If drunken debauchery and large crowds aren’t your thing, you may want to avoid Mardi Gras altogether. But, if you’re up for some tipsy good times and lively groups, you could skip the tourist zones and experience the festival from the locals’ perspective. By avoiding Bourbon Street altogether, you can imbibe your way through local neighborhoods while enjoying some of the lesser known parades. Here, four NOLA bartenders reveal their favorite under-the-radar bars to celebrate Mardi Gras.
Helmed by luminary bartender Chris McMillian—who co-founded the Museum of the American Cocktail—this must-visit New Orleans bar happens to be conveniently located right off of the main parade route. With a dense list of classic cocktails, including a fernet-heavy Brandy Alexander and a rum-based Old Fashioned, it’s the perfect place to set up camp and watch the revelers roll by outside. According to Bryson Downham, the beverage director of Toups South, the bar is “welcoming, comforting and enlightening all at once.”
133 N Carrollton Ave., New Orleans, LA