior of ornate, empty French 75 Bar, Arnaud's, New Orleans, LA
Trash your Tinder. This is your next worthy date: Arnaud's French 75 Bar + You.

Arnaud's Restaurant

COVID-19 UPDATE: OPEN for a la carte Dinner service, 5:30pm-9pm, Thursday-Saturday and Brunch, Only, on Sundays, 10am-1:30pm.

The souls of the charming and eccentric founder of Arnaud's, Count Arnaud Cazenave, and his equally-as-so daughter, Germaine, have been witnessed in this, one of New Orleans' undisputed premier establishments.

Arnaud's French 75 Bar

Still the flagship cocktail bar of the French Quarter, this legend is legend for good reason. The 2017 James Beard Award winner for Outstanding Bar Program, get your old-school on here. Imbibe the classics while ensconced within that turn of the century vibe that Arnaud's seemingly distills out of the Mississippi mists along with their drinks. The namesake French 75 cocktail is worship worthy and, for the uninitiated, uses cognac--and not gin!--near-sexually entwined with champagne. Also, a god-of-its-own Sazerac(1) and house libations. Try the Arnaud's Special and if you don't like scotch: shut up! You will. Regardless, pair your drinkies with Arnaud's decadent small plates, such as their Oysters en Brochette or Soufflé Potatoes--literally, hollow French fried pleasure pillows of airy delectation dipped into an accompanying Béarnaise sauce. Le Purr.

813 Rue Bienville 504.523.5433

An Aviation cocktail with a bottle of Aviation gin, New Orleans, LA
The classic Aviation cocktail(2), circa 1916, pictured, here, as one of Bourbon "O" Bar's seasonal winter cocktails. Made with Aviation American Gin and presented with the drink's history and a flask that y'all keep. Sip and soar into the wild blue yonder...

Bourbon Orleans Hotel

COVID-19 UPDATE: Hotel and Bar, Temporarily CLOSED.

"A Confederate soldier, orphans, nuns and a dancing mademoiselle walk into a bar," may sound like the intro to a classic joke, but they are actually the entities that haunt this hotel staked out in the heart of the French Quarter at the corner of Orleans and Bourbon Streets. Its bar is called the

Bourbon "O" Bar

Literally, the only bar that fronts Bourbon Street whose alchemy creates a libation worthy of us picky-cat cocktail connoisseurs. Fresh squeezed citrus juice, house made ginger beer, bloody mary mix, syrups and a six minute shaken Ramos Gin Fizz(3) are your first clue. The Bar Director, Cheryl Charming, was New Orleans' Magazine's 2015 Mixologist of the Year and has just published her 16th cocktail book: The Cocktail Companion. Which are your second and third clues. You don't need to be a stray cat to pounce on a seat here and deliciously escape the mayhem of Bourbon Street.

Also, live jazz music is offered at Bourbon "O" nightly. So no caterwauling! And no excuses: beginning at 8pm, with no cover, channel your inner Catchmo.(4) Just buy one drink minimum per set and, pssssssst, tip the band and bartenders. Meow!

730 Rue Bourbon 504.571.4685

Patrons at darkened Carousel Bar, Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans, LA
The Carousel Lounge at the Hotel Monteleone. This intoxicant wonder of perpetual motion has played host to legendary inebriate authors and lost souls since 1949.

Hotel Monteleone

COVID-19 UPDATE: Hotel and Carousel Lounge OPEN. Lounge Hours: Monday-Thursday, 4pm-10pm, and Friday-Sunday, 12pm-11pm.

The Grande Dame of the French Quarter, the Hotel Monteleone, has been the favorite haunt of locals, tourists, famous authors...and ghosts, for generations. Exhibit A is Maurice who materializes in a guest room, looking for his parents. But also consider other children, as well, seen within mirrors and spectrally playing in a frozen hallway. Or an engineer named, "Red," still checking a door through space and time until it was removed in a recent renovation, possibly consigning him to oblivion.

The Carousel Bar & Lounge

If thoughts of Maurice searching for two parents whom he will never find, or of Red possibly being consigned to oblivion, make you want to mew piteously, sit your cat's ass down at the Carousel Bar, in the lobby of the Hotel Monteleone, and drink yourself into oblivion instead. You'll feel better. And be in fine company. While taking close to fifteen minutes exactly to complete each revolution of this iconic watering hole, ponder that you may very well be enthroned in the equally iconic ass-prints of Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote, not only genius writers but, also, genius alcoholics. Because all the cats partied here at the Monty: Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner. Others. The place is seemingly a bloody magnet for not only ghosts, but tormented authors, as well. And whiskey drinkers: welcome home. The world renowned cocktail, the Vieux Carré, was invented in this hotel: rye whiskey, cognac, sweet vermouth, Benedictine, Peychaud's bitters, Angostura bitters and a twist of lemon on the rocks. My whiskers are erect...feline just sayin'.

214 Rue Royal 504.523.3341

The baroque Séance Lounge, Muriel's Jackson Square, New Orleans, LA
The Séance Lounge of Muriel's Jackson Square, the haunt of Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan...and a fine place--if ever there was one--to not only commune with his spirit, but the one's in your glass, as well.

Muriel's Jackson Square

COVID-19 UPDATE: Restaurant and Bar, OPEN. 7 Days, Dinner Service Hours. Brunch, Saturdays & Sundays, 10:30am-2pm.

