Hidden under the Mississippi River Bridge in Baton Rouge, Mud and Water has grown into one of Baton Rouge’s best venues for music, drinks and good times.
“I wanted to open a music venue first and foremost that had the ability to serve drinks downtown, because frankly, it needed an intimate room that offered diverse entertainment options for a wider audience,” Mud and Water co-owner Jeremy Woolsey said. “I took a good deal of inspiration from a fantastic small venue in Los Angeles called the Hotel Café and from other venues I love in New Orleans.”
Mud and Water opened in October of 2012 and sits in the former location of the L Bar. Robert McClaren, the former owner of the L Bar and now Woolsey’s partner, felt is was time for a change.
“We were able to work together and transform the space in only six weeks,” Woolsey said. “Plus it has tons of parking, which is a big deal downtown.”
Woolsey, a feature film art director by day, understands that décor is important to setting the right atmosphere in any establishment and worked hard to achieve a look that was classic, but informal.
“I know that a good color palette, subtle fixtures, well-placed art, dark wood tones and a red-curtained backdrop can set the mood without much fuss,” Woolsey said. “I was after a classic look without forcing it and believe we achieved the goal, which makes me proud to say we are filament-bulb-pendant-free since 2012.”
Mud and Water is unique in its approach to creating a relaxed atmosphere that is subtle, but exciting. The bar combines the best of indoor and outdoor venues to create a casual environment for patrons to enjoy.
“In a lot of ways, it has elements of what I like in other bars in the city, but combines them in a unique way,” Woolsey said. “It is an intimate, smoke-free venue with a diverse booking philosophy that also offers room to breathe with a great outside beer garden.”
As Mud and Water establishes itself as one of the great music venues in downtown Baton Rouge, the indoor-outdoor combination has proved extremely beneficial in this mission.
“This combination is unique for Baton Rouge, and the music and events will keep the atmosphere fresh,” Woolsey said. “We have the ability to start shows early as well, and I have been told many times that it feels like you are somewhere else. Most often, the comparison is Austin.”
Regardless of comparisons, it is important for Woolsey to create an experience for his patrons that is sophisticated, but carefree and understated.
“I want the atmosphere to be laid-back, smoke-free, with good cocktails and beer, but not over-the-top in presentation,” Woolsey said. “I see the prohibition-craft cocktail movement done to death all over the country and certainly get it, but sometimes you don’t want to wait 10 minutes for a drink.”
Woolsey and McClaren have worked tirelessly to book an eclectic mix of acts at Mud and Water. Presenting music for only a few months, Woolsey and McClaren have already hosted Fishbone, Lost Bayou Ramblers, Gal Holiday, Little Freddie King, David Wax Museum and many other quality local, regional and national acts.
“We have hosted at least 50 shows in such a short time, including our participation in Gas, Food and Lodging Fest,” Woolsey said. “Not to mention our fundraisers, comedy shows and literary events.”
To go along with the amazing atmosphere and music, Mud and Water also has a daily happy hour that runs from 4 p.m.–8 p.m. and carries a small but inspired wine list with their house red, white and bubbly always $5 a glass or $20 a bottle.
“We also have a continuous beer and shot special for $7,” Woolsey said. “For bigger events, we have food trucks set up in front or behind the building,”
As Woolsey and McClaren make plans for the future, they want to continue the good thing they have going with Mud and Water for locals and visitors to Baton Rouge.
“I see a destination venue where you know on any given night you can enjoy a cocktail inside or outside and have an opportunity to hear quality music in a comfortable room with people that care about supporting the music scene in Baton Rouge,” Woolsey said. “Every city has establishments like this, and they last for a good reason — good music, good people and good drinks are generally a winning formula.”
Mud and Water is located at 174 South Boulevard. For more information on the venue, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MudAndWater.
Upcoming musical acts:
Tuesday, April 30 – Maylene & The Sons of Disaster/The Hitchhiker
Thursday, May 2 – Matt Owen & the Ecclectic Tuba
Friday, May 3 – Revo fundraiser
Saturday, May 4 - Clem Snide/Eef Barzelay