Lafitte's Blacksmith Bar, New Orleans
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.
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.
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
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
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.