The Best Bars To Sit And Read A Book In New Orleans

Just because you're trying to relax doesn't mean you need to stay inside.

by Alex Galbraith
August 21, 2018

While our city is renowned for bringing the party to whomever wants it, sometimes we just want to relax with a well-crafted drink. There’s nothing wrong with bringing whatever you’re reading along with you to a much-loved stretch of pine. Where other cities’ residents might be forced to try their hand at amateur mixology, forced to decide between dealing with a raucous bar or unwinding, the overwhelming amount of options in this city means that we have quite a few spots to mellow out with an expertly made cocktail.

We’ve compiled a few of the best places for booze and a book below.

Vessel NOLA

Maybe it’s the former church setting, but crowds tend to keep it down inside this Mid-City tapas and cocktails spot. Order a smoky mezcal paloma and try to make up for all the times you pretended to read-along on Sundays.

Twelve Mile Limit

This Mid-City living room isn’t always a quiet place. Catch it on Monday when they dole out food for neighbors or during the monthly Heatwave! dance party, and it’s anything but amenable to someone looking for quiet. But if you dip in on a random afternoon, chances are you’ll find little more than a few locals with odd work schedules and some friendly bartenders. And if you find yourself needing a little air and space to yourself, the fenced-in patio is waiting for you.

The Abbey

The Abbey is a dive’s dive full of Quarter rats of the highest order. So, your mileage may vary if you’re looking for a little quiet. But if you hit the cash-only spot at just the right time, you’ll find plenty of space to relax and a few service industry veterans to commiserate with.

Carousel Bar

Don’t go on the weekend when this highly Instagrammable locale swells with tourists. But any other time– provided you can tolerate the slow spinning of the namesake bar– this bar has a grasshopper that will go great with whatever you’re reading.

Sidebar NOLA

This quiet bar’s very name brings to mind people speaking in hushed tones. And when the courthouse-adjacent dim bar doesn’t have a folk band playing it lives up to its moniker.

Sazerac Bar

Tucked away inside the Grand Roosevelt Hotel, this bar attracts a different crowd than the ones just on the other side of Canal Street. The high-back chairs and classic cocktails are perfect for a little solo relaxation.

The Starlight

This spot was an oasis from the Bourbon Street madness when it was known as Bar Mon Cher. Now under new management, it doesn’t seem like much about the bar’s vibe has changed. Built into a largely untouched two-story house on St. Louis Street, the whole place gives off a casual, parlor kind of atmosphere. Grab a drink and find a corner while you wait for the bands to start.

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