Tag - bar

Growth at St. Louis Hop Shop Means Bigger Digs

Growth at St. Louis Hop Shop Means Bigger Digs

Craft Beer Seller, St. Louis Hop Shop Now Open in New Store

St. Louis, MO/October 14, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – The southwest corner of Cherokee Street and Jefferson Avenue in South St. Louis has been many things over the years.  Several shops and businesses have occupied the corner space, including, at different times, a record store and a furniture shop.  It was even used for storage, with the windows covered in brown paper.  Now, it’s the new home of the St. Louis Hop Shop.  The craft beer purveyors just moved into the new digs at 2600 Cherokee Street, giving them a lot more room for a lot more beer.

Brothers Justin Harris and Ryan Griffin had opened the original St. Louis Hop Shop in 2015 in a smaller space up the block (2606 Cherokee).  As craft beer lovers, they say they were inspired to open their shop when they became aware that there was no place in the City of St. Louis to sample a large selection of the region’s many craft brews, as well as artisan beers from across the country.  So, they decided the best way to solve that dilemma for themselves, as well as other craft beer lovers, was to open a shop where they could bring the beer to the people.

St. Louis Hop Shop is a special place, part craft beer tasting room and part packaged liquor store.  It quickly became one of the best places in the city to try a wide variety of brews all in one trip.  That’s because the shop allows customers to sample what’s on tap and to purchase single packaged beers, meaning you can try just enough to get a good impression of the brew, without the cost of buying an entire six-pack.  The original 880-square foot shop offered hundreds of labels—from familiar brands to rare brews.  They had a lot stuffed into that space, including a seven-foot bar with four rotating taps.

And that was the problem.  The brothers say they simply outgrew the space.  With the need for more shelf, storage, and tap space, they moved the shop three doors east, to the much larger corner spot.  The new, 1500-square foot shop features an even bigger packaged beer selection and a new, 10-foot bar with seven rotating taps.  Just as at the original location, customers can sip a beer from the bar as they browse the shelves.  Harris and Griffin say the new space will make it easier to give people access to even more of everything.  The new digs mean they have the room to add an assortment of local spirits to the stock.  They also plan to offer some chilled growlers for customers to enjoy in the shop.  And the future will likely include tap takeovers, special events, and more of the best the world of craft beer has to offer.

Contact Information:

Saint Louis Hop Shop
Owners: Justin Harris and Ryan Griffin
2600 Cherokee Street
Cherokee Street Business District/Gravois Park
Saint Louis, MO 63118
Phone: (314) 261-4011


By Susan Smith-Harmon – published on STLRestaurant.News by St. Louis Media, LLC

Bar Louie Plans ‘Louie Loves’ Fundraiser To Support Hurricane Harvey Relief

Bar Louie Plans 'Louie Loves' Fundraiser To Support Hurricane Harvey Relief

10 Percent of Sales at Bar Louie Locations Nationwide to Be Donated to Help the American Red Cross on Thurs., Sept. 14th

ADDISON, Texas/August 30, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – Bar Louie announced yesterday, August 30, 2017, that the company has launched a ‘Louie Loves’ fundraiser to provide guests and staff a means to support the individuals and the communities impacted by Hurricane Harvey, a category 4 hurricane that crashed into the Texas coast.

10 percent of sales, up to $50,000, on Thursday, September 14, 2017 will go to the American Red Cross to support its efforts to restore the areas hit hardest by the hurricane. The Red Cross is an organization that has dedicated itself to helping provide shelter, food and comfort to families who are hit the hardest when a hurricane strikes.

“Texas is our home turf and we care deeply about our community all across the Gulf coast,” said Bar Louie CEO John Neitzel. “By declaring September 14th a Louie Loves day at all of our bars, we can give our communities a simple way to help Houston, the Gulf coast and the surrounding areas rebuild and restore. The Red Cross offers critical infrastructure support immediately following any natural disaster and we’re very supportive of their efforts.”

Louie Loves is a decade long program for the Dallas based Bar group, built to support their local communities in times of need. The Red Cross continues to mobilize hundreds of trained Red Cross disaster relief workers, truckloads of kitchen supplies, and tens of thousands of ready-to-eat meals to support the response effort.

“We are incredibly grateful for the support of Bar Louie,” said Celena Roldán, CEO of the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois. “It’s generosity in times like this that allows the Red Cross to continue to help sheltering, feeding and providing comfort to the people affected by Hurricane Harvey.”

As Bar Louie’s fundraising program, Louie Loves is tailored specifically to restaurant locations and their surrounding communities.

For more information about Bar Louie and to find information about participating Bar Louie locations including hours, visit www.BarLouie.com.

About Bar Louie

Founded in downtown Chicago in 1990 and headquartered in Addison, Texas, Bar Louie is an award-winning collection of neighborhood bars with a lively, social atmosphere. With more than 124 locations across the United States, Bar Louie is growing through both franchise and corporate openings. Known for its signature handcrafted martinis and cocktails, Bar Louie also features a scratch menu of shareable plates, burgers, and sandwiches served every day until close. For more information on Bar Louie, visit www.barlouie.com. To learn about franchising opportunities with Bar Louie, go to www.barlouie.com/franchise.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.


SOURCE: Bar Louie – distributed by PR Newswire – published on STLRestaurant.News by St. Louis Media, LLC

6th Annual St. Louis Craft Spirits Cocktail Week

6th Annual St. Louis Craft Spirits Cocktail Week - STLRestaurant.News

4 Events Set for 2017 St. Louis Craft Spirits Cocktail Week

St. Louis, MO/August 27, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – Craft Distilling is one of the fastest growing segments of the beverage industry nationwide, and St. Louis is right in the center of it all—with more than a dozen artisan distilleries creating craft spirits in the shadow of the Gateway Arch.  Today’s artisan distilleries combine fresh ingredients in small batch production to produce truly uniquely flavored spirits.  Since 2012, St. Louis has celebrated these unique spirits and the classic cocktails made with them during Craft Spirits Cocktail Week.  This year’s Sixth Annual St. Louis Craft Spirits Cocktail Week is set for September 9–17.  Several events are set for the week-long showcase of local micro distilleries, local restaurants, and the craft of making a great cocktail.

This year’s celebration kicks off with St. Louis’ 6th Annual Classic Cocktail Party on Saturday, September 9th.  The event takes place at the last “Concert in the Park” of the season at Lafayette Square Park on Sept. 9th from 6–9:00 p.m.  The concert will feature Jeremiah Johnson Band.  Craft distillers from St. Louis and the Midwest will showcase their spirits and each will create a special cocktail featuring their products.  Besides being a great party, the event is a fund raiser for the Arts Council of Lafayette Square and the St. Louis Bartender’s Guild.

This event kicks off a weeklong celebration of cocktails and micro distilleries.  The 2017 schedule currently includes:

Sept. 9 – Classic Cocktail Party, 6–9:00 p.m. at Lafayette Square Concert in the Park, 2023 Lafayette Avenue, St. Louis 63104
Sept. 12 – The Gin Room’s Casino Royale Patio Martini Party, 6–9:00 p.m. at The Gin Room, 3200 S Grand Blvd, Tower Grove East, St. Louis 63118
Sept. 13 – Whiskey tasting at Gaslight Lounge, 7–10:00 p.m. at Gaslight, 4916 Shaw Ave, The Hill, St. Louis 63110
Sept. 14 – Vodka tasting at Propaganda, 7–10:00 p.m. at Propaganda STL, 2732 Cherokee St, Gravois Park, St. Louis 63118

The events will showcase spirits from Crown Valley Brewing & Distilling, Pinckney Bend Distillery, Spirits of St. Louis, Big O, St. Louis Distillery, Mastermind Vodka, StilL 630, Wood Hat Spirits, Union Horse Distillery, StillJoy Spirits, Defiance Whiskey, Grand River Spirits, Tom’s Town Distillery, R. Griesedieck Distilling, Restless Spirits Distilling, Stumpy’s Spirits, and Missouri Ridge Distillery.

