Posted On: 10/07/2000
The Chase Park Plaza has always had a certain aura. It has always had the stature as the living quarters for the high class. The complex sits across from historic Forest Park, in what has traditionally been for the past one hundred years the highest-class area of Saint Louis.
Stepping up to the Chase reminds one of the fancy Hotels that line Central Park in Manhattan. While the complex was comparable to any other of its type in other cosmopolitan cities, the Chase Park Plaza has always been uniquely Saint Louis. No other swanky hotels in other cities had professional 'rasslin as a staple of entertainment in the elegant Khorassan Ballroom. The building also holds one of Saint Louis ' oldest and quirkiest television stations, KPLR TV.
On the Park Plaza half of the complex is a classic Saint Louis style restaurant and bar called The Tenderloin room. The restaurant has a long history as the established fine dining steakhouse of Saint Louis. In the past ten years the place has undergone a management change and a physical update. The Tenderloin still holds true to its classic restaurant roots. Located within the residential complex on the first floor, the look and feel is still classic Tenderloin. The windows open up to the hallways making it feel like a secret club. The employees wear black vests. Ties, jackets and well-shined shoes are the norm. Tall glass doors greet patrons and the bar is dominated by mahogany. The long wood bar is softly lit from a glowing stain glassed ceiling. Adjacent to the bar, the dining room is lined with a series of mahogany archways and cloth topped tables and cozy booths. The walls are adorned with a giant brass framed mirror and classic Americana oil paintings. Fancy chandeliers drop from the ceilings and overly ornate curtains hang from windows. The waiting area has big comfy chairs with marble topped end tables.
Many of the patrons are older, ranging from 55 and up, but there is a sizable contingent all the way down to 21. The bar is often packed with the beautiful people of Saint Louis. The older crowd is made up of true urban players. They are the type of folks that patronized Gaslight Square and the Mississippi riverboat cruises. The men wear jackets with open collars and drink Manhattans and the women wear a lot of jewelry. These are urban professionals that are at home in a high-rise apartment and do nearly all their shopping in the neighborhood. They represent the cosmopolitan culture of Saint Louis' older set. But the "beautiful" description spans the generational divide. The younger set is more diverse, but they do have the same air of sophistication. The bar is filled with a fair amount of industry folk of the West End. The regulars are also comprised of the residents of the Chase and Park Plaza. These are the high rollers of the younger generation. They have the means to live in expensive surroundings and support an expensive lifestyle. They appreciate the urban life and will become their older counterparts in a few years.
What draws the fun crowd on the weekends is the piano. The piano bar is kind of an old school kind of Karaoke. Playing the piano is a beautiful red haired woman named Barbara Gabriela. Gabriela appears to be a timeless figure -- she wears gowns with elbow length gloves and is adorned with jewelry. Behind the piano is an enclosed glass display of decorative crystal that complements Gabriela's elegant nature. Gabriela will gracefully play the piano throughout the evening.
Sitting at the piano is primarily the older eccentric crew. An older peculiar woman in a motorized scooter is often found pulled up next to the piano. Flowers will often adorn the basket on her motorized chair and she usually wears what appears to be a fine house dress. Some of the men surrounding the piano will often croon along to some of the old standards by the likes of Burt Bacharach and Frank Sinatra. The whole piano side of the bar will often break into passionate song during classics such as "Coney Island Baby", "Lady is a Tramp" or "Ballin' the Jack". The song lyrics are available in hand typed handmade booklets on top of the piano.
The bar is stocked with fine liquors, wines and beers. The drinks are more expensive than most but not rediculously expensive as hotels prices can often be. In return for the price you get a truly elegant and beautiful experience. The bartenders are personable to all patrons. One can fit in if wearing their suit from work, or if they are just out to go to a movie at the Chase. Overall the bar is very welcoming and is a great place to stop for a sip when in the West End.
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