Midtown Alley News

Live in the Alley Recap

Oct 2, 2014 By: lindsey

Thanks to everyone for joining us at Live in the Alley last week to cap off St. Louis Design Week! We had a lot of fun and it was great to see all the Midtown Alley friends and neighbors there (as well as some new faces). 

Midtown Alley Live in the Alley

If you stopped by our photobooth and are looking for a copy of your picture, check out the full gallery on Flickr where you can download your photos, easy as pie. Just select your photo and click on the download arrow on the bottom right.

The photobooth and street fest photo albums are also on Facebook, if that's your jam. Tag yourself in our photos on Facebook and share with your friends! 

Until next time, friends! 

Join St. Louis BWorks for Automobile Row Bike Tour

Jul 29, 2014 By: TOKY Branding + Design

On Saturday, August 2, St. Louis BWorks is offering a free and family-friendly bike tour of Automobile Row. The tour will visit several of the buildings from Automobile Row, as well as other sites of historic importance, including both the sole survivor of St. Louis’ first “private place” and perhaps the most overlooked literary landmark in the entire country.

The ride starts at 9:30 a.m. Meet at the intersection of Locust and Theresa, one block north of Olive and east of Grand. For more information, visit

Sushi Spot BaiKu Coming to Hotel Ignacio

Jul 29, 2014 By: Katherine Leonard Restaurants

News hit last week that the ground floor of Hotel Ignacio (3407 Olive St.) will soon be home to BaiKu Sushi Lounge. 

The restaurant's name translates to "motorcycle" in Japanese, so it will fit right in on a motorcycle-friendly block that includes the Moto Museum, Triumph Grill, and Moto Europa

The team behind BaiKu includes Steve Smith (partner at Hotel Ignacio and owner of Triumph Grill, Moto Museum, and Moto Europa), as well as Brad Beracha, who owned Miso on Meramec and Araka. Soung Min Lee, former executive sushi chef at Central Table Food Hall, will run BaiKu's sushi bar. 

The restaurant is expected to open in early September — but it won't be the only sushi spot on the block. We've heard reports that another sushi restaurant is setting up shop on Cardinal and Olive, right next door to Fuel Coffee.

Live in the Alley #2 on Friday, July 25

Jul 22, 2014 By: Katherine Leonard Events Music Street Fest

On Friday, July 25, TOKY is sponsoring round two of Live in the Alley: A Creative Block Party. Festivities begin at 4:30 p.m. on Locust Street between Garrision and Cardinal. Stop by to mingle with your neighbors and enjoy music from Elemental Shakedown (RFT's 2012 Bluegrass Band of the Year). Dave Bailey and the Small Batch crew will be selling beer, punch, pork and chicken sliders, and pretzels with dip. 

Admission is free, but be sure to swing by and RSVP on Facebook

Fuel Coffee Co. Coming to Midtown Alley Fall 2014

Jul 17, 2014 By: Katherine Leonard Restaurants

Caffeine and creative work tend to go hand in hand, but despite the dozens of creative shops that line Locust Street, the neighborhood has been sorely lacking in the coffee department — until now. This fall, Midtown Alley employees will be able to make coffee runs within neighborhood boundaries, with the opening of Fuel Coffee Co. at the corner of Olive and Cardinal.

Last week we stopped by to take a look around the space and chat with manager Caleb Wolz about what's in store. The small but bright space is intended for grab-and-go coffee and snacks. With seating for just six, space is limited, but there will be a rail where customers can stand, chat, and check email while awaiting drink orders. The cafe's floor-to-ceiling windows will be updated with stained glass panels, and there will also be a rooftop garden with skyline views and a small amount of seating available by appointment for client meetings.

"This community is great," Wolz said of the neighborhood. "I got to talk with a lot of the neighbors at Live in the Alley, and we're excited to be here, and be a part of everything that's going on."

The plan is to serve drip coffee and espresso sourced from Metropolis, a roasting company founded in Chicago in 2003. "I'll also be doing some roasting of my own," says Wolz, who built his first roaster from a popcorn popper. Initially, he wants to experiment with a light roast. "Not a lot of people have been able to experience a true light roast because they go bad so quickly," he says. "We'll be roasting a small amount in-house, so we can serve it the next day."

