Yes, it's touristy but we love being tourists in New Orleans. We've been going to Pat O'Brien's since our honeymoon and still have a great time when we go there.
We especially love the patio with the flaming fountain. Only once have we sat inside at the piano bar (during a rainy night). It was nice but not the special experience that the courtyard patio is.
The drinks and the atmosphere have remained the same after all these years and in a world where everything changes it is nice that Pat O'Brien's is still the same.
Our favorite time to go is late afternoon when the patio is full enough to be festive but not so crowded with rowdy drunken people that we can't enjoy the ambiance. At dusk they select a guest seated on the patio near the fountain for the "torch lighting ceremony" (lighting the flame atop the fountain).
Over the years we've tried many different drinks on the menu and although we enjoy most of them (especially the Planter's Punch) we still tend to order the traditional Hurricanes because they are the most festive drink in the tall logo glass.
Unless you want the glasses as a souvenir be sure and return them to the bar to get the $3 glass deposit back. This actually makes the Pat O'Brien's drinks some of the least expensive of many places in the Quarter.
Service can be spotty since waiters don't always realize when new customers arrive and grab dirty tables in order to get a place to sit on the patio. Don't hesitate to alert a waiter to let them know of your arrival and the table will be quickly cleaned and drinks served promptly along with a bag of popcorn to munch on while drinking. Because of the come and go crowds drinks are charged as you receive them rather than running a tab.
In our many visits we have never ordered from the food menu so I can't comment on the quality of the meals offered here. The premium table spots are not where the food is served so my recommendation is to sit near the fountain, order a drink and "Have Fun!"
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