Pat O’Brien’s Universal: A History of New Orleans’ Most Iconic Bar

As one of the most iconic bars in New Orleans, Pat O’Brien’s has become synonymous with the city’s culture and nightlife. Located in the heart of the French Quarter, this establishment has been serving up delicious drinks and unforgettable experiences for nearly a century. In this article, we’ll explore the history and legacy of Pat O’Brien’s Universal, from its origins as a speakeasy to its place in pop culture today.


  1. Introduction
  2. The Origins of Pat O’Brien’s Universal
  3. The Rise of a Legend: Hurricane Cocktails and Dueling Pianos
  4. Pop Culture Phenomenon: Pat O’Brien’s on TV and Film
  5. The Legacy Continues: Modern-Day Pat O’Brien’s Universal
  6. Conclusion

The Origins of Pat O’Brien’s Universal

Pat O’Brien’s was born during Prohibition when owner Patrick Henry O’Brien opened a speakeasy at 718 St Peter Street that he called “Mr. O’Brien’s Club Tipperary”. As Prohibition ended in 1933, Mr.O’Brien became one of only 15 liquor license holders in town,and his bar soon became incredibly popular.

At first, it was mostly locals who frequented the spot, but quickly gained popularity beyond New Orleans due to its infamous Hurricane cocktail becoming legendary amongst visiting military personnel stationed here during World War II.

The Rise of a Legend: Hurricane Cocktails and Dueling Pianos

The invention of their signature Hurricane drink—the mix is created using several different rum varieties—helped secure their popularity over time even after prohibition had ended.In addition to craft cocktails,Piano duels would grow into nightly entertainment,a tradition that continues to this day! Dueling pianists serenade guests singing along classics by Billy Joel or Elton John.

Pat O’Brien’s has always had a fun and lively atmosphere, providing guests with a unique and memorable experience. Huge murals of classic New Orleans jazz musicians adorn the walls, while the sounds of roaring laughter and live music fill the air.

Pop Culture Phenomenon: Pat O’Brien’s on TV and Film

Despite being located in sleepy NOLA, Pat O’Brien’s Universal has become a go-to spot for pop culture references.Notably,Peter Fonda arrived there in Easy Rider,the bar was featured in episodes of NCIS New Orleans & HBO’s Treme,in addition to an appearance in countless movies.

With its iconic Hurricane cocktails and vibrant atmosphere,it is no wonder why Pat O’Brien’s became such a popular location for film producers.Their distinct aesthetic combined with almost a century of history continues to make it one of the must-visit stops on any New Orleans trip.

The Legacy Continues: Modern-Day Pat O’Brien’s Universal

Today,Pat o’briens has expanded to include locations across Louisiana as well as other Southern States.They offer their famous Hurricane cocktail mix available to purchase online so fans can enjoy at home.With interior décor retaining the historical charm,this iconic establishment remains remarkably untouched by time,taking patrons back through the decades with ease.


Pat O’Brien’s Universal is an icon of New Orleans. From its humble beginnings during Prohibition to its status as one of America’s most famous bars today, this establishment has remained true to its roots while evolving with the times.For travelers looking for good food,strong drinks or feeling like enjoying piano entertainment or all three at once,this legendary bar offers an unforgettable experience that will make them feel like they’ve stepped into another world altogether.