Monday, January 19, 2009

The Weekend in Review: Part II

Yeah, I know. It's been 3 weeks. I have so much to catch up on that this blog is suddenly daunting. But no matter. I will catch up. The reasons for the tardiness if you'll accept my apologies is firstly, the move itself, and secondly a nasty flu that just about knocked me out. More on that later. For now, the continuation of my weekend which may be a little hazy as the days have passed.

DEC 27, 2008 - 1:00 PM - Soulard

By the time I make it to the Redbrick offices the rain has mercifully stopped. As I park on the street I can't help but marvel at the complete awesomeness of the Soulard area. It reminds me in many ways of the French Quarter in New Orleans and there aren't too many places better than that in my book. I walked into the Redbrick Management offices to get a tour of a really cool apartment I found on Craigslist. The building is called The Smile Lofts and it's well over 100 years old. David was the guy in the office that day and he was very helpful in describing the neighborhood and it's history. He mentioned that live music pours out of all the bars nightly there that the second largest Mardi Gras in the US takes place in the Soulard neighborhood. By this point I hadn't seen the apartment but I was just about sold anyway.

David gave me the key and pointed towards the building only a block away. So with key in hand I walked along the brick sidewalks past the historic homes, businesses, and bars to 9th and Allen. The door to the apartment is actually on the street which is convenient for Oscar walking. I entered the apartment and was shocked that it was a cool as it looked in the pictures. I spent a good 30 minutes checking out every detail of the apartment before I decided enough was enough. Unfortunately, it was a again raining but this time it was a full on thunderstorm. The wind was whipping the rain around so quickly I had no choice but to wait it out. After another 15 minutes it quieted down a little and I knew I had to make the block run to the Redbrick offices unless I wanted to risk spending the entire day at The Smile Lofts. I might have too if it weren't for the fact that I had other appointments. So I dashed.

I ended up stomping into the door of the offices completely soaked. I thanked David for letting me see the place and asked a few more questions before making a run for the car to head to my next neighborhood, Lafayette Square. It's a neighborhood that apparently used to be where all the royalty of old St Louis lived. It was just as old as Soulard but obviously much more stately with all of it's Victorian era homes. In all honesty I wasn't too enthused if only because I've never been a fan of that style. Still, I had some time and decided to drive around the neighborhood. To my surprise it was much nicer than I was prepared for. I even began to think it was a possible place for me to live. It's only downside was lack of nightlife. The only area for that was a strip of restaurants on Park Ave. Luckily I found it because I was also starving at this point. I spied a corner bar/restaurant called Square One Brewery and decided to check it out. This place was extremely nice and had so many beers I wasn't sure what to order. I knew I had to have one so I chose a cask beer out of pure curiosity. These beers are poured at room temperature and this one happened to be a Nut Brown Ale, one of my favorites. Surprise... Best beer I had ever had. So good I had to take a picture of it.

Square One Brewery Cask Beer

After that I saw two large apartments which were both very nice but I had already known that the area wasn't for me. It's very nice but much more family oriented than I'm looking for right now.

By now I was exhausted and still wet. I needed shower and get ready for the next test. Nightlife. I headed back to the Westin across from Busch Stadium and relaxed until around 8:00. I was then off to the Loft District again. The cabbie recommended a gastropub named The Dubliner so I started there. I had a few beers and a little bit of dinner and even met some cool people. I love getting advice from people in St Louis because everyone has different opinions and tend to argue about them. I can always get a few useful nuggets though.

Around 11:00 I decided to hit Soulard. The people I met at the Dubliner recommended Mcgurks so I headed there first. This place is gigantic and it's obvious when the weather is nice they have maybe the coolest patio I've ever seen. It's also quite popular in the dead of winter. Have you ever been to a place so packed you couldn't meet anyone? That's the situation I was in but it didn't matter. The live Irish music was top notch and nothing like you usually come across at Irish Pubs. By the time I left it was getting late but I wanted to walk down to the Smile Lofts to see the scene right around the building. It was a short 3 block walk and the first place I went to was the bar across the corner called The Shanti. The moment I walked in I knew it was a hippy bar. The posters on the wall spoke volumes and while I'm not against hippy bars, the music and tight crowd was not my cup of tea (No hippy would ever say that). Still, I loved the vibrant musical nightlife there and I had seemingly made up my mind. As I cabbed it back to the hotel I knew there was one place to see tomorrow but it probably wouldn't matter.

I got up early and had some breakfast before I headed over to the Ely Walker Lofts in the Loft District. I had high hopes for this place as mentioned in a previous post but entered the building seemingly indifferent about these lofts. Once I was in them, however, I was extremely impressed. They are very nice and the staff were top notch. The deal they were giving (first months rent free) was so great I began to question where I wanted to live. The Loft District had upper-hand on cool factor but Soulard had the history and music. It came down to me calling David at Redbrick and letting him know I was on the fence. His comments made the choice for me.  Cliffhanger!

With that I was on the road again towards Chicago to finalize my last week at work and living in Crown Point.

Again, sorry for the delay! More to come soon. For real this time.


Anonymous said...

hmmmm...I liked this blog post the best...maybe because it mentioned the people you met at The Dubliner, that were kind enough to recommend McGurks!!! Perhaps it would be more interesting to others if you were to metion the AWESOME chica Meg who really should have been (and I am sure was) the highlight of your evening!!! Afterall if it were not for that evening you would not have an STL BFF quite as cool as me!!!! :P

Anonymous said...

Was sad to see that I didn't make the blog....did I not come visit you on moving day? Are you mad because I drank all six of your "Welcome to St. Louis" six pack?