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The BEATnik

This is the third in a series spotlighting some of the best places to hear live music around the city.

Name: The BEATnik

Location: Central City (1638 Clio St.)

Genres: Indie rock, acoustic, alt-country, punk, blues

Crowd: All those hip to the best underground music and art

Ambiance: Laid-back, intimate, energetic

Cover: $0-$15

Nestled in the strange limbo between the CBD and Central City, just off Saint Charles at the corner of Clio and Carondelet, lies The BEATnik, New Orleans’ newest music venue. The BEATnik features an eclectic lineup of local and national touring acts that all fall under the somewhat nondescript genre of “alternative.” From Nashville singer-songwriters to Japanese punk rockers, bands of all shapes and sizes feel welcome on the BEATnik’s stage, thanks to an appreciative crowd of open-minded music lovers.

The BEATnik opened earlier this year after the space’s former occupants, The Big Top, shut down. For 10 years, The Big Top had a reputation for booking some of the best alternative rock shows in the city, and The BEATnik hopes to pick up right where the former club left off.

“I want to honor the tradition and vision of what they started, while putting my own stamp on it,” says Jeremy Woolsey, former owner of Baton Rouge’s Mud & Water. “When I took over, I immediately made it a smoke-free venue, and now we’re working on building the best PA possible.”

Along with some quality musical selections, The BEATnik also hosts art openings, workshops and screenings for local filmmakers. Just this week, the space hosted a workshop on growing mushrooms in your home and garden to reduce waste.

“Our room is unique in the fact that it’s really an event space that happens to also host a bunch of music,” points out Woolsey.

The BEATnik sits in a prime location as the rebirth of Central City continues on nearby OC Haley Boulevard, with more restaurants and entertainment options popping up every month. Similar to that neighborhood’s growth, yet its ability to maintain a quirky character, the BEATnik, too, is a little offbeat and a little DIY with a lot of soul. It appears that the club will fit in just fine with our funky city.

Stay tuned to The BEATnik’s Facebook page for upcoming events, including a music calendar that’s packed with great shows throughout September.  Check out our top picks below.

Upcoming show picks:

  • England in 1819 (9/6) – The Baton Rouge duo England in 1819 crafts dreamy, anthemic songs layered in washes of synthesizers and falsetto. They only swing through town once or twice a year and the great acoustics of The BEATnik make it an ideal place to soak in their sounds.
  • Will Johnson (9/8) – The indie troubadour will play an intimate “living room show” that will show why he’s one of the most in-demand players on the circuit. Johnson has played with everyone from Patterson Hood of Drive-By Trucker to Jim James of My Morning Jacket, but it’s his alt-country, original tunes that will be front and center for his stop in NOLA.
  • Shonen Knife (9/30) – This Japanese pop-punk trio has been playing infectiously upbeat songs for more than thirty years, but don’t think age has slowed these ladies from rockin out like the best of  ’em.


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