People these days (present company included) like to make lists. The 10 best food cities in America. The 23 best bar scenes in the U.S. The 12 best drinking cities in the country. The truth is they’re all matters of debate. But while you can argue you all you want about the No. 2 through No. 12 best drinking cities in U.S., there’s really no point debating the best. That honor belongs to New Orleans.
It comes down to the sheer number of bars per capita, the fact that there’s basically always something to celebrate and the fact that you can drink a yard of frozen daiquiri on the street without legal repercussions or awkward glances. You can even get to-go cups from any bar, there’s no mandated closing time and you can generally drink your bodyweight in beer and still probably won’t be the drunkest guy in the bar.
If you want to say that New Orleans is currently home to the country’s best cocktail bars, however, that is a matter of debate. Cities like New York, Chicago and San Francisco have stellar cocktail scenes of their own, but when you add all the elements together, it’s pretty safe to say that New Orleans is the Cocktail Capital of America. That’s probably why the country’s largest cocktail event, Tales of the Cocktail, just enjoyed its 15th year in the city.
Need more reasons? Here are a few:
Home of the country’s best cocktail bar
Arnaud’s French 75 used to be a place where you’d have a drink while you waited for a table at Arnaud’s, one of the French Quarter’s most famous historic Creole restaurants. But ever since Chris Hannah took the bar over not long after Katrina, the destination restaurant got an equally destination bar – one that won the 2017 James Beard award for Outstanding Bar Program.
Diversity of drinks
Want a tiki drink? Head to the hidden French Quarter gem, Cane & Table, for a Colonial-era pineapple cocktail served in a hollowed-out pineapple, or go to Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29 to share a glowing, blue Snake Versus Mongoose (served in a bowl with four straws).
Rather sip an Absinthe Frappe or a Pimm’s Cup at a 200-plus-year-old-bar with paint chipping off the walls? Head to the Old Absinthe House or Napoleon House Bar and Cafe. Want an Amazonian drink that will make your mouth go numb? Head to the pisco-based bar at Catahoula Hotel.
It’s full of history
New Orleans has more than a few cocktails that it can call its own. The Absinthe Frappe, the Vieux…