Food - Drink
One Of America's Oldest Bars Has Swashbuckling Origins
As evident in the city’s architecture, food, and music, New Orleans proudly bares its historic French and Spanish origins, and its culinary culture not only plays host to Creole and Cajun dishes, but an amazingly diverse, deeply historical bar and cocktail scene. In fact, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop in NOLA is America’s oldest operating bar.
Lafitte’s dates back to the 18th century on New Orleans' famous Bourbon Street. The location was rumored to be a blacksmith shop by day and smuggling operation at night; legend says that the famed pirate Jean Lafitte and his brother Pierre personally brought in stolen goods through Lafitte's, and Jean's ghost still haunts the bar to this day.
However, every legend has its inconsistencies, starting with the claim that the Lafitte brothers ran their operation from 1773 to 1791, when Jean Lafitte wasn't born until 1780. The legend also claims that the building was constructed by 1732, but this was proven false by legal documents at the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans.
The Times-Picayune reports that the Lafitte Blacksmith Shop's original owner, Renato Beluche, fought alongside Pierre Lafitte in the War of 1812. While the Laffite brothers could have set foot in the bar at some point, it was likely never used as a smuggling base; still, it's the oldest and boldest place in the country to grab a drink.