This was supposed to be the first stop on a ghost tour app we were listening to, but we ended up spending hours here! What a great low-key, historic atmosphere... nothing like Bourbon St. Be careful, the voodoo punch is lethal.
The building housing Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar was constructed around 1722, making this the oldest building in America used as a bar. Due to its slate roof, the building was able to survive the two great New Orleans fires in 1788 and 1794. The bar is called Lafitte's because it is believed to have been used by the famous Pirate Jean Lafitte as part of their smuggling ring.
The bar has a comfortable patio to the left of the building with several tables and a fire pit. Inside, the bar is dark, especially back in the back corner near the restrooms and the piano, but near the street, the big windows let in plenty of natural light. At night almost all of the lighting is from candles, creating an eerie, old fashioned feel. The right side of the building has a small, but friendly bar and a huge old fireplace. There are also a number of chairs and small tables along the street. At night this bar is packed with people, spilling out of the doors and windows.
Not only an Historic attraction as the oldest bar in America, but also one of the top 5 bars in America. Hurricanes are better then Pat O'Brien's and the staff is friendlier. Josh was kind enough to give us a tour of the bar with a description of all the historical aspects. Michael was extremely talented singing and playing the piano, even took time to visit with us. Lafitte's has atmosphere with only being lit with candles in the evening, visit the front but quickly move to the back where the piano is located. When its cool outside have a drink on the courtyard and watch the world go by. If you go to only one bar in the French Quarter/New Orleans go to Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop on Bourbon Street. It's the best.
Dress Code: Casual
Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar is one of the oldest buildings in New Orleans, and one of the oldest bars in the United States. The building itself probably dates back to the 1760s (some say it could even date back to the 1720s), and one of the popular stories about it is that it once belonged to famous pirates Jean and Pierre Lafitte, which is how it got its name. The different owners have done an amazing job of preserving the historic aspect of the place throughout the years, which makes for a pretty unique atmosphere, especially in the evening when the whole place is lit by candlelight. When we were there, someone was playing the piano and a small group had gathered around, drawn a few stools and set their drinks directly on the instrument - it was magical! Drinks are fairly expensive (if I remember correctly we paid $8 for a hurricane), but they're good and strong, and they come in a souvenir plastic cup.
Dress Code: Casual
I think that this has got to be one of the best bars in the world. Dark and private, old and modern. A little snapshot of old New Orleans! The music was superb, a lady playing piano and singing all night to her fan club sat around her piano. Brits, French, Texans and New Yorkers all singing along and smoking the odd cigarette and drinking copious amounts as we all welcomed the new arrival of a new day.
I have read the other reviews depicting rude staff and though they may not be the best they certainly could not ruin this delicious nightspot where anything is possible.
I would return to New Orleans for this place alOne!
Dress Code: Be yourself
this historic bar is located in a building dating back to 1772. it is considered the oldest bar in america. it is rumored that the pirate jean lafitte and his brother pierre used this building to house smuggled goods. today this dark bar is lit by candles and the entertainment is in the form of a piano player. an interesting and fun place to drink in the french quarter.
Dress Code: casual.
You MUST try what is called a "Voodoo Daiquiri" at this bar. It tastes like a grape kool aid slush but trust me on this one. Amazing! So unique and you won't find it anywhere like this. The atmosphere is amazing. This is definitely my favorite spot in New Orleans. Make the trip over and you won't be disappointed.
Dress Code: Totally casual
while the historic relavence of Lafittes's may be a draw for the eager New Orleans tourist, the behavoir and and demeaner of the waitstaff makes it a definite must NOT see... There are plenty of fine establishments in New Orleans that will treat you with timely, polite and adequet service. Avoid this nightlife spot at all costs, you are not missing anything here...
This tiny little shop is purported to be one of the oldest buildings in New Orleans, dating from the time Lafitte used the back area as a smuggling hold. It is now a quaint little bar, removed from the loud noises of the main Bourbon Street strip. It has several very cool features: It has no electricity in the front of the bar, meaning everything is candle-lit. This creates a great moody environment which is conducive to sitting, sipping, and talking. Second, there is a great piano player there, playing all sorts of tunes and singing along. She takes requests as well. So sit back with a Hurricane, enjoy the ambiance of a 200+ year-old bar, and enjoy the time away from the crowds.
If you need to escape the craziness of Bourbon St. you can do so - but still be on Bourbon St. Lafitte's is a hidden gem amongst the other loud bars with loud music blasting. Inside is dark and lit by candles.
