Best New Rock Club - 2009
In January, near-downtown music venue the Bluebird closed for a few weeks. Usually such a move signals that a club is in the throes of death, but in this case the pause was for some much-needed remodeling. A few weeks later, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the venue reopened as the Firebird. The improvements were small but important: a raised ceiling above the stage, a light system purchased from now-closed Olive Street establishment 2 Cents Plain, a bigger bar located in the back and lots of black paint on the walls. The accoutrements gave the club a rock-den vibe and plenty of personality — assets many complained were missing from the Bluebird — and made it feel like a place you might find in music hotspots such as Chicago or Austin. Most important, the Firebird carried on the Bluebird's forward-thinking booking, which means that the city's music fans continue to have a place to see hot touring acts that might otherwise skip St. Louis.