Regardless to if you live or visiting New Orleans at some point, you will crave some late night eats and a nightcap, and no matter what you hear about New Orleans being the city that never closes, it’s not the truth. Now, there are some bars and a few restaurants that stay open 24/7 but not as many as you think. Bourbon Street, one of the most famous nightlife strips in the world known to never close, does, in a sense. Yes, some bars are open; most close their doors at 3 am due to new safety policies, but the street full of party-goers have gone in. There’s a party going on into the wee hours of the morning, but it’s not in the touristy areas of the French Quarters.
New Orleans, especially downtown except the Harrah’s and Cafe DuMonde, has a ”You do not have to go home, but you have to get out of here ” silent policy. I’m sorry, but New Orleans isn’t that 24/7 Party Central I City you see on tv if you don’t believe me stand on Canal St at midnight on Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) night and then you see for yourself. Not only will you be told to get the ”hell outta here,” but the street cleaners will sweep your behind up on out there. At midnight on Fat Tuesday, the Police slowly sweep down Bourbon Street with rows of horse-mounted Police, and Police Cars after them, and street cleaners after that. They have a loudspeaker announcing, “Mardi Gras is OVER, please clear the street.”
So, where to go if you’re not ready to call it quits at 3 am??? If you’re a local or already have your ”Hole in the Wall” neighborhood bar or lounges such as Celebration Station, The Hideaway, Kermit Mother In Law, or Bertha’s. I named these because they are closest to the Quarters, serve food, and have a DJ, but there are bars. But for the most part, if you’re a tourist, your best bet is to go to close it out at Harrah’s. There’s always a Brass Band kicking off an impromptu Secondline all hours of the night, and music is always playing overhead. There’s always the opportunity to meet new people, even celebrities, especially at a High Roller’s table. Drinks are free as long as you have a few coins in any machine. There’s a Fuddruckers that’s open 10 a.m.-6 a.m. There are other food options, such as:
- IHop: 833 Canal St
- Clover Grill: 900 Bourbon St /www.clovergrill.com/
- Daisy Mae’s 920 Poydras St http://www.daisymaesdelivery.com/
- Daisy Dukes: 308 St Charles Ave http://www.daisydukesrestaurant.com/
- Verti Marte: 1201 Royal St http://www.couchster.com/neworleans/order/VertiMarte-89
- Cafe Du Monde: 800 Decatur St http://www.cafedumonde.com
- Déjà Vu Restaurant & Bar-400 Dauphine St http://www.dejavunola.com/
- Cleo’s-French Quarter 117 Decatur St
- Clover Grill: 900 Bourbon St
- Buffa’s: 1001 Esplanade Have http://www.buffasrestaurant.com/
- Turtle Bay: 1119 Decatur St www.turtlebayneworleans.com/
- The Alibi: 811 Iberville St www.alibineworleans.com/
Now, if you’re looking for a spot where you can eat, drink, gamble and let’s say do your laundry any time of the day, I would suggest you go to Melbas! New Orleans native Scott Wolfe, the owner of Melba’s, is a marketing genius! The combination of restaurant, bar, and laundromat is the chain of businesses that Scott Wolfe and his family have created in New Orleans throughout the years. Before Hurricane Katrina, Scott owned and operated Wagner’s Meat grocery stores around the New Orleans, and their Chicken in a Box fried chicken chain. Once again, Scott saw a need and business opportunity, and he went all-in offering a traditional New Orleans “We Never Close” establishment.
Melba’s is located in my St Roch neighborhood, which is 10 minutes from the French Quarter on Elysian Fields and Claiborne. It caters to everyone from locals to tourists, and I can’t imagine there’s not one person in the city who hasn’t eaten there at least once.
Melba’s offers a wide selection of New Orleans and Southern-style cuisine from buffet-style dishes such as stuffed bell peppers and old fashioned baked macaroni and cheese, cooked to order fried seafood platters, overstuffed Po-Boys, and boiled seafood all served 24 hours a day. If you’re up for breakfast Melba’s has a Breakfast Special named the “Small Plate” for $1.99 you get eggs, grits, and bacon/sausage, a“Big Plate” is $4.99, and there’s also the Big Azz pancake for $3.99. I love Melba’s desserts, especially the bread pudding. You can taste that’s it’s homemade even the icing on the cakes remind me of old fashioned baking. I think it’s the vanilla.
Party came to an end, but you still feel like drinking? Melba’s has the best Daiquiri Deals in New Orleans from $1 Monday’s to $15 Gallon Thursday’s. The flavors are all New Orleans inspired and are heavy on the booze. I suggest grabbing a few daiquiris and some seafood and drive out to the lake, turn on the radio and enjoy the moonlight glistening on the water. Now, it would be great if you’re on a date, but it makes for a great solo or girls night too, day or night.
You can grab your daiquiri and head-on into one of the private little rooms and play the slot machines. I never played, but there seems always to be someone behind the little French swing doors, and I hear they’re winning. I won’t name any names, but I know a few Melba’s Gamblers lol, and they claim the slots payout.
There are not many laundromats in the city that I can refer to you, especially not 24/7, but Melba’s machines run all day and all night. An added plus about doing your laundry at Melba’s is that the dryers are free after midnight until 6 am.
Melba’s walls are filled with beautiful paintings, artwork some done by inmates and famous artists. Most depict the life of African Americans especially musicians. It’s like a gallery in there.
What I like about Melba’s well owner Scott Wolfe is that he’s active in our community and always operated in communities where others would not. Melba’s “Wash World” participates with the Laundry Cares Foundation to provide these literacy spaces to coin laundries around the country. In addition to literacy engagement, Scott invites the community out for a free meal, free laundry day including supplies, free entertainment, free books, appearances by local authors, and prizes.
Each week, Wash World further encourages language development by welcoming a storyteller who reads aloud and engages kids in wordplay and songs.
In addition to that, Scott and his wife Jane attend community meetings, donates to community organizations, and their employees speak highly about working for their company.
So, if you’re in New Orleans and looking for some authentic New Orleans food or just want somewhere to socialize over a cold daiquiri or if you awake at 3 am and need to do your laundry head-on into Melbas!
Melba’s Old School Po Boys –
1525 Elysian Fields Ave, New Orleans, Louisiana 70117