Fuel will be working with a local partner to bring in baked goods and grab-and-go lunch items, including wraps and sandwiches. They'll also have smoothies made-to-order with fresh fruit from Soulard Farmer's Market.

Fuel is set to open in the fall of 2014, potentially as early as September 1. Rumor has it that a sushi restaurant is also setting up shop in the space next door. Stay tuned for details.

From Daguerreotype to Smartphone: New IPHF Exhibit Examines Portrait History

Jul 14, 2014 By: Katherine Leonard Arts Events

The term "selfie" may be a product of the smartphone era, but photographic portraits as a whole — from iconic celebrity photos to informal family snapshots — have been an integral part of our culture for the past 175 years. 

In its latest exhibition, the International Photography Hall of Fame (3415 Olive Street) provides a historical perspective on the portrait, examining the forms and processes that have captivated our attention for the past 175 years.

Portrait/Process is IPHF's third exhibition here in St. Louis, and, as the name implies, it is all about the process of portrait photography. I stopped by last week to take a look around the galleries, and was lucky enough to get a guided tour from Executive Director John Nagel and Director of Exhibitions Jason Gray.

The work comes from local artists and internationally known photographers alike, and dates all the way back to the very first form of photographic portrait. "The daguerreotype was announced in 1839, and it took off like wildflowers," Nagel said. "Believe it or not, ninety percent of the photographs made were portraits. You see very little landscapes or anything like that. Everybody rushed to get their portraits made because — even though it was a complicated process — it was cheaper to get a portrait made with a daguerreotype than it was to get a painter to paint you."

Turns out, the daguerreotype portrait — which you'll see in many places throughout the exhibition — also has a special connection right here in Middle America. "Even after other photography processes were introduced, daguerreotypes were made popular in the United States, especially so in Midwestern centers outside New York City — so there's a strong connection to the daguerreotype locally," Gray pointed out.

The exhibit is broken into three separate salons, with the first focusing on the conceptual portrait. "You see a change in this particular salon with the photograph being less associated with the image and more with the concept and also the object of the photograph itself," Gray noted. "It sort of takes on the characteristics of almost a sculpture."

The next salon represents the studio portrait, and includes work from local artists Mark Katzmann and John Foster, as well as International Photography Hall of Fame inductee Yousuf Karsh. Donated to the exhibition by Karsh's wife, these celebrity portraits include the visages of Winston Churchill, Muhammad Ali, and Albert Einstein.

"The photograph that he did of Einstein was really the first sentimental portrait of him," Gray explained. "At the time he was considered sort of this evil genius because of his work that contributed to the atomic bomb. So when Karsh photographed him, he wanted to explore the other side."

The final salon focuses on the environmental portrait, where you'll see Herman Leonard's portraits of famous jazz musicians from Billie Holiday to Thelonius Monk, followed by Michael Dvorak's shots of everyday people at home in Minnesota.

At the very end of the exhibit sits a photobooth that emulates the background used by a local photographer from the Victorian era. Visitors are encouraged to snap a portrait on their smartphone and tag @iphfinstl on Instagram.

Portrait/Process runs from June 19 through September 28, 2014. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors. For more information, visit or call 314-535-1999.

Scroll Through Midtown Alley History on Instagram

Jul 10, 2014 By: Katherine Leonard

Ever wonder what Midtown Alley was like before Fountain on Locust, the Moto Museum, and Small Batch moved in?

Over on Instagram, we're sharing glimpses of the neighborhood's photographic history, with images ranging from the late 1800s to the well-documented days of Automobile Row. To take a look back with us, just give us a follow on Instagram — you can fund us under @midtownalley.

Creatives Night at Barnett on Washington on July 10

Jun 26, 2014 By: Katherine Leonard Events

On Thursday, July 10, Barnett on Washington is hosting its second Creatives Night, an event designed to bring the industry together for drinks and networking. The event will feature craft beer and liquor tastings, plus access to Barnett on Washington's cigar room. 

Creatives Night Part Deux runs from 5 p.m. to midnight at 3207 Washington Avenue. Entry is free with passes from