626 Frenchmen St, New Orleans, LA | Directions 7013029.964162 -90.057868
Neighborhoods: Bywater, Marigny
This is really a place for tourists. Having said that, it is one that many tourists will like. So I don't want to completely rule it out. The music is excellent. But the attitude is pretentious and a bit forced. Very intellectual which is driven home by the over the top grittiness. Instead of an authentic gracious staff, you will get 'shushed' by the manager for talking while the band is playing. (Not representative of the usual laid back Louisiana style). It would be great if you are traveling and don't know anyone and so don't want to talk with others. But can feel like you are in a movie back in time in a more northern state where people are very well behaved and over educated. I personally like a place with more soul.
Snug Harbor is easily the best Jazz club in New Orleans, with 32 years of history behind it. There is a cover charge of between $15 and $30 depending on the artists and the night, but you get what you pay for. Serious music with good sound and decent drinks and service. Worth every cent. They feature mostly modern jazz, but the schedule can be eclectic so check out the artists in advance on the internet to get an idea of what you'll hear if you don't know the players.
TIP: If you plan to eat here, note that the restaurant and music room are separate and they no longer serve food in the jazz club. So make sure you leave plenty of time to finish your meal, before the show.
Two shows every night of the week at 8 and 10pm. Also, you can buy tickets in advance which can be important for popular acts on the weekends - like Ellis Marsalis most Friday nites and maybe Donald Harrison or Herlin Riley on a Saturday. Those shows can sell-out, especially at 8pm. You can usually stay for the 2nd show if you like, unless its a rare sell-out.
The staff could be a bit more helpful and friendly, but that depends on the individuals and how busy it is. If in doubt, ask someone for info. And remember, this is a serious listening club so talking is at a minimum in the music room. If you want to get loud and party, this is NOT the place for you.
The best seats are downstairs and along the railing upstairs. If you sit upstairs, about 50% of the seats do not have a good view of the stage, so late-comers beware. Often the seats directly in front of the stage are the last to fill-up and they are excellent. Good sound here. Never too loud. Note they only sell about 90 tickets maximum per show. It's not a huge place. But it is the real deal for Jazz in New Orleans. Not to be missed . . .
Prentious Host – My husband and I just spent 4 days in New Orleans and were looking forward to a nice relaxing evening at Snug Harbor. One table was occupied when we arrived and the host brought us to a table in the middle of the room. We asked for a window table, near the occupied table, so we could take in the view while eating. The host made some comment about seating rotations and said it would take a while if we didn't take the table offered. Not wanting to make a big deal out of it, we took the table. During the entire time we were there he didn't seat any group at that table even though the restaurant was practically full by the time we left. I guess he was holding it for someone he thought he could impress. Not feeling welcome, we left after our meal and went down the street to d.b.a. where we ended up every night for music and drinks. The food at Snug Harbor was good, our waitress Colleen was nice but due to the arrogance of the Host (Julian or something similar) we won't be back.
Disappointed – We are visiting from out of town and were looking forward to a nice dinner where we are staying in the Marigny. We made reservations for 4 at 8pm.
We were eating and a kockroche (spelled wrong on purpose) literally ran up the wall. It sounds like I'm making this up, but that's not supposed to happen at a restaurant!
Don't try to pick up "will call" tickets. – I purchased tickets thru my credit card two days prior to the scheduled 10pm show for 5/19. These were "will call" tickets paid in full, in advance. After paying for a taxi from our hotel to the club, we were informed that there were no tickets being held for us. The person at the counter didn't even bother looking. I think they simply sold the tickets (probably to someone else at a higher price) since this show was sold out. I did tell the manager that I knew what was going on and that it was a lousy way to do business. A very bad experience all around. Bad karma.
An inconspicuous spot that's earned a reputation as the city's most prestigious jazz club. – The Scene
Snug is separated into three distinct spaces: a cozy restaurant with candlelit tables, a warm, dark-wood bar area and a performance club with close-quartered table seating on two levels. Most nights, the club's floor level and the adjacent bar are teeming with young jazz hopefuls, instruments in tow, ready to play if called upon from the stage. The action starts early here--sets are at 8pm and 10pm nightly--long before the rest of the colorful Frenchmen Street scene begins percolating.
Unlike the old-school proceedings at Preservation Hall or the Palm Court, Snug Harbor is more in line with the times; players often advance the art form's future rather than preserve the legacy of its past. Ellis Marsalis, Charmaine Neville and Astral Project are among the many New Orleans talents who regularly grace the stage.
Good jazz – This is a comfortable place, and a great bargain. There are many great performers here.
The downside is that some of the shows are fillers. A couple of the well-known New Orleans musicians tend to play over and over, which tends to get old. The bar in front is a nice place to sit and listen to the music for a few minutes as you decide if you want to pay to hear the music in the back. Try a Monsoon, their specialty drink, but don't drive home.
Jazz lovers should plan on spending a significant amount of time here.
The bar is a 10! – The monsoons are without equal in the tourist drink department, and the first stop on every N.O. visit. Eat elsewhere. The music is beyond impressive.
A Perfect Evening! – This place is great. We were here in April and were told not to miss Snug Harbor. There is no dancing, an excellent sound system (meaning loud is not better), it's comfortable and intimate. We started the evening with Port of Call hamburgers and then walked over to Snug, for a perfect evening.
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