Two new bars open on 3rd Street, hoping to reverse shaky trend with unique atmospheres

Hoping to reverse shaky trend with unique atmospheres, two new bars open on Baton Rouge's 3rd Street

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - 3rd Street will host two grand openings Friday, Aug. 30, one for Squeaky Pete’s western bar and another for The Basin music hall.

The bars, located on 3rd between Laurel and Florida, represent a shift toward a more diverse offering in downtown’s entertainment district.

The Basin will be the area’s first true music hall, primarily focused on live entertainment. Squeaky Pete’s will be downtown’s first western bar.

Squeaky Pete's is a western-themed bar.
Squeaky Pete's is a western-themed bar. (Source: WAFB)

“For a while, a lot of the things were the same,” Squeaky Pete’s owner, Dustin Malina, said. “You had the same ownership groups doing all the same things where they were. Now, there’s different atmospheres at every place you go.”

For some time, business on 3rd Street has been shaky. Bars and restaurants that had a tough time drawing crowds closed, only for new tenants to move in and follow a formula similar to their predecessors.

The Basin will host live concerts and will be open on weekend for regular business and football games.
The Basin will host live concerts and will be open on weekend for regular business and football games. (Source: WAFB)

Malina says the new bar owners and managers have learned to treat their neighbors as teammates rather than competitors. He noted that downtown visitors tend to bar hop, rather than stay at one location all night.

“Anything different for the area is good,” he said. “You bring a group downtown and they might not all want to do the same thing.”

Eventually, Squeaky Pete’s will staff a kitchen and open for lunch. The Basin will open for concerts and on the weekends for the regular bar and football crowds.

“Without all these other places downtown, none of us would be able to work,” Basin manager, Matt Vondenstein, said. “You have to have more than one thing.”

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