This page is years overdue for an update. In the meantime, the most up-to-date listing of music clubs in New Orleans is to be found at OffBeat Magazine's Find A Music Club Page ... go there!

The quintessential clubs

Tipitina's, 501 Napoleon at Tchoupitoulas, 895-8477.
A great club, and a veritable shrine to Professor Longhair, after whose signature tune it was named. Many local acts, plus national touring acts who tend to plkay much larger venues in other cities. Fais-do-do with the Bruce Daigrepont Cajun Band most Sundays, 5-9pm, with free red beans and rice. Food available, plus Abita Beer on tap. Tip's has fallen on harder times of late, with lots of their usual acts now playing the House of Blues. At the Jazzfest 1995 Cowboy Mouth show, Tip's crammed so many people into the club that for the first time I found the concertgoing experience there truly unpleasant. I imagine it's not as bad during the rest of the year, but if you go to Tip's when a bigger act is there, go early. Bookings 523-1614. Concert line 897-3943. Tip's Records 891-7994. FAX 891-7996.

The Maple Leaf Bar, 8316 Oak Street, uptown, 866-5323 for recorded info, 866-9359 for an actual person.
Small, dark and dripping with atmosphere, this bar is a great place just to hang out, and every night features the best in Louisiana music. The Iguanas play every Sunday when they're in town. Regularly featured are Walter "Wolfman" Washington, ReBrith Brass Band, File' Cajun band, Sunpie Barnes' Blues & Zydeco Show, Rockin' Dopsie Jr. & the Zydeco Twisters, J. Monque'd Blues band, and more. Shows change nightly.

Mid-City Lanes Rock 'n Bowl, 4133 S. Carrollton at Tulane.
Perhaps the only bowling alley that regularly books bands, plus serves great food like alligator po-boys. A not-to-be-missed experience. Local acts, blues, roots music and zydeco predominate. Zydeco night on Thursdays. If you bowl, you have more room to dance than on the dance floor.

Other cool and noteworthy clubs

Cafe Brasil, 2100 Chartres St. at Frenchmen, Faubourg Marigny. 947-9386
Great club, featuring reggae, jazz, gospel, and especially regular performers The Iguanas and The New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars.

Café Istanbul, 523 Frenchmen St., Faubourg Marigny. 944-4180.
Featuring Latin music, jazz, reggae, funk, and more.
Carrollton Station, 8140 Willow Street, Uptown. 865-9190.
Small bar & music club; R&B, blues and acoustic acts. Site of the debut Cowboy Mouth show in 1990, and it was pandemonium. Peter Holsapple and Friends usually play every Sunday night, no cover. Several varieties of Abita Beer on tap, and a great beer selection in general.

Checkpoint Charlie's, 501 Esplanade, on the border of the Quarter and Faubourg Marigny. 947-0979.
Popular spot, open very late, lots of locals, incredibly diverse variety of live local music acts. There's a a laundromat in the back, so do your laundry while you drink and listen. An OffBeat magazine reporter described the place as so casual that he walked around in his boxers while his laundry was drying ...

Howlin' Wolf, 828 S. Peters, Warehouse District, 523-2551.
The place for indie and alternative rock, with lots of local acts. Park close by, or take a cab.

The Lion's Den, 2655 Gravier St., Downtown. 821-3745.
This is Miss Irma Thomas' club, and it's only open when she's performing. Call ahead and find out when, and go early.

Muddy Water's, 8301 Oak Street, uptown, 866-7174.
Featuring local music, including regular gigs by George Porter Jr. and Runnin' Pardners, and Cyril Neville & the Uptown All-Stars. Located across the street and about half a block from the Maple Leaf.

Rendon Inn, 4501 Eve Street, Uptown.
Popular with the Uptown college crowd, and site of many a wild Cowboy Mouth show. Best avoided if you don't like Tulane students.

Tremé Music Hall, 1601 Ursulines at Rampart, 596-6942.
Featuring jazz and brass bands. Neighborhood not terrific. Take a cab there.

Warehouse Cafe, 1179 Annunciation Street, 586-1282.
Corner of Calliope, right under the bridge approach. Great little place. Alternative rock/jazz/funk band Lump and the great ReBirth Brass Band play here often, and if you're lucky and your timing is right, you can sometimes see Mardi Gras Indians perform here. Safe parking right next door.

Jazz oriented clubs

Under construction

Palm Court Jazz Cafe, 1204 Decatur Street, French Quarter. 525-0200.
Perhaps the best place for traditional jazz in town if you actually want to sit down and eat or drink something. Jazz brunch featured as well.

Preservation Hall, 726 St. Peter, French Quarter.
The name of this tiny club is almost synonymous with traditional jazz in New Orleans. It's beautiful in its bare, sparse simplicity; you don't come here to eat, you don't come here to drink ... you come here to hear jazz. All the greats have played here since the club was opened by the late Allan Jaffe in 1960, and here you'll hear the finest traditional jazz in its purest form. The club seems to be taken for granted by native New Orleanians; you'll almost never see city residents in here, which is a shame, but you will see people from all over the world. The doors open at 8:30, but if you don't want to stand in the back, get in line by 7:15-7:30. "We have music every night from 8:30 till 12:30 ... the band will take a short break, and we have some fine recordings for sale on the carriageway ..."

Snug Harbor, 626 Frenchmen Street, Faubourg Marigny.
Excellent modern jazz venue, with a good restaurant and cool bar to boot. Regularly featuring Ellis Marsalis, and Charmaine Neville with Reggie Houston and Amasa Miller, one of the best shows in town.

Irish music

In New Orleans? Sure, ceart go leor!
O'Flaherty's Irish Channel Pub, 514 Toulouse Street, French Quarter. 529-1317.
I'm sad to report that Danny O'Flaherty's pub closed and Danny left town after Katrina.

Kerry Irish Pub, 331 Decatur St., French Quarter. 527-5954.
Traditional Irish music, as well as folk, jazz and blues.

Big, shiny, celebrity-owned clubs

House of Blues, 225 Decatur Street, French Quarter, 520-BLUE.
Good-sized club that still has to get a few kinks out, IMHO (don't ever try to pick up will-call tickets the night of a show). There's also a slight corporate aroma to the proceedings that I find a bit distasteful. That aside, HoB has really tried hard to be a good neighbor in their new home, and the music's really good. They've even lured Sonny Schneideau, Tipitina's former booker, to work for them, and Tip's has suffered as a result. Lots of big national acts, plus big local acts like the Neville Brothers. No complaints with the musical lineup, but something about the place just seems kind of contrived. Every square inch of the place is festooned with locally produced folk art, which is cool ... but it seems so created, rather than having evolved. Oh well. I'm a stickler for historical backgrounds, I guess. You know Yats; we think that anything new should be regarded with suspicion! Seriously, I do actually like the House of Blues, and I'll go there. One big thing they have in their favor -- unlike some other clubs in town, they actually know the meaning of the words "sold out" ... these days Tip's has been packing the people in so tightly that it's become rather unpleasant, and you won't get that Black Hole of Sardines feeling at the HoB. Good bar, great sound system.

Margaritaville Cafe', 1104 Decatur Street, French Quarter.
Jimmy Buffett bought the Storyville Jazz Hall, painted it to look like one of the Hawaiian shirts he wears, and reopened as a restaurant and club. Lots of local and national roots acts. Avoid the food.

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Chuck Taggart   email chuck (at) gumbopages (dot) com