Live Blog: 24 Consecutive Hours at Pop's Nightclub

Categories: Fiesta!

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Diana Benanti
Pop's rocks 24/7, we've heard.

We've all done it. You're at a bar and it's closing time, but you're not quite ready for the night to end. Maybe you want to grab just one more drink. Then someone in your crew suggests that you "go to the east side."

Fifteen minutes later you're in another state. You've crossed the Mississippi River into Sauget, Illinois, and you find yourself in a massive gravel parking lot, stumbling into the after-hours beacon that is Pop's Nightclub & Concert Venue.

Pop's is a rare bar that is open (and serves booze) 24 hours a day, making it the go-to spot for late-night debauchery. But what happens there during the daylight hours?

I decided to spend one full day at Pop's to see what it's like without beer goggles. Pop's offers many amenities that make an adventure like this manageable: lockers to hold your stuff, comfortable couches for lounging, a variety of food and loads of entertainment. (Both accidental and on purpose.) It's an easy place to have a good time.

So starting now, noon on Saturday, March 8, I'll be live-blogging my experience at Pop's here on RFT Music. Entries will include updates, photos, interviews and research on the history of the venue and its "24/7 Since 1981" tagline.

I'm going east. Check back soon (and often) for live updates.

*****

Sunday, March 9, 2014 - 01:01pm
HEY, GUESS WHAT? I'm leaving Pop's now!

I thought that once I spent 24 consecutive hours here that I'd never want to come here again, but the exact opposite is true. I love it here. All of the employees have been so nice, and I've actually had a great time for at least 22 hours of my 24 hour adventure. Bartender Teresa greeted me and is now sending me off. Big thanks to my friends who came and hung out with me and much love to the staff at Pop's for being so sweet and telling me countless (mostly unrepeatable) stories and gossip about superstars and touring bands.

So, does Pop's really rock 24/7? Oh, yes. Indeed. Check out the Pop's website, "like" the Facebook page or stop in to see for yourself.

Me? I'm headed west. Night night.

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Full circle, 24 hours later

Sunday, March 9, 2014 - 12:30pm
Random facts about my 24 hours at Pop's:

I am losing my voice. The combination of exhaustion and yelling over music has done me in. Send tea.

Most heard songs:
Icona Pop - "I Love It" - 7 times
Lorde - "Royals" - 6 times
M.I.A. - "Paper Planes" - 5 times
Robin Thicke - "Blurred Lines" - 4 times

I think I powdered my nose six times while I was here.

By the time the sun came up my boots were sticking to the floor. Drunk people spill drinks. A lot.

At about 7:30 last night a 45ish-year-old white man wearing a plastic horse mask over his face, a weird-ass outfit and full-size scuba flippers entered the bar. The place was practically empty, and he asked (in a very high-pitched fake voice) to speak to "the reporter lady." He was met with hard blinks and blank faces. The excellent staff told him that I wasn't here, and he asked to look around for me. He did one lap through the bar-- clopping and flopping all the way in his scuba flippers-- before placing a red apple on the bar (without explanation) and then leaving. What. In. The. Fuck. Dude, did you just want me to promote your band or something? You could've just showed up and hung out. Instead, you freaked us all out. So, congrats? In any case, I didn't mention this dude earlier in this live-blog because I didn't want him to come back. The staff here has been having fun watching the security footage of Mr. Horse Head. I'm going to request of copy of that surreal shit, m'self.

Sunday, March 9, 2014 - 12:17pm
Hanging with a dude called Stretch from PT's Sports Cabaret. He has lots of good blonde jokes. For real, though. Countdown: 45 minutes.

Sunday, March 9, 2014 - 11:19am
I'm hearing the music here at low volume through overworked ears, and if I didn't know better I'd swear that on that Daft Punk/Pharrell song it sounds like he's singing "You go suck a dick."

Sunday, March 9, 2014 - 11:05am
A half an hour ago there were about 40 patrons here. Now there are ten. Though this place spent most of the night functioning as a mega dance club, it's now back to the same (extra large) corner-bar vibe that it had when I first arrived. The stumbling drunks have headed out, and all of the people left are just sitting at the bar, shootin' the shit.

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Sunday, March 9, 2014 - 10:34am
Taylor Swift's "22" is playing on the radio here! I feel like getting out my T-Swizz notebook and dancing around. Is that weird? I might be a little delirious. I've been awake for 26 hours now, forgive me.

