The striking anvil no longer sounds in this ancient building. You'll hear only the clinking of glasses at this well-loved watering hole, the oldest bar in the Quarter and a favorite for locals and tourists from all walks of life. Legend has it that the pirate Jean Lafitte and his cronies operated a blacksmith shop here as a front for their vast illicit trade in contraband. The building, dating from 1772 and thus a rare survivor of the 18th-century French Quarter fires,
is interesting as one of the few remaining examples of soft bricks reinforced with timber, a construction form used by early settlers. A fresh application of exterior plaster protects the soft brick and brightens a weather-beaten facade. Despite the addition of a few flat-screen TVs, a drink here just after sundown, when the place is lit only by candles, lets you slip back in time for an hour or so.