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Saints Bars Across America

The Who Dat Nation stretches far and wide. Where do you watch games while traveling outside of the Crescent City?

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

I graduated from Loyola University New Orleans in April 2006. We were the first graduating class following Hurricane Katrina. Though I absolutely loved New Orleans, like many, I was still suffering from some storm PTSD and decided to move back to my hometown of San Francisco. Tennessee Williams famously said, "There are three great American cities. New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland."

Fortunately, I have called two of those cities home throughout the course of my life. And though I had an absolute blast living in SF for two years, it didn’t feel like home anymore. I missed costuming without getting weird looks from passers by. I missed striking up conversations with strangers at bars or on the bus. I missed random people saying "good morning" and smiling at me. I missed New Orleans music and of course its food. But mostly, I missed watching the Saints games along side other Who Dats.

Luckily, my inability to shed New Orleans’ influence led me to a chance meeting that would change my life for the better. I went to a Radiators show at Bimbo’s Club one summer night in 2006 wearing my Deuce McAllister jersey. A man named Garrett noticed me and walked right up. He said he was the first shift bartender at the Black Magic Voodoo Lounge on Lombard Street, and the owner had given him permission to open the bar early on Sundays at 10am for Saints games. He said it was a new thing, but he hoped that if enough people came, the owner would allow him to continue opening early.

Even though I had a standing invitation to watch in my neighborhood at my friend Blake’s house, I was enticed by Garrett’s promise of building a community. I woke up at 8:30am every Sunday to walk down the hill, take the MUNI from West Portal to Van Ness, and then the bus to Lombard Street so I could make 10am kickoff. Week one, there were maybe five of us total in the bar, but as the season progressed, and the Saints put together their finest season in the history of the franchise, word spread of the good times at the Black Magic.

By the final few weeks, the lounge had become standing room only. Each week, fans told their friends about this bar where we could watch the Saints games together. They served Abita beer and played "The Saints Are Coming" before every kickoff. Commercial breaks were muted so that New Orleans music could blare out from the bar speakers. There were people I hugged week in and week out without even knowing their names. I made friends in that bar who I am still close with to this day.

The bar served as a most welcome distraction for many fans who had evacuated from Katrina and were still displaced in the Bay Area. I remember one couple were still living off their FEMA and Red Cross money, and sleeping in a weekly motel room rental down the street. Sundays gave them something to cheer about, and as the Saints stormed to the NFC Championship game for the first time in franchise history, they now had something they could be proud of as well.

My sister and brother in law live a five minute walk from the Voodoo Lounge, so to this day, when I go home over the Christmas holidays, one can be sure where to find me on Saints game days. Several of the original Who Dats remain and the Abita beer still flows strong. Having that community truly saved me those two years I lived in SF until I moved back to New Orleans the summer of 2008.

I am so thankful for my San Francisco Who Dat community. I’m sure many of y’all stumbled upon other Saints bars during the Katrina diaspora or simply during regular travel. I have compiled a list of Saints bars throughout the nation, and I’m sure this is only the tip of the iceberg. Please share any other Saints communities y’all have discovered so we can be sure to enjoy Saints games no matter where we are! Happy bar hopping!

  • Bar None, East Village

98 3rd Ave.

New York, NY 10003

  • Nellie’s

900 U Street NW

Washington, DC 20001

  • Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar

1104 H St. NE

Washington, DC 20002

  • Buccaneer Lounge

1368 Monroe Ave

Memphis, TN 38104

  • Milltown Tavern, Cabbagetown

180 Carroll Street

Atlanta, GA 30312

  • DBA Bar B Que

1190 North Highland Avenue Northeast

Atlanta, GA 30306

  • Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen

2203 Aloma Ave

Winter Park, FL 32792

  • Shoal Creek Saloon

909 N Lamar Blvd

Austin, TX 78703

  • Ragin' Cajun

4302 Richmond Ave.

Houston, TX 77027

  • Frontier, West Town

1072 N Milwaukee Ave

Chicago, IL 60642

  • The Standard Bar and Grill

1332 N Milwaukee Ave.

Chicago, IL 60622

  • 7-11 Bar

2530 Arville Street

Las Vegas, 89102

  • Louie’s of Mar Vista

3817 Grand View Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90066

  • Black Magic Voodoo Lounge

1400 Lombard St

San Francisco, CA 94123

  • Big Chief Restaurant and Draft Punk Bar

44400 N Highway 101

Laytonville, CA 95454

  • Scooter McQuade’s Restaurant and Bar

1321 SW Washington St

Portland, OR 97205

  • Cajun Pho Kitchen and Bar

4650 Tower Rd

Denver, CO 80249

  • Stoney’s Bar and Grill

1111 Lincoln St.

Denver, CO 80203

  • Acadia

824 S. 8th St.

Philadelphia, PA 19147