The House’s renovation sets new standards for bars in Tigerland | News

House Renovation

After closing its doors for nearly a year, The House bar in Tigerland looks forward to re-opening soon with a completely revamped look. Plans for a renovation have been in the works since late 2019, after co-owners Jeff Vaccaro and Casey Fields were inspired by the modernity of bars in other towns like Tuscaloosa and Oxford. They wanted to give LSU students a unique atmosphere that no other bar in Baton Rouge has tried yet.

“Yeah [the bar] really needed an update,” Vaccaro said. “Tigerland’s been around since the late ’70s, and it’s been 20 to 30 years since anybody has done anything at all.”

With the world still in a pandemic, the bar has to find a way to open under COVID-19 guidelines. Vaccaro and Fields decided to pursue a conditional restaurant permit in order to get The House back in operation.

The House in Tigerland

A lit up sign in the woman’s bathroom sits Tuesday, March 2, 2021 in The House in Tigerland on Bob Pettit Blvd in Baton Rouge.

“I think they should expect the same fun atmosphere,” Fields said. “We’re just going to bring a classier aspect to Tigerland because it does have a bad reputation and we’d like to change that.”

Now equipped with a kitchen, the bar plans to sell pizza and other foods. Although a restaurant-style bar wasn’t in mind, the classification can allow a larger capacity and generate a familiar atmosphere to the pre-pandemic Tigerland. Even after COVID-19 guidelines lessen, Vaccaro still plans to keep the kitchen around and get creative with happy hour deals such as a slice-and-pint beer.

“We thought we should take advantage of this time that we’re out of business due to restrictions and maximize this so we can have great products and a new facility to push when we come back,” Vaccaro said.

Fields said the team had been working with an architect a few months prior to the global shutdown and figured quarantine was the perfect time to close doors and officially revamp The House. Contractor RMB Builders officially started the project last May, stripping the bar down to four walls and a roof. Everything from plumbing to electric was completely replaced.

“I think [customers] can expect the same environment and atmosphere. We’re going to treat you like family while you’re here,” Vaccaro said. “And now, we’re just going to have a facility on steroids. We have great bathrooms, a turf patio, plenty of seating and we’ve even added a kitchen during renovation.”

The House in Tigerland

A bar tap sits Tuesday, March 2, 2021 in The House in Tigerland on Bob Pettit Blvd.

The bar itself has been refurbished with marble countertops laid upon brick with a new frozen drink machine behind the back. Outside, the bar has a patio lined with turf along with wooden seating in one corner. The area also provides an outside bar, a small stage and a finishing touch of string lights overhead.

Vaccaro’s favorite part of the renovation has actually been the bathrooms. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, complaints were made about only half of the toilets working. Now, both the men’s and women’s bathrooms boast nine stalls and new floors. The women’s bathroom even features pink walls and LED-lit signs.

The House in Tigerland

A neon sign in the woman’s bathroom sits Tuesday, March 2, 2021 in The House in Tigerland on Bob Pettit Blvd in Baton Rouge.

With Gov. John Bel Edwards moves the state to Phase 3, restaurants will be able to host 75% capacity inside. The House will consist of a 40-person crew, all with an increase in pay since the pandemic started.

The House still plans to take COVID-19 precautions seriously though, requiring all customers to wear masks upon entry and until they’re seated. They will also perform temperature checks at the doors and require employees to wear masks at all times.

Renovations of The House will not stop here. The owners plan to re-open the upstairs, called “The Attic,” later this year after leasing restrictions.

“You’re going to get the best of both worlds. A great facility and the old House that everybody loves.”

The House will officially open on Sunday, Feb 7.