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Sep 02, 2014
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Checking out The Library
By Matt Berkley • Photos by Ashley Gieseking
Posted On: 06/01/2009   

Spend enough time bouncing around the multitude of watering holes in Soulard, and you’ll realize that any new addition to the neighborhood in terms of barrooms is big news to a drinking populace. Word in St. Louis’ mini version of the French Quarter travels fast. It reached my barstool several Saturday nights ago, delivered by a friend and Soulard native who, interrupting my bourbon rocks, suggested we check out The Library, a rock ’n’ roll club that had thrown open its doors a few weeks prior. The ice cubes in my drink being sufficiently dry and the night being sufficiently young, I decided, “Why not?”

The building, an imposing, official-looking structure once used as Soulard’s library, has served as former host to a few forgettable drinking establishments that long ago turned in their bar rags. Several months ago, Matt and Angel Bostick decided to try their luck and dust the cobwebs from the vacant space to reincarnate their music club Cruisin’ Rte 66 – formerly located on Watson Road – as The Library, a late-night rock venue featuring local, independent talent.

The place was christened on April 4 with a small crowd cheering on six bands. Since then The Library has welcomed a steady stream of indie rock fans, headbangers, groupies and neighbors curious to see what all the noise is about. Part of the venue’s charm, as the owners pointed out with a laugh, is the distinct possibility of posting up at the bar with a guy with a mohawk on one side of you and someone in a two-piece suit on the other. At The Library, normal rules cease to apply – except of course for moshing. I’m not sure if people even do that anymore, but regardless, I checked and there is no moshing.

For a $6 cover charge, Library-goers are let loose in a two-story space with well-stocked and fully functional bars on both the main floor and a terrace overlooking the dance floor and stage. The Bosticks saw fit to keep faithful to the original architecture; as such, it’s not hard to imagine the dark, musty interior as its former life as a library. Shadowy tones fit the space well, sending off a quiet aura that contrasts the resounding hard rock noise emanating from the roaring stage.

Though weekend nights are primarily geared toward the more heavy metal/alternative rock side, The Library offers a respite on Mondays, when it hosts an open mic night for singer songwriters, and on Tuesdays, when it offers karaoke.

There’s not much to report on the alcohol situation. Still getting on their feet in the new location, the owners are working on a full drink menu, complete with rock ’n’ roll-themed drinks and shots (or “groupies,” as they plan to call them). In the meantime, the bartenders at The Library are pouring all the industry standards – Jimmy, Jackie, Johnny, etc. – along with buckets of brew at reasonable expense. The wait staff is more than helpful and well-practiced at deciphering drink orders above the band noise while lighting your smoke. No word on drink specials yet. When in doubt, especially at a rock club, order a shot of whiskey and a Bud.

It’s too early to condemn or praise a venue like this, which still needs a few touch-ups and better promotion, but I have to applaud the owners for bringing independent, noncover band talent to fill the downtown void in a unique and exceptional space. Soulard has been aching for a new bar for some time. Hopefully The Library will give the neighbors reason to keep it around.

Check it: Local, independent artists hitting the stage four nights a week.
Hipster or Hoosier: Rock enthusiasts, groupies, insurance salesmen – you name it.
Suds or ‘Tinis: Pick up a bucket of beer for your whole crew. Shots to follow.
Where: The Library, 706 Lafayette Ave., St. Louis, 314.621.3900
When: Mon. to Sat. – 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.

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