The Golden Hoosier aims to brighten up its stretch of south city.
Ivan and Berto Garcia did not want to open a restaurant. The brothers have enough on their plates with their real estate firm, Garcia Properties, and are admitted neophytes when it comes to the hospitality industry. However, when they couldn't find the right person to open up the right concept in the former Southtown Pub building they own, they knew they had no choice: They needed to take matters into their own hands.
"We didn't really want to be in the business, but we were like, 'You know, what if a bar opened here and was awesome and clean and family-friendly and super unique and all these dream scenarios?'" Ivan says. "We were looking for something our neighborhood could be proud of, and we started talking about all these things we wanted, but realized no one was going to do that. That's when the cockamamy idea hatched to do it ourselves."
Over the last several months, that cockamamy idea has solidified into the Golden Hoosier (3707 South Kingshighway Boulevard)
, a bar and neighborhood gathering place that will open in spring of 2021. According to Ivan, the Golden Hoosier is meant to be a clean, comfortable space with good drinks, solid food and an inviting atmosphere that will cater to the residents around that particular stretch of south city near Chippewa and Kingshighway.
In fact, their desire to open the Golden Hoosier is less about wanting to open a bar and more about recasting the area. As a resident, Ivan has long lamented that the prominent intersection — one that he notes sees 25,000 cars a day — has not been living up to its full potential.
"This stretch of Kingshighway is near and dear to us and has a lot of potential," Ivan explains. "I live two blocks from there; that area is highly traveled, and we don't have our own little district that's thriving. We're really passionate about fixing it up and helping it realize it's potential."
The Garcia brothers started accumulating real estate in the area, and when Southtown Pub closed last August, they saw it as an opportunity to anchor the prominent corner with a comfortable-yet-nice bar that the area residents could be proud of. Though Ivan laughs that Berto did not agree with him on the name at first, he came on board when he explained that he meant it to be a term of endearment for the state of mind that blends comfort with a little bit of style.
A restored Art Deco bar is one of the many stunning design elements.
That style is evident the moment you walk into the Golden Hoosier. Though the Garcia are adamant they want the bar to be a come-as-you-are sort of place, the atmosphere is stunning. A gleaming, restored Art Deco bar lines the side of the front room, and light fixtures from the same period cast a soft glow over the black-washed bronze textured walls while tufted, semi-circle black leather banquettes create a cozy seating area. The most striking design element, however, is the collection of taxidermy animals that are hung throughout the space that set a moody vibe.
The Golden Hoosier has an upstairs bar that will serve as overflow seating or a place that can be rented out for events. The bar also boasts an impressive, campground-themed covered bar and patio that allows for plenty of outdoor seating.
Taxidermy decor creates a moody vibe.
Though the Garcias are adamant that the Golden Hoosier is, first and foremost, a bar, they are excited about the food element as well. Headed by executive chef Colleen Clawson, whose most recent projects include the wonderful Milque Toast and the pop-up Babaxavi, the kitchen will put out casual food done really well. Expect items like a burger, fish and chips, and an open-faced Portuguese sandwich that the Garcias say is sure to impress.
Ivan is upfront about the challenges that come with opening a bar, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, but he and Berto are pushing through because they truly believe in what they are doing — and he thinks others in the neighborhood will, too, once they get a chance to experience the Golden Hoosier for themselves.
The Garcias breathed new life into the former Southtown Pub.
"Improving our community is why we do what we do, and we see this as a catalyst for what we are doing," Ivan says. "We're well aware of the fact that we aren't a big company and don't have endless resources, but it was Dave Chapelle on Letterman who said one time, 'You can't fix the whole world, but you can make a corner of it pretty nice.' I know we have a lot of big problems, but we're just trying to make our little section nice, and hopefully that inspires people to fix their little corners, too."
The downstairs seating area has banquettes made in St. Louis.
The Garcias wanted their patio to look like a state park campground.
A fire pit keeps with the campground theme.
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