The latest tenants in Ballpark Village were announced last week: St. Louis icon Ted Drewes Frozen Custard and Central West End sushi bar Drunken Fish. They're joining Anheuser-Busch (duh), PBR (huh?), plus a dueling-piano-bar chain. Oh, and that 400-spot parking lot.
The Ballpark Village project has been plagued with delays and setbacks, but it will supposedly be finished in time for opening day 2014. Fan response has been mixed -- after all, as Elliot Davis would say, you paid for it.
However, few people can argue with Ted Drewes. St. Louisans love it, the home of the concrete, and it's the perfect baseball-season treat. In other words, it's exactly the opposite of that parking lot, which has been getting so much bad press.
Drunken Fish already has three locations in town (Laclede's Landing and Westport Plaza, in addition to the CWE), while Howl at the Moon, the piano bar, has fourteen locations in several states. Still, we aren't sure this will be enough to ease the pain of spent tax dollars.
Alderman Scott Oglivie argued against tax subsidies for Ballpark Village earlier this year because hey, it's not like St. Louis needs more bars. We beg to differ, but we get the point. Ballpark Village might be one of those places where everyone goes because it's there -- kind of like paying $9 for a beer at Busch Stadium. You don't really have a choice.
However, there are tons of established pre- and post-Cards game bars and restaurants. Will it be worth it to brave huge crowds and presumably high prices just to party at Ballpark Village?
We contacted both the developer, the Cordish Companies, and the Cardinals several times since the announcement to see how it thought this would affect Ballpark Village's image problem. We'll update this post if we get a response.