One Saturday night, not too long ago, I met up with a friend who was going to show me some of the cooler places in St Louis. I had met her through buying tickets to that Matt & Kim/Cut Copy show back in the day and we struck up a nice accord as the cash and stubs were being exchanged. Just on that short encounter I knew she could point me in the right direction, fun-wise. I realize I'm setting this up as an Adventures In Babysitting type crazy night, but I can assure you there were no tire-blowouts or accidental car-theft ring exposures. I may or may not have had to sing the blues to exit a building.
We began the night by checking out a photography exhibit in a bit of a tough neighborhood. This, in fact, could have been a great Adventures In Babysitting start, but it was uneventful. We were only there for about 15 minutes before leaving. It was a small exhibit but the prints were excellent. St Louis has loads of great photo opportunities, by the way. If you're out-of-state and you plan on visiting don't forget your camera. Next stop... Bar.
A short drive to Kingshighway (yes, it's one word and, no, it is not pronounced king-shigway) brought us to The Royale. While I didn't get a chance to enjoy their food, there is a definite liberal/healthy/Obama vibe there. First of all, it's non-smoking which is a big plus for me. The atmosphere is relaxed while at the same time being upbeat and friendly. It's a perfect "chill" bar. You know... where you don't have to yell over the music.
Like I mentioned, I didn't get to try the food, but I did see the menu and it was right in line with what I enjoy. Bar type food made fresh and with an eye for healthy living. Fried foods were kept at a minimum and there were even some selections for our Vegan friends. Hi Vegans! You're totally missing out on yogurt. There's probiotics in it. Anyway, I was impressed and do want to stop in for lunch sometime. They also seemed to have plenty of cool events planned. Just checking their well updated blog and I see they had a Kentucky Derby party. Hey... I like parties.
Their beer selection was fine too. Although I was disappointed to see they didn't have any Boulevard Wheat it gave me a reason to try a few beers I'd never tasted before. One of these, and I forget the beer unfortunately, was at least 9% alcohol. It was excellent tasting, but I'm sorry to say I paid for it the next day. If I could only bring Bouly Wheat with me everywhere... We left as a DJ was just starting his set. He was playing some decent stuff and at the perfect talkable level. High marks for The Royale!
Next stop was London Calling at The Stable. The Stable itself could be a post on it's own. First of all you should know that it's located in the old Lemp Brewery stables in Benton Park. They do brew their own beer and distill their own liquor there. They also make a pretty good pizza which is high praise from a self-proclaimed pizza connoisseur like myself. The star, however, is the atmosphere which is comfortably old. You feel the history of the building as you enter. It's been modernized and updated of course, but there's enough preserved characteristics that you know the place is old.
Upstairs is where London Calling takes place. It's normally closed off when there are no events taking place and that's too bad because the second floor is awesome. There are multiple rooms and bars and the larger of the rooms is highlighted by massive steel weblike rafters. Perfect for this type of party. And that's what London Calling feels like. A huge party.
They have a DJ's playing dance music in both rooms. One room is prominently New Wave type rock and the other is mostly Indie electronic. Either are awesome and I went back and forth between the often depending on my 9% alcohol beer induced mood. Oh! And they have Boulevard Wheat there to my surprise and enjoyment. Anyway, the electronic music room also had most song's videos being projected on large screens which makes for some awesome shadow puppet opportunities.
The crowd itself was uber-hipster and mostly extremely friendly except for a few people obviously taking themselves way too seriously. Don't worry. The only weapon these hipsters carry is an extreme douchebag stare. This is usually characterized by slightly raised eyebrows and pursed lips and is not to be confused with either the "stink-eye" or the "Elvis." Generally they keep to themselves and only use it when cornered or provoked so, again, don't worry.
This is also a great place to people-watch as it seems some people get very dressed up for this. Almost costumed. I think next time I may use this as an opportunity to wear whatever I want. Finally, an opportunity to wear that mesh half-shirt I've been saving since 1991. What? That's what everyone wore to play football back then! I think.
And hey! It's open till three! I'm old, unfortunately, and 1:00 AM is latest time I can remove my dentures before they begin to hurt. Still, leaving then felt like I'd been there forever. I, quite figuratively, danced the night away. Luckily the London Calling managers are smart enough to only do these every other Saturday. I'm reminded of the old "too much of a good thing" proverb. Again, I must give high marks for this place too! If you're into Indie music or hipster culture this is your party.
And that was the night. Like mentioned previously I had a tough morning, but I wasn't regretful. That was one of the finest nights I'd had in St Louis so far while not hanging out of the slanted roof of a building. Don't eff with the Lords Of Hell.