tim's chrome bar photo by michelle volansky

First Look: Tim’s Chrome Bar in the Bevo Mill neighborhood of south St. Louis

Following an extensive – and we mean extensive – renovation, Tim’s Chrome Bar reopened on March 3 at 4736 Gravois Ave. in Bevo Mill. The stylish, colorful reinvention, overseen by new owners Schuchard Event Spaces, brings new life to a bar that has been a Bevo Mill fixture since 1977, and the early reaction suggests it’s going to be a huge hit. 

Tim Pappas, who founded Tim’s Chrome Bar in its original incarnation in 1977, sold the bar in January 2022 to Schuchard Event Spaces, owned by artists Pat and Carol Schuchard. Schuchard Event Spaces also owns and operates three additional venues: Das BevoBoo Cat Club and Majorette. The Schuchards recently purchased the Immaculate Conception Church at 3120 Lafayette Ave. and have repurposed the space as an art studio. 

A small menu of shareable bar food serves up the kind of items you might expect to be offered up at a friend’s house party. The pepperoni pizza rolls with ranch dip stand out, and the Bugles and crudites with French onion dip are another fun dish for the table. The menu also includes deviled eggs, Sloppy Joe sliders, Brussels sprouts with a pickle brine and a sweet garlic glaze, and flank steak jerky made with meat from G&W and served with potato sticks. 

The kitchen takes orders until right before closing, and there’s room for the menu to expand. Recent experiments at Tim’s include a grilled cheese, a deconstructed toasted ravioli, and Anne said they’ve thrown around the idea of offering weekly blue-plate specials. 

The bar offers four draft beers including a Busch, Perennial’s Southside Blonde and two options from 4 Hands Brewing Co., with several canned brews also available. There’s also a selection of wines by the glass, but general manager Chelsea Pfister has also put together a cocktail list that’s as colorful, fruity and fun as the space itself. 

Pfister said she wanted cocktails that reflected the 1970s and 1980s feel of the space, with punches, fruity flavors and twists like the edible glitter that’s the cherry on top of the Gimme Gimme Gimlet (gin, strawberry and lime). Several of the cocktails are served on draft, including Do You Rememba (Four Roses, blackberry and lemon) and the Marsha, Marsha Margarita, a spicy pineapple margarita made with Ancho Reyes. The menu always features a punch, which is available by the glass or served in a punch bowl for that retro cocktail party mood.  

Pfister has also been working on root beer floats, and recently purchased molds that can be used to create Jello shots in quirky shapes. She’s not done there, either. “I kind of want to do a Malort Mai Tai,” she said. “And I’m playing with a dirty martini, but fat-washing the gin in a sesame oil.”

While much of the art inside the bar was created by Pat and Carol Schuchard, Pat’s daughter Anne Schuchard deserves credit for the overall interior design concept. Anne gained extensive experience in hospitality design working on hotels, restaurants and bars for two decades spent in Los Angeles. Tim’s Chrome Bar gave her more creative license than the typical hotel client, and Anne, Pat and Carol added their own artwork and built the bar out with their small, close-knit team.

Anne said her starting point for the design was asking what kind of place she would like to go to, but she also drew on her background as a fashion design student. “A lot of the stuff is inspired by vintage textile,” she said. “I’ve always liked something about making awkward things go together, to make something you wouldn’t necessarily expect.” In isolation, the interior’s colors, textiles and patterns feel like they shouldn’t work together, but the way the bar is lit, everything hangs together to create a lively, fun atmosphere that feels like a Wes Anderson set colored by a vibrant 1970s aesthetic. 

The bar extends across two rooms, with a variety of seating options ranging from high tops and tables for four to lounge spaces with sofas and a Malm fireplace that’s a popular spot for couples. “I find that a lot of people take a picture in front of the fireplace,” said Anne. The ceiling features a floral design, while the interior also combines plaid wallpaper, a shag carpet on the side of the bar, and lampshades by designers including Kartell and Ingo Maurer. 

The stage at the front of the venue isn’t there for nothing: Tim’s is already building up a regular calendar of events that will include live music, comedy and bingo sessions, making use of the vintage bingo machine located at the rear of the main lounge.  

“You work on something for so long and you’re like, ‘Are people going to show up?’” Anne said. “I told these guys if no one comes to the bar, I’m just going to move in, get a shower and live here.” As it’s turning out, Tim’s resurrection has been greeted with overwhelming enthusiasm and word is getting out. “I’m very pleased people are enjoying it,” Anne said. 

Tim’s Chrome Bar is open from 5 to 11 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, from 5 p.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday, and noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday.