So St. Louis: Teens Dream of New Year's Day Morning Party at Pop's

An anonymous story about something that could only happen in the Gateway City

Jan 6, 2023 at 10:20 am
click to enlarge Downtown St. Louis is so St. Louis. - Sarah Lovett
Sarah Lovett
Downtown St. Louis is so St. Louis.

My friend and I were only 19 years old and, having grown up in west county, had never been to the east side. But we'd heard enough about it from our fathers and older brothers to know that on the morning of New Year's Day — when we were wide awake and wired in a room full of passed-out friends — the only thing to do was head for the Mississippi River, on the other side of which we thought we'd find a never-ending bacchanal.

"Do you think it'll even be open?" my friend asked as he piloted his Jeep down 64, his eyes narrowed and gaze straight ahead in an inebriated pantomime of focused, diligent driving.

"Dude," I said. "It's Pop's. They never close."

In my teenage mind, I knew Pop's only as a place that never closed and where wild things occurred, presumably around the clock. I knew its logo featured a guitar. The half-baked assumption in my mind was that bands performed live 24/7 on the Pop's stage to a crowd ever-drinking itself into a frenzy.

In our inebriated state, in the pre-smart phone era, I have no idea how we found the place. But we did.

Shame on my friend for driving drunk and even more shame on me for letting him.

But mad props to the Pop's bouncer working the sunrise shift on January 1, 2007. He had a handlebar mustache and shaved head, an orange shirt, jeans and work boots. He looked like he ought to be reporting to a construction site rather than eyeing my friend's and my fake IDs.

He handed the IDs back to us and did not move aside to let us in the front door.

"Go home and get some sleep," he said.

And we did.

Every week, the RFT runs an anonymous short story that could only take place here. Send your So St. Louis story to [email protected].

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