Each event during St. Louis Craft Spirits Cocktail Week is a unique celebration of locally distilled spirits and the craft of cocktail making.  Tickets are sold for individual events, rather than for the whole week.  Pricing and tickets are available through a link on the St. Louis Craft Spirits Cocktail Week Facebook Page.  Cocktail lovers can join the fun at all of the events, or pick and choose just the ones they want, making this a truly individual experience for each participant.

Contact Information:

St. Louis Craft Spirits Cocktail Week
September 9-17, 2017
Phone: (314) 231-2537


By Susan Smith-Harmon – published on STLRestaurant.News by St. Louis Media, LLC

The Dark Room at The Grandel Names New Chef/ General Manager

The Dark Room at The Grandel Names New Chef/General Manager

New Chef/ General Manager at the Dark Room inside the Historic Grandel Theatre

ST. LOUIS, MO/July 23, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) There’s a welcome addition to The Dark Room, which recently relocated to its new home inside the renovated historic Grandel Theatre located at 3610 Grandel Square. The Dark Room was created to “help bring life” to the Grand Center and north of Washington Avenue during slow seasons and has been very successful at that.

This popular hangout that resides in the heart of the popular Grand Center Arts District now has a new General Manager.

Local chef and marketing veteran, Brett Singleton, slips into the new role. Singleton has been working with the Kranzberg Arts Foundation for many years in a marketing capacity, responsible for helping to communicate and further the Foundation’s main mission which is to provide opportunity and infrastructure to St. Louis artists.

“We are very excited to have Brett on board in this new capacity,” said Chris Hansen, Executive Director of the Kranzberg Arts Foundation. “He has been deeply engaged in all aspects of the Foundation and truly understands how The Dark Room enhances the arts patron experience and engagement through offering exceptional food, beverage and hospitality.”

Singleton also spent much of his time in The Dark Room’s kitchen preparing food for the restaurants fresh and exceedingly popular Sunday Brunch, as well as, performing as a chef in catering with Hanon Management Group Culinary. Before that, Singleton served as Director of Marketing for Ballpark Village and had a 17-year career covering multiple field and corporate marketing and sales positions at Anheuser-Busch.

When The Dark Room recently relocated to its new home inside the Grandel Theatre it enlarged its space, hours and menus. The restaurant operates under the umbrella of the Kranzberg Arts Foundation, which is known for looking out for the neighborhood. Every dollar spent goes directly back into the local arts community.

Operating Wednesday through Sunday, The Dark Room offers a “petite lunch” menu from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., a full dinner menu from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., and a limited late-night menu from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. They also offer fun daily happy hours from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. During operational hours, you will find The Dark Room photo gallery and live music stage open and electrified. Don’t miss out on the Sunday live music brunch program, “Dark Room Brunch Sessions.” It’s presented every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and features gospel, soul, jazz and Americana acts. Dinner is available from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays as well.

The Dark Room at The Grandel

3610 Grandel Square

St. Louis, MO 63108

Phone: (314) 776-9550

For more information and continued updates, visit:

Twitter: @TheDarkRoomSTL
Instagram: @TheDarkRoomSTL

Johnny’s in Soulard Sold, Closing July 29th

Johnny’s in Soulard Sold, Closing July 29th

Harpo’s to Open into Johnny’s Space

St. Louis, MO/July 21, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – The birthplace of St. Louis’ Mardi Gras tradition is undergoing another change of ownership and identity, and Soulard is losing one of its best citizens.  Johnny Daus has sold his bar and restaurant at 1017 Russell Boulevard.  The 53-year old has been a key part of Soulard nightlife and destination festivals, like Mardi Gras, for more than 30 years.  Johnny’s Restaurant & Bar will close with a “Blues, Booze and BBQ” party on July 29th.  They’re asking former patrons and former employees to show up the night before for a “blow out.”

