At 2 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon, a fresh-faced kid strides into the bar. He barely looks old enough to drink his own product, yet Ben Monsees is co-owner of The Shot Bar. Before blossoming into a business owner, the recent University of Missouri graduate spent years working for his uncle in a similar setting, so when fellow entrepreneurs Ryan Walsh and Andy O’Neill approached him with their idea for The Shot Bar, he relied on the training he’d gleaned from previous industry experience.
“Shot bars started in Barcelona,” Monsees says, “but we wanted to take the idea of the shot bar and make it more accommodating. What we decided we were going to do is offer an expanded menu of shots and try to make everything cost appropriate.”
Looking past the flat-screen television, anyone in the room can see the wall-sized menu detailing an arrangement of 84 shots, some of which only cost $1.50, while others reach the $4 mark. Although other mixed drinks such as margaritas and cosmos aren’t listed, Monsees encourages customers to order whatever they want. “Our bartenders have 84 shots listed and probably another 30 drinks that they’re familiar with and know how to make,” he says. “We can really make whatever you want.” They also offer an eclectic, nearly limitless array of taste-bud tinglers. Other than shots, the bar offers half-price beer from 3-9 p.m., $1 bottles on Thursdays and no cover charge on the weekends.
“The concept is that you can come in here and get whatever you want at a low price,” Monsees says. “The average tab after a full night out is right around $10.” Not only is The Shot Bar the best option for the budget, Monsees says, but it also provides top-notch service with speed and style. Monsees designed the entire area; comfortable booths line the back wall while tall tables with swivel stools are scattered throughout the room. The large bar, lit with microfiber technology, is not only attractive but also easily accessible. Top-shelf liquor rests on glass ledges that glow and change color, which combines a futuristic appliance with the funky feel of disco days.
“It’s got a good vibe to it,” Monsees says.
On the other side of the countertop, skilled bartenders mix drinks by hand in as little as eight seconds. Monsees trusts the immense capabilities of his bartending and wait staff as though they were his family. Perhaps that’s because some people on his payroll also share his gene pool. His sister has served as a waitress at The Shot Bar, and now his younger brother is training to become a bartender. “I’ve been coaching him,” Monsees says, “and he’s picking it up quicker than I expected.”
At the end of the day, stop by The Shot Bar on 100 S. Ninth St. and give them a shot. After all, they want to give you one, too.