You can’t help but notice them as you enter the room. Although the Friday afternoon happy hour in the Lakeview Lounge at The Gatesworth is filled with tables of four, one table is especially conspicuous— perhaps because of its size. “It’s the same group every week,” says Ginger Larsen, who has been coming to the happy hour ever since she moved in.
Suzanne Quinn and Bob Smith were among those who requested the long table, which was built especially for their group. Smith says he enjoys the happy hour because of the “drinks and free food, and lots of good fun and good company.” The friends tell jokes, catch up on each others’ news, and just generally enjoy the camaraderie. “We’re old in years and young at heart,” Larsen says.
Pat Allen, 91, is originally from Kansas City but moved to St. Louis to be near her daughter. “I did not know a single soul when I moved here,” she says, but she started coming to the happy hour on Fridays and immediately felt more at home. “We all have such a good time together and go out at least once a month to dinner for birthdays, or even if there’s no special occasion.” Larsen says it was inevitable that Allen would become part of the group. “Some people just attract you.”
Across the table from Allen sits Frank Winter, who came to The Gatesworth in 2005 and has been coming to the happy hour ever since. “They’re very accommodating here,” he says. “The chef told me, We just don’t like to say no. That’s unusual these days.”
For some, the get-together is an opportunity to visit with family. On a recent Friday night, Dr. C.C. Tung sat with his son, Harvey Tung. Dr. Tung originally came from China to the U.S. in 1948, and moved to St. Louis in 1956. All five of his children graduated from Ladue High School, but only one stayed in town. The others have moved as far as New York City, Boston, Michigan and Ohio. One of his sons, a concert pianist, has given two concerts at The Gatesworth. “All of my kids come and they say it’s the nicest place,” Tung says.
And when the happy hour in Lakeview Lounge has died down, the party continues in the West Wing, where a pianist plays American standards every Friday night. Quinn says that she taught Smith to dance, and they enjoy dancing to the music there. Although few others dance, “Bob is kind enough to ask the rest of us to dance, as well,” Larsen says. Sounds like the perfect end to a perfect evening!