The Ultimate Bourbon Street Bucket List

Kaylee Giacomini

I know, I know, Bourbon Street is touristy. That being said, I live two blocks away from this iconic New Orleans stretch featured on everything from the show “Bar Rescue” to the film “Girl’s Trip”. Love it or hate it, if you’re visiting the city you must spend a night on Bourbon to see what all the talk is about. I’ve now been to every single establishment lining the strip (no exaggeration) and can share some of the most quintessential things to do at this 14-block-long frat party. This Bucket List is also in order starting from the Canal Street corner.

Beach On Bourbon, Old Absinthe House, Erin Rose, Vieux Carre Pizza, Boot Scootin Rodeo, The Dungeon, Spirits on Bourbon Street, Pat O'Brien's, Cornet, Krazy Korner, Tropical Isle, Oz New Orleans, Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar

  • Beach On Bourbon in New Orleans, United States

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    • kaylee

      Dance in the Courtyard at the Beach on Bourbon: The first club worth stopping at on Bourbon is the Beach. They are one of the few places with a cover - it fluctuates from $5 to $20 depending on the night. It’s worth it under $10 as they have some of the cheapest drinks on Bourbon to compensate. The Beach is one of the cleanest clubs on Bourbon and typically isn’t jam packed so you have some room to dance around on one of their many elevated surfaces. They also have one of the best bathrooms on the strip. It’s clean and they always have an attendant there ready to sell you anything from a new pair of flip flops to a spritz of Victoria Secret perfume.

    • mustangdmv 😅love that you called out clean bathroom! It’s so important but so under-reviewed.
  • Old Absinthe House in New Orleans, United States

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    • kaylee

      Sample Absinthe at the Old Absinthe House: The Old Absinthe House has been serving the iconic spirit since 1874, so you can be sure that they do it well. During prohibition they continued serving booze under-the-table in a speakeasy manner. Today, you can still find the old speakeasy next door in Belle Epoque. It’s much less secretive but still has the vibe of an undercover, lesser known establishment. Try their Absinthe frappe or take it as a shot.

  • Erin Rose in New Orleans, United States

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    • kaylee

      Drink a Frozen Irish Coffee at Erin Rose: Erin Rose is one of Bourbon’s more beloved establishments and is frequented by locals and tourists alike. They’re a classic Irish bar with some of the cheapest prices in the French Quarter for booze. In fact, they have drink specials until 2 pm each day where you can get their iconic frozen Irish coffee for only $3.50. On weeknights you can get a Miller Hi-Life at all hours of the day for only $2. Erin Rose is also a home of Killer Po’Boy - one of the best places for Po’Boys in New Orleans. Pro tip: they’re especially good on the way back to your hotel at 2 am.

  • Vieux Carre Pizza in New Orleans, United States

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    • kaylee

      Grab a Late Night Slice from Vieux Carre: Vieux Carre is the best and most inexpensive slice of pizza on Bourbon Street, and shockingly good sober pizza too. I’ve gone out of my way for it on a weeknight when I needed a pizza fix. I cannot go to Bourbon without stopping here on my way home. I’m a purist and like their cheese slice, but their Bourbon slice with pesto and grilled chicken is also great. It’s baked fresh daily, and although the establishment has no tables I prefer eating it on the go around 3 am on my walk back home.

  • Boot Scootin Rodeo in New Orleans, United States

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    • kaylee

      Ride the Mechanical Bull at Boot Scootin Rodeo: Boot Scootin Rodeo is one of the lesser-attended clubs on Bourbon Street. They have an expansive dance floor downstairs and always play some variety of Country music. Upstairs you’ll find the real party and a mechanical bull. I’ve paid $15 for one ride on a bull in Nashville, but at Boot Scootin $7 gets you three rides on the bull which is more than enough. See how long you can last on it and then spend some time upstairs dancing.

