Lafitte's Blacksmith Bar, New Orleans
Considered to be one of the oldest establishments in the Quarter, Lafitte's - as it's often referred to by locals - provides a more relaxed ambiance as compared to other Bourbon Street counterparts. Legend has it that the privateer brothers Pierre and Jean Lafitte used the smithy as a "blind" for their lucrative trade in contraband (and, some say, slaves they'd captured on the high seas). Like all legends, that's probably not true. There is a piano in the back of the room and sometimes you'll find a local musician tickling the ivories as the sing requests from the crowd gathered around him/her.
It sounds like it could be a tourist trap but it isn't. A must for a totally different relaxed Bourbon Street experience.
Dress Code: Come as you are.
(Lafitte's Balcksmith Shop)
Anytime you can drink in a structure in the US that's over 200 years old, you should take advantage of the opportunity. Especially if that place is associated with pirates, is dark as night, and serves delicious grape-flavored daiquiris that are not overly sweet. Another plus is there's no annoying dance music : )
All those styrofoam cups on the table in the picture contain the Voodoo Daiquiri concoction.
The web link below tells a good, short story.
Historic building by day, candle lit piano bar by night -- Lafitte's has always had a split personality. Built before 1772, it is one of the oldest if not the oldest building in the Mississippi valley. It survived the devastating New Orleans fires of 1788 and 1794 and shows the architecture common in the original French trading post before the Spanish rebuilt the city in Creole style.
The infamous Jean Lafitte and his brother operated the blacksmith shop as a front for their various illegitmate enterprises. For the full and fascinating story you should definitely read up on the 'Gentleman Pirate of New Orleans' before coming here. But I digress. This is supposed to be a nightlfe tip.
Lafitte's is the perfect stop on your way from the Bourbon St. scene to the calmer Marigny district clubs over on Frenchmen. The piano player at Lafitte's will be cranking out oldies while the customers settle into very dark corners with their drinks. When you get to Lafitte's you will have left behind the tourist spectacle if perhaps not the tourists. So come set a spell and have a drink. It's a long six blocks before you'll get another.
Lafitts Blacksmit Bar is a definite visit! the Bar is really old, as you can tell from the dilapidated shutters! The aging walls add to the atmosphere though. There are few lights inside the bar, its mostly lit by candlelight. IF you sit by the window and look outside, you'll forget you're even in the states! The street outside has a very Parisien feel.
SUpposedly, the bar is haunted...
Dress Code: Totally casual
This is a charming and quiet place, located on a section on Bourbon away from most tourists. It's romantic, dark and a great place to sip a drink or two and listen to some piano.
LaFitte is reported to still drop by on occasion, but I haven't seen him there!
Dress Code: None really
This is a just down a bit further on Bourbon Street, 941. It was built by the Lafitte brothers in the late 18th century at a facade for their illicit slave dealing. Today it's one of the most atmospheric places in a very atmosphere city - the claim is that it's the oldest building housing a tavern in the United States. It certainly seems as if they haven't yet installed electricity here - it's one of the darkest places I've ever ordered a g & t. If you are looking a little the worse for wear about a serious debauch elsewhere in the Quarter, this is a good place to go - somewhere that you're practically invisible to the person next to you!
Since 1772, Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop has been serving them up to customers, making it the oldest bar in the United States! That's worth stopping in and having a drink by itself. The atmosphere is best described as... DARK! Candles are on all of the tables and they have a fireplace when the weather permits, but it is hard to see across the table!
Old wooden beams rom the 1700's, stories of ghosts roaming the bar, and drinks to boot, what more do you want in a bar?
Dress Code: Its so dark at night, no one could probably tell if you were naked! (Not recommended, though!)
This building dates to 1772 and legend has it that it was once owned by the pirate, Jean Laffite. The rumor is that he and his cronies ran a blacksmith shop out of the building as a front for other illegal operations. Today, it's simply a good drinking hole with a lot of history,
Dress Code: Come as you are.
One of the oldest bars in the USA. Former hang out of Andrew Jackson. The bar is candle-lit and really makes you feel like you are going back in time. The voodoo dacquiries are superb. The piano player in the back of the bar is a fantastic entertainer. People join in the songs and have a blast every time he is playing. Sometimes he'll go on for many, many hours, putting on a great show.
Dress Code: Pretty much any type of clothing.
There are so many places to go out in New Orleans that its hard to know where to begin. My favorite is Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop (on Bourbon street but waaaay down on the residential side, just keep walking and its on the left). Lafitte's (which currently ranks as my #1 favorite bar in the world so far - please see my home page for the others) is said to be the hangout of the Pirates Jean and Pierre Lafitte (and others say its haunted) and the bar itself is very small and dark (the only lights are above the cash register at the bar and again at the piano, everthing else is candles). The piano section of the bar is always fun - go there and hang out and make requests while singing along with the featured player - Johnny Gordon.
Supposedly, this is America's oldest Bar. It's also rumored to be the Pirate Jean LaFitte's(?sp) Blacksmith Shoppe.