Hayride Scandal brings cool atmosphere and pre-Prohibition style cocktails
Upon entering Hayride Scandal, Baton Rouge has suddenly returned to the 1940’s. The swanky new bar, located conveniently off the College exit at Corporate Boulevard, proudly features an exclusive 1930’s-1940’s pre-prohibition theme with cozy décor and music to match. The walls display posters that tell a story of the rich history that was 1930’s Louisiana. Bartender general manager Brea Frederick is eager to discuss why Hayride Scandal is the newest spot for Baton Rouge’s go-to craft cocktail and why—she believes—the perfect recipe for a successful establishment begins with its people.
Since its opening on May 15 of last year (in place of the Lock and Key Whiskey Bar), Hayride Scandal has been ahead of the game, said Frederick. The eclectic bar welcomes its customers at 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and specializes in craft cocktails, though a variety of beer and wine is also served. About 75% of the cocktails that Fredrick and her staff serve are off-menu with ingredients that customers initially never knew they liked.
“I have a lot of regulars who I’ve known for years. They’ll come in and say, ‘you know what I like, just make me something,’” she says. The process is a creative one, and each of the bartenders designs original and personalized drinks to share with the bar’s many loyal customers who enjoy a different experience each time they visit. “It’s fun for me,” Frederick admits. “I get to play.”
Brea Frederick and Hayride Scandal were a perfect fit.
“I have a background in craft cocktails—turns out, we paired well together,” she says. After committing to join the team, the cocktail expert took over ordering, re-did the menu and handpicked the staff, a process she said was rewarding.
“I’m very proud of who we have here. It’s a very nice working environment. From the top to the bottom, it’s rewarding.” A major aspect of Frederick’s hiring process is ensuring that her staff is passionate in everything they do, just as she is. “I need you to care about what you’re doing here, care about the bar and treat the people around you as if they are family.”
Having sought out her co-manager Daniel for a few months before he joined on, Frederick very intentionally pieced together a family at Hayride Scandal, which in turn created a warm and welcoming environment for everyone who walks through the door.
“We bonded over cocktails. I knew that he was talented. He likes to hone in on his craft and we instantly got along,” said Frederick.
Frederick truly believes in the talent of her team to craft special and unique drinks and encourages each of them to be as innovative as possible, down to the names of their creations. The ‘Alpha-bet You Can’t Just Have One,’ a distinctive addition to the menu, features a mixture between a brandy milk punch and a brandy alexander and is topped off with alphabet cereal and served with a spoon. The naming process is a collaborative one, said Frederick, and is a final step that the team looks forward to.
Speaking of originality, Hayride Scandal commits to its pre-prohibition theme effortlessly with its prohibition end party, an event Frederick hopes can become an annual affair. The party was held for the first time on December 5 of last year—the date in 1933 when prohibition came to an end—and included costumes, an actress hired to be a flapper for the night and a Jay Gatsby-like atmosphere unlike anything Baton Rouge has seen before.
Though the cocktails are top-notch and the atmosphere is unique, it is the people who make the bar, said Frederick.
“I have no doubts that this is going to be successful. It’s exciting.”
Photos by Preston Salassi