  • The Dungeon in New Orleans, United States

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    • kaylee

      Sit in a Cage at the Dungeon: The Dungeon is possibly one of the most eccentric bars in the whole city. You have to walk through a narrow corridor over a stream to get inside, the entire bar is basked in blacklights, and the interior can best be described as “beach town amusement park haunted house”. If you know you know. You are also not allowed to take pictures inside to uphold the speakeasy feel of it. They play metal music at all hours, although my friend claims she once heard “Guns and Roses”. Grab a drink and sit in one of their cages upstairs. I take friends from out of town here for the shock factor, although when my dad lived here in the 80’s he allegedly frequented this bar.

  • Spirits on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, United States

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    • kaylee

      Take a Barber Chair Shot at Spirits on Bourbon: Spirits on Bourbon was called Turtle Bay before Jon Taffer from “Bar Rescue” got a hold of it. He dug into the history of the bar to find that it was once a barber shop, and from there the establishment embraced the theme of “haunted barber shop”. Drink a resurrection while here - a beverage with blue ciraco and a jalapeno that comes in a light-up souvenir cup. Their featured attraction is the barber chair. You sit in the old-school barber shop chair in the front window, a bartender spins you around 3 times, pours two shots of fireball in your mouth, and then sets you free.

  • Pat O'Brien's in New Orleans, United States

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    • kaylee

      Request a Song at Pat O’Brien’s Piano Bar: Pat O’Briens is not only my favorite bar on Bourbon, but possibly one of my favorites in the whole city. They have an expansive courtyard, but you must visit for the dueling piano bar. Two pianists take the stage from 1 pm-1 am each day, rotating out each hour. I’ve been known to spend the whole day here at times. Drink a few hurricanes and request your favorite songs to be played on piano accompanied by masterful vocals. To request a song simply jot it down on one of their napkins and hand it over to the pianist of your choice with a dollar or two.

  • Cornet in New Orleans, United States

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    • kaylee

      Sip a Huge Ass Beer on Cornet’s Balcony: Whenever I have friends visiting, I take them to Cornet for lunch. I love their balcony because it overlooks Bourbon, making it a fun place to observe the debauchery without engaging in it too much. Order a huge ass beer - a draft pour that comes in a 64 oz souvenir cup shaped like a cheeky torso. I also recommend trying the fried gator to soak up the alcohol.

  • Krazy Korner in New Orleans, United States

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    • kaylee

      Get on Stage at Krazy Korner: Krazy Korner is one of the wildest clubs on Bourbon, and their music never disappoints. When they don’t have a live band or DJ their stage is open to the public, so be sure to climb up the stairs and have your main character moment. It’s fun to rally the crowd yourself and dance to their lively selection of music ranging from hits of the early 2000’s to modern classics.

  • Tropical Isle in New Orleans, United States

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    • kaylee

      Get a To-Go Hand Grenade from Tropical Isle: Hand Grenades are one of the most iconic beverages invented on Bourbon Street. They’re a guaranteed hangover due to their high alcohol volume and amount of sugar, but nevertheless you need to try one when you’re in the Big Easy. Tropical Isle is the original, everyone else that claims to be is lying. Get a classic pineapple grenade on the rocks, meander Bourbon while you drink, and keep the souvenir cup as a flower vase for when you get home.

  • Oz New Orleans in New Orleans, United States

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    • kaylee

      Watch a Friday Night Drag Show at Oz: Oz is a gay nightclub near the end of Bourbon Street that features a free drag show every Friday night. Go for the show and stay for the lively after party where you can often find male strippers dancing on the bar, queens who stay behind to party, and an array of people to drink with.

  • Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar in New Orleans, United States

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    • kaylee

      Compare the Voodoo Daiquiri and Hurricane at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Bar: Lafitte’s is the last stop on Bourbon before you hit the more residential section near Armstrong Park. Come here towards the end of the night while the piano man plays on and locals begin to convene after a long night of drinking. Lafitte’s is the oldest operating bar in the United States, first opened in 1722. The building survived two fires that near leveled the French Quarter and prohibition, where they operated as a speakeasy. It is not only the oldest bar in the United States, but one of the oldest standing structures in New Orleans. It has the original Bavarian-style structure of the old city that turned towards French Baroque buildings in the 1800s. Lafitte’s has two iconic drinks - the Voodoo Daiquiri and the Hurricane. Go with a friend and try both.