Inside Mimi’s in the Marginy. Photo: adie reed Feature photo: romannphoto.

The “Sliver by the River” (aka the Bywater district of New Orleans) is famous for its Francophone roots and classic colorful southern Louisiana homes.

These days (read post Katrina) it’s also recognized for its art scene, with galleries springing up along St. Claude due to cheap rent and tax benefits. And where there are artists, there tend to be stellar watering holes.

Here are five great places to down a drink in the Big Easy’s Bywater.
Kajun’s

Kajun’s Pub. Photo by author.

As the last place to close down before Hurricane Katrina and the first place to reopen, locals have come to rely on Kajun’s for a good drink and to find out the neighborhood news.

The owner JoAnn, a transwoman/local celebrity, can be like a second mother to those who need a friendly set of ears.

Karaoke everyday from 9 – midnight. Free WiFi.

2256 St. Claude Ave.
504-947-3735

Mimi’s in the Marigny

Mimi’s is a neighborhood bar with pool table and darts. It has been given the dubiously impressive distinction of 2008’s 2nd best bathroom graffiti awarded by readers of the local alt-weekly newspaper The Gambit. The food is cheap, and the bar does great tapas.

The signature “Trust Me” dish insists that you put your faith in the hands of the chef. The chef will make whatever he/she feels inspired to make at that moment. All you decide is whether the dish is hot or cold.

2601 Royal St.
504-942-0690

Siberia

Mirror, mirror, on the wall. Photo by author.

Siberia is one of the newest additions to the NOLA nightlife options. Siberia is often host to local “Sissy Bounce” events, which are gender-bending, queer dance parties with a lot of attitude and bootay-shakin’ drag queens.

The Siberia theme comes through in the decorations – antler chandelier and mountain mural on the wall.

2227 St. Claude Ave.
504-265-8855

Markey’s Bar

When I asked if they have a signature cocktail, the response was a smile and a simple statement: whiskey. Markey’s is an unpretentious choice for the local Bywater crowd. Sports play on the multiple flat-screen TVs. But the best part of this dive bar is the shuffleboard table. For 50 cents you can toss your rocks.

640 Louisa Street
504-943-0785

Lost Love Lounge

The motto here: “It’s always happy hour at the Lost Love Lounge.” The lounge has cheap drinks and a Vietnamese restaurant operating out of the backroom. Different days bring different pleasures: comedy on Tuesdays, spelling bee on Wednesdays, and massage/manicure on Thursdays.

2529 Dauphine Street
504-949-2009

Community Connection

For more New Orleans drinking spots, there’s New Orleans Best Beer Bars. Or trade boozing it up for philanthropy with the Top 6 Volunteer Experiences in New Orleans.

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