Oldest bar in America

Oldest bar in America

Originally uploaded by johnkoetsier

I had a beer tonight in the oldest bar in America … built around 1722.

(This picture is from earlier today.)

It’s on Bourbon street in the French Quarter, but farther down the street, away from most of the noisier bars and restaurants.

The interesting thing is that this is the second time I’ve had a beer in “the oldest bar in America” … and the previous time was in Boston.

I’m inclined to think this might be the real thing … New Orleans was settled by the Spanish before Boston by the British … but who really knows? Not me.

In any case, maybe I’ve covered my bases by having a beer in both!


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  • In fact this is not the oldest bar in the United States. The oldest continuous operating tavern in the United States is the White Horse Tavern in Newport Rhode Island. Frances Brinley constructed the original building on the site in 1652, but it did not operate as a tavern until 1673 when the lot was sold and enlarged to become a tavern. It has been in operation ever since. LaFitte’s Blacksmith Shop on the corner of Bourbon Street and St.Phillip Street in New Orleans French Quarter was built sometime before 1772, but even if it was operating as a blacksmith shop when the French Quarter was laid out by the French Canadian Naval Office of Jean Baptiste Bienville in 1718, which is doubtful, the White Horse Tavern has it beat by 45 years. No Contest. The building you might be referring to in Boston, which has a bar, but is a restaurant, is the Union Oyster House. This establishment is the oldest continous operating restaurant in the United States. It has served diners since 1826 including Daniel Webster who ate at the establishment daily and drank a tall tumbler of brandy and water with a plate of six oysters. The toothpick was first used in this restaurant.

  • I just got back from New Orleans this week and was at the oldest *continuous* running bar (LaFitte’s Blacksmith Shop) and absolutely LOVED it! What a great atmosphere with all the candles, rustic ambiance, and piano music. So lovely and historic.

    According to the White Horse Tavern Website, on the history tab:

    “In November of 1895 the Nichols family sold to Thomas and Bridget Preece and the building became a rooming house. By 1954 the structure showed years of use and neglect. Through the generosity of the Van Beuren family the property was acquired by The Preservation Society of Newport County and meticulously restored. It re-opened as The White Horse Tavern in 1957.”

    So apparently it is NOT the oldest continous running bar in America. Perhaps LaFitte’s Blacksmith Shop really is! Besides, the White Horse Tavern looks a bit too hoity toity for my taste!

  • Sapphire:

    Touche`! Good Research! Evidently, they misrepresented themselves a few places also. Maybe with a little more research, we can get this figured out.