The beer hits stronger when the light is blacked out.
To say that 3rd Rock Tavern is a New Orleans dive bar might be playing a little fast and loose with geographic proximity. The address reads Kenner, Louisiana, not New Orleans, though the bar occupies a strip mall in the shadow of the New Orleans airport. What does ring true is 3rd Rock Tavern’s no frills presentation in a city that offers some of the most authentic drinking experiences in America if a particular few blocks in one part of the city are avoided.
Looking up 3rd Rock Tavern in Google Street View first renders an image of the blank back of the building, a fitting representation of a dive bar almost hidden behind blacked out windows in the corner of a tiny strip. Owing to the benefits of being part of the New Orleans area, 3rd Rock Tavern is open 24 hours a day and thankfully with the blacked-out windows, all 24 can feel roughly the same inside.
Inside, 3rd Rock Tavern is a classic dive bar, U-shaped bar in the middle of the room flanked by dart boards on one wall, jukebox bolted to another. Another New Orleans-area benefit can be seen along the exterior wall in the form of video poker machines. The dive bar does serve food out of a small kitchen off to one side of the bar, ranging from hamburgers to nachos to a variety of air-fried chicken products (this reviewer ordered a surprisingly tasty set of chicken nuggets).
And fellow drinker be warned, 3rd Rock Tavern is a smoker-friendly establishment, a trait picked up on by the set of clear regulars that slowly populated the dive bar as the clocked stretched past 5 PM. Aside from the odd traveler coming to or from the airport in search of a quick beer, 3rd Rock Tavern is clearly a neighborhood haunt for a set of locals that cycle through the establishment.
What 3rd Rock Tavern definitely nails is the classic dive bar checklist, from bar games to quick food to an environment built around locals. Though more unique drinking options can be found throughout New Orleans, 3rd Rock Tavern fits the bill for a pre-airport drink and a couple rounds of video poker.