Pirates on tap. April 29, 2010Posted by ourfriendben in Uncategorized, wit and wisdom.
Tags: Jean Lafitte, pirate haunts, pirate taverns, pirate week, pirates
Aaaarrrr!!! We pirate-mad bloggers here at Poor Richard’s Almanac are gearing up for our second annual Pirate Week in mid-May, when the three of us write a week of themed posts on all things piratical. (You can find the ones we wrote for our first Pirate Week by searching for “pirate week posts” on our search bar at top right.)
Normally, we’d have waited ’til then to start spouting pirate lingo and showing off our pirattitude, you savvy? But we just couldn’t resist sharing a few tidbits our friend and fellow blog contributor Richard Saunders found on msn.com earlier today.
Richard, our official blog historian, thought he was going to read an article on Revolutionary history when he clicked on MSN’s link “Where did George Washington drink?” and was directed to an article, “Better with Age,” spotlighting seven historic American bars and taverns. Little did he know that there were a few pirates hiding behind the bars.
Turns out, two of the seven historic bars were owned by pirates. One of these, the White Horse Tavern in Newport, Rhode Island, claims to be America’s oldest tavern (founded 1673). We quote: “For the next hundred years the large tavern also served as the meeting place for the Rhode Island colony’s general assembly, criminal court and city council, despite being run for 28 of those years by a former pirate named William Mayes Jr.”
Har!!! But even the oldest tavern pales by comparison to the ultimate tavern, Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Yes, we are indeed speaking of the famous pirate Jean Lafitte, who apparently set up his “blacksmith shop” with his brother Pierre as a cover for their nefarious activities on the high seas.
The shop, built sometime between 1772 and 1791, lays claim to the title of “the oldest continually operating bar in the U.S.,” which makes one wonder if the so-called “blacksmiths” were actually forging pints of rum instead of horseshoes.
Whatever the case, they certainly had the Luck of the Pirates: Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop survived two 18th-century fires that ravaged the rest of the French Quarter, which was rebuilt after the Spanish fashion, leaving Lafitte’s as one of the few genuine examples of French architecture in New Orleans.
If, like us, you entertain piratical leanings, and you happen to find yourself in Newport or New Orleans and feeling a bit thirsty, be sure to drop into the White Horse or Lafitte’s. Order a rum, raise your glass, and shout “Yaaarrr, lads, a pirate’s life for me!” We’re sure at least a few famous ghosts will be joining you.