John Daus, a Soulard native, has been a force in the neighborhood.  Besides running a thriving business, he’s helped organize the neighborhood’s many festivals—supervising and chairing Mardi Gras, Bastille Day, Oktoberfest, and other events over the years.  Losing him will be felt beyond the barroom.  Now a South County resident, Daus says it’s time for him to shift his focus from his bar to his family.  Married just five years, he’s the proud father of a two-year old.  He says that means he can’t work all day and all hours of the night. He needs to be home.

Daus and his sisters grew up in the neighborhood during its renaissance days of the 1970s.  The family’s first foray into the restaurant business was a rib stand they opened in 1983 in Webster Groves called the Rib Ranch.  In 1986, they opened their first Soulard establishment, Carson’s, a sports bar at 1712 South 9th Street.  They sold it in 1997.  In 1993, they opened Johnny’s and in 1995 they founded the iconic Joanie’s Pizzeria (which they sold to an employee in 2003).  In 2000, John Daus and a friend opened DB’s Sports Bar, which they sold in 2007.  Johnny’s was the last Soulard business the family owned.

The new owners, John Rieker and Steve Barnes, the team behind Harpo’s in Chesterfield (136 Hilltown Village Center) will reopen the Soulard bar as Harpo’s in September.  Harpo’s college-style sports pubs began in Columbia, Missouri before expanding to locations in Chesterfield and Kansas City.  Another on Laclede’s Landing closed in 1996.  This will be the only Harpo’s in the City of St. Louis.  Rieker and Barnes plan to keep the vibrant party atmosphere Johnny’s was known for with bands and DJs on weekends and karaoke every Wednesday.  Daus says current Johnny’s employees are being asked by the new owners to reapply for their jobs.  But the new owners say Harpo’s staff will have less revealing attire than did Johnny’s—one of the original Soulard lingerie bars.

Scantily-clad servers aside, Johnny’s had been emblematic of the Soulard neighborhood even before it was Johnny’s.  It had been one of the original night spots in the newly gentrified Soulard of the 1970’s, then known as Hillary’s.  The first Mardi Gras parade in Soulard was a 1979 march by patrons of Hillary’s to John D. McGurk’s Irish Pub.  It wasn’t fancy, but a second, bigger march followed the next year, and the Soulard Mardi Gras Parade tradition was born.  Besides it’s lovely staff and Mardi Gras history, Johnny’s was known for its chicken wings.  The bar did operate under the motto: “Where the food is better than it has to be,” after all.  And those chicken wings will be missed by Soulard patrons.  But Daus is dropping hints that they might make a comeback somewhere else sometime in the future.

Last Hurrah for Iconic Bailey’s Chocolate Bar

Last Hurrah for Iconic Bailey’s Chocolate Bar

Bailey’s Chocolate Bar to Close Saturday for “Refresh”

St. Louis, MO/July 7, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – One of St. Louis’ favorite dessert restaurants is closing this weekend to make way for major changes in concept. Restaurateur Dave Bailey announced last week that Bailey’s Chocolate Bar at 1915 Park Avenue in Lafayette Square will close at the end of service on Saturday, July 8th.  On Facebook, June 28, 2017 Bailey wrote:

“It’s a bittersweet moment for us as we share the news of our upcoming refresh.  While it’s hard to say goodbye, our BCB family is excited for the updated space & menu.

We want to give a huge THANK YOU to all our loyal customers who have shared memorable nights with us over the past decade, from first dates to engagements, graduations to bachelorette parties.  We would not be the restaurant family that we are today with you or our dedicated staff!

Come see us on our last day of service on Saturday July 8th before we begin renovations.  Because celebrations are always better with dessert, right?!”

Bailey has said fans of his iconic restaurant won’t have to suffer too long without their beloved chocolate martinis.  His plans call for turning the current restaurant site into two establishments, including a new concept restaurant on the first floor, and a “refreshed” Chocolate Bar on the second floor.  Bailey is keeping tight-lipped about his concept for the first floor eatery, only promising it will be different than any of his other restaurants, and saying he hopes to open some time in August.  But he says the updated Chocolate Bar could be reopened in as little as two weeks.  Chocolate Bar fans will find a the new menu includes some fresh dessert offerings, cheese plates, and cocktails, along with some of the original restaurant’s most popular desserts.

