If beer in cartoonishly-sized mugs and lady bartenders in minimally-sized schoolgirl uniforms is your game day preference, Happy’s Irish Pub at 1009 Poydras has both. The girls are friendly and the beer is cold. Sit on the outside patio if there’s space available — it’s a great people-watching spot during game day.
For an experience opposite of that, make reservations at Little Gem Saloon for Jazz Brunch with Build-Your-Own Bloody Marys and Endless Mimosas. Some Sunday nights they also have a live jazz show in their upstairs room. Otherwise there’s always an acoustic set during dinner service in the main dining room. The food is traditional Southern — perfect for a Saints' game.
For craft cocktails and eclectic bar food, walk over to Victory Bar. Local favorites like Sazeracs and French 75s are available, but an ambitious specialty cocktail menu is also available. For food, the chicken satay and bacon-wrapped scallops are always reliable and great for sharing. If you don’t like any of the pizza options above, Victory has a few pies also.
If you’re looking for fine dining, Chef John Besh’s Borgne is at 601 Loyola Avenue, lodged in the monolithic Hyatt Regency. Helmed by executive chef and partner Brian Landry, the restaurant serves a refreshingly modern take on coastal seafood: Perennial classics like gumbo and oysters , both raw and broiled, are available, but make sure to try the Gulf Fish in a Bag (trust me) or the Oyster Spaghetti. Don’t skip dessert either. Happy hour is 3 - 6 p.m. and includes half-priced beer and wines by the glass along with a $5 daily tapa. The bar, probably the longest in the CBD, is equipped with several large HDTVs.
A few floors up from Borgne is the Hyatt’s Vitascope Hall. It has an impressive selection of Southern craft beer on draft and no lack of cocktails or routine domestic bottles either. The food menu is dominated by burgers, sandwiches, and pizza, but there are great local seafood options as well as an inexplicable but welcome sushi menu. Most importantly for sports lovers, Vitascope is equipped with over 40 flatscreen TVs.
For the Future: Besh and Aarón Sanchez, his friend and fellow celebrity chef, are currently setting up a restaurant called Johnny Sanchez at 930 Poydras. Dubbed a not-lowbrow yet not-pretentious taquería, it will probably be a game day hot spot when it opens at a date TBD in the space next to the aforementioned Reginelli’s. The fine dining chefs have said they’re opening the kind of relaxed place that they’d want to hang out at. Tacos, tostadas, ceviches and, of course, drinks will all be available there.