Nightlife in New Orleans is a bit of a culture clash, if not a shock. Going from suit and tie to beer and beads is only a matter of walking a few blocks. The city is teeming with tradition and crawling with culture. It’s easy to be swept up in all the revelry and get sidetracked before you even start. But for those of you who prefer a little order to your evening, hitting these spots in this order is a good first step down the rabbit hole of the Big Easy.

5:06 P.M. The Polo Club Lounge


There is no better place for a drink at five o’clock on a Friday in New Orleans than with the big dogs at the Polo Club Lounge. Located inside the Windsor Court Hotel, this upscale English style club is the place the suits come to drink when the working day is over. Good wait staff, top-shelf booze, a good-looking clientele and a bartender ranked in the top five in the world makes this the bar of choice to get things rolling. But you have to look the part. Jeans and a t-shirt won’t cut it in a place where deals get done and the talk is all business.

7:36 P.M. Capdeville


Any place that decides it is going to class up mac & cheese with truffles is OK in our book. Capdeville is bayou eating reborn; from the crab chile rellenos to the duck confit club sandwich and even a shout out to their French-Canadian cousins with poutine fries, this is down home comfort food in full form. It is close quarters eating in the small yet trendy space, but for the price (about $12 for an entrée) the food can’t be beat. Oh, and happy hour on Friday starts at 11 AM…

9:12 P.M. House of Blues


A night out in NoLa would not be complete without a little blues and what better place to take it in than in its home. The House of Blues is an institution in New Orleans and though it has taken some flack in recent years for becoming too commercialized, it’s hard to argue with the quality of shows, intimate atmosphere and old-style locale. Something about sipping bourbon by blue light with the best acts in the country taking the stage on a nightly basis is too good to pass up.

11:01 P.M. Avenue Pub


The bar for beer barons and night owls. Open 24 hours a day with over 50 selections on tap across two floors and two bars, Avenue Pub goes above and beyond your friendly neighborhood bar. The knowledge of the bartenders and wait staff is unmatched and unpretentious as they guide you through the dizzying displays of drafts. The food is top notch too (may we suggest the traditional grilled cheese with a side of slaw).

1:41 A.M. Gold Mine Saloon


What are we missing here? The best food in town? Check. The upper crust of English clubs and power hour? Check. Blues? Bourbon? A world-class beer bar? Check. Check. Check. Right. We’re missing the girls of the Gold Mine Saloon. This dance club (oddly subbing as a literary circle during the week, attracting all walks of poets and writers) attracts the cream of the ‘Nawlins crop. Don’t let the touristy location fool you; Gold Mine’s clientele is mostly local and under 30. And as it turns out: chicks dig guys who do back-to-back-to-back flaming Dr Pepper shots.

3:06 A.M. Balcony Bar & Cafe

Courtesy Balcony Bar

It’s 3 AM: if you’ve managed to blow a paycheck on more bourbon, beer, blondes and beads than you thought could fit in the French Quarter and are still looking for more then Balcony Bar is your best friend. Two dollar draft and nightly specials make this the end-of-the-line dive of your dreams. The main draw? As diverse a crowd as New Orleans offers and prime upstairs outdoor real-estate for people watching (considered a sport in the always eclectic population of the city).