St. Louis’ Neighborhoods Of Character: Cherokee Street
Cherokee Street is an impromptu arts district that houses innumerable entrepreneurs, artists, writers, creators, small business owners, entrepreneurs and visionaries. Its stunning architectural beauty and history is the stuff of legend. The diversity of makers will surprise you, their corner shops will charm you and their stories will amaze you.
Reclaimed by these artists, Cherokee Street is home to restaurants, bars, bakeries, vintage shops, cafes, art galleries, record stores, business incubators, performance spaces and more. Its burnt-red-brick buildings and eclectic vibe are modernized by the innovation of its residents, and grounded in history.
Since Guided: St. Louis’s first issue covering Cherokee Street in 2017, the neighborhood has evolved and welcomed even more creative businesses and galleries. Have a look at the map of Cherokee Street, and read on for our updated curated guide of some of our favorite places.
Through exhibitions, dialogues, subsidized studio spaces and live performances, this arts incubator brings a mix of energy and passion to mediums ranging from visual arts to music. With a dual focus on the beauty and business of the arts, The Luminary strengthens the entire community both spiritually and economically.
The Luminary’s home on Cherokee was built in 1909 as an odeon—a theater for musical performances—before being converted into retail space. Co-founders James and Brea McAnally completely rehabbed the building and relocated the gallery to its current location in 2014. Since then, The Luminary has been a central hub for art in St. Louis, bringing in international artists to the city through its residency program, and helping to form neighboring artist cooperative, Monaco.
This artist-run cooperative launched their inaugural exhibit in 2017 and has been host to some of the city’s most innovative exhibits every since. Responding to commercial gallery closures within the city, Monaco’s members decided to take matters into their own hands, creating a space that allows artists to continue exhibiting and creating in St. Louis. Its members are painters, sculptors, printmakers, and arts administrators invested in fostering a vibrant arts community that keeps artists in the Midwest. On opening nights, you’ll see the single-room gallery lit up like a lantern and brimming with visitors.
Teatopia stands out as a calm space for quiet reflection on what can otherwise be a bustling block. Following the mantra, “brewing better lives one leaf at a time,” owner Reginald Quarles aspires to positively impact his customers through specialty tea and genuine, friendly service. With over 80 types of loose leaf tea from all over the world in the shop, Quarles can recommend a flavor and offer expert brewing tips whether you’re looking for matcha or something with chocolatey notes. When you’re in need of a moment of peace during a busy day, stop by Teatopia.
Image courtesy of Mesa Home
This little clothing-and-decor retailer finds the sweet spot between wall-to-wall cuteness and sensory overload. Owner and seamstress Annie Stone is an expert at updating gently-used vintage clothes to suit modern trends. Mesa Home’s inventory is a mix of locally handcrafted items and fair-trade or tribal merchandise from around the world, interwoven with vintage accessories ad handgoods. The staff is quick to strike up a conversation or hold a baby while a customer browses, making Stone’s shop feel all the more home-like.
Earthbound Beer & Mothership
This brewery and pub makes playfulness and experimentation a foundational part of its ethos. Earthbound’s best sellers are delicious, but you can’t leave the bar without trying their innovative rotating flavors. Their Earthbound Blonde features what they call the “beguiling aroma” of cardamom and black cherry, while more avante garde brews like the Tea Gose and Fuzzy Pickles feature flavors like hibiscus, lemongrass and dill. These adventurous and fun beers pair well with their tiki lounge-inspired food menu, which offers affordable small bites such as pineapple-glazed pretzel bites and Musubi sandwiches with spam or tofu. Earthbound also hosts a regular line-up of food popups, fundraisers, and performances. Keep an eye on their website’s calendar–you won’t want to miss the fun.
Image courtesy of The Bricoleur
If you can’t find it at The Bricoleur, you may not be able to find it anywhere. This antiques and art store carries everything from furniture to salt shakers to vintage St. Louis memorabilia. It’s not difficult to tell that owners David Montgomery, Ann Montgomery and Andy Holeman are artists. A step beyond your usual bric-a-brac shop, The Bricoleur offers up a carefully curated and displayed collection of beautiful wares and is a great spot to find original paintings, as well.
The Juice and Galeria Obscura
2640 Cherokee St
At first, the pairing of juice bar with art and music event space might seem like an unlikely one, but The Juice and Galeria Obscura turn out to be a combination that perfectly suits Cherokee Street’s eclectic vibe. On the juice bar side of the shop, bold and bright colors dominate in cute graffiti murals of different fruits. On the other, the walls are painted black, bringing a note of drama to Galeria Obscura, which hosts visual art exhibits as well as literary and music events. If you’re there for an evening event, The Juice owner is more than happy to add a shot of alcohol to your fresh squeezed juice.
To learn more about Cherokee Street and other great St. Louis neighborhoods, visit Explore St. Louis’ website.
Photography by Attilio D’Agostino unless otherwise noted.