Metro-East News

‘Old school’ neighborhood bar planned for Belleville’s Main Street

Roger Dunning knows what he likes in a bar: frosted mugs, Stag on draft and an “old school,” friendly atmosphere.

That’s what he plans to offer when he resurrects the former Lyle Fischer’s bar at 1201 E. Main St. in Belleville. It will be called Roger’s Place and he plans to have it open by the end of March.

“A neighborhood bar,” is how Dunning describes what he envisions for Roger’s Place. “Very, very old school. Stag on tap. Anyone that remembers the bars in this town from 30 to 50 years ago, that’s what it’s going to be again.”

Dunning noted Stag is a given for a bar in Belleville, where the “original dry beer” was brewed for more than a century before the brewery closed in 1988.

Roger’s Place will lease the building from Poettker’s Catering, which has an office next to the bar. Dunning currently works part time for Poettker’s and has been with the company for more than 20 years.

The exterior has been renovated and now work is being done on the interior.

The original bar will remain in place but video gaming will be added, Dunning said. Also, a beer garden will be be offered on the patio along Main Street and parking will be in the rear.

Dunning, who is a certified bartender, has experience in the hospitality industry since 1981 but this will be his first venture as owner of a business.

The Belleville City Council has approved the special use permit for a liquor license for Dunning and his wife, Laura, who will keep the books for the bar.

The hours will be 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday to Thursday and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Roger’s Place doesn’t have an online site yet but Dunning plans to get one.

Dunning said he wants Roger’s Place customers to feel comfortable.

“That’s main pet peeve with all the businesses now, people act like they don’t want to wait on you,” he said. “They act like you ruined their day because they came. I don’t like that.”

Dunning won’t offer food initially but he may do that at a later date. However, a menu will be part of the décor.

A Lyle Fischer’s menu from 1966 was found in the attic and Dunning wants to frame it for the new bar. And what about specials from that ’66 menu? You could order a T-bone dinner for $3.50.

Mike Koziatek joined the Belleville News-Democrat in 1998 as an assistant editor and is now a reporter covering the Belleville area. He graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee and grew up in St. Louis.