So St. Louis: Teens dream of a New Year’s morning party at Pop’s | St. Louis Metro News | Saint Louis

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Sarah Lovett

Downtown St. Louis is so St. Louis.

My friend and I were only 19 and, having grown up in West County, we had never been to the East side. But we had heard enough from our fathers and older brothers to know that on New Year’s morning – when we were wide awake and wired in a room full of passed out friends – the only thing to do was to head for the Mississippi River, on the other side of which we expected to find an interminable bacchanalia.

“Do you think it will even be open?” my friend asked as he piloted his ’64 Jeep, his eyes narrowing and staring straight ahead in a drunken pantomime of focused, diligent driving.

“Dude,” I say. “It’s Pop’s. They never close.”

In my teenage mind, I only knew Pop’s as a place that never closed and crazy things happened, probably 24 hours a day. I knew its logo featured a guitar. The half-baked assumption in my mind was that the bands were performing live 24/7, on the Pop stage, in front of a crowd that was always drinking in a frenzy.

In our drunk, pre-smartphone 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 crazy props to Pop’s bouncer working the sunrise shift on Jan. 1, 2007. He had a handlebar mustache and shaved head, orange shirt, jeans and work boots. He looked like he had to show up at a construction site rather than look at my friend and my fake IDs.

He gave us back the IDs and didn’t step aside to let us in through the front door.

“Go home and get some sleep,” he said.

And we did.

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