Sports & Social sports bar and restaurant will take the first floor of a building, beneath Onelife Fitness. (Courtesy St. Louis Cardinals)

Expanding St. Louis complex to add Sports & Social, Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse, Baseballism

Ballpark Village, the retail and entertainment district across the street from Busch Stadium in St. Louis, is expanding. Sports bar Sports & Social, Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse and apparel retailer Baseballism are part of the $300 million second phase for the development. 

The announcement on the three tenants is being made today. 

Ballpark Village is a partnership between Major League Baseball’s St. Louis Cardinals and The Cordish Cos., a Baltimore developer that specializes HCG in building mixed-use districts linked to sports facilities.

Sports & Social is Cordish’s proprietary brand for a high-end sports bar, restaurant and live music venue. The 9,000-square-foot destination is set to open by April 2, the date of the Cardinals’ regular-season home opener against Baltimore, team President Bill DeWitt III confirmed. 

The project cost for Sports & Social alone runs about $10 million, according to Reed Cordish, a principal with The Cordish Cos. It’s situated on the ground floor of a three-story building.

Onelife Fitness occupies the second and third floors. It’s the second Onelife location at a Cordish development; the first opened at the Kansas City Power & Light District, across the street from Sprint Center. 

It’s Cordish’s fifth location for Sports & Social and the third property connected to a MLB venue. The other two locations opened in 2017 at The Battery Atlanta next to SunTrust Park and in 2018 at Texas Live!, next to Globe Life Park and Globe Life Field, the Texas Rangers’ new ballpark, which will open in March.

A rendering shows the Ballpark Village Sports & Social, which is scheduled to open by April 2.

Sports & Social is designed as a high-end sports viewing experience anchored by a giant LED video screen in the middle of the restaurant. There’s a stage for live music and social games such as bowling, shuffleboard, darts, foosball, golf simulators and pingpong. 

The first location opened 10 years ago as part of Fourth Street Live!, an entertainment district in Louisville. Cordish converted a Lucky Strike bowling facility into Sports & Social, reducing the number of bowling lanes to create a more all-encompassing entertainment theme with social games and an upscale tavern room plus the bar and restaurant.

“We took a concept that hadn’t worked with that company and turned it into a major success,” Cordish said. “It’s been a juggernaut ever since. One of the reasons it’s been successful and continues to grow is the high level of design, from audio-visual to a commitment to food and beverage.”

Sports & Social typically books local bands to perform five to seven nights a week, making it more than a sports bar, he said. The tavern room, a separate space, provides a quieter experience for patrons who want to take a break from the noisy crowds watching the game on the big screen TV.

“The customer mix is basically 50-50 female to male, and that’s not what you expect at a place that’s heavy on sports,” Cordish said. “Because of the design, the food, the social games and entertainment, it’s a very female-friendly concept, which is a great thing.”

DeWitt got to experience Sports & Social in Atlanta during the MLB playoffs when the Cardinals took on the Braves at SunTrust Park. The location sits directly across from the ballpark and remains one of the most active pieces of The Battery Atlanta since it opened in spring 2017.

“I saw it right before a game and it was hopping obviously on a nice day, and that was pretty exciting,” DeWitt said. “It’s a high-energy brand. It attracts a younger demographic, age 21 to 35. It’s one of those spots where as soon as you walk in you’re going to have fun with the games and the nature of the TVs and the way the servers interact.”

Davio’s Italian Steakhouse, owned by chef Steve DiFillippo, originated in Boston and has 12 locations across the country. Baseballism, owned by three Portland entrepreneurs, is a lifestyle apparel concept and has nine locations, including stores next to Wrigley Field and Fenway Park. 

Those two tenants are situated on the first floor of the new Live by Loews hotel that’s part of the second phase encompassing a total of 700,000 square feet across four new buildings.

Ballpark Village continues to evolve as a live-work-play development since the first phase opened in 2014. In addition to the hotel, an office tower is under construction, plus One Cardinal Way, a 300-room apartment tower overlooking left field at Busch Stadium.

To this point, 45 percent of the apartments have been leased ahead of the June opening, according to DeWitt. Project officials feel good about that number, considering St. Louis has been behind other markets such as Kansas City in downtown residential development, he said.

Monthly rent runs from $1,400 for a one-bedroom apartment up to $3,450 for a penthouse suite, according to published reports.

“You’re in the catbird seat from a view standpoint,” DeWitt said. “Seventy to eighty percent of the residences will have some sort of ballpark view. There’s demand there, a hunger for downtown urban living, and our theory is, if it doesn’t work in this building, it’s not going to work.”