If you’re in New Orleans and looking for a bar, chances are, you’ll find one – and quick. New Orleans was the last of the major U.S. cities to give into the federally mandated 21 and over rule, and it’s here that decadence and laissez-faire doesn’t just concern the municipal budget. The French Quarter is rife with excellent hangouts, dive bars, drunk tanks, jazz clubs, dance clubs, soul music, and basically any sort of nightlife entertainment you can come to think of, but there is one distinctive spot that still gets mentioned from time to time that sets the standard for good old fashioned Bars – and that is Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop.
The oldest bar in the US, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop is as honest a bar as one can find. A true mortar and brick establishment stuck on the corner of Bourbon and Royal Street, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop was built somewhere between the years of 1722 and 1732 by a man named Nicolas Touz and used throughout the late 1700s by the famed pirate Jean Lafitte as a base for his Barataria smuggling operations. Though shrouded in mystery, ghost stories and half-truths, the honest answer is that today, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop still stands on the same corner it did almost 300 years earlier and serves much of the same assortment of libation.
Head down to 941 Bourbon Street to catch college game days, or stop in on an off night to hear “Mr. Joe” play the piano for the regulars. Regular ghost sightings are said to be had here, and the cast of locals are a colorful bunch who will most likely regale you with stories of their own. The bottom line? If you like history, mystery, and sitting down on the same wooden stools that have been used to hold some of the most powerful southern gentry for the past several hundred years, you’ll enjoy a drink down at Jean Lafitte’s.
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