Lafitte's Blacksmith Bar, New Orleans
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
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...
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.
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
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
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.
We always stop at Lafitte's Blacksmith Bar every time we go to N.O. but we generally don't stay too long because the drinks are too expensive. Last year I took my old dog with me to N.O. and I was very pleased that they let the old girl in just about every place. Lafitte's wouldn't allow her in and I have no problem with that but they said we could have her on the patio. The problem was that nobody served us so we finally left after one drink because we didn't feel like going into the bar and waiting in line for each drink.
That said, I really do like the bar and we always visit Lafitte's Blacksmith Bar every time we visit. I just wish they would lower their drink prices to be in line with similar bars in the French Quarter. If they did, I would stay there longer.
Dress Code: Casual.
The bartender called Jason stole my money this evening, at about 930pm, when I stopped in for 1 drink when the carriage ride I was on stopped there to show us the place. I positively and factually gave this bartender $20 for an $8 hurricane and received $2 in change. I specifically had only this aged/tattered $20 bill set aside in my zippered pocket 15 minutes earlier for paying someone after the carriage ride. Bartender Jason refused to discuss that he may have been incorrect, and just walked away and kept my money. He showed me a crisp new $10 bill that he claimed I paid with. Complete RUBBISH! It was the WORST experience and service I have EVER had in NOLA. I have contacted management, so we'll see what happens from here. I am giving management an opportunity to fix this. If you risk going here, watch your money when dealing with the bartenders! They will lie and cheat you!
(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.
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.
Supposedly, this is America's oldest Bar. It's also rumored to be the Pirate Jean LaFitte's(?sp) Blacksmith Shoppe.