People & Places

  • Best Citizen

    John Danforth

    Years ago they asked John Danforth why he chose to join the Republican Party. His reply: "For the same reason you sometimes choose which movie to see. [It's] the one with the shortest line." These days our former three-term U.S. Senator and onetime U.N. ambassador is looking for a much better reason to stick with the GOP, short line notwithstanding.… More >>
  • Best Mile of St. Louis

    The (New?) Mississippi riverfront

    Satellite photos identify the Best Mile of St. Louis. Viewed from above, regional development has evolved like an arrow, with its best at its point: the riverfront. Forces greater than our own have placed the length where it is. With the arrival of the Arch and accompanying national park 40 years ago, however, the riverfront was effectively reduced to a… More >>
  • Best Pipe Dream

    A lid over I-70 at the Gateway Arch

    As the power brokers hammer out details of a master plan for the St. Louis riverfront, one item will doubtless top their to-do list: Find a way to bury I-70 in front of the Gateway Arch. Urban planners and civic boosters have long maintained that the interstate has severed the city from the Mississippi. Today's riverside-bound pedestrian must brave a… More >>
  • Best Blog

    Viva El Birdos

    Viva El Birdos scribe lboros knows so much about Cardinals baseball that he spends most of his columns debating himself. Topics that have taken on great controversy in his own mind (and thus spilled upon the digital page) include: Who's had a better first 600 at-bats, So Taguchi or Willie McGee? (Remember, you've got to consider "the changes to busch… More >>
  • Best Civic-Minded Blog

    Urban Review-St. Louis

    Steve Patterson bills his Urban Review-St. Louis as "an urbanist's critique on the City of St. Louis and the St. Louis region." Yeah, everybody's a critic, but Patterson's got cred. He was a design-build designer who became a city real estate agent; he knows the built environment, he knows the neighborhoods. While the rest of us bitch about what developers… More >>
  • Best Local Boy Made Good

    Russ Carnahan

    His campaign to fill big Dick Gephardt's Third Congressional District shoes may have been a little lackluster. But since heading to Washington, D.C., Russ Carnahan has proven himself able. With a seat on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Carnahan likes to boast, he brought home the bacon in the form of a $42 million transportation infusion for the region. He… More >>
  • Best Local Boy Gone Bad

    Leonardo Drisdel

    Help Wanted: WGNU (920 AM) seeks radio personality to host weekly show and serve as conservative punching bag during debates with Lizz Brown. Qualified applicants will be well-read, punctual, organized and prepared to discuss local issues including St. Louis Public Schools, the future of downtown and ways to celebrate your birthday other than getting yourself arrested for murder. Drug test… More >>
  • Best New Building

    Alberici Group headquarters

    It's not easy being LEED: The worldwide designation for "Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design," bestowed on buildings by the U.S. Green Building Council, requires strict adherence to standards addressing everything from how and with what chemicals the inside of the building is cleaned to the level of water reclamation a project has in place. For the greenest of the… More >>
  • Busch Stadium

    Best Old Building

    Busch Stadium

    Forty seasons after its opening, the stadium that was home to Gibby, the Wizard and Prince Albert is perched over history's dustbin. The unique ballpark is revered by baseball fans and architects alike. Redbirds fans love it because, well, it's chock-full of memories. Archophiles adore it for its use of formed concrete and steel, its subtle interplay with the Gateway… More >>
  • Best Cheap Thrill

    Missouri Lottery

    This year's cheap thrill was to go to the Discovery Bridge at Highway 370 and the Missouri River, where an optical illusion has prompted at least five people to think they could jump the twelve- to twenty-foot span separating the eastbound and westbound lanes. None has been successful. At least three have died. Always the spoilsport, the Missouri Department of… More >>
  • Best Kids' Thrill

    World Aquarium at the City Museum

    "Hello, pretty baby" is the greeting you'll receive at the entrance from Candy and Louie, the resident cockatoos. But these unusual doormen are far from the only feature that makes the World Aquarium a kids' thrill. You want up-close, hands-on experience with aquatic life and ecosystems? You and your small fry can crawl through the caves to view the stingrays,… More >>
  • Best Place to Take Out-of-Town Guests

