BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — A new downtown Baton Rouge bar is serving customers a selection of wines, cocktails and zero-proof drinks while supporting local businesses and artists.
Co-owners Kara Robinett and Aaron Franklin said Dark 30 officially opened its doors on Saturday, June 3 after a series of soft openings. After visiting a wine bar in Los Angeles, Franklin said he knew he had to bring one to his hometown of Baton Rouge.
“The concept of this place is really just creating a playground for everybody to come to someplace that’s comfortable,” said Franklin.
The name of the bar was inspired by Franklin’s time in the Marine Corps. Dark 30 is a military term marking the time 12:30 a.m. However, the place looks anything but military style, decorated in a Southern gothic aesthetic with artwork from local artists hanging on its black-painted walls with gold accents.
Robinett said all artwork is for sale without commission or consignment fees to better support artists. Pieces will be replaced as sold artwork goes to new homes.
Dark 30 is flipping the typical happy hour on its head by offering a late-night version. Night owls can enjoy the 12:30-2 a.m. drink specials with two for $10 bottle shots and $7 well drinks. Those who prefer an earlier bedtime can visit the bar for its daytime drink specials from 2-7 p.m. Specials include $2 off all wines, beers and seltzers and $10 house cocktails.
There are five craft cocktails on the drink menu featuring gin, vodka, rum, whiskey and tequila. Robinett said nearly everything served in Dark 30 uses inclusive and local brands.
“We’ve got a lot of very different off-the-beaten-path sort of stuff in both wine and spirits,” said Robinett, who has over 20 years of experience in bartending. “Almost everything that we carry, with the exception of a few mixers and things like that, everything is women-owned, Black-owned, LGBTQ+ owned, organic, local.”
Dark 30 is jumping onto the growing national trend of zero-proof drinks. Between 2021 and 2022, total dollar sales of non-alcoholic drinks in the U.S. stood at $395 million, according to NielsenIQ.
Robinett said the bar offers a full zero-proof menu including wines, beers and spirits.
The wine menu will rotate frequently, and the owners plan on hosting wine tastings and launching a wine club. Members will get access to wines that may no longer be on the menu.
Dark 30 is at 151 Third Street.