Class and Flash
New venue pulls out the stops to bring in classier clientele
By Jake ClappPosted Aug 15, 2012
Even when The Famous Theatre is empty and quiet during the early afternoon, there’s a feeling of comfortable class that still hangs around the place. It might be the classic-style wooden stage, the stylish leather couches, the dark wooden walls, or the two gigantic bars with high-priced liquor on display. Regardless, The Famous Theatre screams for a higher-class clientele.
This isn’t the type of place where patrons stop in for a Bud Light in tennis shoes and cargo shorts. And that’s the way Tevester Scott and his business partners, Vincent Butler and Henry Augustus, want to keep it.
“You go out to a club in Atlanta on a Friday night, you have to wear a jacket in most of your high-end clubs. And, I just think it’s time for Baton Rouge to have a club when people go out, they can dress up [sic],” said Scott, who handles the theatre’s marketing and promotions. “So when you go out it’s not to a club where everyone has tennis shoes and shorts on. If you go to most other cities, most of your adult clubs have the same style as The Famous Theatre.”
That means a strict dress code: no tennis shoes, no shorts. Slacks are preferred, but if you wear jeans you must have a button-up, collared shirt.
“All this just goes back to our business model. Every club in town attracts different people, and every club has different rules. The Famous wants to be different. I want our customers to come here, feel comfortable, and not be around t-shirts and sagging pants,” Scott said.
The Famous Theatre opened its doors at 150 Mayflower St. – right across from Belle of Baton Rouge Casino – at the end of December, replacing the former bar, Sogo Live. For Scott and his partners, this isn’t so much a club as it is a multi-purpose venue.
“A venue doesn’t have a label. Yes, we have R&B club nights, but we also have comedy nights,” Scott said. “I know a lot of venues that say, ‘This is rock,’ or, ‘This is hip hop,’ but that’s not a venue; that’s a club.”
Scott said The Famous Theatre is dedicating itself to becoming multi-cultural and attracting a diverse clientele. Friday nights are R&B club nights, Saturdays play a mix of music, and every other Tuesday and Wednesday features spoken word and comedy, respectively.
While many of the performers have tended to present R&B and soul, like Monica and Lloyd’s performance in June, or Tank’s upcoming appearance on Sept. 1. Local jazz-fusion trio Groove Gravy has also performed at The Famous Theatre, and local hit Funk band Captain Green will take the stage Sept. 15.
The theatre also threw an after party for the Louisiana International Film Festival’s screening of Beasts of the Southern Wild in July, as well as hosting Kevin Hart’s after party following his show at the River Center last Saturday.
“The only thing is we don’t do rap. We might do a Drake or Kanye West type thing, that type of softer hip hop, but nothing really hard,” Scott said. “The guys in the hip hop crowd are good guys; they’re just not our guys.”
The Famous Theatre grew out of another Baton Rouge bar, Vincent’s City Club. When Butler, the owner, decided to expand the business, he, Scott, and Augusta began looking for a new location. They settled on the run-down, 15,800 square-foot space left after Sogo Live closed. It took about six months of renovation, Scott said.
Since the flooring, rafters, wood bars, and most of the stage has been replaced, The Famous Theatre is now filled with comfortable earth tones and ambient lighting for two large bars and portioned areas with tables and couches.
Scott said the owners went all the way with the renovations to give the club the feeling of importance, and that’s evidenced with a strict dress code and drink prices ranging from the mid to higher-end – a beer might cost you $5 and liquor runs around $10.
“When you’re at the table and you get bottle service, you’re going to think you’re in Miami,” Scott said. “That’s what it is. I want people to enjoy Baton Rouge like they’re in a big city, like Miami.”
Upcoming Shows at The Famous Theatre
18: Salute Saturdays Dance Party
21: “Relax and Release” Rhythm & Rhyme – an open forum and open mic contest for community poets and lyricists
22: Comedy Night, hosted by Marcus Combs with special guest Cocoa Brown
24: R&B with Ms. Gina Brown; happy hour 7-9 p.m.
25: Salute Saturdays Dance Party
01: Tank, live in concert; doors open 8 p.m.
15: Captain Green
The Famous Theatre is located at 150 Mayflower St.
For event calendar, booking, and general information, check out www.TheFamousTheatre.com.