Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, New Orleans
My wife and I went to a college reunion a year ago and stayed at Hotel Dauphine. We discovered JL's Black Smith Shop while on a carriage ride and beat our tired feet back as soon as we could. We ordered a cold beer and sat outside and in our own turn watched the carriages pass by, and I took the opportunity to unload some MG beads I had been carrying around. The waitress, Jaimie would take drink orders from the people in carriages prior to them making the turn and heading back to the river. The place is quiet and well worth the stop. We didn't come back in the evening, but did make several stops on different days for a beer or Capt' Morgan on the rocks.
If you find yourself in the 900 block of Bourbon St, stop in and have a drink at the oldest bar in America. Built in 1772, Lafitte's is the oldest functioning bar in the US. Because of the building materials used in its construction, Lafitte's never burned when the rest of the French Quarter did.
I stopped in one afternoon and was served by the owner himself, a young guy in his 30's. I paid $4.25 for a Michelob Ultra and went outside to the patio to enjoy it in peace. I had the patio all to myself. The dozen or so other patrons were all inside. I took a neat pic of a man and woman in an eternal embrace which was right next to my table.
Lafitte's is a must see, in my opinion. Make the effort and get out of the craziness of the 400-500 block of Bourbon. You will be glad you did.
This may well be the most character-filled bar in ALL of New Orleans - it certainly is as far as French Quarter landmarks go.
It's small, and filled with the spirit of Jean Lafitte - where he and his fellow pirates posed as blacksmiths while they carried about with the sale of goods they'd made off with from their high seas adventures.
It's purported to be the oldest building east of the Mississippi (South). It's small and inconspicuous - you could practically walk past it and not know you did - but then, there's really no reason to be that far up the block in the Quarter unless you're heading specifically for this place. And you absolutely should do just that - inside is a cozy atmosphere that literally transports you back to the late 1700s.
The owners have preserved things beautifully so the spirit of Lafitte and the essence of pirates live on...my favorite bar in all of New Orleans (and that's saying a lot).
Located at 941 Bourbon St (it's on the corner)
I don't want to say too much about this place because I wouldn't want to ruin its 'off the beaten path' feel. I will however, say this:
If you've done the Bourbon Street thing and you are just looking for a place with the most incredible atmosphere ever - Lafitte's is where you want to go.
Lafitte's is so old and worn that is looks like a strong breeze might knock the place down. Go after dark and bask in the glow of the candlelit bar-room. Enjoy the easy sounds of the piano player crooning toons for you to drink by. He takes requests so feel free to ask for your favorite song to help make the night perfect.
Magical things happen at this place. It is the most romantic spot in New Orleans - and I will challenge anyone who says otherwise!