New Orleans is the home of fabled bars where the glasses come rinsed with history and garnished with legend. Some are celebrated for centuries like Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop on Bourbon Street – housed in a building older than the United States. Legend is that pirate Jean Lafitte used this established to hide his smuggled treasure in the late 1700s.
Other bars are lauded for their locale – on Royal Street, the Hotel Monteleone’s revolving Carousel Bar delightfully spins customers in circles. The over a century old, 25-seat carousel has become an iconic stop in the French Quarter.
Napoleon House has been in operation since 1914, but the building dates back a century before that. The Sazerac Bar is home to the New Orleans Sazerac cocktail, but also embodies an original art deco bar, 1930s era murals and chandeliers. It is steeped in history, like the Storming of the Sazerac for women’s rights and old stories about Huey Long.
A few bars win fame for the excellence of their bartenders like Arnaud’s French 75, which has one numerous awards, but also dates back to the late 1800s. Others, like Pat O’Brien's or Esplanade Avenue’s Port of Call pour trademark drinks. Monsoons or Hurricanes, anyone? Order a round. Find a seat. Discover more here.
Old Absinthe House became popular when absinthe was the drink of choice, and was particularly loved by madams of Storyville, poets and artists. The original over 200 year old bar top can still be found inside. Throughout the city, many bars have rich histories.
Explore more of New Orleans’ most historic bars below.