LivingTravelGuide to gay bars in Baton Rouge

Guide to gay bars in Baton Rouge

Louisiana’s capital Baton Rouge (population 230,000) is just an hour and a half drive from New Orleans, which has a much more substantial gay nightlife. But as a busy destination for business and government travel and home to Louisiana State University (LSU), Baton Rouge has an impressive selection of bars and clubs in its own right, with a handful of gay-specific hangouts. It’s a more conservative city than New Orleans, but gays and lesbians should feel quite comfortable in any of the main downtown restaurants and lounges.

Whatever the politics of Louisiana, it’s a pretty friendly state

Baton Rouge has three fun gay bars, all of them in or near the city center, where you’ll find most of the city’s top attractions, hotels, and government buildings. A few blocks southeast of the iconic Louisiana Capitol Tower, Hound Dogs (668 Main St., 225-344-0807) is a friendly neighborhood gay bar with fun karaoke and trivia nights, an unpretentious and eclectic crowd ( men, women, all ages)), a fun jukebox, a pool table and cheap alcoholic beverages.

On the southern edge of downtown, a few blocks from the river in the shadow of the Horace Wilkinson Bridge (which carries I-10 across the Mississippi River), George’s Place (860 St. Louis St., 225-387- 9798) is highly regarded for its go-go dancers, fun drag performances, and fun dancing. It’s a fairly male-centric crowd, but women are welcome, if they are in the minority. There is no cover (except for the 18-20 set), karaoke on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and a music video Monday. The patio is a good place to cool off on a hot afternoon and chat with new friends.

You’ll often see LSU students and faculty hanging out here, and the legendary and historic Pastime Restaurant (252 South Blvd., 225-343-5490) is across the street and is a good pre-club dinner option. (Serves pizzas, roast beef and seafood po’boys, burgers, and the like).

The largest gay dance club in the city, Splash Baton Rouge (2183 Highland Rd., 225-242-9491) is right at the end of the LSU campus and is, as expected, very popular with students. It’s an 18+ club with four different bars, a good-sized dance floor, excellent DJs, and top-notch drag shows; There’s usually a cover charge, and the drinks are a bit more spent here, but it’s an impressive place, even compared to the clubs in New Orleans. As one of the best dance clubs in the state, Splash attracts a large number of straight clubbers, but the atmosphere is always quite friendly, and they all seem to get along here.

The club is open from Thursday to Saturday night.

Beyond gay venues, Baton Rouge is a fun city for live music – you can catch some great bands at the Varsity Theater (3353 Highland Rd., 225-383-7018), which is right at the north entrance to campus. from LSU, books nationally known bands and gay-popular acts. Downtown’s fun and eclectic River Room Bar (222 Laurel St., 225-400-9627) is one of the city’s hottest gay hangouts, known for its large selection of whiskey, wine and beer and its somewhat artistic atmosphere. On the river, the Belle & Baton Rouge Casino & Hotel (103 France St., 225-242-2600) has hosted Baton Rouge Gay Pride and is a popular place to play, eat (at Shucks on the Levee restaurant) . ) and drink (at Bar 102).

Sponsor of Baton Rouge Gay Pride, the popular Louisiana CC’s Coffee House chain has popular downtown locations at 327 North Boulevard (225-389-0511), which is close to local museums and a 10-minute walk south of the Building. from the Louisiana Capitol, and two other popular branches on the LSU campus (one right in the center of things at Boyd Hall, 225-368-3900, and the other at the south end of campus at 3930 Burbank Drive, 225- 767-6203); There are several other branches of this excellent provider of espresso drinks, teas, and baked goods in other parts of the city in Mid-City (4161 Perkins Rd., 225-381-8187) and further east.

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