What Time Do They Stop Selling Alcohol In New Orleans?
Posted on Jan 27, 2020 in DUI/DWI, Mardi Gras, Minor in Possession
In this blog we answer a number of commonly asked questions about drinking laws in New Orleans.
To some extent, drinking and New Orleans are practically synonymous. Mardi Gras is right around the corner, and New Orleans is gearing up for the biggest party of the year. Folks from all over the world will be flocking to the Crescent City to join in the revelry and debauchery.
Frankly, we can’t wait!
If you’re a New Orleans local, you’ve likely experienced the flabbergasted responses from out-of-towners and tourists upon discovering our lax drinking laws. “You can take your beer outside?” “No open container laws? None at all?!” “Drive-thru daquiris?!?!”
Ahead of Mardi Gras, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about alcohol in New Orleans below.
What Time Do the Bars Close In New Orleans?
There are plenty of bars in New Orleans that simply do not close. Particularly in the French Quarter and on Bourbon Street, it is not uncommon to find bars that are open 24 hours in New Orleans.
Many other bars close only for a few hours in the early parts of the morning, but are open 20 or more hours overall. In addition to bars, many gas stations and convenience stores are 24 hours, and almost all of them sell alcohol.
The fact of the matter is, if you’re in New Orleans and you want a drink, you can find one any time of day or night.
Can 18-Year-Olds Get Into the Bar In New Orleans?
There are lots of bars in New Orleans that 18-year-olds can visit. Of course, the legal drinking age is 21, and minors will not be allowed to purchase or consume alcohol on the premises.
Many bars may require minors to wear armbands or stamps that indicate they are underage. Other bars may charge a higher cover for minors than people over 21.
Minors who are caught drinking may be asked to leave the premises and could be charged with Minor in Possession of Alcohol.
Can you drink in public?
There is no open-container law in New Orleans, allowing people to drink in public and outdoors without penalty.
However, it should be noted that it is illegal to have an open glass container of alcohol outside. If you are going to take your drink on the go, make sure it is in a can or a plastic cup. Pretty much every bar in the city has plastic cups for this express purpose.
Also, just because you can drink in public does not excuse rude or offensive behavior. Misdemeanor offenses like Public Drunkenness (Drunk in Public) and Disturbing the Peace are more common at Mardi Gras. Police will be on the lookout for people who are too intoxicated, and are disturbing others or endangering themselves or others.
Remember to always celebrate responsibly!
Ok, how are drive-thru daquiris legal though?
This is the one that might be the most difficult for folks from out of town to believe. If drinking and driving is illegal—which it is in Louisiana, just like everywhere else in the US—how can drive-thru daquiris be a thing?
The short answer is you can buy a daquiri in your car, but it is illegal to drink one in your car. You will need to take your daquiri to your destination before you can slurp that sweet, freezy goodness.
Most daquiri shops account for this by placing tape over the straw insert on the lid of the cup. This works as a kind of seal. When the seal is broken, the daquiri is considered an “open container,” which is illegal to have in a vehicle.
Celebrate Responsibly This Mardi Gras
Whether you are local or visiting New Orleans for Mardi Gras, Bloom Legal hopes you have a great Carnival Season! Remember to drink responsibly and never drink and drive.
That said, we understand that everyone can go a little too hard sometimes and everyone makes mistakes. Part of our job is making sure that people in New Orleans are not affected long-term by these mistakes.
If you are arrested or charged with a crime during Mardi Gras in New Orleans, give Bloom Legal a call for a free consultation.