At Small Change, the new bar from the team behind the acclaimed Planter's House, it's not uncommon to see a patron order a can of Busch alongside a shot of amaro.
The neighborhood bar, named after a Tom Waits album, aims to provide the same attention to detail that earned Planter's House a reputation, at a lower price point. That means classic cocktails are just $8, house cocktails are $10 and beer cans range from a $2 Stag to a $9 Mikkeller pineapple Berliner Weisse.
"We're still nerds – just low-key nerds," co-owner Ted Kilgore says. "We have a few more bottles of amaro than your average neighborhood bar."
A short but sweet list of house cocktails, also inspired by Tom Waits songs, will rotate about every six weeks. "The idea is to constantly change the menu to keep it fresh, but you can always get a Sazerac or an Old Fashioned," Kilgore says.
The current menu includes a few inspired takes on classics, including the Mad as Hatters, a riff on the Singapore Sling with gin, Cherry Heering, passion fruit, lime, Angostura bitters and club soda, and the Old Fashioned-inspired Clap Hands, featuring two types of rum, banana liqueur and Tiki bitters. PBJ Time, which the team developed during the Miracle Christmas pop up in December, features a shot of peanut butter fat-washed cognac alongside one of Manischewitz Concord grape to mellow the heat. Taken one after the other, it's a fun play on the classic sandwich.
The laid-back space features 49 seats (with an additional 50 planned for the patio), vintage bar signs and the original bar back from the location's days as Benny's Pit Stop Lounge. No food is served at the bar; rather, two vending machines in the back of the space feature a handful of chips, crackers and candy. Soon, the team plans to add a few more substantial snacks like mac 'n' cheese or noodle bowls that guests can prepare in the bar's microwave.
Kilgore says a banner sign will soon be added to the front of the building, but for now, bargoers can keep an eye out for the vintage Falstaff sign out front. "The Falstaff sign is a hot topic," he says, adding that for now, the iconic sign isn't going anywhere.
Small Change is open Monday through Thursday from 4pm to midnight, Friday and Saturday from 4pm to 1am, and Sunday from 4 to 10pm.
Small Change, 2800 Indiana Ave., Benton Park, St. Louis, Missouri, facebook.com/SmallChangeSTL