The Chart Room is one of my favorite day-drinking stops in the Quarter. I used to come here because the drinks were cheap and strong (they still are). Cash only establishments are notoriously affordable in that regard. But now I come because in the middle of this very touristy part of the French Quarter, this place feels like a bar from another neighborhood in New Orleans.
The bartenders and patrons are local, and they sound it. The jukebox, filled with CDs from Allen Toussaint, Irma Thomas, Fats Domino and Dr. John, further contributes to that New Orleans sound. My favorite table is at the corner of Bienville and Chartres, which opens onto the street. During the day, you can scoot your chair so that you are practically sitting on the sidewalk. It’s a nice contrast to stay planted at the intersection of the cool darkness of the bar (even in daylight, it’s always dark) and the bustling brightness of the tourist-filled sidewalk. If you can’t stay, it’s still worth stopping in for a walking-around drink.