St. Louis' first neo-supper club, the Jumpin' Jupiter, opened its doors in Maplewood this weekend in the old Jive and Wail location (7376 Manchester Road, Maplewood; 314-645-5867). We reported on the opening back in March, and now the wait is over.
"We think of ourselves as a mini-Fox or a more intimate Pageant," says manager Ryan Callahan, son of Jim Callahan, who owns Jupiter Studios as well as the Jumpin' Jupiter. "We're more like the Fox because we do more theater-based stuff, but we're going to be doing all different kinds of music. We're not going to be doing metal or anything like that."
He adds that eventually they'll start booking high-end, national acts, and uses Rod Stewart as an example of someone he'd "love" to see at Jumpin' Jupiter. "It'd be perfect for him. Who wouldn't want to see Rod Stewart here?"
"We'll do alternative-rock acts and indie-rock acts, but nothing super hardcore. We don't want people vomiting blood all over my stage," he says, jokingly. "As much as I love the Sex Pistols, I don't want that."
Miss Jubliee and the Humdingers opened the weekend with a '40s-style burlesque review from Lola van Ella's coterie of scantily clad performers. This coming weekend, you'll find rock bands Samuriot, Dollhouse Skandal and Red Devil Radio as well as the 999 Eyes: the "last genuine freakshow in the United States." On June 25, you can see the "genuine medical atrocities" like Lobster Girl and Madame Miniature the Dancing Dwarf.
The Callahans modeled the place after what he'd seen in old films and cabarets. The pair traveled across the country visiting different venues to find how they could improve upon the supper-club model and hip it up for today's crowds. "We loved the way that old theaters were made, very ornate and beautiful."
Guests are encouraged to dress up. Standards went down after the 1960s, Callahan says (no argument here), and folks became complacent about entertainment and proper dress. He uses the Tropicana from I Love Lucy as an example of what they're going for. "You'd have a seat, you'd have a show, there was a stage, there was a house band. It was reliable every single time. Over the past 40 years, we've degraded into chaos -- we stopped having a high expectation of good food and entertainment."
Chaos, though, is one of the selling points. On Friday afternoon, as black-and-white clad servers and corseted beauties went about putting the finishing touches on the bar, mopping the floor and ensuring that every chair in the place was spotless, chaos was very much in the air.
Tickets for Jumpin' Jupiter shows are $15 for standing room and $25 for a seat. The five-course seated dinner and three-hour show will run you $65 a person. Opening night sold out in a hurry, and the Saturday show was three-quarters full at 5 p.m. on the day before.
There's no specialty cocktail menu as of yet; Callahan says it's a work in progress. "The idea is to get started and get things rolling and see where our crowd lies. If we have a lot of Michelob Ultra drinkers, we'll start stocking that. If people want specialty martinis, we'll do that. It's just figuring out what everyone wants."
Callahan raves about Urban Chestnut Brewing Company brewmaster Florian Kuplent, calling his beers "some of the best in the world." They'll have an Urban Chestnut brew on tap, as well as two Schlafly seasonals. "We're not going to carry Bud Light on tap, ever," he says, as a matter of pride. "We have it in a bottle for those who want it, but we're carrying higher-end, hand-crafted beers. We just think St. Louis deserves a higher-end...everything."
The menu will be seasonal and sourced locally. Chef Israel Rodriguez (who worked under Hubert Keller at now-shuttered SLeeK inside Lumiere Place) will be crafting the five-course menu with seasonal ingredients, many of them sourced locally. Truffled popcorn (and mashed potatoes and mac & cheese), Kobe flat-iron steak, Blue Point oysters and heirloom chicken were on the opening weekend à la carte menu. In addition to a five-star chef, Callahan says they're taking a note from the Ritz Carlton credo: "We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen." Callahan endeavors to give the best experience possible: He says he'll run out to Jack in the Box if a guest is craving $1 tacos instead of $10 pan-seared halibut.
"We just want to show that you don't have to be a low-end venue, you don't have to get people in the door, get them drunk and shove them out the door and be mean to them. You're never going to see a bouncer out there that's going to be mean to you. You're never going to feel like if you stand somewhere you're going to get yelled out. It's OK, you can go to the bar, buy a beer and go over there," Callahan says, motioning to the high-top standing-room tables. "I insist!"