The ceiling isn’t caving in, it just feels that way.
If the French Quarter is the tourist capital of New Orleans, Magazine Street is the local lifeline and antidote to Bourbon Street’s outsider-propelled insanity. Located a few blocks southwest, across the informal dividing line of Poydras Street (or Canal Street, depending on who you ask), Magazine Street lazily tracks the bend of the Mississippi River a few blocks to its south, stretching well into the southwest corner of the city.
Along Magazine, countless restaurants, small shops and some of the best dive bars in the country have taken up residence, serving the local population a little more so than the tourist throngs attracted elsewhere. Brothers Three Lounge is the perfect match to its environment, a dive bar in a low, bright yellow building, unchanged as time and floods and people come and go.
And we’re lucky to still count Brothers as a member of the Uptown neighborhood family, as the death of the owner in 2019 resulted in the shuttering of the bar as the family sorted out affairs. If there was any doubt of Brother’s status as a neighborhood icon, news of the owner’s passing and closing of the bar resulted in an impromptu sidewalk vigil and toast. Thankfully, sorting out affairs also included reopening the dive, ceremoniously on the day after Christmas that year.
Iconic yellow is unmistakable along every inch of the bar’s exterior, save for the spaces reserved for scrawled graffiti, some of it from the closing vigil those many months ago. Block letters above the front door inscribe the name of the bar, flanked by stylized LSU Tigers and supported underneath by as man neon bar signs as would fit in the sparse windows. The overhang above the front door has a definite lean to it, though gravity has yet to completely claim the sagging corners of the structure.
The environment remains unchanged inside, a product of dim lighting, New Orleans heat and what feels like a low ceiling conspiring to create a bit of a basement vibe. Walking through the triangular, yellow supports on either side of the front door only reinforce the feeling that you’re entering a tunnel that also happens to serve Miller Lite.
The space is long and narrow, the bar running the length of the west wall, terminating in a pool room in the back. Christmas lights keep vigil above the alcohol, with an extensive array of beer and liquor bottles underneath, leaving no doubt to the options available. And everything is well worn, the remains of the tile floor, the black painted ceiling above, the long, flat wooden bar, the rickety wooden displays for the beer bottles along the bar.
Brothers Three is as authentic as it gets, which is saying something in a town as steeped in history as New Orleans. That authenticity runs through the space, from the bright yellow exterior to the scuffed up floor, to the dueling country AND western jukeboxes in back. The paint, the neon, the Christmas lights, the location, Brothers Three is the perfect New Orleans dive bar storm.