Tips for tourists and New New Orleanians: Bring Cash

The other day I ate two slices of delicious pizza at Pizzacare* on Tulane Ave, in Mid City. The employee paused with confusionwhen I asked if they accepted credit cards. “Yeah,” she said, cocking her head. “We do.”

I was a little offended. This is New Orleans! It’s always best to have cash on hand! When I first lived here eight years ago a lot of businesses didn’t take credit or debit cards. Things have changed, but it’s still common to have a barista refuse my plastic and gesture to a gray ATM in a darkened corner that charges a $2 fee. It’s no secret that NOLA is slow to adapt and this service-industry is full of bars and restaurants wary of credit-card surcharges. Although the exchange at Pizzacare means I could put another notch on my New Orleanian bedpost because I am becoming more accustomed to the city, I did make me realize that I needed to blog about cash carrying for all my New New Orleanians!

Businesses that Only Take Cash
(not an exhaustive list! Please comment if you have any additions or corrections!) 

Bars
BJ’s Lounge (Bywater)
Bullet Bar (St. Roch)
Henry’s Bar (Uptown)
Hi Ho Lounge (Marigny)
Iggys (Marigny)
Spotted Cat (Marigny)

Restaurants
Boo Koo BBQ at Finn McCools (Mid City): However, if you order drinks from the bar you can ask for cash back.
Guy’s Po Boys (Uptown)
Johnny’s Po Boys (French Quarter)
Slim Goodies (Garden District)
Surreys (Garden District and Uptown)

Coffee Shops
Byrdie’s (Bywater)
Mojo coffee (Garden District)
Neutral Ground Coffee House (Uptown)
Rue de la Course (Carollton)
Still Perkin (Garden District): They require a $5 minimum and are very strict about it. Recently, I bought an underwhelming, over priced cookie to make $5. I almost returned it, but I didn’t have the guts.
Zotz (Carollton)

Sweets
Creole Creamery (Uptown)
Hansen’s Snoballs (Uptown)
Plum St Snoballs (Carollton/University)
Cafe du Monde (French Quarter)
Laurel Street Bakery (Uptown)

Just Started Taking Cards
Camilia Grill (Carollton/French Quarter): I think this happened a few years ago, but I’ll consider it recent, since this is such a long-standing establishment.
Fair Grinds (Bayou St. John): $5 minimum

Tips

  • Fancy restaurants take cards. They want your money. This includes most places in the French Quarter.
  • Cash is also useful for the few places that charge covers. I’m specifically thinking of DBA, in the Marigny.
  • The Crescent City Farmers Markets take cards. However, you have to visit a special booth and use your card to purchase special tokens to give the vendors. It’s a $1 surcharge for this service.
  • Many places have a credit card minimum. Some are jerks about it. Some are not.

*Note: apparently it’s pronounced Pizza-car-eh, which I learned last week.