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New Orleans: Off the Beaten Path. A Handy Guide To Sugar Bowl Good Times

Alabama alum, and friend of the blog, Greg Dawkins, hips you to the best ways to optimize your New Orleans playoff experience. Roll Tide.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The people at, and their partner in horrible, compiled a list of places to eat in NOLA while you're down for the Sugar Bowl. In fairness, their list was limited to places in and around the Superdome. Here it is: I think it's poor form to visit a town and limit yourself to the tourist spots, not that there aren't some good finds on that list, but they aren't where I would go.

This post's intention is to get you out to eat and drink in the real New Orleans. No, they are not walkable from your hotel, but it's the 21st Century and if you can afford a ticket to this game you can afford a cab. There's even Uber or Lyft. So, here you go: these are some of my faves, but I'm not giving away all the secret spots.

Fine Dining (i.e. don't stroll in without a reservation. You aren't in Demopolis anymore):

Clancy's 6100 Annunciation St. This place is impossible to find, but worth it. Everything a New Orleans restaurant should be. If you’re into veal, this is the spot. If you find veal grotesque or whatever, get the duck.

Dick and Jenny's 4501 Tchoupitoulas. I hesitate to call it fine dining because it's very casual and they don't take reservations, but it's 5 star creole grub.

Dante's Kitchen 736 Dante St. Small, in an old house out of the way. Fantastic spot.

Peche 800 Magazine St. Fresh off a James Beard Award, next level seafood.

Capdeville 520 Capdeville St. Great bar with simple food done very well. The white truffle mac and cheese is fantastic. Very small eating area, so definitely need a rez, but a great bar as well if you're not looking to eat.

PoBoys and other quick food

First, your people are going to try to get you to go to Mother's because it has a rep and is convenient. Don't. But if you have to go, get the Ferdi. Anyway...

Parkway Bakery and Tavern 538 Hagan Ave. Get the surf and turf po boy. It's fried shrimp with roast beef and gravy.

Parasol 2533 Constance St. Been there forever. The bar area is smoky and local as hell (this particular poster's paradise) but if you go to the back and upstairs, it's more food friendly. UPDATE: no longer smoky per NOLA law. Still cool though. Oddly enough, the cheese sticks are a must-get

Tracey's 2604 Magazine St. This will be a controversial post to NOLA folk. Some hate the crowd here, but if you're there to eat and not make friends, the po boy is solid.

Juan's Flying Burrito 2018 Magazine St. Mexican spot with super margs.

Stein’s Deli. 2207 Magazine St. It’s a deli. You know the drill. And if you’re looking to pick up some craft beers while you’re in town, Stein’s is the spot.

Pizza Domenica 4933 Magazine If you're looking for pie, you can't go wrong here. Get the garlic knots. (also, the clam and garlic pie at the original Domenica on Baronne is the best in NOLA. If you're staying near the dome, hit it up. But it's a reservation kinda spot)

Port o’ Call 838 Esplanade Ave. Get the cheeseburger and a bloody mary. If you get anything else, people will look at you funny. Best in town.

Drankin'. These are all dive bars. If you're looking for fancy you're at the wrong post.

You should already know about the Rusty Nail, 1100 Constance St., the official UA bar for the weekend, and it is my go-to bar when I'm in New Orleans. The bartenders are my pals and the owners are good Bama men. If you don’t have a ticket, the game will be on all the tvs and out back on a big screen. I will definitely be hitting it up, but here are some other options.

The Saint. 961 St. Mary St. (lower garden distict) Kind of a must go, if you ask me. A perfect NOLA mix of hipsters, people who rarely bathe, and prep types...who all get along perfectly. Check your privilege at the door. It's not welcome here. Come late for all the weird. Patio out back.

Harry's Corner 900 Chartres St. (French Quarter) This is has been a personal fave for a very long time. There's not much going on here, but a great dive bar. A pal from Mobile happens to work here. Cash only. There’s an ATM that may or may not work.

Chart Room 300 Chartres St. (French quarter) They only take cash, and don't ask for anything fancy. Beer and a shot joint, but probably the best beer and a shot joint in America. Get a table by the windows for people watching and hollering

Erin Rose 811 Conti St. (French quarter) The frozen irish coffee isn't to be missed. Po boy shop in the back. Add a shot of Rumple to get done up real good.

Molly’s At The Market 1107 Decatur St. I’m not a quarter guy, but this joint and the Erin Rose are the best two bars in the FQ. Same guy owns them both and his pool parties are legendary but that’s a tale for another day. It’s basically the standard Irish bar but it’s a local hangout, so you’re not likely to be inundated with Clemson people.

Snake and Jake's Christmas Club 7612 Oak St. (Uptown) Okay, here's the deal. There's no sign, but there's a wreath on the door. This is the quintessential dive bar. Do not under any circumstances go there if your lady is the type to get offended easily or is squeamish in any way. Also, there is no point in going before 1 a.m. (2, really). My finest stories come from this bar. Say hey to Eileen for me. She’s the best.

Barrel Proof 1201 Magazine. (lower garden district) This one's not a dive bar. But it is a bourbon bar, so it makes the list. Bourbon bars make any list of mine.

A final note: if you're under, say, 26 and looking to hook up: Fat Harry's is the place for you. 4330 St. Charles Ave. (uptown). I've long since aged out of that bar, but mercy me the scenery is unparalleled.

So those are my recs. This list is not intended to imply that there's anything wrong with posting up at Pat O's for the duration of your trip, but only to offer some alternatives. Your mileage may vary. If you have some other go-to spots off the beaten path, feel free to add them in the comments. I'm always looking to try new place.

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