A New Beginning: The Barrett family breaks new ground in a familiar space with the new bar “The B”

by Kent Cisar | October 18, 2017 7:28 am

Barrett’s Barleycorn recently celebrated their 30th Anniversary at 4330 Leavenworth Street.  Barrett’s has built a very successful enterprise thanks to excellent pub fare and as a gathering place for soccer fans and LSU and other baseball fans during the College World Series. You can stop in wearing a suit, sandals, or scrubs and have a good time. One would think that a place with an excellent reputation and consistent clientele would stand pat. Karen Barrett, the owner of Barrett’s, and her employees don’t think that way and it’s resulting in an exciting new venture called The B.

The B opens on September 29th right across the west parking lot from Barrett’s Barleycorn. It will be open from 3 p.m. until 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday and be closed on Sundays.

“Our food at the Barleycorn has become so successful that it feels like we’ve become a place to eat, with a bar and I wanted a 21 and over bar again,” says Karen. Barrett began to look at places to open another bar then decided that with the amount of time and energy being devoted to maintaining her social hall Castle Barrett, that it would be better served as the new bar she was after. She wants to stay true to Barrett’s roots of family and neighborhood. She hopes it’s another spot to be happy year round. 

The B has a speakeasy vibe to it. It feels historic yet new. When you walk in, even though you know you’re in the heart of Leavenworth Street, you feel like you’re in another place and time.

“I want people to come in and be themselves, be comfortable in who they are and be comfortable while they’re here,” Barrett says.  

Guests that come to The B will notice the care and intent the Barrett family puts into their work from entrance to exit. The bar itself is custom made, wide open and easily accessible for patrons to get a drink. It’s also easy for bartenders to serve them as they have two full stations on the length of the bar.  Patrons will find comfortable chairs along the bar itself and throughout the establishment. Those ordering will find a bar whose choices are ample but not overwhelming. Guests can enjoy a shot of whiskey, a beer, order a cocktail even, or share a bottle of wine. The B will also feature a couple of signature cocktails. 

The name “The B” pays homage to the family’s roots as Barrett vividly remembers her son’s friends coming over, saying hello and then heading straight to their basement for hours at a time. It made her family happy and kept his friends happy. She hopes that everyone who walks through the B’s front door comes in expecting to have a good time and leaves satisfied that they did.

 The B will be versatile, both for what the bar itself can do, but also what the patrons can do in it. Barrett hopes the bar will create its own atmosphere.  A stage in the northwest corner of the bar is available for a variety of uses. The stage is sizeable enough for a multi-piece band to play a rousing set, yet the bar is small enough for an acoustic guitarist to connect with their audience. If you want to watch the big game you’ll be able to do so with ease.  There’s a brand new shuffleboard table with ample room to play and a dart board. The B also has a games table where patrons can grab a deck of cards, chess board, and other activities.

Barrett envisions a place that can be seen as destination, a stopover before and after events, or as a change of pace from the usual routine. The B will be able to handle a post game rush of fans or people swinging by for a drink after a show. Jack Barrett Jeffrey, her son, will be instrumental in the success of the bar.  He plays in a band and will look to create interest in local musicians playing at the bar. 

“I’d love for someone who plays in a band to come in here for a drink, enjoy it, then ask if their band can play here,” Jack said.

 Keep an eye on The B’s social media presence on Facebook or Twitter as they’ll post their upcoming events that could include music, game nights and other plans.

“We will be opportunistic and flexible with our programming,” says Barrett. 

The B is an example of a bar and family that has built an extremely successful enterprise, but is not content with staying where they are at. Barrett emphasized the cooperation of the community as another key to their success.

“The people around us have been very good to us here, both our corporate partners such as the Med Center and residents of the local neighborhoods,” she said.

They also acknowledge the landscape of evening entertainment is different now with the Blackstone District nearby. She sees more people in the area as a good thing, and by creating The B, it allows them the chance to offer something different, not just for Leavenworth Street, but the surrounding area. This venture excites the owners, but also the employees.

“We wouldn’t be able to embark on this new venture without the quality and commitment of our employees,” said Barrett.

Whether it’s a quiet night with a good cocktail and great conversation, a place to unwind with a quality drink after a hard day’s work, or a chance to cut loose and dance to a high energy band on a Friday night, The B is a spot you’ll want to frequent often.

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