Every Non-Jazz Venue on Frenchmen Street
Frenchmen Street may be known for its jazz venues but there’s a whole slew of genres worth enjoying on the infamous music strip.
While the big five venues for jazz on Frenchmen Street are: Snug Harbor, Three Muses, Maison, Bamboula’s, and The Spotted Cat, they are evenly matched by the five where you can find a whole assortment of other music: Blue Nile, 30/90, The Marigny Brasserie, Cafe Negril and Dragon’s Den.
Blue Nile specializes in high energy gigs. They’re a jazz/ blues/ rock venue and they’ve got ALL the brass bands. In another city, this might mean two or three brass bands. In New Orleans, just for the Spring, this means: Marigny Street Brass Band, Streets Legends Brass Band, New Breed Brass Band, Where Y’At Brass Band, TBC Brass Band, Soul Brass Band, Brass Flavor, and The Soul Rebels. Blue Nile is also the place to catch Kermit Ruffins and his band, the BBQ Swingers, if you don’t feel like trekking to Tremé for Kermit’s Mother in Law Lounge and there’s plenty of late night DJ sets by favorites like Raj Smoove.
The Marigny Brasserie is a lovely restaurant with cocktails and a nicely done Creole and American menu. They have a stage that features exceptional dinner music: traditional jazz, modern jazz, Brazilian, French, and the occasional Thrash Folk Americana musician.
30/90 is where you go for oysters. Their lineup overlaps with a lot of the other venues on the street, so it’s solid music but from Monday to Friday, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., raw oysters are 50¢, wings are 50¢, PBRs and High Life are $2.50 and well drink (doubles) are $8 and that is a very good reason to go.
Cafe Negril promotes its funkiness and its dance floor. They play funk, rock, reggae, soul, and big band. They’ve literally got a Bob Marley mural that takes up the whole back wall of the stage. Regulars there include: Sierra Green and the Soul Machine, Soul Project NOLA, Vegas Cola, The Catahoulas, Noggin, Higher Heights, Maria Dixon, Claude Bryant and the All Stars, Dimmonddick Gorilla & The Swingin’ Vines, and CobraSoul
The Royal Frenchmen Hotel boasts the tiniest bar in NOLA, which makes for intimate, stripped down performances that get much more expansive when the doors open to a few outdoor tables. Their every day $4 Martini Happy Hour from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. is no joke and if that’s too late for you, they start serving drinks at noon.
Way down at the tip of Frenchmen Street is the Dragon’s Den. They specialize in comedy, burlesque, open jam sessions, soul, country jamborees, dancehall classics, bounce nights and late night EDM, so, everything you can’t find anywhere else, you can probably find here.