Voodoo Lounge Downtown Baton Rouge opening Thursday

    Nearly three months after closing Lava Cantina Downtown, owner Ian Vaughn is repurposing the space as a bar and nightclub that will open Thursday.

    Since the Mexican restaurant ceased regular operations in July, Vaughn has been using the building as a venue for exclusively private events. But the new concept, Voodoo Lounge Downtown Baton Rouge, will be open to the public, featuring ladies nights and college-themed nights with drink specials as well as “Flashback Fridays,” where patrons can listen to ‘80s and ‘90s performers and dress in vintage clothes.

    The venue, which can hold 1,800 people, will feature touring DJs, celebrity hosts and private events, with foods like street tacos available for purchase. Vaughn is also teaming up with Chad Diaville, owner of the Cajun-themed downtown bar Boudreaux & Thibodeaux’s, who will manage the nightclub.

    “We’ll be working together on building a nice crowd where people are walking from bar to bar downtown,” Vaughn says.

    It’s the latest venture for Vaughn, the former Raising Cane’s COO who in 2016 bought three Third Street businesses—Lucy’s Retired Surfer Bar, The Roux House and Schlitz & Giggles. He later converted Lucy’s to his second Lava Cantina location and handed over control of The Roux House to several developers who turned it into The Register Bar, which opened last month.

    Under his brand Rock’n’Concepts LLC, Vaughn is helping land performers for concerts at the Raising Cane’s River Center, hoping Voodoo Lounge’s “after-parties” will attract concert-goers—and possibly some of the performing artists.

    While he declines to name the artists he’s already helped line up for 2019, Vaughn says the first is scheduled to perform in February 2019. His goal is to put “six to eight great concerts” in the River Center next year, he says.

    “There’s a lot of great potential downtown,” he says. “It’s just a matter of getting concepts to balance each other out.”

    The nightclub will open on Thursday at 8 p.m. Regular operating hours will be 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

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