If there were an encyclopedia entry for “New Orleans music dive bar”, you’d find The Maple Leaf (along with a few other local favorites like Le Bon Temps Roule and Vaughan’s). This gritty, off-the-tourist-path bar is home to a weekly live music lineup that would put marquee music clubs in any other city to shame. Here, it’s just another Tuesday night when Grammy award-winning Rebirth Brass Band takes the stage for their weekly gig.
Local legends have graced the stage at the Maple Leaf since it opened in 1974 – musicians that most visitors have only seen rocking stages at Jazz Fest, including James Booker, Henry Butler, Clarence “Gatemouth Brown, Walter “Wolfman” Washington and The Radiators. Any night of the week, you might hear blues, funk, R&B, rock, zydeco, jazz, jam bands or any combination thereof.
The Maple Leaf is the place to go when you want to avoid the cover bands on Bourbon Street or the melee of clubs on Frenchmen Street, and it’s where you go on a weeknight if you want to feel like like a local. Expect a grizzled but friendly bunch of regulars at the bar before the sun goes down, watching whatever game might be on tv or hashing out the day’s news. There might be two shows on any given night, and starts times vary – early shows around 8 p.m., late shows around 10:30 p.m.
Traveler’s note: Maple Leaf is approximately a $20 cab ride from the French Quarter/downtown New Orleans. Nearby points of interest on Oak Street include the famous (and famous packed) restaurant Jacques Imo’s, but don’t overlook recent additions to the street, including Oak Wine Bar, Cowbell, TruBurger, and Chiba.
If there were an encyclopedia entry for “New Orleans music dive bar”, you’d find a picture of The Maple Leaf .