off elm beverage director patrick gioia photo by kate pogue

The Vandy, STL Barkeep team will open Off Elm in Webster Groves this fall

The cocktail wizards behind The Vandy will soon have another locus for their high-proof wizardry. Assuming approval of a conditional use permit by Webster Groves City Council, Matt and Jess Longueville are on course to open cocktail bar Off Elm at 8709 Big Bend Blvd. – two doors down from Bagel Union – sometime in the fall.

Since 2017, the Longuevilles have owned STL Barkeep, a kind of moveable cocktail operation with an arsenal of bartenders, which hosts pop-ups at events around town. The Vandy opened in the Grove at the beginning of 2023. Now, with two brick-and-mortars to their name, the Longuevilles’s roots are even more firmly planted.

The Vandy’s beverage director, Pat Gioia, who worked at the Block in Webster for nine years, will serve as beverage director at Off Elm, transitioning there when it opens. Since Gioia worked at the Block for that length of time, Longueville said this will be a homecoming of sorts for him. “He’ll be the one people will see when they walk in the door. A familiar face.”

Although construction at Off Elm has yet to begin in earnest, Matt said he’s getting pretty pumped for what’s to come. He mentioned that there will be light snacks and small plates at this location: Farm Spirit, which provides charcuterie to The Vandy, will do so here as well. And Farm Spirit’s chef-owner Ryan McDonald currently is assisting the Longuevilles with ideas for their future, in-house food service. “It all sounds good so far,” McDonald said. 

Whatever it turns out to be, Matt said to expect delicious, locally sourced, season-driven foods. The cocktails will be “high-end,” Longueville said, and there’ll be a wide selection of spirits on offer.

He couldn’t give many specifics on decor; an interior designer has those reins. But he did say to expect an intimate, smallish space (around 1,500 square feet with seating for 60), moodily lit and “mod-Deco” in style. Even a bar will have to be built since the space previously housed a skincare business. In any event, the couple (who do not live in the neighborhood) are pleased to be joining this little district known as the Crossroads. “Our emphasis is to bring more business here,” he said. “I think it will be nice.”