Best Blast From the Past St. Louis 2005 - Hideaway Restaurant & Lounge
"The place is 50 years old," owner Al Coco says of his south-city institution, the Hideaway. "Nobody's ever changed the name, and it's always been a piano bar. And that's the way it's going to stay." Darn tootin'. Coco, the Hideaway's fifth owner, bought the joint in 1999, attracted by its laid-back atmosphere. He spruced up the interior with a soothing maroon theme but left everything else unchanged. That includes the eighteen-year veteran at the keyboard: Mark Dew. The pianist shows off his fancy fingers Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for a crowd that shifts from truckers at 7 to yuppies at 11. Weekends there's always a sing-along or two. Besides the music, one of the best things about the Hideaway is its last-century price list. Beers and cocktails go for $2.25 and $2.75, respectively (a mere quarter more when the music plays). The sign outside always says "Barmaids Wanted," but there's never a shortage of buxom servers with barrettes in their tresses. "I just leave it out there," Coco says of the sign. "Although one night we put out there, "Customers Wanted.' That got a mixed reaction," he deadpans.