Bailey’s Chocolate bar opened in 2004, as a full service restaurant specializing in house-made gourmet desserts, as well as savory pizzas and cheeses, with a full bar.  The southside establishment quickly became known for their signature Chocolate Martinis (available in more than two-dozen variations), fabulously decadent desserts (including homemade ice cream and flourless molten chocolate cake), their sophisticated decor, and relaxing patio.

Other restaurants in Bailey’s family include Baileys’ Range, Bridge Tap House & Wine Bar, Rooster, Small Batch, Shift Test Kitchen, and The Fifth Wheel (inside 4 Hands Brewing).  This reboot is just one of several projects in the works for Bailey.  Other projects include this summer’s opening of Hugo’s Pizzeria at 3135 Olive Street in midtown, and next year’s planned opening of a second Baileys’ Range in the Shaw neighborhood in South St. Louis.

Bailey’s Chocolate Bar will be open Saturday from 4:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. for the final time in its current presentation.  This will be the last chance diners have to soak in the iconic, trend-setting restaurant and bar.  The next time it opens, in about two weeks, it promises to be a different experience.

Brick River Cider Co. to Open in Old Downtown Firehouse

Brick River Cider Co. to Open in Old Downtown Firehouse

St. Louis’ First Cidery to Open this Fall – Brick River Cider Co.

ST. LOUIS, MO/June 30, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – Anyone in the St. Louis area who is a fan of hard cider will be excited to learn that the city’s first cider brewery is set to open in downtown St. Louis this fall.  The Brick River Cider Company will be located in a restored firehouse at 2000 Washington Avenue.  Old firehouse 32, which had been abandoned and fallen to disrepair, is being renovated, and will include the cidery, plus a restaurant and a bar with an open cider tap.

Brick River will make hard cider, an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented juice of pressed apples.  It’s made on every continent, with regional variations galore.  It can run from fairly sweet to very dry, with ABUs ranging from 1.5 to more than 12. Although hard cider was a popular beverage among colonialists, it fell to the temperance axe during Prohibition. (Temperance advocates actually chopped down and burned cider apple orchards to keep hard cider out of reach.)  Unlike beer, hard cider didn’t bounce back after Prohibition was repealed.  So, it’s not as popular in the US today as in other countries, especially the UK and Spain.  But American cider is beginning to see a resurgence.

Brick River Cider Co. owner Russ John has experience home-brewing cider.  John’s family has owned apple orchards in Nebraska for decades, so cider isn’t exactly new terrain for him.  He’s also bringing local craft brewery veteran Evan Hiatt to lead Brick River Cider Co.’s cidery team.  Evan Hiatt has a hefty resume and brings quite a bit of experience to Brick River because of his previous work in the St. Louis area craft brewery industry.  Hiatt was brewmaster and co-founder of Six Row Brewing Co. until its closing in 2015 and he served as brewmaster at Pappo’s Pizzeria & Brew Co. until it closed last spring.  He’ll be the cider master at Brick River.

John says he hopes to be open by Halloween at the latest, if summer construction stays on schedule—which it has.  This month, the city of St. Louis lent a helping hand to Brick River’s development.  On Thursday June 8th, a city board approved a federal Economic Development loan of $150,000 with a five-year term to help fund the almost two-million dollar project.  John will used the cash to buy equipment for Brick River.  The building dates back to 1892, so John is really saving a piece of city history as well as bringing the city its first cider-based restaurant.

When it opens this fall, Brick River will not only be the first dedicated cider brewery in St. Louis history, but it will actually be the first dedicated cidery in Missouri.  This is kind of a big deal.  If you’re as excited about St. Louis making cider history as I am, or if you’re just scouting for a bite to eat and something wonderfully new to wash it down with, then keep Brick River in mind in the coming months because it just might be your favorite new restaurant this fall.

