Little Bevo

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Morgan Ford St. near Delor, South St. Louis, MO
This Strassenfest weekend is the perfect time to discuss Little Bevo, of which I know very little.

This needs to be said right up front: I find this building horribly unattractive and it creeps me out. But I’m often unable to control a fascination with things I hate (like Styx), and this building is a perfect example. I instinctively loathe all manner of traditional German architecture and food. Being a product of a predominantly German bloodline indicates I have some self-loathing heritage issues, but this doesn’t bother me near as much as, say, Mel Gibson does.

With the unflattering disclaimer made, a detached observation of Little Bevo is now possible.

This 1924 building is directly across from the notorious Bevo Mill, and since it was built 8 years later, it is a Mill pastiche which tends to give the immediate area a theme park feel. From the look of it, seems a safe guess that it was once a tavern and/or restaurant, and if anyone knows the history of this building, please do speak up because Little Bevo is defiantly silent.

In the 17 years of living in the South Side, I’ve never seen it anything other than boarded up. City inspectors haven’t touched it since 2001. Every single building around it has been brought to life by the Bosnian community, so it’s a sure bet that many of them have looked into buying and renovating this place, since Little Bevo sits firmly in the middle of Little Bosnia.

While life swells around it, Little Bevo just sulks. Aside from the layers of poop from years of being an elaborate pigeon coop, everything is intact. With three apartments above the retail ground floor, it’s a multipurpose building in a prime location. You just know there is a businessman who gets irked every time he has to walk by this hulk of wasted potential.

So, the building is a constant mystery, calling all kinds of attention to itself because of its silence. Is this a premeditated business maneuver of the owners? Perhaps a stand-off in a grudge match? No one wants it because it’s haunted? The character of this building encourages such exaggerated speculation.

25 thoughts on “Little Bevo

  1. in 1972 our wedding reception was held there. it was a rather strange place inside, the section on the right was long and held a lot of tables. there were several french style doors between the two main sections, a very long bar in the left section, and in back a small dance area with a juke box. we had some wedding photos taken across the street as the mill had a beautiful rock wall garden area in full bloom. very nice backdrop.

  2. As a lifelong resident of The Bevo Area , I would enjoy to know more about your vision for Little Bevo. I’m very active at St. John’s and could spread the good news about its future.

    Mary Jane Matejka

  3. As a lifelong resident of the Bevo area, I have always wished someone would fix it up; it had so much possibility. The only time I was ever inside was in 1970, one of my friends had her bridal shower there. It just looked like a bar/meeting room them. My Mom (91) said my Uncle and Aunt had their Wedding Breakfast there, so it was nicer in 1951.

    I’d like to know more about your plans. I’m very active at St. John’s and would love to tell others about your vision for Little Bevo.
    Thank you and have a great day.

    Mary Jane Matejka

  4. Katherine, welcome to the neighborhood! Alderwoman Howard spoke to us briefly in the fall fo 2013 about your plans. I hope that eventually the Little Bevo will open again and I am excited about your plans to turn it into an art venue.

  5. Bought Little Bevo and am almost complete with restoration of downstairs’ commercial space; the one upstairs apt and the back of the main floor/what previous was the kitchen when the business was a restaurant, will be rehabbed back to glory next year – one brick at a time to preserve the history/charm.

    But first:

    Little Bevo Mill will remain “Little Bevo Mill,” and will be owned by SomeVelvetDream, to be a non-profit for the arts as a live venue. ie – live music performances (original only), art exhibits, written art (fiction/poetry/etc.), and other art mediums as discovered; with a coffee/beer/wine bar; no food served by the venue directly – BUT: plans are (and an area has been built to situate) to have licensed local restaurants/ foodie artists vendors showcase their own edible creations to audiences/customers at some performances – to promote their own biz’ to a larger audience/gain customers.

    Many performances are planned to be all ages and, in fact, want to begin ideally by next summer to hire/pay high school students throughout the summer months. Giving them and opportunity/exposure of their own creations to a world-wide audience while also allowing them to work with other artists in a supportive setting.

    In meeting many of the neighbors in the area, have found there are lovely and wonderful businesses already established; am hoping for further involvement with those businesses too. It’s a great neighborhood!

    Opening is planned for the latter half of October/beginning of November 2013… with no further contracting/construction delays… the rehab construction has been done with care and dedication to preservation of architectural style… it’s becoming beautiful again. Finishing touches being completed – then: show time!

    website being constructed and will be up soon: – later, as papers filed, website will become – there will be a link to click on to the Little Bevo Mill…

    with a link and contact info on the website for submittals of creations: music performances, paintings, sculptures and other forms of fine arts, as well as submittals for readings/signings, and for stock/sale of musicians, artists, and writers’ works.

    my best… I look forward – Katherine.

  6. My grand parents owned Little Bevo when it was a tavern. They lived in the apt upstairs, if it is still there. I am 60 years old now and when they owned it I was in grade school ( Worner on Lenona) I have many memories, playing there when my grandparents took care of me on week ends! Would love to take a trip down memory lane!

