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Blending Art with Music and Booze – The Venice Café

ST. LOUIS, MO: (STLRestaurant.News) – Look! It’s a bar! It’s an art gallery!  It’s a nightclub!  No wait!  It’s the Venice Café!  When foodies use the word fusion, they’re talking about blended cuisines—like Korean tacos or strawberry cheesecake Jell-O shots (yes, they do exist!).  The Venice Café is a fusion establishment, but instead of blending elements of different culinary traditions, they’re blending the elements of nightlife—twisting some beyond all recognition!  To call the Venice Café “unique” is putting it mildly.  It’s part neighborhood tavern, part dance club, part art gallery, with a coffee house vibe, and nightclub-worthy entertainment.

This peculiar establishment is certainly a must-do summer destination because of its amazing art-covered patio, and its Jerk Shack (Jamaican) food dispensary, but this joint is jumpin’ all four seasons!  This month: Mondays are open mic nights.  On Tuesdays St. Louis blues musician Jeremy Segel-Moss jams with guest musicians.  Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays bring a variety of bands and performers to the Venice Café.

Inside and out, the Venice Café is visually stunning.  The two-story bar is covered in art, indoors and out.  There are paintings, sculptures and incredible mosaics.  There’s not an inch of space that isn’t adorned with tile, kitschy knick-knacks, or unorthodox tchotchkes.  Even their restroom has been acknowledged as one of the more interesting places you can visit in St. Louis.  The Jerk Shack is closed for the season (open May – September), but the patio remains open when the weather is nice.  It’s worth a stroll outdoors for the art alone.

That’s because this mash-up establishment is also an art gallery.  In fact, every Friday in December, this bizarre bar turns into a real bazaar of sorts, selling the wares of local artists.  Where else can you go to have a well-priced drink in a funky, friendly atmosphere, and get some holiday shopping done?

The Venice Café is open Monday – Saturday from 4:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Both street parking and lot parking are available.  But bring cash.  Another quirk of the quirkiest bar in town: they’re a cash-only establishment.

Contact information:

The Venice Café
Owner: Jeff Lockheed
1903 Pestalozzi Street
St. Louis, Missouri 63118
Benton Park


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Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon is an experienced writer, editor, and broadcast journalist with a strong news background. She’s worked in radio and television news, and for national and international newswire services.

She began her career in public radio while still a student at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (where she earned a B.A. in Communications). She soon made the jump to news/talk radio, handling assignments from field reporting, airborne traffic, and news anchor, to producing and hosting daily talk shows. She’s also worked in television, most recently as the inaugural producer for The Allman Report on KDNL-TV 30, and as a news writer and reporter for national and international newswire services.