Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar, New Orleans

#7 of 155 in Nightlife in New Orleans
Nightlife · Bar / Club
Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop is a historic building at corner of Bourbon Street and St. Philip Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. Constructed in the French/Spanish colony during the early 18th century, it is one of the oldest surviving structures in New Orleans and has been called the oldest structure in the U.S. housing a bar.According to legend, the privateer Jean Lafitte (c.1780–c.1823), aka John Lafitte, owned a business here early in the 19th century. As with many things involving the Lafittes, such as possibly using this place to plot illegal seizures and the sale of contraband, no documentation exists. (It was only after the Lafitte brothers were long gone that Jean's signature was found on a document, finally ascertaining how their family name was spelled: LAFFITE.)It is purported to be one of the more haunted venues in the French Quarter. The name Blacksmith Shop may not be coincidental. Lafitte's associates may have operated a smithy here during the days of reliance upon horses, who had to be shod. Jean's older brother Pierre Lafitte was a blacksmith, and their associate Renato Beluche may have once owned this building.The current business traces its roots to Roger 'Tom' Caplinger, who in the mid-1940s turned the old abandoned shop into Café Lafitte. The cafe became a popular night spot that attracted a bohemian clientele, including the gay community and celebrities like Noël Coward and Tennessee Williams. However, Caplinger never held clear title to the property and the building was sold in 1953. He soon opened a second cafe at the other end of the same block named Café Lafitte in Exile, which maintains that it is the oldest gay bar in the U.S.
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Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
2,936 reviews
  • We were told you can't visit NOLA without stopping by for a Voodoo drink so that is what we did. Did not disappoint.  more »
  • We visited Lafitte’s to get away from the obnoxious side of Bourbon St. we walked into a very relaxed atmosphere with a piano bar. Would definitely visit again.  more »
  • I’d read lots of great reviews before coming. This place did not disappoint. We immediately felt like we were enjoying part of history upon entering the bar. When we visit New Orleans with friends and family we are sure to take them here. I highly recommend.
  • A classic New Orleans location. Good drinks, great atmosphere. One of the famous haunted locations in the French Quarter. A ghost is known to haunt the lady's restroom, and will blow your hair or put his hand on your shoulder while you are at the sink. The bar is on Bourbon Street, but it's all the way down at the quiet end. On a nice night it's great to sip your drink out at a sidewalk table and people watch.

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