Sneak Peek: The Vandy Opens Next Month at the Grove | Food & Drink News | St Louis

click to enlarge The Vandy, from STL Barkeep, will open in December.

Emily Johnson

The Vandy, from STL Barkeep, will open in December.

For the past six years, St. Louisans have been enjoying STL Barkeep libations via the mobile bar at pop-ups, farmer’s markets and special events around the city. Soon, imbibers will have a permanent go-to for their favorite cocktails when the brand opens its first physical store, the Vandy (1301 South Vandeventer). The forthcoming bar will open in December on the southeastern edge of the Grove.

“We are bartenders at our core; we want to make good drinks, do things the right way, and have everything done with proper bartending technique in mind,” says Patrick Gioia, beverage director for STL Barkeep and the Vandy. “Now we have the space we need to showcase that. We’ve always been limited by the nature of mobile bartending, but now we have the space, the tools and the ability to really refine our ideas and take a lot of things out work. We’ve always wanted that.”

As Gioia explains, STL Barkeep may have been based on a mobile format, but he and owners Matt and Jess Longueville have always seen first and foremost that the brand’s goal is to serve the best, most innovative cocktails they can offer. It’s the reason they grew from a small pop-up operation out of a garage at home into one of the city’s most visible cocktail brands, popping up everywhere from the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Garden Glow to Tower Grove Farmers Market to the Repertory Theater of St. Louis.

click to enlarge The bar will have a welcoming atmosphere.

Emily Johnson

The bar will have a welcoming atmosphere.

However, Gioia also admits that the mobile format is limited in what he and the team can do. Because STL Barkeep has to set up all of their bartending events offsite, they simply can’t bring everything. Now, in a permanent space, they can expand their range and get a little more creative.

“We hosted Such and Such Farms dinners, and that showed us how, if we had a stable audience, we could do so much more,” says Gioia. “Here we can pull in a food partner or do pop-ups that let us pair up, and we can also talk more to our guests about what they want.”

To that end, Gioia describes the Vandy as a speakeasy-style place — not in the sense that it’s hidden, but more that it has an intimate, tucked-away feel. He and the team hope to create a quiet space where people can come for a date or relax after work, especially industry folks who may want to relax after a busy night at the Grove.

click to enlarge The Vandy offers a creative take on old standards, like this seasonal riff on a Bees Knees.

Emily Johnson

The Vandy offers a creative take on old standards, like this seasonal riff on a Bees Knees.

“If you want a relaxing time and somewhere cozy and friendly, that’s where we go,” says Gioia.

Gioia says he and the Vandy team are committed to locking down their cocktails before tackling other aspects of the business. (This includes a robust zero-evidence list that is close to Gioia’s heart.) However, he hints that the bar is scouting potential food offerings and throwing around the idea of ​​having a stable food partner or doing regular pop-ups . . Until then, he’s just happy to add another voice to the area’s already thriving cocktail scene.

“There are so many people in St. Louis doing great work, and we want to be able to help support that growing cocktail movement,” says Gioia. “St. Louis is in a great place right now and we’re excited to plant our flag as part of that.”

Scroll down for more photos of the Vandy.

click to enlarge A mosaic mural adorns one of the Vandy's walls.  -Emily Johnson

Emily Johnson

A mosaic mural adorns one of the Vandy’s walls.

click to enlarge A seasonal riff on the classic Bees Knees features spiced pear.

Emily Johnson

A seasonal riff on the classic Bees Knees features spiced pear.

click to enlarge The small bar offers an intimate setting to enjoy delicious cocktails.

Emily Johnson

The small bar offers an intimate setting to enjoy delicious cocktails.


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