Need a change of scenery? Take that office to the bar.
Published on Thursday, Jan 24th, 2019
We’re just about one-fifth of the way through the 21st century *cue collective, aged sigh* and there’s no denying that the concept of “the workplace” is changing: 73 percent of employees say flexible work arrangements increase their satisfaction at work; 78 percent say flexible work arrangements increase their productivity, and 77 percent say they’ll be considering flexible work arrangements when looking for their next job.
But if people aren’t doing their job as much from the office, where are they going to get work done? For some, it’s their couch. For many, it’s a coffee shop. But how about the local bar?
We’re not talking about getting sloshed during the workday, of course, but as I’ve traveled across our fair city “researching” for this article, I’ve discovered a plethora of New Orleanians who — in true, NOLA-form — feel they’re most productive at the local pub, dive, or cocktail bar.
So I talked to my fellow citizens, tried out their favorite recommendations, and came up with this list of Top NOLA Bars To Go To Get Your Work Done.
Take a look at what we’ve got and tell us what we’re missing in the comments section on our Facebook page!
Mid-City — Finn McCool’s Irish Pub
It’s where I’m writing this article right now. Designed in the image of the pubs across the pond, it’s hard to imagine a more comfortable place to work. They open at 11 a.m. on Monday through Thursday; and 9 a.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sunday (though often much earlier for soccer and rugby matches). The Wi-Fi is cookin’, and there’s plenty of table space next to power outlets.
Not into imbibing while you work? No worries — they’ve got cold drinks (aka soda) and they’ll always put on a pot of coffee for you. Very into imbibing while you work? Still got you covered. There’s got a great selection of beer, an inventive list of rotating cocktails, and even a couple of wine options. Plus, their Irish Iced Coffee might be one of the best drinks in the city.
You’ll always find at least a few patrons in the bar — whether they’re watching some far-off sporting event or trying to hit a deadline — and the playlist is usually melodic and relaxing. Plus there’s plenty of space to work outside on a beautiful day.
If you’re in Mid-City, it’s hard to imagine a more comfortable office.
Honorable mention: Revel Cafe & Bar seems to be a favorite — with hand-crafted cocktails and speedy Wi-Fi that multiple patrons mentioned!
Tulane Avenue — 504 Craft Beer Reserve
I didn’t expect a beer shop to make the list, but when I walked in one afternoon and saw a few customers — work spread out with a brewski in front of them — my mindset changed. They open every day at 11 a.m., and serve everything from the “modest-working-beers” under 5 percent ABV to the “holy-moly-don’t-drink-a-lot-of-these-and-send-an-important-email-beers” north of 12 percent ABV.
“They have long tables that aren’t normally occupied so I can spread my papers out,” Pablo Guth, a regular at the bar, explained. “And, they’ve got a Super Nintendo for when I need a quick break!”
Honorable mention: Treo — just down the street — for its relaxed vibe, wide selection of beers, cocktails and mocktails, outdoor courtyard, delicious bites, and artwork to enjoy when you need a minute away from the computer.
Bywater — Capulet
It’s only been open for a few months, but Capulet is making a push to be a favorite among New Orleans’ freelancers. It’s open every weekday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. (extending until 7 p.m. on Thursdays), so it’s definitely catering to the flex-location crowd.
An industrial vibe makes it feel like an office, but high ceilings and comfy couches set in front of giant windows provide you and a collection of flora with plenty of sunlight!
Connected to a coworking space, there’ll be plenty of freelancers, work lunches and meetings to keep you from feeling lonely, but you have the choice of a roof deck, bar seating, downstairs table seating or couches to keep you from feeling crowded.
“We’re committed to keeping everything we do work-friendly,” said Kelsey Gilbert, the event coordinator at Capulet. “We have counter food and drink service because we think that’s less distracting than table service, and we have music that helps keep a focused atmosphere.”
Food options range from the light and healthy to hearty sandwiches (their Bloody Mary Roast Beef Sandwich is getting rave reviews). You can purchase their “bottomless coffee” for just $3.50 (!!), and their cocktails are delicious and often filled with probiotics and healthy delicious shrubs.
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Honorable mention: J&J’s Sports Lounge is a small bar that opens early in the morning with a cozy outdoor courtyard, coffee, and the cheapest craft beer you can find in this — or, really, any — city.
Marigny — The Elysian Bar
Chef Alex Harrell and Bacchanal have teamed up to add another new primo bar/restaurant where you can get your work done in the neighborhoods downriver of downtown. With a team like that, the food and drink is obviously topnotch, but that’s not all we’re looking for on this list!
Part of the Hotel Peter and Paul, one of the most appealing things about this venue from a work standpoint, is its expansive hours. Pop in as early as 7 a.m., and they never close before midnight.
