The old neighborhood, blessed with such food-and-drink shrines as Duff's, Café Balaban, Kopperman's, Bissinger's and the like, will certainly survive and thrive. The real story here is the new neighborhood, which is rapidly turning into a hip haven.
The Vintage Room (vintage 2001) is going in at 6 S. Sarah Ave., halfway between Laclede Avenue and the Forest Park Parkway. It'll have roughly twice the space the previous store had, complete with a full-service bar that will serve light, upscale bar snacks (pâté, bread and olive oil) to start and, possibly, an expanded menu later on. Our pal Jason Craig, general manager and head bartender, will sell you a bottle of wine or pour you a martini, whatever the occasion demands.
The Southern Belle Supper Club is going strong down the street; its patio is open, and marvelous breads, cakes and pastries are available at the adjoining Mullen Creek Bakery. In nonfood neighborhood news, rehabbed office space is being completed in the Dorris Motor Car building, and a gaggle of new-old apartments and lofts have come online in the 4200 block of Laclede. And then there's the techno hotbed called the Center for Emerging Technology, just up the block on the Parkway.
It looks as if this long-underutilized corner of the CWE is reaching critical mass. The opening of the Vintage Room is predicated on final permits (call 314-367-9463 for updates), but it looks to be a great place to get a drink this summer and for a long time to come.