The haunting eidolon here is a previous owner of the property, Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan. He lost the place in a poker game, circa 1814, and hung himself in remorse in what had been the slave's quarters on the second floor. But this casino cat doesn't let a little thing like becoming an incorporeal spirit urinate on his eternity. He continues to play in these same upstairs environs that are now decked out as a brothel, as it is believed that one was here during the site's history. Called the Séance Lounge, Monsieur Jourdan is encountered as a curtain of light, and not your standard, banal, everyday-mouse apparition.

Muriel's Courtyard Bar

In this restaurant that sets a sacred table, complete with wine and bread, for its resident shimmering spirit, you must enjoy a cocktail. Sip sagely and consider Antoine's undaunted-by-death elegance. Tchin-tchin! We can learn a wisdom in party permanence. Have a bite while thou drinkest thy heady cream, young kittens with-eyes-not-yet-open. Just a little food with each libation will reduce drunkeness to that lovely, glowing buzz that is continually sought after by the oldest of venerated mouser's.

The bartenders at Muriel's Courtyard Bar knock out keepers. For classics, they construct a splendid Pimm's Cup(5), a crowd-pleaser if ever there was one. But also ruminate upon--and indulge in--their house craft cocktails paired with, say, Shrimp & Goat Cheese Crepes...or whatever your proverbial passions may be.

801 Rue Chartres 504.568.1885

Between the Sheets cocktail, Sylvain, New Orleans, LA
Sylvain's got your spooky six. Here, a Between the Sheets cocktail(6) awaits your pleasure. And, although a classic libation, it is wonderfully appropriate when served at this darkened bistro: the resident spirit, Madam Rosa, owned a brothel when she was, well, alive.


COVID-19 UPDATE: OPEN. Monday-Thursday, Dinner, 4pm-11pm. Friday & Saturday, Brunch & Dinner, 11am-11pm and Sunday, Brunch & Dinner, 11am-10pm. Pick-Up and Delivery available.

Sylvain is haunted by Madam Rosa. Note the spelling. She is not Madame Rosa, but, rather, Madam Rosa, the woman in charge of a house of prostitution. You know...a cathouse. Not that she doesn't deserve our respect. She's nobody's grimalkin.(7) She insists that a tribute of alcohol always be left out for her--or she throws things around the establishment....and ya gotta knead biscuits in approbation of that maneuver.

Anyway, regardless of the Madam's entirely justified temper tantrums, every bartender in here slays cocktails and their liberated, benign spirits are rife in this establishment. Classics? Sure. But indulge their house libations, as well. Has the vibe of a very comfy darkened pub, complete with romantic courtyard, but can and will get rowdy with rock music being the order of the day...which some may consider out of place. They're wrong. And, oh yeah: food? Yup.

A small, easily navigated, sophisticated Southern bistro style menu that they do exceedingly well.

625 Rue Chartres 504.265.8123

If these five pairings of ghosts and spirits cause you to lick your whiskers at the thought of a Tom & Jerry(8), you may be in desire of a classic New Orleans Haunted Bar Crawl.

Consider, then, New Orleans Streetwalkers Boos! and Booze French Quarter Haunting's Tour, presented by ye olde Stray Cat Nola's scribe himself--and a Travel + Leisure Top 5 New Orleans Tour. Together, we will delve far deeper into the cocktails and haunted history of some of these establishments.

Discover Arnaud's own Christmas Eve ghost story, as well as tails not mentioned here-in.

Because as any alcoholic genius author will tell ya: a great--ghost--story well told is the equal of any fine libation...

NOLA! 'Cause I'm Cat Like Dat.

Stray Cat NOLA


1. Sazerac. The official cocktail of the city of New Orleans. Created in the French Quarter in the mid 1800's, it is ratified as our official cocktail by Senate Bill Number 6 in 2008. The ingredients are rye whiskey, Herbsaint, Peychaud's bitters, sugar and a twist of lemon.

2. Aviation cocktail. Ingredients: Crème de violette, Maraschino liqueur, gin, lemon juice.

3. Ramos Gin Fizz. Another well known New Orleans cocktail. Created in the 1880's by Henry C. Ramos, it consists of gin, cream, orange flower water, soda water, sugar, lemon juice, lime juice and an egg white.

4. Catchmo. Feline lover of jazz music. Derived from one of Louis Armstrong's nicknames, Satchmo. Jazz music was born in New Orleans and New Orleans' native, Louis Armstrong, is one of its most legendary and influential artists.

5. Pimm's Cup. A classic English cocktail that we have embraced as one of our own here in New Orleans, particularly as a go-cup. Ingredients: Pimm's No. 1 Cup spirit, lemon soda or ginger ale, simple syrup, lemon juice, cucumber slice. Other yummy additions can include strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, orange wedges and mint.

6. Between the Sheets cocktail. Ingredients: white rum, cognac, orange liqueur, lemon juice.

7. grimalkin. an old female cat or ill-tempered old woman: dictionary-dot-com.

8. Tom & Jerry. 1940's cartoon about the antics of Tom, a cat, and Jerry, a mouse. Also: a classic winter and Christmas cocktail, which, PS, Arnaud's French 75 Bar slays when they resurrect it every year for the holidays.

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