    Laumeier Sculpture Park

    You say your sister enjoys massive pieces of sculpture made out of 55 steel marine buoys? Your uncle likes to browse unassuming gift shops for glass-art jewelry, books about Andy Warhol and items that appear to be antique cat toys? And your old frat bro has never marveled at giant, Smurfette-like torso pieces positioned near a giant blue clown head?… More >>
  • Best Hotel

    Chase Park Plaza

    If sheer elegance and beauty are your benchmarks, there's no better place in St. Louis than the landmark Chase Park Plaza. Considered the most expensive hotel ever planned when ground was broken 83 years ago, it still lives up to its boastful late-1950s advertising slogan: "The Chase is the Place." This was back in the days when the Chase headlined… More >>
  • Best Hotel Perk

    Clayton on the Park

    In a suburban enclave where it seems conformity is everything -- must wear Nicole Miller sundress to happy hour at J. Buck's before dinner at the Crossing and ride home in date's BMW 6-series -- the London cab service offered by luxury hotel/apartment residence Clayton on the Park is as refreshing as high tea. Guests and residents are granted free,… More >>
  • Best Bed & Breakfast

    Park Avenue Mansion

    Kathy Marks-Petetit and Michael Petetit only got into the bed & breakfast business three years ago, but after just one night in their plush Park Avenue Mansion you'd swear they'd been at it for thirty. Kathy, an artist, proffers gourmet brunches that look and taste lovely, while Michael, an IT consultant, plays a sneaky sommelier, unexpectedly leaving a spot of… More >>
  • Best Place to People-Watch

    Jefferson Barracks Park

    "Just to hear these guys say things like, "You know, it didn't really matter how we felt about Patton. All that mattered was that the Germans were terrified of him' -- it's just an unbelievable experience," says JoAnn Keller, one of nearly seventy volunteers who began staffing the two museums in Jefferson Barracks Park this past spring when the facilities… More >>
  • Best Tour

    City Cycling Tours

    Given the vacationing hordes that throng here every year for our famed attractions (free/cheap being universally alluring), it's a little surprising it took as long as it did for someone to hit upon this brilliant idea: People like tours. Visitors, sure, but even locals like to gad about and learn something that might help them out at their next trivia… More >>
  • Grant\'s Farm

    Best Free Beer with Rodents

    Grant's Farm

    Free beer goes well with damn near everything: free cocktail napkins, free pretzels, free advice from the bartender. But it's even better at Grant's Farm. The (free) tram winds through their 281 acres -- past flamingos and llamas, through a covered bridge, past Ulysses S. Grant's cabin, alongside a fence made from 2,563 rifle barrels. The depot is the Anheuser-Busch… More >>
  • Best Main Street

    Belleville, Illinois

    Maybe if St. Louisans (and other left-bank dwellers) hear it often enough, we'll actually start to believe it: There is life, and not just a poor approximation thereof, across the mighty Mississip. Exhibit A: Downtown Belleville, Illinois, whose main drag boasts a walkable business district of some variety and is actually called Main Street, further appealing to our notions of… More >>
  • Best Parade

    PrideFest parade

    Parades are inherently dorky. There's just something goofy about lining the streets to watch a football team or a collection of civic-minded wonks or a Pork Queen march by while waving as if they were conquering heroes. The exception is the Pride St. Louis PrideFest parade. Are the participants of this one parade cooler simply because they are the GLBTA… More >>
  • Best Cemetery

    Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery

    To call one cemetery "best" risks glibness. How to rank such solemn grounds? Stand, though, at the easternmost summit of hilly Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery any time between dawn and dusk, and you will be hard-pressed to find the experience anything but incomparable. There, with your back to a placid, verdant stretch of the Mississippi, you see rolling out below… More >>
  • Best Public Admonition

