Bar of the Week: rBar

Bar of the Week: rBar
Where: 4054 Chouteau
Web site: www.rbarstl.com

The bubbly endoscope salesman could barely get the story out, he was giggling so hard, ''so, the nurse was in tears, asking me to help her. I wasn't supposed to touch the corpse heads (those things cost $3,000. A pop), but she was really freaking out. She tugged on the head, while I held the bucket - but the ears were STUCK!'' Did I mention he was an endoscope salesman?

You, my friend, have entered rBar, located in that Twilight Zone of Manchester becomes Chouteau, otherwise known as ''The Grove.'' Opened in 2006 by a group of twenty-somethings, rBar offers a little something for everyone. A bit of an oddball on this stretch of road, due to the fact that it's one of the only mostly ''straight'' bars next to a slew of mostly ''gay'' ones. Inside, you'll meet people of all walks of life, and some of those walks can be quite entertaining (yes, you, endoscope salesman).

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Classy, but not snotty; you can tell by the way that the shy, Radiohead-loving, co-owner Leigh-Anne Riebold serves you a Guinness and a smile.

In honor of Leigh-Anne's fondness for Thom Yorke and his mates, here are example of how you, too, can become fitter, happier and more productive at rBar.

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Fitter: Water is boring. Alcohol is nice, but lacks nutrients. What is a hard-partying fitness freak to do?

rBar has you covered with their Vitamin Water cocktails. Drinks like Revive and Formula 50 will keep you well lubricated until 3 a.m. Health is delicious! Vitamins not your thing? They also serve RFT award- winning martinis. To ensure you don't pass out, rBar offers up a nice spread of pizza, sliders and appetizers. You're gonna need something in your stomach as soon as that endoscope salesman launches into his corpse-head story again.

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Happier: What makes you truly happy, St. Louis? Beer, obviously, okay, what else? How about a big private patio with a stage that features live music? No? Try an eclectic mix of danceable tracks, spun by DJ Deadasdisco on Saturday nights. Still feeling jaded? Well, you artsy types will appreciate the splatter-paint awning over the patio, the edgy ad art gracing the brick walls and the maze-like back room, furnished with contemporary House of Denmark style benches. Those benches should have you salivating all over that pointy goatee of yours.

Here's a tip for those that like company when they drink; don't come to rBar early. It's open until 3 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, so like everywhere else in The Grove, it doesn't start poppin' until at least 11 p.m.

- On Thursdays, you can get your Beer Pong fix.
- While Friday nights host Serving for a Cause, a cool way for guest bartenders to donate their tips to charity. Drink up and feel good about yourself in the morning, for once!

More productive: Do you do what you love? Would you give up your cushy white-collar gig to pursue a passion, even if the possibility of failure was high? Leigh-Anne Riebold had the guts to do just that. As an experienced marketer, she's very enthusiastic about promoting the bar as the perfect space to host private events. As an owner, she's professional and approachable; her patrons seem to adore her. How could you not like a woman who would take the cat-eating alien Alf to a deserted island because, in her words, ''something tells me, he'd get me off of that island.'' Yes, very logical. Calculating, even.

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A.J. Miller is the equally pleasant bartender. When asked (with tongue-in-cheek intentions) about his inspiration for becoming a bartender and his advice to aspiring young drink-slingers, A.J. earnestly recounted how the bartenders he watched while working at J. Buck's became his heroes. His advice to his proteges, ''I recommend observing those whom they look up to for all the help they need.''

Such sincerity is a rare thing in the service industry, kudos to you A.J. He's so sweet, if it rained, he'd melt and leave a puddle of perfectly measured rum and Coke.

The Verdict: Go to rBar for dinner and drinks, instead of Houlihans. Don't be a creep, keep local St. Louis businesses fitter, happier and more productive!

- Lyndsay Johnson


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