Best Bartender - 2005
Can a person who doesn't mix drinks -- who owns a bar that doesn't even stock spirits -- be considered St. Louis' "Best Bartender"? Is a wine bar a bar? Yes. Is there a physical "bar" with stools in this wine bar? Yes. Does the man behind it actually "tend" it? Yes. OK then. Jake Hafner, owner of 33 Wine Bar, is, indeed, a bartender, and the city's best, because he's got great taste, knows his wine and beer, is the perfect advocate and runs a clean, well-lighted bar in Lafayette Square. Hafner's a certified sommelier (see "Best Wine Store," and also a good writer. Witness his quirky, detailed menu, which he sells. ("Over 53 copies sold," it reads. "Over 32,001 stolen.") Along with wonderful wines, 33 stocks one of the city's best beer selections. And despite the fact that Hafner spends 80 hours a week at his place, he manages to smile and chitchat like a pro. As in: like a bartender.