The Broadway Oyster Bar in downtown St. Louis is an iconic nightlife destination
Take a step into the eclectic Broadway Oyster Bar and it’s like you’ve been magically transported to the French Quarter of New Orleans. The building, originally built in the 1840s, has been added many times over the years, but its essence remains intact with original chimneys, tin tile ceilings and worn brickwork. 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 adorned with mirrors and trippy mosaic tiles. It might be a bit overdone and a little frayed around the edges, but that’s part of the charm.
This unfussy St. Louis institution is the 2022 readers’ choice for favorite Cajun/Creole and second-favorite seafood, but you might not realize that the Oyster Bar, affectionately called “Bob” by regulars , is as much an iconic nightlife destination as it is a place to stock up on some of the best Cajun/Creole fare and seafood in town.
A stone’s throw from Busch Stadium and not much farther from the Enterprise Center, the Bob attracts a fascinating cross-section of the St. Louis community and some pretty interesting characters as throngs of Cardinals and Blues fans arrive after a game. . On one occasion, a woman walked up to the bustling dance floor, did the splits, and started swinging her long ponytail like a helicopter. She then attempted to rush the scene, which led to her relatively peaceful ejection from the scene. While incidents like this aren’t necessarily the norm, given the freewheeling atmosphere, they aren’t a big surprise either.
With hurricanes flowing, an aura of elation wafts through the air. There’s live music seven nights a week, as well as plenty of daytime shows, so there’s always a good time waiting for you. Home to many lively dance parties, the Bob has no backstage space, so you’re likely to catch the band members smoking on the sidewalk during breaks or hanging out at the bar after the show.
On the south patio where the concerts take place, there are cobblestones underfoot and hordes of oyster shells strewn in place of mulch around a row of trees that line the patio. Sound technicians have even been known to use oyster shells to stabilize speakers perched on uneven ground.
Recent updates and additions to the Bob show that this venerable institution has no intention of slowing down. A beer garden has recently opened on weekends 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.
Try as we might, the vibe here is truly indescribable and must be experienced to be fully understood. Nothing beats the Broadway Oyster Bar.
Favorite Cajun/Creole Readers’ Choice
736 S. Broadway, St. Louis, 314.621.8811, broadwayoysterbar.com