    University City

    On an unmarked street off Pennsylvania Avenue near the Wellston line, we encounter a city-issued street sign: "CHILL (NO LOUD MUSIC PLEASE)," it says, in simple red letters on a white background. University City public works manager Lynnette Hicks says the sign went up a few years back, after neighbors complained about folks blaring their car stereos. "We put up… More >>
  • Best Public Works Project

    River Des Peres Greenway

    Skinker/McCausland is the "secret" shortcut that allows you to drive from north to south along the city/county border in record time. Bicyclists and walkers now have their own secret city/county path: the River Des Peres Greenway. The Great Rivers Greenway District has spent the past five years working for "a clean, green connected St. Louis region" through its River Ring… More >>
  • Best Boondoggle

    MetroLink's cross-county extension

    Carpetbagging transit chief Larry Salci announced last fall that Metro's 8.2-mile light-rail extension linking Forest Park and Shrewsbury by way of Clayton -- dubbed "Cross County" -- was not only woefully behind schedule, it had broken the bank. For several months, Metro staffers hunched over their calculators, ringing up the total damage: $96 to $126 million over the budgeted $550… More >>
  • Best Alibi

    Mark McGwire's Congressional testimony

    Mark McGwire was a slugger before his 2001 retirement. But Big Mac's reply when asked about his past steroid use was a grand slam of an alibi. "I'm not here to discuss the past," the former Cardinal responded when Congressmen attempted to pry open his piehole for some answers. "I'm here to be positive about this subject."… More >>
  • Best Example of Taking One for the Team

    Larry Conners gets Tasered

    Seniority is one of those perks a guy ought to take advantage of. If you're Larry Conners, it should entitle you to the last handful of jelly beans in the make-up room and shotgun (without having to call it) while cruising with Vickie Newton. So you'd think he'd be the least likely candidate to be found on the receiving end… More >>
  • Best Local Girl Made Good

    Kimora Lee Simmons

    WHEREAS bitches the world over were put on notice eight times in a Vanity Fair interview that she will "beat a bitch's ass"; and WHEREAS the St. Louis native was well on the path to superstardom when, at the… More >>
  • Best Local Girl Gone Bad

    Paige Laurie

    Mizzou's Paige Sports Arena: $75 million. Laurie family's contribution: $25 million. Tuition at the University of Southern California: $32,000. Amount allegedly paid by Paige Laurie to fellow USC student Elena Martinez in exchange for doing Laurie's homework: $20,000. Seeing a spoiled Wal-Mart heiress outed as a cheat: Priceless.… More >>
  • Best Intersection That Sounds Like a Sex Act

    Skinker and Fauquier

    Skinker and Fauquier… More >>
  • Best Bus Route

    32 Wellston-MLK

    The common beef among St. Louisans is that to live and thrive in St. Louis, you have to have a car. Bullshit. Get on the goddamn bus, pansy. A big chunk of the population rides the road whales every day, but you snobbishly turn up your nose. What, you too good for the bus? Guess what? Get on the bus.… More >>
  • Best Nonprofit

    BUILD St. Louis

    It'd be a stretch to start a local campaign along the lines of "Keep Austin Weird" while maintaining a straight face. We might have to start with "Make St. Louis Weird," and then move on to the keeping part. That being said, plenty of our most beloved communities haven't yet succumbed to the siren lure of sameness offered by chain… More >>
  • Best Lost Cause

    Saving the "Crown of Arches" atop Busch Stadium

    Busch Stadium is now being picked over by scavengers in the market for everything from its ice machines to its electronic scoreboards. But for Iowa City-based graphic designer Joe Bauer, the push to preserve unique elements of the stadium came by way of an online whisper campaign to salvage the stadium's distinctive "crown of arches." Though Bauer managed to get… More >>
  • Erato Wine Bar & Grand Market

    Best Public Restroom

    Erato Wine Bar & Grand Market

    The whole point of Erato Wine Bar is the extensive and expert selection of wines, spirits and beers, but a major component of its magic is the interior design. It's a warm and sophisticated array of subtle details designed by owners Tim Foley and Adam Pashea, who borrowed ideas from favorite places and distilled them into the Erato sensibility. All… More >>
  • Best Local Politician

