History of Soulard & the 1860 Saloon, Game Room & Hardshell Café
Soulard, a historic French neighborhood, is named for Antoine & Julia Soulard. Antoine left France to literally save his head because he was a loyalist to King Louis XVI during the French Revolution. He was granted property as payment for his services as a surveyor for the Spanish government. Julia gave two city blocks to the people of St. Louis and stipulated that the land should forever be used as a public market. Soulard Market is the oldest farmers’ market west of the Mississippi. (This info & more is on SoulardEvents.com)
1860 Saloon was built in the late 1800’s as a two-family townhouse. In the early 1900’s the south side residence was converted to commercial space with the north side preserved as the business owners’ home. Over the years the commercial space was a bakery, butcher shop, confectionary, and in the 1960’s, a storefront church. Eventually the two spaces were made into a tavern. In the early 1980’s, Richard Marion bought the building for $15,000 and named it Marion’s 1860’s Tavern. It quickly earned a reputation as THE place for live blues music, attracting talented musicians from all over the Midwest.
In 1989, with Mardi Gras celebrations and neighborhood growth, an addition (now the Game Room) with a kitchen was added. The exposed beams are from old Missouri railroad tresses. A few years later construction began on what was to be a “New Orleans style” garden area. But, as projects sometimes go, by the end a roof, doors and windows were added. A unique feature is that the concrete floor has heat pipes underneath, designed with the original garden plans, so the snow and ice would melt off when bad weather prevailed. We still use the system on cold winter nights to heat the floor. The roof is reclaimed wood from a St. Louis warehouse. Our Jesters are from “Mardi Gras World”, the major float builder for New Orleans parades, and obtained when a local casino remodeled. The Hardshell and Saloon tin ceilings are from a plant in Nixa, MO using 19th century manufacturing techniques. In 2006, two long-time customers and Soulard fans, Tom Gullickson and Max Burton, purchased the bar. Each of their families are involved in its continued success. In 2011, with the conversion of the middle room to the Game Room, the name became 1860 Saloon, Game Room & Hardshell Café.
Thank you for visiting us in the heart of Historic Soulard. Here’s a toast to the future!
The Best in live St. Louis Blues music. SEVEN Nights a Week. Plus Saturday & Sunday Afternoons. With a vintage back bar, wood floors and saloon atmosphere, relax and enjoy St. Louis blues greats!
Our Game Room, with its high wood-beamed ceiling, wall of windows and large brick fireplace is a fun and relaxing experience for all. Please stop by and enjoy foosball, pool and more for a unique place to relax with friends.
At the Hardshell Cafe, dine in an outdoor garden environment The expansive menu of fresh seafood and Cajun specialties offers a wonderful culinary experience in a setting featuring a huge fish tank, tropical plants and the “Giant Jesters”! Selections include award-winning crab cakes, oysters, toasted ravioli and pizza, along with fabulous Cajun favorites like gumbo, red beans & rice, and jambalaya. Plus, we always have delicious lunch and dinner specials. Food is available at all three venues.