THE ABBEY BAR NEW ORLEANS

1123 Decatur St. (504) 523-7177

No website

HOURS Open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day NO HAPPY HOUR

Cash only

The Abbey (or, for locals, The Scabbyâ) is a grimy cathedral to late night (and early morning) drinking. Stained glass windows on the wall and above the bar are there for decoration only. There is no natural light in the Abbey, save for the sliver peeking through the door. It’s best that way. People come here to get very drunk with friends or friends they have yet to meet. They come for the $3.50 generous glass of well whiskey and $2 pints of High Life. The Abbey welcomes all, from the solo drinker who wants to nurse a cold one with minimal social interaction to the bachelor party that got lost while traveling from the strip clubs to Frenchmen Street.

The origin of The Abbey is a surprising one. The Abbey began its life as a bohemian cafe run by Jo Ann Clevenger, now the James Beard award-winning proprietor of the Upperline restaurant. She wanted to create an artists’ haven, and she brought in the stained glass windows and other decor. She also used to fly in the Sunday New York Times to encourage intellectuals to patronize her cafe. At the time, The Abbey was the only place in town where you could get the Sunday New York Times on Sunday. People used to venture all the way from Uptown to read the paper at the Abbey. My, how times have changed.

The jukebox has something for everyone. Fleetwood Mac and Meat Loaf join Gwar and the Cramps, and many CD compilations sport handwritten labels. Don’t be surprised when patrons sing/shout/yell along.

According to the bartender, the Abbey serves as a final resting place for several patrons whose ashes now reside behind the bar, per the deceased’s request. This unkempt, beloved chapel seems a fitting spot for a barfly to spend eternity, nestled among the bottles, basking in the holy glow of the stained glass and beer signs.

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