Far Side of the Moon lands in Joplin

Far Side of the Moon lands in Joplin

Joshua Boley/The Chart

Far Side of the Moon lands in Joplin

Downtown Joplin has a brand new hangout from JB’s Piano Bar owner Jon Buck.  Buck opened Far Side of the Moon, a fondue and martini joint, about six weeks ago.  It’s located at First and Main, two doors down from JB’s, and brings a whole new vibe to the Joplin bar scene.

Fondue, is a dish in which small pieces of food are dipped into a pot of a hot, creamy substance, usually melted cheese or chocolate, with long skinny forks.  The dish is shared within a group, with the pot sitting in the center of the table.  It originated in Europe but was wildly popular in the United States in the 1960s and 70s.

The theme of fondue and martinis, plus the name which can only conjure images of Pink Floyd, gives the bar a groovy, retro feel. You may fancy yourself Don Draper as you swirl your martini in one of the half-moon booths, or maybe Stevie Nicks comes to mind as you dip a piece of bread into the fondue pot.  On the other hand, the décor, done in black, teal, and silver, is very sleek and modern.  

“We wanted to just try to add on a different type of atmosphere for downtown Joplin, and basically what my clientele was asking for was new type of low-key, but nice upscale place downtown,” said Buck.

Far Side of the Moon is a bit upscale but not intimidatingly so.  When I ate there I had on jeans and top that wasn’t a T-shirt, and I felt fine.  The staff are more dressed up than you see at most places, and a cocktail dress with high heels wouldn’t be out of place.  It’s a bar with versatile options either for after-work drinks or dinner with family or a night on the town with friends.  It also boasts a large deck in the back that is almost the same size as the petite interior.

“We offer live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday so people can come out and enjoy live music and a fun atmosphere presented here on the deck,” said Buck.

In addition to live music, Wednesdays are “Wind-down Wednesday” with half price fondues and house wines.

And on the other six days of the week, the prices are reasonable.  At first, paying roughly $20 for a pot of fondue seems pricey, but when you consider that it’s a shared dinner and so each person is paying $10 or less, it’s not too bad.  Each of the fondue options comes with a variety of free dipping items, but then there are premium foods, such as shrimp or tortellini, that cost extra.  

General manager and culinary school graduate Caleb Stiles developed the entire menu.  Manager Melynn Cline was responsible for creating all 28 of the martinis, ranging from aperitifs to digestifs.

“It was a lot of fun, actually, because I do like mixing drinks and coming up with different ideas,” said Cline.

The cost of any of the martinis will probably run up your bill as much if not more than the meal itself.  I believe the least expensive martini was $7.00.  Far Side does supply a full bar, but that being said, trying a martini is a must.  

Some of the customer favorites so far are the Far Side of the Moon Martini, the Orange Crush, the Ginger Pear, and the Morning Sex Martini, said Cline.  I have tried the Far Side of the Moon, which is a secret recipe that has a mix of fruity flavors, and the Orange Crush which, interestingly, is served blue.  

Both Buck and Cline said they drew inspiration from their experiences in bigger cities to bring something new to Joplin.   

“It’s got some East Coast New York feel, but also with the color scheme, it brings a lot of the West Coast style and California feel and brings a mixture to the Midwest.”