The Spotted Cat Music Club in New Orleans is known for its intimacy, the fact that live, local music starts as early as 2:00 p.m. every day and for its “one drink minimum” guideline, which it proudly announces via a colorful shop-front sign. Located on the locals’ favorite street for live music, Frenchmen, the Spotted Cat is a premiere venue for traditional jazz and swing, and exceptional pairs of dancers often light up the venue floor. Spotted Cat regulars include the Cottonmouth Kings, the Washboard Chaz Blues Trio, Antoine Diel and Arséne DeLay.
There’s a few things you need to remember about the Spotted Cat: It’s cash only, and you have to be 21 to enter. There’s a one drink per set minimum, which isn’t a bad deal, especially considering that there’s no cover charge ever. No drinks on the piano. And leave your drama at the door. If you need reminding, you’ll find plenty of signs around the venue with the guidelines spelled out in paint on a colorful background.
The later it gets, the more crowded the Spotted Cat becomes. Therefore, if you’d rather have a seat than stand up all night, show up early and snag a spot at the bar or one of the few two-top tables in the back.
The Spotted Cat sits across from d.b.a. and Snug Harbor on Frenchmen Street on the edge of the Bywater. Partiers on the French Quarter looking for jazz can just walk down Decatur Street toward Esplanade or hop on the Riverfront Streetcar and ride it to the end of the line, at the French Market. Cross Esplanade, and you’ll be on Frenchmen. Walk past the Louisiana Music Factory and down two more blocks, and you’ll see the Spotted Cat on your right.
Food & Drink Options
Cold bottles of Abita are a big draw at the Spotted Cat, but since there’s no cover, why not splurge on a martini or house cocktail? There’s plenty of beer on tap as well, a semi-rotating selection that may include NOLA Brewing’s Rebirth Pale Ale or Curmudgeon Old Ale from Founders Brewing Co.
The Spotted Cat doesn’t serve food, but fortunately Frenchmen Street can provide. Pick up a loaded sausage with chili, cheese, grilled onion and pickles from Dat Dog and take it with you to the Cat, or fill up on down-home traditional Southern grub from the Praline Connection across the street before you indulge in refreshing drinks and electrifying music – dessert, New Orleans style.