5 dive bars just outside of the French Quarter that are total hidden gems


Tourists and travelers from around the world love New Orleans. It's been a hot spot destination for people around the world for years, and one of the best things that makes the city so unique is its propensity for drinking. New Orleans is one of the few cities in America where you can enjoy a cold beer or cocktail in public legally, and it's completely normal to see mothers walking strollers in their neighborhoods with a Bloody Mary in the cup holder, or bicyclists cruising through the park with a beer in hand.

Bars will also ask you "for here or to go?" after you order, and New Orleans dive bars are some of the best spots to pop in quickly for a to-go beer or to sit and relax and listen to some of the strangest stories this side of the Mississippi. We've told you about the '5 dive bars in the French Quarter you won't find in a guidebook', but New Orleans has so many neighborhoods with so many great dives!

If you're looking for a solid dive bar, here's where to go if you catch yourself in the Lower Garden District. The neighborhood, often referred to as the "LGD" by locals, is a quick car or taxi ride outside of the French Quarter, where you will most certainly run into the native or long-time New Orleanians, and barely any tourists. Parking here is "off the street" with meters that require payment on weekdays until 7 p.m., but free on Sundays.

Corporation Bar and Grill
This place, often referred to as "The Corporation" by locals, is the sheer definition of a dive bar. The ceiling is missing tiles, the tiles that do exist have extensive water damage, and the place is small and cramped, but the drinks are inexpensive and heavy. Before New Orleans outlawed smoking in bars in 2015, it was barely possible to see inside the place. They serve great food, but if you are here for at least an hour, you'll be stumbling out. Be careful. Yikes.

Barrel Proof
Open from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. (til 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays), Barrel Proof is a spacious venue that is dark and woodsy. You might expect a hipster lumberjack to drink here, and they probably wouldn't want their place to be described as a dive, but this will resonate with the drinker in you. Billed as a "rustic bar with a wood-paneled ceiling that serves up a wide array of beer & whiskey, plus cocktails," this place won't disappoint.

Half Moon Bar and Grill
This place is a true dive with everything you could ever want. It's dark, dingy, the staff are super nice, and there's always a crowd of regulars hanging out at a very long bar that spans the entrance of the room. The Half Moon has everything: daily specials, a juke box, three dart boards, two pool tables, two skee-ball machines, and massive, open-air courtyard where you can eat, drink, smoke, and sit by wind fans during the hot New Orleans summers, and lastly, a kitchen in the back that serves up great pub grub in case you need to cure a hangover or slow your buzz down.

Garden District Pub
A small dive near the Half Moon Bar and Grill, the Garden District Pub definitely won't be showing up in any sort of tour guide book. This pub has the feel of a "Cheers" kind of bar - everyone there knows each other as it is consistently frequented by local regulars. Foreign travelers come here from time to time as an international hostel is just down the street, but for the most part, this is a friend's bar. Regularly playing sports game during season on multiple screens, the bar is seated with stools and a couple of small tables outside. There's a couch in the back if things get rough.

Down the Hatch
Located just across the street from the Garden District Pub, Down the Hatch has the feel of a wannabe-sports bar. With several screens in the main room and a cool courtyard (with an outside bar) also with large screens, Down the Hatch is a great place to go for airing sport events and their 'Game of Thrones Night'. The dining area is cramped and the tables are covered with sticky plastic. The kitchen is hit or miss, but when you're drunk, a massive, greasy burger or falafel wrap often does the trick. The place is nothing fancy, but it does the job - like all dives tend to do.


Cedrick Schadenfrucht is a freelance writer and has blacked out in every single one of the aforementioned bars.