Harpo's to Open in Soulard Spot Previously Home to Johnny's

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Harpo's, a sports bar favorite with three locations across Missouri, will open a fourth in Soulard. - COURTESY OF HARPO'S CHESTERFIELD
  • COURTESY OF HARPO'S CHESTERFIELD
  • Harpo's, a sports bar favorite with three locations across Missouri, will open a fourth in Soulard.
Harpo's, the bar made famous in Columbia, Missouri, before opening locations in Laclede's Landing, Chesterfield and Kansas City, is coming to Soulard. John Rieker, who co-owns the Chesterfield Harpo's with Steve Barnes, confirms that he has purchased Johnny's Restaurant & Bar and will be reopening it as Harpo's.

Johnny's, which has operated at 1017 Russell Boulevard for 24 years, will be closing July 29 (after a final blowout or two, of course). Rieker then hopes to reopen as Harpo's in September.

See also: Johnny's Restaurant & Bar Owners Selling After Two Decades in Soulard


The city has been without a Harpo's location since the one in Laclede's Landing closed in 1996. Rieker is looking forward to changing that.

"I've wanted to do a second location for the last year," he says, noting that he and his partner considered south county and Clayton as well. "But I could see a big opportunity in Soulard. It's the nightlife district of the entire metro area."

Rieker believes that filling the 6,000 square foot space will be no trouble at all. The Chesterfield location, he notes, is almost as big, and the fact that Johnny's space includes a second floor will allow an opportunity to cordon off areas for parties or special events.

Like Johnny's, Harpo's is proud of its food offerings — "I believe we have the best sports bar menu anywhere," Rieker says. "There's bar food you can eat, and there's bar food you can eat and not feel like shit the next day." In Chesterfield, he notes, the place does a big lunch and happy hour business.

They'll also be offering karaoke every Wednesday, and either bands or DJs on the weekends — so Johnny's famously party-hearty atmosphere will not change. One thing that will, though, is the servers' attire, which pioneered the lingerie trend later adopted by other Soulard bars.

"We do have a touch of class," Rieker says. "Our goal is to be your neighborhood bar."

We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at sarah.fenske@riverfronttimes.com



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