Sunday, March 9, 2014 - 10:20am
Big J just finished DJing, and we had a bro-down. He saw that I was drinking Red Bull and suggested that I try Monster Rehab, promising that it tasted like tea. We split a can and had a "mini-social" (others would call this a "cheers") and hung out for a bit. I asked him about his energetic, enthusiastic DJ style and he said, "Well, the way I look at it, if I'm having fun, then everybody else is having fun." Truth.

When he was leaving, I thanked him for all of the excellent music and told him that he saved my life with his good tunes. He said, "There's a song about that!"

And then we sang the chorus to this:

Sunday, March 9, 2014 - 9:40am
The bartender who was on shift when I arrived here yesterday is back for her shift today. The DJ is playing a mix that includes the Commodores' "Easy." There is hope. One day I will be home again.

Sunday, March 9, 2014 - 9:29am
Oh, you know, just at Pop's at 9:30 in the morning talking about JFK assassination theories. The sun is shining bright outside, and every time the door opens and I see a flash of it I cower and hiss like a Lost Boys vampire. There are still about 150 people here. They are entertaining me with their terrible fashion choices.

Sunday, March 9, 2014 - 9:15am
Yeah, anyway.

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Continue to the next page for earlier dispatches.

Location Info

Pop's Nightclub

401 Monsanto Ave., East St. Louis, IL

Category: Restaurant

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81 comments
Nathan Kromat
Nathan Kromat

I don't feel like she got the real experience with out having a single drink

Stu Heck
Stu Heck

She deserves a tetanus shot.

Kaitlin Riley
Kaitlin Riley

I can't believe it took you guys a year after we first discussed this to finally do it! Way to go!

Arti K Patel
Arti K Patel

Bahaha did you try to sell it? I remember the damn cat and cage lol

Katie Markert
Katie Markert

Arti K Patel remember the time I brought a cat there in the backseat of my car? Then tried to sell it for $300? The good ol days lol

Gina Marciano Mitauer
Gina Marciano Mitauer

Pops...where the leftovers from the other bars go..... In hopes of still being picked up for the night!! Not safe for women there!!! Glad those days are long gone!!!

Danielle C Dumey
Danielle C Dumey

Everyone always says they don't like going to pops, but after the STL bars closed they are the first to jump up and try to get everyone to go. I always have fun def a good late night stop to finish off the night!!

George Acosta II
George Acosta II

I saw 2 guys in a fist fighting at 6:30 in the morning there, it's a wild place !

Nikki Holland
Nikki Holland

How could they tell how old he was if he was wearing a mask?

Katelyn Stapleton
Katelyn Stapleton

Creepy. I bet he was looking for something/one. He took my move too. Except, I leave a note at the bar and I am way to unfashionable to keep up with his style.

Tami Jolly-Bollinger
Tami Jolly-Bollinger

The place really don't suck. I have had friends that was in bands play on that stage. My sons band plays on that stage. Hell the 20th of this month he will be on that stage with his band Acid Era. You people want to put that place down. It is a place local musicians like to play. And you talking about real journalism...this is RFT!!! For as long as I can remember thats what RFT has always been about...the local scene. I do agree though who ever did it could have done a better job. Maybe been there a night when bands was there.

Adrian Gandara
Adrian Gandara

That place sucks. I can believe this passes for journalism. I guess there's no real news in the world. Try going to that place when they don't know you're a journalist.

Greg Jackson
Greg Jackson

she powdered her nose in the bathroom, sounds about right.

Tami Jolly-Bollinger
Tami Jolly-Bollinger

LoL Pops is in Sauget not East Saint Louis and it isnt as bad as a location as you make it out to be. I grew up here. If any band wants a tour I got ya covered.

Tim Corkill
Tim Corkill

I liked the old pops....And what a great way to get the youth to visit MONSANTO blvd...And do some drunken whoring..

Rachel Gillooly
Rachel Gillooly

I have been to POPS 2 times in my 31 years of life both times bei.g sober I don't drink because I need my brains intact but both times I was injured by drunk people. I avoid concerts anc crowds to avoid serious injuries.

Michele Chapel
Michele Chapel

Had the best late night breakfast after the clubs in STL closed at 3 in the mid 80s..ya Im old but I lived when we knew how to party..loved the original POPS

Lori N Tim Fowler
Lori N Tim Fowler

You wouldn't catch me there in that area anymore, no freaking way.

Virginia Superwolf
Virginia Superwolf

Will you hire me to do an overnight live blog reporting at The Oz next? I already live facebook my thoughts & observations that come into my headspace all day errday

Kelly Brantley Hagerty
Kelly Brantley Hagerty

Pops is my favorite place for people watching... All walks of life and mostly everyone is having a good time. What's so bad about that? Mega bonus points for a good 80's cover band!

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