A piano player belts out tunes with people loudly singing along. Post Katrina, the bar isn't as packed as I'm used to. We easily got a seat in the back corner of the bar. There was still a nice crowd inside. When we were there, there wasn't anyone sitting in the courtyard. It could have been too early in the evening, though.
Dress Code: Pretty much anything goes.
As someone who lived in NOLA for 10 years, and has been involved in Mardi Gras and other social clubs in the City for the past 25, I have had ample opportunities to have sampled most of thge local watering holes.
Nothing comes close, for me, to Lafitte's. While I definitely prefer J.B. Davis at the piano I can live with Johnny Gordon. Either is superior to some of the other "sing along" bars in the Quarter. You will find yourself singing along with Davis or Gordon on many occasions, but at other times you are content to sit back and appreciate the talent of the local performer. There are many songs that they will choose with blues roots that you don't know the lyrics well enough, anyway.
The entertainers take customer's song requests. Unlike some other spots, if they don't know the song well enough they are honest enough to tell you beforehand. Tips are most appreciated.
Great place to meet new people. You'll find many patrons sitting near you who regularly frequent the Blacksmith Shop.
Beers are about $4, mixed drinks roughly $5. There is waiter service to the tables. There is no cover charge, nor any set closing time. (I've walked out as late as 5:45 AM.)
Can't wait to get back!
Dress Code: Come As You Are.
Lafitte's is rumoured to be the oldest building in the Mississippi River Valley dating back to the 1770s. Supposedly Jean Lafitte and his brother were pirates that used the blacksmith shop as a front for selling their stolen goods. Nothing has been done to the place to make it modern day.
From the outside, it looks like a shanty, but the inside is quite cozy. Best described as a piano bar, there are no lights inside except for a small fire blazing in a stone hearth and some candles. The entire building is brick and mortar with a wooden beam here and there for stability.
Locals come early and leave early. If you enjoy singing along, take one of the seats situated around the piano. Have a request? Expect to pay the piano man to play. As the evening wears on, people come out of the woodwork and fascinate the crowd with their best blues voice, accompanied by the piano man if he likes your sound. Truly, some people are possessed by the blues.
Dress Code: Dress is casual - most anything goes. There's an outdoor courtyard as well as inside entertainment.
Anyone who’s been the New Orleans knows this little place at the edge of the French Quarter. Lafitte's Blacksmith shop, or Jean LaFitte's Bar is the oldest structure in the French Quarter. It is said to have served the Pirate Jean Lafitte and his buccaneers as a hideout. Today, the Blacksmith shop is a pub frequented by locals and, at night, features a festive piano bar.
Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s Jean LaFitte, but that damn bar loves me! I think every night I’m in New Orleans I’m in that bar at least once a day. One night, this super cool, swanky-swank man settles up to the piano bar and starts singing and playing your average white mans music to drink to. Well, somehow my glass was never empty and after getting board with listening I decided to accompany him. And as my first note came out, something magical happened. I was singing well… actually he let me take over a few songs and people were buying me drinks!
Now, even to this day, I don’t know why, but I can sing. I think Jean LaFitte knew that I was about to embarrass myself and, because I’m so ***ing awesome in general, he gave me the gift of singing.
Thanks man! I’ll be back in June singing to the ghost of LaFitte.
Dress Code: Try not to spill on yourself, but if you do, it's dark and it's the South.
I'm sorry, I have to step in.
All night long the manager was screaming at his staff.
Later that night he beat up a teenager for drawing on the sidewalk with chalk.
He must be on drugs or something because he acts like a kid.
Dress Code: anything
Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop was one of my favorite watering holes. Built in 1772, it's reputed to be the oldest building housing a bar in the country. It looks like it too, but that's all part of the charm.
The structure is one of the few remaining pieces of French architecture in the French Quarter - the rest having met unfortunate ends in the fires of 1788 and 1794. Rumor has it that it was once a blacksmith's shop for the brothers Lafitte - who used it as a front for their merry privateering industry. That's sort of New Orleans' version of the modern, urban myth but it's also not so hard to imagine while tossing back a pint at one of the wooden tables in a dark, sooty corner. At night, candles are the only illumination so romantics and pirate wanna-bes alike find this a restful spot in which to take refuge from the neon and noise on the other end of Bourbon.
There is a small garden for outdoor tippling, and piano music in the evenings. I didn't have to use the facilities when I was there but I heard that, well.....it's all part of the charm.
Dress Code: Come as you are