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Ten Best Music Clubs in New Orleans during Jazz Fest

by Shane Finkelstein

You have basically three options after a long hot day at Jazz Fest. 

  1. Go back to your hotel or airbnb and crash for the evening so you can get up early and do it all again.
  2. Go back to your hotel or airbnb and crash for a couple of hours before showering up and heading out to a local music venue.
  3. Go out to eat or head over to a bar to freshen up your cocktails before meeting your friends at one of the aforementioned local music venues.

If you’ve chosen numbers 2 or 3, you’ve probably purchased night show tickets in advance. 

If not, have no fear, plenty of people choose number 1 and tickets can usually be found outside the venue or through a last minute ticket app. 

Plus, there are three different starting times for shows around town: Early 7-9pm, Regular 9-12pm, or Late Show 1-3am. So you can rest assured that there’s live music available all over town. 

Here’s a list of the best venues for night shows in New Orleans.


501 Napoleon Avenue


Drivin ‘n Cryin’ jamming at Tipitina’s October, 2021

Tipitina’s, which was named after the eponymous song by piano legend Professor Longhair, is a must stop on the New Orleans music circuit. 

Regular local acts like Anders Osbourne, Galactic, and George Porter often grace the stage, along with touring national jam bands like Leftover Salmon, Greyboy Allstars, and super band The Word, the latter of which is already scheduled to appear on Friday, May 6th. 

Sight lines can be difficult in the narrow club. So, if you’re short, you may want to head in early and grab a spot along the front few rows, or along the railing of the 2nd floor balcony that wraps around the venue. 

Make sure to rub Longhair’s head as you enter for good luck.

The Civic

510 O’Keefe Avenue

Civic – New Orleans

Billy Strings mastering the guitar at The Civic Theater

The Civic Theater, which was refurbished about ten years ago, has become the go-to spot for the hot touring band that is about to break out big. Recent sold-out shows there included Billy Strings, Thundercat, and moe. 

The Civic is a truly beautiful venue with 40ft high ceilings, two balconies with theater seating, two VIP boxes on each side, and ornate crown molding along the ceiling. 

With such high ceilings, the sound tends to echo a bit, but the sightlines are excellent, with the huge wide stage perched above the floor. 

Brooklyn Made Presents handles the booking, so you can rest assured that the Jazz Fest shows will be some of the hottest in town.

The Fillmore

6 Canal Street Harrah’s Casino

Fillmore New Orleans

George Clinton’s final performance with P-Funk at The Fillmore

For years, New Orleans had been missing out on touring bands who play shows to a capacity between 1,500 and 3,000 people. 

Then in 2018, the Harrah’s Casino renovated their 2nd floor to include space for the world-famous Fillmore branded venue. 

The space is large enough to host bands like the Foo Fighters, The Flaming Lips, and Snoop Dog, but still intimate enough to get a great vantage point anywhere inside the venue. 

There’s VIP areas throughout and a great sound system, but drinks can be hard to access at the one large bar in the hallway outside. 

Confirmed acts for Jazz Fest already include Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe and Allman/Betts leading an allstar band including Tab Benoit and Samantha Fish.

The Maple Leaf Bar

8316 Oak Street

Maple Leaf Bar

Walter Wolfman Washington and Friends at the Maple Leaf

Want to jam all night? Head over to the Maple Leaf right after the fest for shows starting early, or hit it up at 3 in the morning, when some of the Jazz Fest musicians might surprise the fans with a late night appearance. 

The club is tiny and the sightlines suck, but the sound reverberating off the low tin ceiling can be out of this world. 

Though it can get cramped inside, most people are friendly enough to not mind bumping elbows. And if you get too hot, you can hit the back courtyard for a smoke or two. 

During Jazz Fest, it really doesn’t matter what bands are scheduled: You know it’s gonna be funky, hot, and hedonistic at the Maple Leaf.

