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The Pitch Athletic Club and Tavern

Challenge

When people think of St. Louis, they may think of the Arch, Anheuser-Busch, and Cardinals baseball. What most people don’t realize is that St. Louis was once a bustling Gateway to the West for train travelers and was originally a soccer city. So, when Lawrence Group was approached by their long-standing client, Lodging and Hospitality Management (LHM), with a chance to revive a historical corner of downtown St. Louis in conjunction with a new Major League Soccer (MLS) stadium being built, they jumped at the chance.

Plans to bring professional soccer back to St. Louis began in 2019, and construction for the new home to St. Louis CITY SC – CITYPARK – was underway. That set the wheels in motion for LHM to begin to restore a vacant property they owned sitting adjacent to the new stadium, originally used by St. Louis Union Station.

Solution

Union Station, a National Historic Landmark, had been undergoing its own transformation in years prior, including opening attractions like an aquarium and Ferris wheel. So, when the soccer team was announced, LHM knew what the perfect complement to a new stadium would be – what else, but a soccer-themed pub.

The Pitch sits on a historic piece of property in St. Louis Union Station. Once a part of a large baggage claim area for train travelers, Lawrence Group wanted the space to pay homage to the history of Union Station and St. Louis’ soccer history while complementing CITYPARK’s sleek and modern facade.

Featuring cozy, living-room style couches and chairs, plaid rugs and bar stool backs, and four 100-inch flat screen TVs, The Pitch is a nod to an English-style pub, but with modern conveniences perfect for groups to gather and soccer fans to unite.

Throughout the project, Lawrence Group worked closely with St. Louis’ local historical society to ensure that great care was taken with the renovations. One of the more storied parts of the renovation comes from the 19th century. Tony Faust’s Oyster House and Restaurant, which operated from 1870-1916 and was a premiere place to eat and socialize. LHM had a back bar in its possession and while it had been used in various places throughout Union Station over the years, they were waiting for the right space to repurpose and revive this intricately designed wooden piece. The private lounge of Pitch provided the perfect new home for the bar and added a rich, historical detail to the interior that pulls patrons back a century.

The teams collaborated and worked diligently to expose original brick, arched walls, and tapered columns. These elements now take center stage and give customers a peek into how dining felt in the early 20th century. The dark wood and soft overhead lighting provides the feeling of a warm, cozy pub, where you can sit around with friends, enjoy a pint, and catch a football (not the American kind) match. Patrons can also enjoy intricate design elements such as the 16 flags representing the 16 counties in the St. Louis metro area or the fleur de lis paying homage to the French influences of St. Louis’ founding.

Bringing together old and new had its challenges but the collaboration between all the parties involved resulted in a seamless melding of styles. While offering a nod to the city’s rich transportation and sports past, The Pitch marks its place in the revitalization history of downtown and is a glimpse of what’s still to come.