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Old 03-31-2019, 01:32 AM
 
Location: Southern Illinois
53 posts, read 80,765 times
Reputation: 157

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Or are there romantic bars anywhere these days?

Every so often my wife and I like to get out of the house for a late evening away from the noise and distractions at home. Not a restaurant - too late for a meal - but a bar or tavern that keeps the lights low, the music slow and subtle with maybe a dance floor (Eagles is her fave), and - especially - no boors shouting at whatever sport might be on a TV. Someplace where her dressing to flirt doesn't get dirty looks from an uptight barkeep, or, as we've recently encountered, a video camera in every niche and cranny. Oh - and doesn't shut the doors at 10pm. Really?

We are having no luck finding anything close to this ideal south of I-70. There was once a local hotel bar that fit the bill, but they remodeled into a "sports bar", turned the lights up to surgical levels, and replaced the friendly staff with glowering prudes. We call the new hipster manager "Mr. Buzzkill" after a couple of episodes, one where a bartender was apparently being too friendly with us and he pulled her away... when we were the only patrons there.

Anyway... anybody have suggestions? We have searched from Effingham to Carbondale/Marion and are just not having any luck.
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Old 04-08-2019, 10:28 AM
 
Location: Southern Illinois
53 posts, read 80,765 times
Reputation: 157
After 90+ views in over a week with no responses, I think we have our answer: "Good luck with that."

My edu-guess is it's not a profitable model in the region. One friend's take is that the "gaming" takeover has shifted ambiance away from the cozy getaway scene. So I s'pose for us, "date night" still requires the two hours each way into the big city. Pretty much kills the moment, frankly.

Part of it could also be Millennials' perceived disinterest in the trappings of romance, at least as "analyzed" in numerous news features. That's another discussion.
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Old 04-09-2019, 01:26 AM
 
Location: Illinois
3,025 posts, read 2,754,473 times
Reputation: 3957
I feel like a "romantic bar" is an oxymoron, but that's just me.
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Old 04-09-2019, 12:44 PM
 
Location: St. Louis
2,631 posts, read 2,900,500 times
Reputation: 2611
Try closer to St. Louis. There's some wine bars and what not on the IL side that could fit the bill. You might have to cross the river for a full on cocktail lounge though.
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Old 04-09-2019, 10:15 PM
 
Location: Southern Illinois
53 posts, read 80,765 times
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Yeah, we looked around Belleville a couple of times recently but nothing quite fit. A while back there was something there - I forget the name - that was supposed to be a low-key wine bar, but if I'm thinking of the right place there was a fire and they didn't reopen.

You're right, "cocktail lounge" is the basic idea. Did find a martini bar in Marion we're going to check out as soon as our visiting family leaves.

There are a few spots in STL city, but we had a firsthand encounter with the crime situation and would rather not repeat. The entertainment districts are targets, frankly. Anyway, that was the "two hours each way" we're trying to avoid.

Last edited by MikeQBF; 04-09-2019 at 11:00 PM..
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Old 04-13-2019, 11:43 AM
 
Location: St. Louis
2,631 posts, read 2,900,500 times
Reputation: 2611
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeQBF View Post
Yeah, we looked around Belleville a couple of times recently but nothing quite fit. A while back there was something there - I forget the name - that was supposed to be a low-key wine bar, but if I'm thinking of the right place there was a fire and they didn't reopen.

You're right, "cocktail lounge" is the basic idea. Did find a martini bar in Marion we're going to check out as soon as our visiting family leaves.

There are a few spots in STL city, but we had a firsthand encounter with the crime situation and would rather not repeat. The entertainment districts are targets, frankly. Anyway, that was the "two hours each way" we're trying to avoid.
The Wine Tap in downtown Belleville might be what you're talking about. It closed for a bit last year when it came under new ownership and got remodeled. Most of the other bars in the Belleville area are going to fall into the dive, college, sports, or brewery sort of categories. There is The Weingarten, but it's more of an outdoor winery sort of setting, although they do have an indoor space. There is 1818 Chophouse in O'Fallon, but its bar is very much apart of the larger restaurant. You might have better luck in the Edwardsville area as well. Everything I'm thinking of over in St. Clair County doesn't really fall into what you're talking about.

And yeah, in my experience between living in Chicago and now back in the St. Louis area, it seems more common for the types of bars you're talking about to be confined to the city's proper when you get into big metro areas. St. Louis has a plethora of wine and cocktail bars, but obviously two hours to get over there is hardly convenient.

Last edited by PerseusVeil; 04-13-2019 at 11:53 AM..
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Old 04-16-2019, 12:10 PM
 
Location: Southern Illinois
53 posts, read 80,765 times
Reputation: 157
Thank you, PV!

Oh, yes, appreciate the memory jog - The Wine Tap. We looked at what they offered and the format change with the new owners is strictly "fine dining experience", reservations recommended. Not a casual wine bar any more. Oh, well.

With family out from under foot, we checked that bar in Marion, Martini Joe's, on the square. Actually, kinda nice, but middle ground - I'd call it an upscale-ish dive bar. The trappings for classic cocktail bar are there such as comfy furnishings, dim ambiance and a big fish tank behind the bar, which was very cool. Once we got past the half-hour of grunge rock (!!!) somebody queued-up on the jukebox we had a nice time.

We'll land there from time to time because it is the closest to what we're seeking, but we still need to look around for something a little more laid-back. Without the grunge.
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Old 04-25-2019, 05:24 PM
 
2,174 posts, read 2,582,487 times
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Depends, as always, what the OP is defining as Southern Illinois. You may find that type of bar in the Metro East area, or the university towns. Elsewhere in the region, bars are primarily populated with alcoholics from the lower realms of society. There aren't many bars where middle class social drinkers gather. The exception being private country clubs and perhaps the local Elks Lodge.

Most of the region is either Bible thumpers who don't drink at all, or alcoholics, with not many people in the middle.
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