Dinner time question...
I've noticed that places like Commander's Palace and August close at 10pm and 9pm respectively for dinner. I'm used to eating around 9pm (Philly and NYC), and then heading out after that for drinks, etc... Is that not the case in New Orleans?
And what time do the jazz clubs get going, b/c I'm also used to things not really getting starting until midnight. And what time do most of the close/stop serving alcohol?
I'm planning my 3 night, 4 day trip now and want to make sure I can fit everything in.
Thanks in advance...
It once was. NOLA was also a city with more European schedules. Now, things have still not gotten back, completely on track, post-K. Hours have been abbreviated, due to a shortage of help.
Maybe, in time, things will get back to how they once were. Much will depend on the economy, the influx of qualified help, and how tourists receive the extended hours.
The 9:00 and 10:00 times are there so restaurants can have the option of shutting down on slower nights. If you make a 9:00 or 10:00 reservation, there should still be people dining around you, especially on the weekends. You could be one of the last ones out, but you have paid your rent for that table, and the restaurants will be happy to have you dining no matter what the time. A lot of places use those closing times as an arbitrary number. We will post a 12:00 closing time, but we really want to close at 11:00. If business is slow tonight, we will shut her down. But, if we are busy, we will seat until midnight.
I believe that August has a 10:00 reservation and Commander's a 9 or 9:30 reservation. Stella! (an awesome restaurant in the Quarter) offers a 10:30 reservation, which should put you out into a jazz club by 12 or so. A lot of the clubs play 10:00 p.m. or 10:30 sets, and a few do play 12:00 a.m. sets, so an earlier reservation may work. You may want to call around or check out the website for exact details. Check out Frenchmen Street, in the Marigny. It is more of a local's hangout with numerous great jazz clubs where you can "club hop" and hear great music as you walk down the street. Most bars (not jazz clubs necessarily) close at around 4 and some even later and continiously serve alcohol. You can find alcohol at any hour of the day or night in NOLA.
Short answer: it depends.
You would be fine making a 9:00 reservation at either of the places you mentioned, but some places will serve much later. If you want to eat later than 9, just call and check. Music often starts in the 10:00-12:00 range and goes for a few hours, but you can always find early shows and shows that will go much later. Bars (apart from hotel bars, which I assume are more likely to have a set closing time) don't have a mandated time to close or stop serving. Some bars are 24 hours; often it depends on the bartender and the crowd, but I don't think I've ever head the phrase "last call" pass a bartenders lips before sun up. Someplace is always open.