Broadway Oyster Bar in downtown St. Louis is an iconic nightlife destination
Take one step into the eclectic Broadway Oyster Bar and it’s as if you’ve been magically transported into New Orleans’ French Quarter. The building, originally constructed in the 1840s, has been added onto several times throughout the years, but its essence remains intact with original fireplaces, tin-tiled ceilings and well-worn brickwork. The walls and ceilings are adorned with an explosion of everything from massive Mardi Gras beads, kitschy light fixtures and neon signs to sports and music memorabilia. Even the bathrooms are decked out in trippy mosaic mirrors and tiles. It may be a little over-the-top and a tad frayed at the edges, but that’s part of the charm.
This unfussy St. Louis institution is the 2022 Readers’ Choice pick for Favorite Cajun/Creole and second Favorite Seafood, but you may not realize that the Oyster Bar, lovingly called “Bob” by regulars, is as much an iconic nightlife destination as a place to fill up on some of the city’s finest Cajun/Creole dishes and seafood.
Just a stone’s throw from Busch Stadium and not much farther from Enterprise Center, the Bob attracts a fascinating cross-section of the St. Louis community and some pretty interesting characters as droves of Cardinals and Blues fans trickle in after a game. On one occasion, a woman made her way to the front of the bustling dance floor, did the splits and started swinging her long ponytail around like a helicopter. She later attempted to rush the stage, which led to her relatively peaceful ejection from the premises. Although incidents like this aren’t necessarily the norm, given the freewheeling atmosphere, they aren’t much of a surprise either.
With Hurricanes flowing, an aura of elation wafts through the air. There’s live music seven nights a week, as well as many daytime shows, so there’s always a good time waiting to beckon you in. Home to many lively dance parties, the Bob has no backstage area, so you’re likely to catch the band members smoking on the sidewalk during set break or hanging at the bar after the show.
On the south patio where the concerts take place, there are cobblestones underfoot and hoards of oyster shells scattered in place of mulch around a row of trees that line the patio. Sound technicians have even been known to use the oyster shells to stabilize speakers perched atop the uneven floor.
Recent updates and additions to the Bob show this venerable institution has no intention of slowing down. A beer garden recently opened for weekend use, and new air conditioning has been installed on the north patio. A retractable roof over the south patio is also on the way in the next month or so.
Try as we might, the vibe here is truly indescribable and must be experienced to be fully understood. There’s nowhere quite like the Broadway Oyster Bar.
Readers' Choice Favorite Cajun/Creole
736 S. Broadway, St. Louis, 314.621.8811, broadwayoysterbar.com