If you’re in the mood for some eats, look elsewhere; Circle Bar is exclusively about great drinks and live music. But for those things, it truly excels, so just load up on po’boys before you arrive. Circle Bar, found in New Orleans’ Warehouse District, is an intimate dive bar with historical creds, thanks to the building’s past life as a 19th century doctor’s office. And it’s got a bit of extra space now, following the post-Katrina refurb. This is a bar that’s got character to spare and a list of past performing artists at least a mile long, including the likes of The Whigs and The Lumineers.
Another undeniable draw is how reasonable Circle Bar is. Not only are performances of local artists free-to-attend in the early evening, but even for the late night “headliners” (regional, touring, and otherwise) they only lay on a $5 cover charge. There’s literally no reason not to become quasi-expert in New Orleans’ local music scene with an offer like that. And rest assured, Circle Bar knows how to spot talent, so whether the show features blues, honky tonk, or jazz, you pretty much know it’s going to be good.
A few things to keep in mind during your visit: don’t smoke (Circle Bar went smoke-free after renovations, and it’s never looked back); and don’t miss the daily Happy Hour. On several days of the week, the cheap, satisfying drinks deal coincides with the live music, and even when it doesn’t, you can trust that the selection on the jukebox will be up to snuff.