Venice Café: One of St. Louis’ Most Unique Music Spaces

 In Culture, Guide

Venice Café is a performance venue like none other, with eclectic bands and eccentric décor inside and out. First-time visitors are struck by the sheer abundance of visual and auditory stimulation. Every surface is covered with mosaics, collectibles and kitsch. Perhaps because there’s so much to look at, the interior feels larger than it is: one room for the bar, one for the bands, plus balcony seating in The Explorer’s Lounge on weekends, when things really fill up. Outdoors, the patio adds lush foliage to the knickknacks above, giving it an island vibe.

Venice Café’s business model is brilliantly simple: “Booze and beauty for cash.” For booze, there’s a wide selection of craft beers and mixed drinks—and the bartenders are always willing to make a suggestion that leads customers outside their comfort zone. The beauty is multifaceted. The décor is a one-of-a-kind masterwork. The music provides a nightly dose of originality (and occasionally mayhem). The staff members are people with day jobs who want to be part of the café experience. And the customers come from every corner of the region, yet feel right at home—which is the ultimate beauty of what started out as an in-home party café in 1987.

Venice Café: One of St. Louis' Most Unique Music Spaces

While you’re in the neighborhood …

Small Change STL
From the outside, Small Change looks like a stodgy corner bar in Benton Park; inside, it’s a high-quality mixology masterpiece, complete with Manhattans on draft.

2800 Indiana Ave.

Molly’s in Soulard
A sprawling restaurant compound with seven bars, all anchored by a huge patio, Molly’s has to be seen to be believed.

816 Geyer Ave.

One of Soulard’s mainstays, this bar serves up food all day every day (yes, breakfast, too) and live music every night.

2028 S. 9th St.

This story originally appeared in Guided: Soulard + Benton Park, available now in a digital issue and in print at these locations.

Images courtesy of Carmen Troesser.

Venice Café: One of St. Louis' Most Unique Music Spaces

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