  7. My mother’s story on this building went something like this.
    Carl Heinrich Dietz from Saxony was brought over from Germany to open and run the Bevo Mill for the Busches and that is what he was doing when he married my mothers aunt. He built and ran the Little Bevo. He did well with both. I don’t know what happened after that.

  8. Hey you guys…I wanted to now your opinions. I am looking into restoring little bevo and running a custom tshirt and promotional product retail facility. Would you guys come buy a shirt?

  9. It is now for sale for $89000. I wish I could buy it, restore to its original glory, and live in it! I hope whoever purchases it, appreciates it for its historic value, and restores it to its original unique, charm. Our history should be preserved.

  10. I, as a Bosnian, was very touched by what Toby Weiss and David Ackerman wrote. Thank you both for very kind words! Lately, I have been thinking a lot about Little Bevo. I pass by it almost every day. I’m also disappointed that it’s on sale as I am not able to buy it. I, as a Bosnian and art student, think Little Bevo would be perfect for ‘Little Bosnia’ museum/art gallery so that our ‘American neighbors’ have a place to go to to learn more about Bosnia and Bosnians living in this neighborhood and that we Bosnians can get to know you better as well. However, this is only my dream that I doubt will ever come true.

    Eniz Poljarevic

  11. You guys are crazy…The building is awesome… I hope to purchase it and actually start a micro brewery in it!

  12. I also grew up in the neighborhood, and still live in south St. Louis. I purchased the building a few weeks ago. I plan to clean it out and hopefully sell it to a person who would like to see it be what it once was! I am fascinated by the history of both Bevo Mill and Little Bevo. I can say that although the building needs extensive rehab, it still contains a lot of the charm and character of the 20’s.

    If interested, call Ed Tayoan with Eichelberger Realty. 314 744 1888

  13. Southside John, I checked in with some older rock & roll friends about th Elvis show you reference, and turns out it was not in Little Bevo, but in the large building on the west side of Gravois at Delor, which is now a florist. The club was called River Days, and The Good Rats, Blondie Chaplin and Clover played there as well during the short time the club was operating.

  14. I was reminiscing about a good time I had a Little Bevo. It was the later half of the 70’s when Elvis Costello played there on his first tour of the US. We watch in amazement at a 45 minute set of intense rock and roll – the early Costello. A short set for sure but most memorable. It was my first hearing of Radio Radio. Elvis dedicated the song (most appropriately to KSHE) because they sponsored the show but refuse to put his group into the playlist. The show was broadcast on another radio station so there should be tapes out there of the show. So thanks for the picture of the building – I can still see the tour bus parked in front in my mind’s eye. Southside John.

  15. Yeah, the building indeed looks unattractive. I feel like it is going to topple over anytime from the angle the picture was taken. However, what seem to be unattractive may infact be a treasure.


  17. I grew up not far from there, and during my childhood, I occasionally wandered down to a local street fair called Bevo days. (At least then the neighborhood immediately surrounding Delore and Morganford was called Bevo.)

    Anyway, the mill always intrigued me, and so little Bevo caught my attention too. My understanding from my grandparents was that it was owned by the same people as big Bevo (alias Bevo Mill), but it was less expensive. Kind of a back bar, if you will. (I think there was a dime store next to it, so the more downscale use was consistent with the block.)

    It certainly was a restaurant, in a Germanic theme, and given that it’s larger neighbor was developed by none other than Anheuser Busch in order to promote their soft drink by the same name (along with the feasting fox and a third restaurant whose name I forget).

    It’s probably no coincidence that they got into the theme park business. I believe the Forest Park Highlands was at least part owned by AB, and they were the movers and shakers behind the dairy barn that later came to be known as the Arena. (The World’s Fairs of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were some of the models of the modern theme park idea, and the Busch family was surely familiar with them.)

    I would guess this was a later expansion while still under Busch control. It was probably all sold to the same people when AB got rid of it. And those later people probably spun off or closed the smaller restaurant. Brings back some memories, anyway.

    I for one am happy as a clam to see disused landmarks of my childhood back in business. I hope little Bosnia makes good use of this property. Thanks. Sorry I can’t really answer much, but it’s fun thinking about it.


  18. I actually like this kitchy building, but I too hate stix. Dennis D. Young in particular…what an ass.

  19. I remember drinking in the bar there sometime in the late 80s or early 90s. The bar was definitely a period piece.

  20. I hate Styx too but this building makes me want to eat a schnitzel and grab a stein of bock.

  21. I’ve always been fascinated by this building. I would LOVE to see what it looks like on the inside.

    It looks like the upper floor was tuckpointed fairly recently.

  22. It’s hard to imagine that it has the same level of pigheadedness in its backstory as, say, the Avalon Theatre.
    A good guess would be that it’s your good old-fashioned White Elephant.
    I can tell you, with a fairly high degree of authority, that its primary purpose Back in the Day was rentals for private parties, etc.
    Question to readers: Is it even possible to do Old World Germanic style in the New World and NOT be kitsch? I have to wonder….

  23. Hmm… don’t know anything about that building either. Though I have driven by there a number of times and wondered myself. Hope you learn something you can share!

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