Dave & Buster’s to Debut Exclusive Spider-Man Arcade Game Nationwide

Tremendous Year for Spider-Man Franchise Continues with New Arcade Game at Dave & Buster’s

DALLAS/June 17, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – In anticipation of the worldwide release of Spider-Man: Homecoming, in theaters July 7, Dave & Buster’s, the ultimate destination for fun, food, friends and games introduces a brand new Spider-Man arcade game created exclusively for the concept.

The new game, based on Spider-Man: Homecoming, is part of Dave & Buster’s new sourcing strategy that builds partnerships with some of the biggest brands in popular culture and supports the collaborations with world-class games and entertainment for our guests.  Developed by Adrenaline Amusements, the new game is a custom arcade conversion of Spider-Man Unlimited, created by Gameloft SE under license from Marvel, and utilizes assets specific to Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Only available at Dave & Buster’s, the game lets players swing through the streets of New York, and if successful, battle the evil super-villain, the Vulture.  It is everyone’s chance to be their friendly neighborhood Spider-Man!

To celebrate, Dave & Buster’s will be offering guests the opportunity to play three games free, including the new Spider-Man: Homecoming – and others like World’s Largest Pac-Man and Space Invaders Frenzy – with each $10 Power Card purchase or reload!

“The new Spider-Man: Homecoming game is a milestone for the Dave & Buster’s brand as it is a game-changer in the way we source and deliver games to our guests,” says Kevin Bachus, SVP of Entertainment and Games Strategy at Dave & Buster’s “We are passionate about offering our guests a unique experience they can’t get anywhere else, and now fans of the iconic Spider-Man franchise will have another way to celebrate their favorite Super Hero with a game that is as fun and exhilarating as the films and comics.  This game was made exclusively for Dave & Buster’s, and will be the only place to play it – ever!”

About Dave & Buster’s:

Dave & Buster’s Entertainment, Inc., headquartered in Dallas, Texas, operates 99 large-venue, high-volume Dave & Buster’s restaurant/entertainment complexes throughout North America.  Each Dave & Buster’s offers an impressive selection of high-quality food and beverage items, combined with the latest games and attractions.  Guests can play state-of-the-art simulators and games of skill they can’t play anywhere else.  Dave & Buster’s also provides a vibrant sports bar filled with massive screens, creating an ideal sports watching experience.  For more information, visit www.daveandbusters.com.  The exciting environment of the Dave & Buster’s complex also provides the perfect setting for corporate and group events.

About Spider-Man: Homecoming

A young Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland), who made his sensational debut in Captain America: Civil War, begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging super hero in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.).  Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture (Michael Keaton) emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened. Directed by Jon Watts.  Produced by Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal.  Screenplay by Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley and Jon Watts & Christopher Ford and Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers, Screen Story by Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley, Based on the Marvel Comic Book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

About Sony Pictures Entertainment

Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Entertainment Inc., a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation.  SPE’s global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition and distribution; television production, acquisition and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies.  For additional information, go to http://www.sonypictures.com.

Dave & Buster’s – St. Louis

13857 Riverport Drive

Maryland Heights, MO 63043

Phone: (314) 209-8015


Source: News provided by Dave & Buster’s – distributed by PR Newswire – published by STLRestaurant.News

The Best Cocktails in St. Louis – Top 10 Cocktail Bars and Lounges

The Best Cocktails in St. Louis - Top 10 Cocktail Bars and Lounges

St. Louis’ Top 10 Cocktail Bars and Lounges

St. Louis, MO/June 11, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) Top 10 Cocktail Bars – We write a lot about food and the great St. Louis area restaurants that feed our adventurous appetites.  But sometimes, you just want something to drink.  And when you thirst for adventure in our fair city, a myriad of libations await.  St. Louis has a rich and varied beverage culture—everything from craft breweries and wine bars to corner taverns and craft cocktail lounges.  It’s the latter that concerns us here.  Sure, we love an artisan brew as much as the next person, and our appreciation for a well curated wine list is boundless.  But sometimes, you want to wet your whistle with something intoxicating and delectable, and that’s where cocktails come in.  These clever combinations of booze, juices, syrups, muddled fruits and herbs, and other flavorings satisfy both our thirst, and our sense of adventure.