Coffee and tea are served from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m., and the cafe and bar open at 10:30 a.m.. And, if you haven’t stepped foot inside (or out into their courtyard) yet, it’s hard to imagine a more beautiful space in which to knock out a few deadlines!
Honorable mention: St. Roch Market (I know, I know — it misses the Marigny designation by inches) has great Wi-Fi, plenty of food and drink options, and a full bar tucked away in the back. The atmosphere is exciting and you’ll have plenty of temporary “co-workers.”
Downtown — Molly’s on the Market
There’s a fine daq-shop on Bourbon Street where you can take a business call while riding a mechanical… just kidding. The French Quarter is known for a lot, but — today — it’s not really known for a place to quietly get your work done. Still, sometimes business calls. So where are you going to answer?
This was a tricky one, but I was very excited to discover that Molly’s on the Market has Wi-Fi, and opens up for your business needs at 10 a.m. They’ve also got soda and coffee (and their famous frozen Irish coffee), as well as long tables, and a faux-outdoor courtyard. Hey — for the French Quarter, it’s practically a business center!
Honorable mentions: We’ve got a few of them here! 1) Rusty Nail doesn’t open until 4 p.m. on most weekdays, but when it does they’ve got Wi-Fi, and plenty of indoor and — especially — outdoor space. 2) Longway Tavern used to be the home of two French Quarter writers who would sleep all day and work all night (while hosting friends at the same time). Longway tries to do the same now, so if you’re a night owl, this could be the spot to burn the midnight oil. 3) This is a sneaky one — but one I use often: on the Third Floor of Canal Place is the Cinebarre Canal Place 9 movie theater. The theater has a bar, and is surrounded by a food court. There’s free public Wi-Fi there, and it’s open all hours of the day and most of the night!
Central City / (Lower) Garden District — Avenue Pub
You can walk into Avenue Pub on St. Charles Avenue any minute of any hour of any day of the year — because they’re always open. And when you do, you’re very likely to see a mix of folks getting their post-work beer(s); as well as teachers grading papers or graduate students working on their own.
In addition to the most renowned beer selection in the city (and possibly the country), Avenue Pub caters to customers trying to stay focused on their to-dos by providing coffee, soft drinks, and non-alcoholic taffy ginger beers!
They have food from the fine folks at Boucherie, which is served until at least 2 a.m., and they have plenty of space to sit — whether you want a table in the main bar area, a cozier spot in their upstairs space, an outdoor seat overlooking St. Charles, or to spread out in their courtyard.
Honorable mentions: 1) Tracey’s Original Irish Bar. I had no idea, until some of my friends said it had to be on this list. I investigated and noticed on their Facebook page that there seem to be quite a few people using it as a coworking space! 2) Bulldog Uptown. That courtyard overlooking Magazine Street? Those 50+ beers on tap? Yup, I could get used to working there.
Uptown — Port Orleans Brewing Company
It’s a very special thing when “want” meets “need.”
What do you want? Beer, of course. With 16 house brews on tap, you have plenty of options from which to choose. Pair that with a long list of inventive food ranging from “Blue Runner and Red Bean Hummus” and “Hot Chicken and Waffle Sliders,” to “Muffuletta Fries” and a spectacular “Pimento Cheese Burger” (and its vegan cousin, the “Southwest Red Bean Burger”). This is a place you want to hang out.
But having a tough time getting work done at home, and need a change of scenery? This is also a place you need to hang out. They’ve got your Wi-Fi, they’ve got your big tables, and they’ve got your abundance of outdoor seating, outfitted with fire pits to keep you warm on those cold winter nights!
Their Dorada Mexcian Lager is on tap, and — at just 4.8 percent ABV — you can have a couple of them and still knock that memo out of the park.
Honorable mention: This one has to go to Fat Harry’s back on St. Charles Avenue. After Katrina, this was one of the only public spots in town with reliable Wi-Fi where New Orleanians could come in and stay productive. Plus… delicious chicken wings.
Carrollton — Cooter Brown’s Tavern
I’m having a hard time remembering a time I went to Cooter Brown’s and didn’t see a teacher grading papers.
They’ve got your Wi-Fi. They’ve got plenty of long tables at which to spread out. They’ve got outdoor seating overlooking Carrollton Avenue. They open at 11 a.m, and they’ve got soda and a solid menu, especially for all you oyster-lovers out there!
But, they’ve also got plenty of diversions available to break up those long workdays. More than 17 televisions, over 400 beers, and the river is just a short, scenic walk away.
Those are just some of the reasons this place is so popular among the crowd that wants to finish their work without locking themselves in their bedroom to do it!
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it is some of the best I’ve found so far! I know you think I’m missing one (or 10), so let us know what they are in the comment section of our Facebook page.
Thanks for reading and, now, get back to work! (With a beer, if you please.)