The Pitch Athletic Club & Tavern will open at Union Station early next year

If St. Louis sports fans don’t know what “the field” is, they soon will, in more ways than one. In addition to being a reference in football, The Pitch Athletic Club & Tavern will be the name of the new 200-seat sports and soccer bar at Union Station, scheduled to open on 20e Street, near Centene Stadium, in the first quarter of 2023, “well before the first kick-off in April”, believes Blaise Pastoret, restaurant manager at Lodging Hospitality Management (LHM).


The concept

“As soon as the MLS stadium became a reality, we started thinking about football bars,” recalls Pastoret. “So Ted Lasso came out, and many people became familiar with football and its respective terms, including “the pitch”, the name of the pitch on which it is played. Football fans know the term, but by the time St. Louis CITY SC starts its season, everyone will be,” Pastoret said.

Created by the LHM team and designed by The Lawrence groupThe land will be located in a 9,000 square foot space at the northwest corner of Union Station (20e Street), a space last occupied by Señior Julio (not to be confused with Oncle Julio in Frontenac). The slogan “Athletic Club & Tavern” was added to help explain the concept. “It’s not a private or paying club,” says Pastoret, “but a club in the sense of a football club, with ‘athletic’ alluding to the idea of ​​a sports bar and ‘tavern’ evoking good premium beer and food.

“Until now, Amsterdam Tavern was the only other football bar in town,” adds Pastoret. “Pints ​​start flowing early for weekend games, there’s always a queue at the door, and their food used to come from next door at the Dam, until he [The Dam] closed last week. So with or without a team, there was a void to fill.

The ground is expected to open early – “6.30am” – on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to welcome and attract local football fans, but the lure of the sports bar will be there all day and all night, says Pastoret. “If you’re thinking ‘downtown sports bar’, we want The Pitch to be the name that comes to mind.”


The menu

The menu will focus on distinctive sandwiches and bar entrees. An attraction will be the products of Carnegie Deli, the 85-year-old Manhattan institution that will allow its use on qualifying restaurant menus. Expect to see oversized sandwiches on New York-style rye bread, puffed up with corned beef and pastrami, as well as all-beef hot dogs, potato knishes and signature cheesecakes, as well as black and white cookies.

Lunch and dinner menus will also include riffs on St. Louis-themed dishes, such as a Dr. Pepper braised pork steak, grilled ravioli as big as your face, and different iterations of gooey butter cake. And since The Pitch will open early for breakfast on the weekends, iterations of the St. Louis slinger are being considered. The rest of the menu is still being crafted by Kellon McCardie, the chef who created similar offerings at the 10,000-square-foot Westport Social, another LHM venue.

In addition to a full bar, The Pitch will offer a wide variety of sports bar-style beers, including local and seasonal European, domestic and craft beers.


the atmosphere

The Pitch will have a “Las Vegas sports bar vibe, with high design and energy, while being cozy and nostalgic,” said Steve O’Loughlin, president and COO of LHM.

“The design calls for patinated wood and leather seats,” explains Pastoret. The description conjures up images of two other LHM venues, Basso Cigar Bar and The Back Room in Cheshire. “It will look like a well-maintained, lived-in pub, like it’s been there for a while,” he says.

On the walls will be memorabilia and vintage sports jerseys celebrating St. Louis’ past and present sporting history, major and minor league teams, “and there are plenty of them,” Pastoret notes, mentioning as the Hawks’ basketball opportunities; the Blues and St. Louis Eagles in hockey; the Cardinals, Gunners, Rams and Battlehawks of football; and the Foggernauts, Stars and Ambush in football. “We see it as a history lesson and a walk down memory lane,” says Pastoret.

Hammered tin ceilings will be added in some areas, a large “ribbon” TV will mark out the main bar, with auxiliary TVs anchoring each dedicated seating section. O’Loughlin says the space is large enough to simultaneously accommodate a private event and the public, and that there will be “opportunities for redemption, connectivity between the [Union Station] places since they are all on our campus.

The site will also include an outdoor seating area on the side of the building equipped with heaters and misters, as well as “gas lamps along the length of the building, to make it as European and old-world as possible,” says Pastoret.

“Now that St. Louis has a team and a stadium, we’re really excited to open a cool football and sports bar just steps from all the action,” he adds. “There couldn’t be a more perfect location.”

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