Parched St. Louisans can find relief at literally thousands of local bars, taverns, restaurants, and lounges.  Whether you prefer a dry martini, an old fashioned Old Fashion, a fruity and frozen cocktail, or something more akin to boozy ice cream, there’s a bartender creating the cocktail of your dreams.  So, finding the top 10 was a daunting task.  We scoured the customer reviews to find the mixologists who make St. Louis’ favorite cocktails.  And what we found was an eclectic list of bars, pubs, lounges, and restaurants offering some truly clever cocktails.

Topping our list is a unique concept cocktail bar, Narwhal’s Crafted Urban Ice in the Central West End.  This is a slushy bar, strictly for grown-ups. Narwhal’s opened in October 2016 inside the historic Gerhart Building at Laclede and Vandeventer Aves, near St. Louis University.  The bar is a nautically themed, attractive space with driftwood walls, beachy accessories, a glittery bar, and lots of sea blue accents.  The drinks are pulled from slushy machines, but these are not the artificially flavored, sugary treats of youth.  They’re seriously delicious, frozen alcoholic beverages flavored with hand-crafted infusions and purees made from scratch in-house.  Some customer favorites include the Apple Mint Julep, made with Kentucky bourbon, Angry Orchard hard apple cider, lime, and mint simple syrup; the Chocolate Mudslide, made with Vodka, Kahlua, homemade five-ingredient ice cream, and chocolate; and the Negroni—Narwhal’s take on the classic Italian cocktail, made with Campari, sweet vermouth, gin, orange juice, lemon, and simple syrup.  The frozen cocktails at Narwhal’s are delicious, and perfect for a warm summer evening, and these unique concoctions are St. Louis’ favorite cocktails, according to customer reviews.

The cocktail makers on the top 10 list represent a nice cross section of what the city’s bars, lounges, pubs, and restaurants have to offer.  There are straight up cocktail bars, elite dining clubs, elegant lounges, and even a vegetarian restaurant known for hand-crafted food and beverages.  So, without further ado, here are the top 10 cocktail bars in St. Louis:

  1. Narwhal’s Crafted Urban Ice (4.71 stars/62 reviews) Central West End, 3906 Laclede Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63108, (314) 696-8388.
  2. Taste Bar (4.50 stars/464 reviews) Central West End, 4584 Laclede Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63108, (314) 361-1200.
  3. The Fountain On Locust (4.48 stars/1131 reviews) Midtown, 3037 Locust Street, Saint Louis, MO 63103, (314) 535-7800.
  4. Blood & Sand (4.46 stars/236 reviews) Downtown, 1500 St Charles Street, Saint Louis, MO 63103, (314) 241-7263.
  5. Twisted Tree Steakhouse (4.46 stars/104 reviews) 10701 Watson Road, Saint Louis, MO 63127, (314) 394-3366.
  6. Bossanova Restaurant and Lounge (4.40 stars/105 reviews) Riverbend, 112 West 3rd Street, Alton, IL 62002, (618) 462-1175.
  7. Thaxton Speakeasy (4.39 stars/109 reviews) Downtown, 1009 Olive Street, Saint Louis, MO 63101, (314) 241-3279.
  8. Retreat Gastropub (4.35 stars/330 reviews) Central West End, 2 North Sarah Street, Saint Louis, MO 63108, (314) 261-4497.
  9. The Preston (4.32 stars/103 reviews) Central West End, 212 North Kingshighway Blvd., Saint Louis, MO 63108, (314) 633-7800.
  10. Tree House Vegetarian Restaurant (4.29 stars/261 reviews) Tower Grove South, 3177 South Grand Blvd, Saint Louis, MO 63118, (314) 696-2100.

