Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar, New Orleans
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.For travelers who use our world travel planner, New Orleans holidays become easier to arrange, with trips to the Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar and other attractions mapped out and timetabled.
Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar Reviews
The bar is dark inside and lit by candles. The piano player took all requests and even let some people get on the mic and sing with him. The entire bar was singing and dancing. It was so much fun. Onl... more »
Fun and casual place to drink with friends. Enjoyed the outside courtyard. Voodoo daiquiris were delicious! Piano bar was fun. more »
Awesome little place that really brings out the best of the New Orleans style. Interesting decor in a historic building with good drinks leaves nothing to complain about. I went here a few times during my week in New Orleans and was always pleased, but unfortunately I was never there while the pianist was playing so I'll have to return again. I've heard nothing but great things about him. Lafitte's is a must-see!
This place is a MUST GO when in the French Quarter! I had my first ever Hurricane here and it was the best I had all day. The place looked small but was very spacious and had an outside area. The bar tenders were all friendly and welcoming and worked quickly. I will certainly be back next time I’m in NOLA!
Plan your trip to New Orleans
Get a personalized planA complete day-by-day itinerary
based on your preferences
Customize itRefine your plan. We'll find the
best routes and schedules
Manage itEverything in one place.
Everyone on the same page.
View all >
View all >
Hidden gems in New Orleans
View all >©©©©
Duration: 1h 30min
Duration: 1h 30min
Side trips from New Orleans
Nearby attractions in New Orleans
Plans to Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar by other users
4 days in New Orleans BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular sights PREFERENCES: September, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 4 days in New Orleans BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 8 days in New Orleans BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 8 days in New Orleans BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, culture, historic sites, fast-paced, hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, culture, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced 3 days in New Orleans BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES March, popular sights PREFERENCES: March ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 7 days in Memphis & New Orleans BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, popular sights PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium