Battle of the Bars

The Chimes: An LSU Tradition

Get to know the beloved Baton Rouge institution where fans will be cheering for Coach O and the Tigers to bring home the National Title

As two Southern teams—Clemson and LSU—prepare to face off in the College Football Playoff National Championship on January 13, G&G took a dive into the classic gameday bars in each school’s home town where fans are sure to cheer them on. Read up on the Esso Club in Clemson here.

Just a fifteen-minute walk across campus from Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, the Chimes has illuminated the corner of Highland Road and Chimes Street for nearly forty years, beckoning LSU faithful. Every gameday, fans flock to the restaurant’s flag-covered dining room, bar, and new rooftop patio that overlooks campus’s “stately oaks and broad magnolias” immortalized in the school’s alma mater. Like any college-town hotspot, the Chimes serves plenty of fried pickles, hushpuppies, burgers, and beer, but adds a healthy heaping of Louisiana soul—think boudin balls, crawfish macaroni, and oyster po’ boys, too. “We’re lowkey,” says manager Jim Howard. “Just a great place to hang out, eat, drink, and have a good time.” Expect a rowdy crowd on Monday night, though, as the LSU Tigers take on Clemson in the national championship. 

Craft beer at the Chimes.

Year established: 1983

Historical Tidbit: Nestled beside the circa-1937 Varsity Theatre and bordering the north gates of LSU’s campus, the Chimes sits in an area of Baton Rouge historically known as Tiger Town. “[The building] was built in the 1930s and started as a drug store,” Howard says. Most famously Sitman’s Drugs in the 1940s and Maxwell Drugs in the 1950s, the corner building was a Baton Rouge icon long before the space became the Chimes in the 1980s. Since then, the restaurant has opened a second location across town, and a third seventy miles east in Covington. 

Most-Served Drink: “We’re mainly a beer bar,” Howard says. “We focus on craft beers but have a little bit of everything.” Try a Bayou Bengal lager or a Gameday IPA from Tin Roof Brewing Co., one of Baton Rouge’s local breweries.

Most-Served Food: “Our out of town folks love the fried alligator,” Howard says.

What It Takes to Get Kicked Out: “You’ve got to pass out or misbehave,” Howard says. “We have a be nice or leave environment.” 

The Craziest Celebration You’ve Seen: Howard laughs: “Every game this season. The celebrations here are just a lot of happy people getting intoxicated.” 

What can you get here you can’t get anywhere else? “The atmosphere.” 

Score Prediction: Not risking a jinx, Howard wouldn’t answer directly. “I’m cautiously optimistic,” he says.  

Why is LSU such a special place? “I’m not from here and people always ask me why I stay,” Howard says. “I guess it’s the people. The people and the culture.”