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New Orleans, Louisiana

Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop

The oldest structure used as a bar in the United States. 

Said to be the oldest structure used as a bar in the United States, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop was built between 1722 and 1732 and purportedly used by privateers Jean and Pierre Lafitte as a cover for their illegal smuggling activities.

Jean Lafitte was a known pirate and privateer, but a hero of the Battle of New Orleans, the last major conflict during the War of 1812, when American forces defeated the British Army in their attempt to seize New Orleans and the Louisiana Purchase from the U.S. Though local authorities squashed his privateering camp, Lafitte was pardoned in exchange for assisting the Americans during the battle.

Although the colorful history of Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop (which may or may not have actually housed a blacksmith business during its early days) might be more legend than reality, the bar really is one of the oldest buildings in New Orleans—one of the only surviving examples of the French Colonial-style in the French Quarter—and it looks it. Brick masonry is exposed, floorboards creak, and windows shutters are askew. And, of course, the building is supposedly haunted by residents of the French Quarter who died in the fires of 1788 and 1794.

Know Before You Go

Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop is on the corner of Bourbon Street and St. Phillip Street, on the far side of the French Quarter down Bourbon Street from Canal.