Got a big group? Check out these 10 communal spots to eat and drink


New Orleans is one of the oldest, most vibrant cities in the country and many ONA 2019 attendees will likely want to explore the city in packs. Use this list to find restaurants, bars and coffee shops that are great for groups. The map can be used for walking directions from the Sheraton. 


401 Poydras St.

Proudly a no-reservation restaurant, Mother’s is bound to have a lengthy line at lunchtime. It’s worth the wait, as the restaurant has been open since 1938 and became a communal spot for World War II service members, fishermen and reporters in Southern Louisiana. The restaurant serves po’ boys of almost any variety and is especially proud of its famous baked ham. For early birds looking to convene, Mother’s begins serving breakfast at 7 a.m.

Willa Jean

611 O’Keefe Ave.

(Photo by Jo Herrera)

This quaint retro cafe can host a group hard at work. Willa Jean starts early, at 7 a.m., with breakfast plates with a Southern edge like its shrimp & grits, or pimento cheese and crackers. If a working lunch is on the menu, fried chicken or a meatloaf sandwich can be arranged. Dinner can be casual, with snacks starting at $9, or pricey, with a $27 New York strip.


800 Common St.

Modern coffee shop Merchant provides a space where customers can work collaboratively or solo. Offerings like coffee and its caffeinated siblings, plus small bites and fresh crepes, can start your team’s morning off right. Go early; it closes at 3 p.m.


527 Julia St.

The Caribbean and West African restaurant Carmo wants to bring people together to engage, share ideas and debate over ceviche, its popular seafood dish. Beyond an expansive dinner and drink menu, the architecture inside the building will satisfy your visual appetite. 

Mena’s Place

200 Chartres St.

Open since the 1950s, this no-fuss eatery is ideal for groups who want Cajun fare. Fried oysters, shrimp remoulade salad and hamburger steak are a few of the hometown offerings during breakfast and lunch.

9 Roses Cafe

620 Conti St.

Vietnamese cuisine justifiably deserves a seat at the table in New Orleans — the city is home to the biggest Vietnamese population in the state, according to the official website for the New Orleans tourism industry. 9 Roses has an innovative culinary spirit that maintains its heritage. In addition to traditional Vietnamese dishes like pho and tofu Vermicelli bowls, the menu also includes Chinese dishes like egg foo young and chow mein.

Coop’s Place

1109 Decatur St.

This 21-and-up restaurant serves Cajun dishes such as rabbit-and-sausage jambalaya, chicken Tchoupitoulas and garlicky pasta Opelousas. Wash it all down with a drink from its affordable beer and wine menu. This scene is a favorite because of its fun, Cajun style. 

Backspace Bar & Kitchen

139 Chartres St.

As an ode to the writers who dwelled in New Orleans since its founding (think Faulkner and Twain), Backspace raises a glass to those who love novels. Thankfully, it doesn’t sell itself short with just literary-themed decor; libations include a Dark & Stormy — perhaps named for “it was a dark and stormy night,” a phrase used often by authors, including Madeleine L’Engle in A Wrinkle In Time. Hungry? Order a Hemingway Cuban sandwich. 

Carousel Bar

214 Royal St.

Most adults would feel like kids as they sit at a kitschy, rotating bar dressed like a carousel, but that won’t happen at The Carousel. The joint has seen plenty of distinguished figures over its 70 years, and it’s a dressed-up place for a fabulous drink. The bar is housed inside Hotel Monteleone, allegedly haunted. A stop here would be great for a group photo.

Drip Affogato Bar

703 Carondelet St.

A long day of conference sessions calls for late-night company and affogato. The Italian delicacy is a combination of the art of ice cream and a reverence for coffee — together in one glass. Drip sells more than five affogato options.

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