Posted On: 08/07/2000
Sometimes you notice that one bar is significantly different than most others.
Kyle's Corner is a tavern situated in deep south Saint Louis, in the Patch neighborhood of Carondelet at the corner of Courtois and Virginia. Carondelet is an old city that was annexed by St. Louis prior to 1900 with a rich and culturally diverse history. Today the area is a mostly white working class neighborhood with a wide array of architecture and unusual cultural institutions. Housing styles range from the classic shotgun to the elegant Victorian. The bar is on the cusp of a residential neighborhood that blends in to an industrial area.
Kyle's differs from standard St. Louis taverns, even though appears to be much like any other neighborhood bar. Kyle's has the usual beer promotion items, ranging from inflatable beer cans to sports memorabilia. Karaoke is on Tuesdays and Saturdays. For entertainment the bar has four real dartboards, bubble hockey and shuffleboard. The walls are lined with dozens of Saint Louis street signs with names of famous sports figures like Archie Moore and McGwire and also major south side roads like Holly Hills. The jukebox has an odd mix of new and old hits, not all of it necessarily good.
Kyle's serves the standard bar food; pizza, wing and sandwiches. There are a plethora of televisions that can be seen from every angle. The bar keeps a bawdy touch by having a few bras stapled to the ceiling. Above the bar are some beautiful stained glass Busch beer lamps. The beer selection is standard and very inexpensive. A night out for drinks can be done on the cheap. The bar is stocked with the usual liquors and has mostly domestic beers, of which are really cheap if you ask which ones are on special. On the weekends a cute female works behind the bar. Behind the bar is a framed scorecard of an important softball game.
So far, Kyle's sounds like your run-of-the-mill St. Louis neighborhood bar.
What sets this bar apart is the crowd. It does not have the typical mix of old gents passing time and younger set sipping beer after punching the clock. The place has much more of a college bar feel.
This surprisingly intriguing bar is usually crowded with young and attractive southsiders. The patrons are mostly white and come from a blue collar background and are nearly all native born and bred southsider. They are by no means on the cutting edge or hip, but the youthful drinkers come just to have a good time. The young crowd does not sport a traditional working class look. The boys have close-cropped haircuts and are typically outfitted with neatly tucked in T-shirts and ball caps. The girls dress simply-- not too much not too little. The drinks are poured strong and are consumed quickly. The sponsored men's softball and women's volleyball teams that show up after games fuel much of the business. The tavern is almost a who's who of the youth in South Saint Louis.
An interesting aside-- One evening that I was there, as the atmosphere became more jovial and the drinking became heavier, a crash was heard in the men's bathroom. The jukebox was loud and not everyone noticed that something had happened. A disheveled looking couple came slinking out of the bathroom door. Apparently for some reason the sink broke off the wall and on to the floor.
The owner, Kyle, is young man with many friends who still live in the area. This is always key in a bar's success. While the bar is young, it still attracts families for dinner. The bar does not really do much volume on the strictly dinner business. The food is made available for the hungry drinker, not for the dinner crowd.
The bar has a bawdy, youthful atmosphere that is usually confined to the college bar scene. It does not try to pretend to be anything at all except for what it is. The nature of the crowd establishes the atmosphere in this pub. The bar can be also pick up joint. Although you may not be out to find a mate for the evening, but for a simple good time, the bar is be welcoming to anyone. It could be called the Carondelet version of Humphrey's.
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