The Howlin’ Wolf

907 South Peters

Howlin’ Wolf

The last few years during Jazz Fest, the Howlin’ Wolf has eschewed the multiple starting times and instead focused on keeping the party going all night long. 

Bands jump on and off the stage, with guests sitting in until late in the night. 

Hungry for more music? The Howlin’ Wolf Den has its own small stage for music between sets, and it has good food for a late night bite. 

Expect to catch Rebirth Brass Band, Big Sam, George Porter, John Gros, Hot 8 Brass Band, and other local favorites. 

Also, hats off to owner Howie Kaplan for feeding the industry folks for free during the onset of Covid and the months to follow.


618 Frenchmen Street

d.b.a. New Orleans

Morning 40 Federation blowing their horns at DBA

DBA is a small club on Frenchmen Street with a large personality. 

Owner Tom Thayer brought the New York club to the Crescent City back in the early oughts, and it’s become a mainstay on the block as many of the other clubs have come and gone. 

You’re equally likely to see brass, cajun, funk, bluegrass, and blues as you are good ol’ fashioned rock n roll at DBA. 

The space is small and narrow, but split into two sides, with a bar in the center that serves a great selection of local and regional beers. 

There are no advance tickets, only purchased at the door. So if you’re craving some live local music after the fest, this will surely be a great spot.

 If the crowd is too thick, there are over a dozen other clubs on Frenchmen Street that are worth popping into for a small cover charge. 

Chickie Wah Wah

2828 Canal Street

Chickie Wah Wah

Members of the Radiators squeezing onto the stage at Chickie Wah Wah

Another small club with plenty of heart, Chickie Wah Wah’s longtime owner passed away in early 2021, but the show must go on. 

If you’re looking for blues, folk, soul or funk, Chickie Wah is the place to be. Regular piano nights feature the inimitable John Cleary and he’s sure to make an appearance or two during Jazz Fest or the daze between. 

Others like Davis Rogan and Alex McMurray are Chickie Wah Wah mainstays. Tickets can be purchased at the door.

Joy Theater

1200 Canal Street

The Joy Theater

Photo courtesy of the Joy Theater

The Joy is similar to the Civic in that it used to be a theater, but is now retrofitted to be a music club. 

There’s plenty of balcony seating as well as a wide dance floor for standing room only. 

The club can accommodate a slightly larger crowd than Tips or the Civic, so the acts tend to be a little more well known. 

Already scheduled for this upcoming Jazz Fest are jam bands like Turkuaz on April 29th, Lettuce on April 30th, and the Disco Biscuits on May 7th. 

Saenger Theater

1111 Canal Street

Across the street from the Joy Theater is the beautifully renovated Saenger Theater. 

Equally adept at holding the Broadway Theater Series as it is a major concert, the Saenger can hold up to 2,500 seated guests. 

There is no dance floor here, and security can be bothersome if you’re standing in your seats. But if you want to catch some awesome shows after the fest, this is the place to be. 

Recent tribute shows for the Neville Brothers and Doctor John have brought out the big names like Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Buffet, and Widespread Panic. 

Trombone Shorty’s show here has already been rescheduled for the first Saturday night of Jazz Fest.

Orpheum Theater

129 Roosevelt Way

The Orpheum Theater

Doctor John at the tribute to Allen Toussaint at the Orpheum Theater

Just a block away and across from the Roosevelt Hotel is the grand Orpheum Theater. 

Smaller than the Saenger, but larger than the Joy and Civic, the Orpheum hosts plenty of amazing shows after the fest. 

Expect to see plenty of jam bands and aging rock stars headlining here. Plus, the 60th Anniversary of Preservation Hall featuring the Preservation Hall Jazz Band is already rescheduled for May 6th. 

Expect to see plenty of big names sit in for this one. And don’t sleep on the speakeasy in the basement below. 

Double Dealer is a cool ass joint to have a premium cocktail and still hear the bands rocking out above.

For a comprehensive list of all the night shows at Jazz Fest, visit