My “Peeking into the Past” column and this article originally ran in the Lafayette Square ‘Marquis’, which was published monthly by the Virginia Publishing Company until 2011. It’s always fun to go back and see what I was working on in years past – it inspires me to keep digging too!
Peeking into the Past: Neighborhood Watering Holes
By Cara Jensen
Around the turn of the century, St. Louis was known as “first in shoes, first in booze, and last in the American League”. It seemed St Louis residents took this slogan to heart, as there were over 1100 saloons/saloon employees listed in the city directory in 1890! The term highball was said to have been coined at a St. Louis saloon that catered to railroad workers. The drinking glass was nicknamed a ball, and the workers who only had time for a quick drink started calling their whiskey and water a “highball”. In 1874, St. Louis native M.W. Heron, bartending in New Orleans, created a peach-flavored bourbon whiskey that became known as “the grand old drink of the South.” Heron named his invention Cuffs and Buttons, a takeoff on a popular beverage of the era called Top Hat and Tails. He changed the name to Southern Comfort only after moving back to St. Louis. Whether you prefer to call them bars, pubs, taverns, or ale houses, here are a few that called this area home:
1700 Russell: McKinley Heights saloon run by Leonard Bachmann.
2400 Menard: Soulard establishment operated by Robert Zanto and family.
1700 S. 11th: LaSalle canteen run by Anton Filip who resided at 1046 Soulard Ave.
1700 Geyer: Soulard taproom operated by Thomas Hause.
900 Geyer: Soulard pub owned by Bernard Duesterhaus.
2800 Missouri: Benton Park tavern kept by August P. Koebbe.
1800 Park: Lafayette Square lounge managed by John Schnieder.
NE corner of Menard/Emmet: Soulard saloon run by Charles Kreichelt who lived nearby at 1019 Emmet.