“The stuff legends are made of”
In the heart of the French Quarter, at the corner of Bourbon Street and Bienville, sits the stuff that legends are made of -- The Old Absinthe House.
Many celebrities have been welcomed through our doors in the nearly two centuries since its opening -- including Oscar Wilde, P.T. Barnum, Mark Twain, Jenny Lind, Enrico Caruso, General Robert E Lee, Franklin Roosevelt, Liza Minelli and Frank Sinatra. Indeed, the walls throughout this incredible building are covered in the framed photographs of several of our famous patrons.
The building endures the name of Jean Lafitte's because of the rumored meeting of the Pirate Jean Lafitte and Andrew Jackson as they planned the victory of the battle of New Orleans on the second floor (now the newly-renovated Jean Lafitte's Bistro). In fact, many of those who work here will be happy to share their Jean Lafitte Ghost Stories with you!
For those not familiar with Absinthe, it is a liquor made from, among other things, wormwood. It is said to have a bitter, licorice flavor and is greenish/chartreuse in color. Originally brought to popularity in Europe, Absinthe found quite a following here in New Orleans ... the little Paris of the New World. Of course, when in New Orleans, the Absinthe House was the favorite spot for those who wished to imbibe the spirit.
The building now houses Tony Moran's Restaurant and Jean Lafitte Bistro .. and the front room is still the tavern known as Jean Lafitte's Old Absinthe House!
Fun fact: When absinth was outlawed in 1912, the authorities threatened to burn the bar to the ground if they didn't close their doors for good. Under the cloak of darkness, the owners moved the famous "copper-colored wooden bar" to a secret warehouse, and continued to serve the illegal drink. In 2004 the original bar was returned to the building!
This place is pretty nifty. Unless you are a dunce, you will want to try an absinthe drip. If you are a little light on cash, then a sazerac is your next best bet. Also, this place has a restroom, and anyone who has slunk around Bourbon Street knows this to be of paramount importance.
Small bar but great place to try Absinthe
We went and had our first Absinth drink!! It was so strong but deff. worth it. It was so culturally rich and since we had read so much about the history of the drink it was a blast being able to drink it at the Old Absinthe House!! The place was in fact very very crowded, we could barely get the attention of the bar tender and they did not seem very friendly but with so many people I can understand why. I loved the visit and I do recommend it, you will be lucky if you are able to get a seat though.
The Absinthe House has always been an island of respite when we visit NOLA for Halloween or Mardi Gras. Even on the most hectic and populated nights of the year, we can find a spot close to the fire place and enjoy a cocktail. Definitely my favorite spot on Bourbon
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Jean Lafitte's Old Absinthe House
- Sun - Sat: 9:00 am - 4:00 am
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