With the first home game against the Minnesota Vikings on Sept. 21, downtown will be getting geared up all this month — especially around the Mercedes-Benz Superdome — in preparation for another banner year for the New Orleans Saints. And tailgating downtown is easy enough, with tons of bars and restaurants within hopping distance of the Dome. Don your black and gold, and raise a glass to “bless our boys” before the season starts. neworleanssaints.com
Watch pre-season and away games at Happy’s Irish Pub, located just down the street from the Dome on Poydras Street. Let stunning women in scantily-clad, school-girl uniforms serve frothy pints of local brews, like Abita Brewing Company’s Purple Haze, NOLA Brewing’s 7th Street Wheat and Parish Brewing Company’s Canebrake. Plus, it’s almost always Happy Hour at Happy’s Irish Pub (from 11am to 3pm, anyway) with two-for-one beer, wine and house cocktails on the weekdays, plus seasonal specials. 1009 Poydras St., happysirishpub.com
An ideal venue for concerts, events and getting your game face on, the 121,000-square-foot outdoor arena (dubbed The Square) opened four years ago and has instantly become one of the city’s most popular entertainment destinations. It’s open prior to kickoff for every Saints’ home game, accommodating all Who Dat fans with great food, cold drinks, daiquiris and even sno-balls.
Wind down from a rowdy, invigorating Saints game just steps from the Superdome at The Little Gem Saloon. Offering a 21st-century twist on a historic jazz locale, this unique locale offers delicious local cuisine for lunch, dinner and Sunday Jazz Brunch, plus spectacular local music. First opened over a century ago, this historic club featured the early progenitors of jazz, like Jelly Roll Morton and Buddy Bolden. The space was reborn after being shuttered for almost 40 years until Dr. Nicholas Bazan set out to restore the building, focusing on historic preservation and a passion for music.
The Little Gem Saloon is now a multi-level restaurant and bar, featuring local dishes, like shrimp and grits, chicken and bread pudding with white gravy and andouille, and barbecue shrimp with jalapeno cornbread. After filling up on New Orleans soul food, enjoy the music of local artists from the likes of Kermit Ruffins and The Barbecue Swingers, Lucas Davenport, the Viper Mad Trio, and Johnny Angel & the Swingin’ Demons. 445 S. Rampart St., (504) 267-4863, littlegemsaloon.com
After all of the beer, cold drinks, hot dogs, onion rings, fried chicken and barbecue shrimp, you need to step it up and get back in shape to be ready for more game-time festivities. Recently opened in the Warehouse District, Prime Fitness RX has the courses, equipment and expertise to create a specialized workout “prescription” just for you. From weight training to weight loss, the trainers and other employees at Prime Fitness are there to help you overcome any obstacle that may be standing in tour way — from individual physical challenges to meal planning. Owners Mark and Sasha Owens are both well-trained, fitness gurus who have nothing but your physical success in mind, offering support both in and out of the gym to help you get off the couch and into the game! 607 Julia St., (504) 402-1996, primefitnessrx.com