5 Must-Visit Music Clubs on Bourbon Street, New Orleans
To those who don't know better, Bourbon Street usually conjures up images of overly drunk tourists throwing beads off of balconies and screaming wildly into the night.
We won't deny that you'll likely see this on a night out on New Orleans' most famous street. But this isn't all it is. There are also historical sites, (allegedly) haunted houses and, most importantly, music clubs. As the birthplace of jazz, the Big Easy has music pulsating through its veins and pumping straight into its heart.
So, head to these five best live music clubs on Bourbon Street — you'll find the best parties here, anyways.
1. Fritzel's European Jazz Pub
If you want to hear jazz the way that it was originally done, there is no better place than Fritzel's. Despite its name, the joint is 100 percent New Orleans and boasts of being the oldest operating jazz club in the city.
Fritzel's also doesn't limit its live jazz to the dark of the night, opening its doors starting at around noon. Plus, the drinks are good and strong, and the setting is an 1831 building typical of the French quarter.
If we had to pick a single music club on Bourbon Street, it would be this one.
2. Maison Bourbon Jazz Club
Maison Bourbon claims that it is "dedicated to the preservation of jazz," and its track record certainly holds that to be true.
Along with Fritzel's, this venue is one of two exclusively traditional jazz clubs left on Bourbon Street. Throughout the years, it has hosted famous musicians, including Harry Connick, Jr. This has put it on the map for tourists, hungry to catch a glimpse of New Orleans' music history. But locals who love jazz will sometimes brave the drunk crowds to spend an evening here, enjoying the mood that only jazz can create.
And if the night is nice, you can grab your drink and head up to the second floor, where you'll be treated to views from the city's longest open balcony.
3. Fat Catz
Though we can sometimes be jazz purists, we're glad New Orleans is much more open-minded. It's not in the spirit of the city to stay stagnant. So, while jazz will never be dethroned and will always be an important part of the culture, you can also enjoy other types of live music on Bourbon Street.
For this, Fat Catz has one of the best vibes in town. During the week, you can hear funk, soul and R&B. Friday through Saturday is dedicated purely to rock. That's right, Bourbon Street loves rock, too.
Make sure you bring cash so you can tip the talented musicians, who'll transport you back to a time when rock was the music of youth.
4. The Jazz Playhouse
The Jazz Playhouse will make you feel as if you've stepped back in time to the heyday of the Jazz Age.
Bands stand against folding red drapes, and the audience is seated so that everyone gets a view of the stage. The club brings local and national talent, attracting people with its smooth vibe and amazing live band bill.
If the Jazz Playhouse isn't at the top of this list, it's because it's located inside the Royal Sonesta New Orleans. You don't have to be a guest of the hotel to go into the club, of course, but it can't match the other jazz houses, which have been around since before jazz clubs were cool.
5. Krazy Korner
The last live music venue you should definitely not skip is the Krazy Korner. This joint focuses completely on rock music, so it attracts fans of the genre who want to have a Bourbon Street experience without dealing with frat-boy vibes.
You'll see cover bands delivering great renditions of classics from Journey, Guns N' Roses and more. But some bands also play their original music. If you love knowing all the indie groups that haven't yet reached the mainstream, you'll definitely feel like an insider here.
Sit at the lounge, enjoy cool air in the patio area, or head upstairs for the wrap-around balcony.
Bonus: Musical Legends Park
Though not a venue, if you want to listen to live music on Bourbon Street, you can always head to Musical Legends Park.
Life-sized bronze statues of some of New Orleans' biggest musicians dominate the small park. These include Fats Domino, Ronnie Cole, Allen Toussaint, Irma Thomas, Al Hirt and Chris Owens. While taking pictures with the statues is the main attraction, the real honey that brings in the bees is the live music.
From around 10 a.m. until the park closes (10 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on weekends), you'll get to enjoy local bands playing jazz. Shaded seats are available, but you can also head to Cafe Beignet (touristy, yes, but also delicious) for some coffee, beignets or delicious Cajun food.