Best Neighborhood Bar (West) - 2003
Readers' Choice: Harpo's
For no apparent reason, the guy drinking by himself decided he was going to buy a round for the dozen or so patrons in the place. We wondered: Why the generosity? "Why not?" the fellow responded. Of course, we attributed his good humor and our good fortune to Kremer's, where we always leave happier than when we arrive. And no, it's not the buckets of beer (six longnecks for $12). We like the fact that Kremer's is unpretentious, evoking sort of a cinderblock, double-wide feel, but without a trace of redneck or hoosier ambiance. (In case you miss it as you zip down Olive, it's the small building just west of the McDonald's.) On a recent night, customers ranged from hipster sweeties in low-riding peel-off denim to old farts with T-shirt-stretching beer guts. The place is equipped with pinball, darts, a pool table and a few TV sets (expect to watch the Cards, Rams or Blues if they're playing). Our personal fave is the jukebox: A buck'll buy you Nelly's "Hot in Herre," Sinatra's "I Got You Under My Skin" and Marley's "Redemption Song." Night-time food offerings are limited to pretzels, nuts and frozen pizza (equivalent in taste and texture to an Imo's), but you're not here to eat. And don't bring American Express (or Visa or MasterCard, either): Kremer's doesn't take plastic.