Last call came for the Swamp Room at the end of May, as the storied Metairie bar known for late nights, dark ambiance and big burgers lost its lease and had to vacate.
Before saying goodbye, however, regulars could at least take heart in news that the bar planned to return to a new location just a few blocks away. Owner Scott Verdin said he intended open a "bigger, better" Swamp Room that would still have the feel of the old haunt.
Now, plans for the new Swamp Room show what he has in mind.
The bar is slated to open at 5400 Veterans Memorial Blvd. this fall in what is now an empty stripmall. A blueprint for the interior, provided by Verdin, shows doors opening to a long, rectangular bar and a bank of booths, much like the original. It also sketches out more space for tables and marks off where pool tables and games will be arrayed. Naturally, the new space will have a large kitchen to churn out the Swamp Room menu, the salvation of many a late night in Metairie.
The new Swamp Room will be about 20 percent bigger and will have more parking.
In a second phase of the project, Verdin intends to add a private room for banquets and gatherings. It would be the kind of space where a softball team or an office group could get together, he said.
"It will be brand new, it will be bigger and better, but it’s still the Swamp Room," said Verdin at the time of his purchase of the Swamp Room.
Verdin is a construction contractor who bought the Swamp Room this spring from longtime proprietor Louis Latour during the throes of transition. Since the bar's lease ended in 2018 it had been stuck in limbo, operating month to month. Verdin knew he was buying a bar he would have to relocate and began making the plan to pull it off.
With permitting now underway, he expects construction to begin at the new site in July and hopes to start pouring drinks and grilling burgers in October.
The Swamp Room dates back to at least 1973 and had been a dimly lit finish line for a long jaunt on the town or an after-hours den for people working nights. As more national brands and big chains have staked out turf along Veterans, joints like the Swamp Room represent a scruffier, more local sensibility.
“It’s just a Metairie institution. It would be a tragedy to lose it now,” Verdin said. “I don’t want to see Metairie lose all its old places.”
The bar's former address at 5216 Veterans Blvd. is slated for renovation, though future plans for the building have not been announced.
The Swamp Room
5400 Veterans Blvd., Metairie
Projected (re)opening: October 2019
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The Swamp Room, a storied Metairie bar known for late nights, dark ambiance and big burgers, will close after last call Wednesday.