Live Blog: 24 Consecutive Hours at Pop's Nightclub

Pop's rocks 24/7, we've heard. - Diana Benanti
Diana Benanti
Pop's rocks 24/7, we've heard.

We've all done it. You're at a bar and it's closing time, but you're not quite ready for the night to end. Maybe you want to grab just one more drink. Then someone in your crew suggests that you "go to the east side."

Fifteen minutes later you're in another state. You've crossed the Mississippi River into Sauget, Illinois, and you find yourself in a massive gravel parking lot, stumbling into the after-hours beacon that is Pop's Nightclub & Concert Venue.

Pop's is a rare bar that is open (and serves booze) 24 hours a day, making it the go-to spot for late-night debauchery. But what happens there during the daylight hours?

I decided to spend one full day at Pop's to see what it's like without beer goggles. Pop's offers many amenities that make an adventure like this manageable: lockers to hold your stuff, comfortable couches for lounging, a variety of food and loads of entertainment. (Both accidental and on purpose.) It's an easy place to have a good time.

So starting now, noon on Saturday, March 8, I'll be live-blogging my experience at Pop's here on RFT Music. Entries will include updates, photos, interviews and research on the history of the venue and its "24/7 Since 1981" tagline.

I'm going east. Check back soon (and often) for live updates.


Sunday, March 9, 2014 - 01:01pm HEY, GUESS WHAT? I'm leaving Pop's now!

I thought that once I spent 24 consecutive hours here that I'd never want to come here again, but the exact opposite is true. I love it here. All of the employees have been so nice, and I've actually had a great time for at least 22 hours of my 24 hour adventure. Bartender Teresa greeted me and is now sending me off. Big thanks to my friends who came and hung out with me and much love to the staff at Pop's for being so sweet and telling me countless (mostly unrepeatable) stories and gossip about superstars and touring bands.

So, does Pop's really rock 24/7? Oh, yes. Indeed. Check out the Pop's website, "like" the Facebook page or stop in to see for yourself.

Me? I'm headed west. Night night.

click to enlarge Full circle, 24 hours later
Full circle, 24 hours later

Sunday, March 9, 2014 - 12:30pm Random facts about my 24 hours at Pop's:

I am losing my voice. The combination of exhaustion and yelling over music has done me in. Send tea.

Most heard songs: Icona Pop - "I Love It" - 7 times Lorde - "Royals" - 6 times M.I.A. - "Paper Planes" - 5 times Robin Thicke - "Blurred Lines" - 4 times

I think I powdered my nose six times while I was here.

By the time the sun came up my boots were sticking to the floor. Drunk people spill drinks. A lot.

At about 7:30 last night a 45ish-year-old white man wearing a plastic horse mask over his face, a weird-ass outfit and full-size scuba flippers entered the bar. The place was practically empty, and he asked (in a very high-pitched fake voice) to speak to "the reporter lady." He was met with hard blinks and blank faces. The excellent staff told him that I wasn't here, and he asked to look around for me. He did one lap through the bar-- clopping and flopping all the way in his scuba flippers-- before placing a red apple on the bar (without explanation) and then leaving. What. In. The. Fuck. Dude, did you just want me to promote your band or something? You could've just showed up and hung out. Instead, you freaked us all out. So, congrats? In any case, I didn't mention this dude earlier in this live-blog because I didn't want him to come back. The staff here has been having fun watching the security footage of Mr. Horse Head. I'm going to request of copy of that surreal shit, m'self.

Sunday, March 9, 2014 - 12:17pm Hanging with a dude called Stretch from PT's Sports Cabaret. He has lots of good blonde jokes. For real, though. Countdown: 45 minutes.

Sunday, March 9, 2014 - 11:19am I'm hearing the music here at low volume through overworked ears, and if I didn't know better I'd swear that on that Daft Punk/Pharrell song it sounds like he's singing "You go suck a dick."

Sunday, March 9, 2014 - 11:05am A half an hour ago there were about 40 patrons here. Now there are ten. Though this place spent most of the night functioning as a mega dance club, it's now back to the same (extra large) corner-bar vibe that it had when I first arrived. The stumbling drunks have headed out, and all of the people left are just sitting at the bar, shootin' the shit.

Sunday, March 9, 2014 - 10:34am Taylor Swift's "22" is playing on the radio here! I feel like getting out my T-Swizz notebook and dancing around. Is that weird? I might be a little delirious. I've been awake for 26 hours now, forgive me.

Sunday, March 9, 2014 - 10:20am Big J just finished DJing, and we had a bro-down. He saw that I was drinking Red Bull and suggested that I try Monster Rehab, promising that it tasted like tea. We split a can and had a "mini-social" (others would call this a "cheers") and hung out for a bit. I asked him about his energetic, enthusiastic DJ style and he said, "Well, the way I look at it, if I'm having fun, then everybody else is having fun." Truth.

When he was leaving, I thanked him for all of the excellent music and told him that he saved my life with his good tunes. He said, "There's a song about that!"

And then we sang the chorus to this:

Sunday, March 9, 2014 - 9:40am The bartender who was on shift when I arrived here yesterday is back for her shift today. The DJ is playing a mix that includes the Commodores' "Easy." There is hope. One day I will be home again.

Sunday, March 9, 2014 - 9:29am Oh, you know, just at Pop's at 9:30 in the morning talking about JFK assassination theories. The sun is shining bright outside, and every time the door opens and I see a flash of it I cower and hiss like a Lost Boys vampire. There are still about 150 people here. They are entertaining me with their terrible fashion choices.

Sunday, March 9, 2014 - 9:15am Yeah, anyway.

Continue to the next page for earlier dispatches.

About The Author

Jaime Lees

Jaime Lees is the digital content editor for the Riverfront Times.
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