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Mar 22, 2018
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Hi-Pointe is a High Point
By Steven Fitzpatrick Smith
Posted On: 09/19/2001   

The Hi-Pointe has long been one of the favorite meeting points of all the Saint Louis bars. The bar is centrally located at the Southwest corner of Forest Park at the intersection of Clayton, McCausland and Skinker next to what is commonly referred to as the "world's largest Amoco sign". The bar is adjoined in the same structure as the popular art movie house also called the Hi Pointe, which both names are derived from the fact that the property is purported to be the highest point within the city of Saint Louis.

The bar is popular with many different types of people. One is just as likely as likely to bump into a Wash U co-ed as they are to bump into a rock and roll scenester with ages that average 21-40. Regular patrons travel from as close as Dogtown or as far away as Chesterfield. The diverse crowds imbibe peacefully together on the first level in this bar, but the second level is where the club maintains its street creed. The second floor is all rock and roll with a longstanding live music room that features both touring and local original music bands. The Hi Pointe had traditionally been a hangout for Blues hockey fans back when the old barn was still in use. The crowd has continued to evolve, but the elbow to elbow crowds during hockey games no longer jam the bar.

The theater has limited crossover with the bar, but it does create general traffic for the area. A new New York style pizza place that sells by the slice has opened up on the other side of the theater, but has yet to attract drunken bar goers like the always overly crowded Del Taco.

The attitude of the place is announced by the classic sign behind the bar "We still don't care what you want to hear". Music sets the preliminary tone with an eclectic blend of rock, indie, hip hop, rockabilly and punk. Music scenesters such as Tim Mize and Gary Phillips staff the bar and they know how to treat and tolerate the patrons (and which ones to throw out). Scene regulars usually meet up here before heading out to various other venues such as the Way Out, Creepy Crawl, Galaxy or they just head upstairs.

Beer can be cheap in this bar, depending on which poison you pick. The bar has a longstanding special on the "big" Saint Paulie Girl bottles, along with $4 pitchers and cheap bottles of Pabst. This is one of the sure ways the bar keeps up relations with the more punk rock crowd. First timers who drive might take note that there is parking, but you will have to look across McCausland in the bank lot for the plethora of open spaces. Beware: Do not park in the gas station lot or keep your car overnight in the bank lot or risk being towed.

Hi-Pointe's walls are adorned with framed posters of rock artists, many of whom have played the club. The floor itself has recently been redone with in a sharp mosaic style. The first floor has open ceilings and is a long shotgun with two pool tables in the back along with pinball and Golden Tee. Booths line the wall of windows and are usually occupied by drinkers from early in the evening until the 1:30 closing time.

The drinking often continues on for the non-punk rock crowd down the street at the 3am licensed bar, the Cheshire Inn. The Cheshire tends to fill up with more of a clean shaven professional crowd after 1:30. The more rock scenester types tend to head toward the Rocket Bar, which has the market for the late night scenster sipping room.

The Hi-Pointe is usually considered the first step for the serious bar goer in the city in Saint Louis. It is the easiest point of entry with something to appeal to just about anyone.

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