With thousands of cocktail bars to choose from, there was just no way to include everyone worth noting on the list.  We could have put the top 20 on the list and still left dozens of great mixologists out.  And with the requirement that everyone on the list have at least 50 reviews, that leaves a lot of really great, newer, smaller, or more out of the way spots off the list as well.  With that in mind, we offer honorable mentions to a few lesser known locations mixing up some killer cocktails.  Honorable mentions go to:

Polite Society (4.54 stars/37 reviews) Lafayette Square, 1923 Park Ave., St Louis, MO 63104, (314) 325-2553.  This contemporary, sophisticated bar and restaurant opened in 2016 and it’s anything but stuffy.  The bar program includes a great wine-by-the-glass selection, plus several signature cocktails, including a refreshing Hibiscus Daiquiri.

Propaganda (4.74 stars/47 reviews) Benton Park West, Gravois Park, 2732 Cherokee Street, Saint Louis, MO 63118, (314) 769-9696.  This Soviet-inspired nostalgia bar opened last June.  It’s red walls and art reminiscent of “Mother Russia” create a unique atmosphere.  The menu is loaded with delicious vodka cocktails.

The Whiskey Ring (4.47 stars/43 reviews) Benton Park West, Gravois Park, 2651 Cherokee Street, Saint Louis, MO 63118, (314) 669-5817.  Another Cherokee Street gem, The Whiskey Ring offers a neighborhood bar feel, with a terrific cocktail menu.  They offer more than 50 bourbons, ryes, scotch and malt whiskeys, as well as an array of cocktails including some prohibition era libations.

W Karaoke Will Bring Something Totally New to The Loop

W Karaoke Will Bring Something Totally New to The Loop

Asian Karaoke to fill Vacant Social Club II

University City, MO/June 6, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – One of St. Louis’ premiere entertainment districts is about to get something totally new to the area, an Asian-style Karaoke lounge.  St. Louis restaurateur Ivan Wei plans to open W Karaoke in October, right next door to his Corner 17 and Joy Luck Express restaurants.  We profiled Wei’s University City eateries last July.  Wei is working with Tao+Lee Associates to renovate the old Social House II at 6655 Delmar Blvd.  This is the same design firm he tapped for last year’s expansion of Corner 17 and creation of his Asian express takeout, Joy Luck Express.

The site of his new venture has a history of cutting edge entertainment and controversy.  Social House II closed last June after just four-months in business.  The controversial nightclub had drawn protests from the community and members of the University City government over the scantily clad servers (who wore only pasties and body paint from the waist up).  Wei’s planned karaoke lounge has already won approval from the University City council.  Wei won approval of his conditional use permit for the karaoke bar at the May 8th city council meeting.

Renovations are underway, including a gut rehab of the building and installation of an elaborate sound system that will allow karaoke performances in multiple locations inside the 4,000-square foot lounge.  W Karaoke will feature 11 private rooms that can accommodate five-six people, and an open common area with a bar.  Each room will have it’s own karaoke setup, allowing customers to sing for just their friends, or belt out a tune in the larger, and more public bar space.  The multiple private rooms allowing performers to sing for just the audience they want is the crux of the difference between traditional American-style karaoke and Asian-style.

Asian-style karaoke lounges have been very popular, especially with college students, in China, Korea, and Japan for several years.  They’re also hot right now in major U.S. cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.  While there are a few spots offering Chinese karaoke and Korean karaoke in the St. Louis area, Wei’s new place will be different.  He says customers won’t find just another bar when they walk into his lounge.  W Karaoke will feel be glitzy and more glamorous.

W Karaoke Lounge will offer a full bar along with simple, limited menu of American eats and Pan-Asian cuisine.  Although food won’t be the main draw, the popularity of Wei’s restaurants, especially the noodles at Corner 17, it’s sure to be a nice addition to the karaoke lounge.  The plan is for W Karaoke to be open Sunday – Thursday from 2:00 p.m. to midnight, and Friday – Saturday from 2:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.  The new lounge is slated to open in October.