Soulard – known as the historic French neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri today, Soulard has come to be a Mecca of fine dining, raucous nightlife, and entertainment options that keep everyone happy and entertained all night long. Named in honor of Antoine Soulard, who first began to develop the land hundreds of years ago, Soulard was a surveyor for the Spanish government and a refugee from the French Revolution during the 1790s.
Today, Soulard is one of the oldest communities in St. Louis. It is a mostly residential neighborhood. Many businesses include restaurants, bars, and headquarters of Anheuser-Busch, which houses the St. Louis Brewery today. It is a top-rated tourist destination. Within Soulard, 50% of the neighborhood, north of Lynch Street, is row homes, small apartments, and the Anheuser-Busch Brewery and headquarters occupying most of the land to the south of Lynch. Many of the houses located in this area are older than 200-years, including several historic churches that mark the region’s cultural heritage.
Soulard District Nightlife – Saint Louis, MO
Many of the bars within the Soulard region host live music, especially the blues and jazz bands, which define the urban, French-characteristic of the region. The barrelhouse blues piano player, James Crutchfield, lived in Soulard until his death in 2001 and performed at many of the nightclubs that still carry on that kind of soul today.
The district also hosts pub crawls that include a few of the many drinking establishments and nightlife venues.
There are multiple neighborhood groups, including the Soulard Restoration Group and the Soulard Business Association. Together, these groups organize events, keep the neighborhood safe and clean, and publish a personal newspaper called the Soulard Renaissance. In addition, the region’s own newspaper covers local events, politics, and real estate and business trends that can be viewed within the Soulard geographical lines.
Soulard is proudly home to one of the oldest farmer’s markets west of the Mississippi. The market includes more than 100 vendors with farmers, produce vendors, meat shops, spice shops, florist shops, and food vendors in attendance.
The Soulard Restoration Group, founded in 1972, is a group of individuals who organized and filed papers with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. A National Historic District designation allows the organization to preserve, protect, and enhance the history and significant buildings within the Soulard District.
Soulard takes pride in many events they host throughout the year, including Mardi Gras and Oktoberfest celebrations. In addition, the region plays host to the St. Louis Mardi Gras festival, which sometimes attracts more than a hundred thousand attendees each year. St. Louis hosts the second most significant Mardi Gras celebration after New Orleans in America. Like the Louisiana counterpart, the Soulard version features several parades. On the second Sunday, before Mardi Gras, a family-oriented pet parade called Krewe of Barkus. Dog races then follow the parade, and on the Saturday before Fat Tuesday, a more mature parade occurs for adult spectators.