'Gone Girl's' The Bar opens in downtown

Saturday, December 27, 2014 ~ Updated 3:41 PM
Customers sit at a window table Friday during the grand opening of The Bar in downtown Cape Girardeau. (Laura Simon)

After much anticipation, The Bar, one of Cape Girardeau's best-known ties to the hit film "Gone Girl," finally held its grand opening Friday.

The Bar originally was set to open in October to coincide with the film's release, but that was pushed back because of needed renovations in the building, said Laura Jones, marketing director for Old Town Cape Dining LLC.

"When we went into the place, we decided to make it the best it could be, and to be the best it could be, it needed to be renovated in such a way that it had ... pretty much everything's new," Jones said. "We had to make a choice -- should we try to meet someone else's deadline? Or should we make this what it should be?"

Jones said though The Bar officially opened to the public Friday, it held a soft opening Dec. 19 and had regular business hours since. She said the soft opening was invitation-only, but in the days following, anyone who walked by could come in and take a look around or eat if they wished.

Friday's grand opening was The Bar's official launch and included a ribbon-cutting by Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce members at 5 p.m.

Servers Ellen Graham, right, and Harley Palmer check the reservation book Friday during the grand opening of The Bar in downtown Cape Girardeau. (Laura Simon)

With a capacity of 75 people, Jones said The Bar is a "lovely, historic, but small space."

In the future, Jones said she hopes the building's upstairs area can be used as a more intimate space for private dinners or business meetings, but no plans have been finalized. She also said The Bar's staff is working to provide off-site catering for events in the area.

Amila Ramanayake, general manager of The Bar, said he hopes the community enjoys its atmosphere and menu. As time goes on, he said the restaurant portion of the business will have a larger menu. But for now, he said the menu is limited to a small selection of staff favorites ranging from "The Bar Burger" to buttermilk sriracha chicken nuggets.

Formerly a catering business, the corner site was transformed into The Bar for the production of "Gone Girl." It was prominently used in scenes durings several weeks of filming in fall 2013. Old Town Cape Dining LLC bought the property in mid-2014. Public records show the owner of Old Town Cape Dining is Dr. Sonjay Fonn, a local neurosurgeon.

Jones said although The Bar has no official affiliation with "Gone Girl" or 20th Century Fox Film Corp., she hopes it will be a place for residents to come together and share their photos, memories and personal experiences about the filming of the movie. She also hopes it will be a draw for people from outside the region to experience.

"We actually kept some of the set dressings and the outside wall logo because we saw the talk in Cape Girardeau about how really good it was for Cape to have tourists and people to be able to come and visit all the areas there had been filming," Jones said. "... We want to support anything that helps the community to bring in business and bring in more people to the area."

Jones said a New Year's Eve bash is planned for The Bar and tentatively will feature a special package that includes dinner and drinks after a certain time that evening.

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