Regardless of whatever music is playing on the speakers, whenever I walk through the doors of Club 609, this is what I hear playing in my head:
Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name
And they’re always glad you came
If you were around in the ‘80s, then you’re probably singing the theme song to Cheers right along with me now, and if you’ve been to Club 609, then you’ve probably seen the similarities between this Joplin institution and the fictional Boston watering hole on TV.
Perched at the bar is Joplin’s equivalent of Norm, who greets old friends and new faces with a twinkle in his eyes and a smile in his voice.
If you are a first-time visitor, you’ll be welcomed here with a mix of curiosity and familiarity, kind of like the girlfriend that your brother brings home for Christmas after a semester away at college.
When you’re here, you’re family – whether or not you’re a local.
The welcoming atmosphere here has made this my go-to place for celebrations, and since Club 609 opened in 1990, there have been many, many celebrations: birthdays, weddings, friendships. With a daily happy hour, great food, and playful decor, I always know that I’ll have a good time.
I recently met my friend Carrie here for dinner on a Friday evening. While we waited to order, I did some people-watching (this is a prime place for doing so). The bar stools were already packed with professionals unwinding from the work day (yes, Norm was there), and the tables were filling with families, couples, and groups of friends out for dinner.
I ordered a Key Lime Martini, which another friend had introduced me to years ago. Made with vanilla vodka, pineapple juice, and lime juice, it tastes like a tropical vacation.
Make that two tropical vacations, thanks to happy hour.
While Carrie and I sipped our cocktails, a friend of hers from high school stopped by our table. While they chatted about old times, I checked out the art display on the walls; a new local artist is regularly featured here at Club 609, and it’s always blows my mind to see the high caliber of talent that lives here in southwest Missouri.
Then it was time to decide what to order, which is always challenging here because there are so many delicious items on the menu: appetizers, sandwiches, salads, pasta dishes, seafood entrees, beef entrees, and chicken entrees (like Chicken Bijan, which consists of roulades of chicken breast wrapped with bacon and stuffed with feta and basil, then finished with a balsamic glaze – it’s one of my favorite dishes here).
I chose to order another one of my favorite dishes, the Chicken Cordon Bleu sandwich. It’s made with a juicy grilled chicken breast, a slice of ham, and a six-cheese blend, all layered inside a piece of soft flatbread, then served with creamy Bechamel sauce for dipping (which I could bathe in because it’s that good).
Sandwiches here come with a side of fries or homemade chips, but I chose to substitute a house salad instead because I was craving some greens.
And also because I wanted the tangy, crispy fried parmesan cheese that comes with the salads here.
Carrie ordered the Chargrilled Vegetable Salad, which was an ideal vegan option for her. Her salad base was a bed of tender baby spinach which was then piled high with grilled broccoli, carrots, portobello mushrooms, red onions, and toasted almonds.
The food here has been consistently good over the decades, and it’s nice to be able to enjoy it in Club 609’s smoke-free atmosphere.
While Carrie and I didn’t close down the place that Friday night (although I’ve done my share of doing so over the years), we left Club 609 relaxed and happy. It was a perfect choice for escaping from our everyday routines and enjoying a friendly atmosphere.
Wouldn’t you like to get away?
Sometimes you want to go…
Club 609 is located at 609 S. Main St.
To read more about my adventures in the area, visit JoplinMOLife.com.