Venice Cafe

You have been warned: Serious conversations cannot happen at the Venice Café (1903 Pestalozzi Street; 314-772-5994 or The distracting décor makes it extremely difficult to hold anyone's attention for long, no matter how serious the subject might be. It does not, however, ruin the concentration of serious drinkers. The eclectic patio at this neighborhood bar has been meticulously curated over the years for the enjoyment of nightly visitors and the surrounding community that bears witness to its ongoing creation. You'll come for the musical acts or the weekly drink specials but stick around for the lights, stone sculptures, graffiti, mosaic and all the funky elements that contribute to the excitement of drinking in this colorful environment.

Nellie Glenn's

Nellie Glenn's (6109 Gravois Avenue; 314-457-8766 or is a traditional south-city Irish bar with a little ginger love for everyone; find drink specials on top of already-reasonable prices, rousing trivia, plenty of flat-screens, shuffleboard and even a weekly DJ night called "Count It." Warmer months spread the love with the newly renovated outdoor patio, which was created for the ousted smokers, but it features elements that even nonsmokers won't be able to walk away from. Watch the game alfresco under the new tents shielding TVs from the weather or cozy up to the fire pits on cooler nights. Game-day food and drink specials make Nellie's even more enticing. This is a beer-drinking kinda bar, but if celebrating is on the agenda, the bartenders here have been known to make some mean shots — throw in some delicious loaded fries, and you've got yourself a great night out. Whether you are Irish or not, you'll be in good hands at Nellie's.

Map Room

The lush back yard of the Map Room (1901 Withnell Avenue; 314-776-3515 or, tucked away in the Benton Park neighborhood, is a hidden gem waiting for explorers who seek a secret garden. An alternative to the bustling bars of nearby Soulard, this coffeehouse has created an outdoor haven where adult beverages should be savored and enjoyed without crowds or DJs. Wrought-iron furniture and brick paths fill the space with purpose, reminiscent of bygone days. Sip a spiked coffee with the paper or share a pitcher of the homemade sangria (at least two seasonal flavors are available at all times) with a friend; wine, tea and tempting pastries round out the offerings. It is possible on any given day to stumble into live music or an outdoor movie, but one of the best ways to spend a day at the Map Room is to just sit and watch the neighborhood pass by through the open fence facing the sidewalk. After all, true observation of human life is best studied with a boozy lemonade in hand. The key has been handed to you; now go and take the time to uncover this treasure.

Cafe Eau

To some, the idea of drinking at a hotel bar is a treat reserved for traveling: the intrigue of being the out-of-towner, ordering a cocktail you might not usually consider, a new environment begging you to step outside of your comfort zone. For St. Louisans the Chase Park Plaza may be intimidating if you are not in the tourist state of mind, but don't be scared away or you will miss out on Café Eau (212 North Kingshighway; 314-454-9000 or, a fabulous outdoor drinking spot. This award-winning bar is the perfect place to act like a visitor without actually having to be one. The building looks vintage and the location is well established, but its charm is timeless. A beautiful, contemporary patio awaits casual drinkers of all ages looking for a classy evening away from home. The pool, fountains and palm trees lend a beachfront-like atmosphere while the outdoor fireplace creates warmth on cool spring nights. Sunday brunch, weekend music, happy-hour deals and late-night specials are still more reasons to keep coming back.

Urban Chestnut

Right now St. Louis is more in touch with its German side than ever, especially the beer-swilling side. With more and more new breweries and brew pubs popping up, it is becoming a challenge to stand out and be noticed. In the growing Midtown Alley neighborhood, one pub in particular works the Deutschland angle to the max, even boasting a brewmaster from the homeland. Urban Chestnut Brewing Company (3229 Washington Avenue; 314-222-0143 or, which just opened last year, has already infiltrated many area bar taps. But to truly experience the beer in its native habitat, pay a visit to the beer garden, an outdoor space created solely for enjoying the suds. UCBC's building is a converted garage, and it takes full advantage of the concept with a contemporary spin on the garden: The clear garage doors on three sides open up during the warmer months to let the outside in and still allow the feeling of alfresco when closed during cooler months. Seating of all kinds is available for groups, and there's a small menu as well as games that will challenge fellow beer geeks. Plus, Urban Chestnut Brewing Company recently purchased the space next door, which will house a 400-seat expansion complete with German-built benches and tables.

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