    Rachel Storch

    In St. Louis you'll find her at Chuy's in Dogtown or tutoring at Adams Elementary School. In Jefferson City you'll see her going to bat for Medicaid and calling out fellow elected officials for ethics violations. She's Democratic state representative Rachel Storch of the 64th District. And at age 33, she might be the sharpest and most compassionate local politico… More >>
  • Best Bureaucrat

    Mariano Favazza

    "I've never been a person who begs well," chuckles Mariano Favazza, describing his campaign fundraising. "I got elected on the strength of my children -- they legged out 25,000 flyers in 30 days. That's a lot of walking, brother." That was back in 1998, and Favazza, who raised roughly $10,000 in his bid to become St. Louis' circuit court clerk,… More >>
  • Best Mayor

    Rich Sauget Jr.

    There has never been a mayor of Sauget not named Sauget. From Leo to Paul to little Rich -- whose dad, Big Rich, owns the town's lone French villa amid a slew of single-story ramblers and trailer homes -- Sauget is as close to a modern-day fiefdom as they come. This would be a bad thing if the Sauget dynasty… More >>
  • Best Cop

    Sanela Konjevic

    As a 26-year-old and a female, Sanela Konjevic is already something of a rarity in the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. Factor in her distinction as the squad's lone Bosnian? Unique indeed. Konjevic came to St. Louis from Prijedor in the former Yugoslavia in 1996, attended Soldan High School and studied criminal justice at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Since… More >>
  • Best Lawyer

    Chet Pleban

    Shoot your lover in the head? Viciously slash a woman to death? Feel you were unjustly slandered by a school-board member? If you answered yes to any of the preceding, there's only one man to call: ace attorney Chet Pleban. In the past two years, Pleban has won acclaim working some of the most high-profile cases in town while earning… More >>
  • Best Gadfly

    Veronica O'Brien

    Appointed to the St. Louis Board of Education by Mayor Francis Slay to fill the vacancy left by deposed curse-spouter Rochell Moore, Veronica O'Brien was supposed to appeal to African-American constituents while toeing the mayoral line on school reform. But although O'Brien started her term tentatively, she has quickly emerged front-and-center as a gadfly extraordinaire. Her cell phone and BlackBerry… More >>
  • Best Villain

    The City of St. Louis and the DESCO Group

    Apparently, successfully flattening the Century Building in order to redevelop the Old Post Office downtown wasn't sufficient for St. Louis city officials and the DESCO Group. No, the developers and the city had to rub activists' noses in the dirt, boasting of the project as the "catalyst of downtown revitalization" and then, when the landmark had been reduced to rubble,… More >>
  • Best Billboard

    Trauma, Death and Crime Scene Cleaning

    A gentleman in a white coat comforting a woman in a blue sweater. A phone number. And a larger-than-life business description: Trauma, Death and Crime Scene Cleaning. This ad, courtesy of Bio Cleaning Services of America Inc., is wonderfully handy for folks on their way to the market/soccer practice/the theater who suddenly remember they shouldn't keep putting off taking care… More >>
  • Best Festival

    Art on the Square

    The world's -- or even the metro area's -- best artwork will likely not be found at Art on the Square. For starters, a fair amount of the paintings tend toward the Thomas Kincaid school. That Art on the Square overcomes its Kincaid quotient is testament to this mid-May fest's funky, communal vibe. Arrayed along an inviting little Main Street,… More >>
  • Best View of Downtown

    Route 163 northbound from Eckert's Fun Farm

    St. Louis' downtown doesn't exactly inspire one to pen odes. We'd have been better off had we banned even the shortest of skyscrapers (á la Washington, D.C.); a small-in-stature downtown showing off the core's older buildings would well suit the Lou. As it is, no matter how high your downtown perch, there is no "best" view. Still, that leaves room… More >>
  • St. Louis Public Library, Schlafly Branch

    Best Public Library

    St. Louis Public Library, Schlafly Branch

    In case you haven't graced one since your mom let you pick out ten board books a week, libraries have changed, my friend. No longer just a hushed room holding books and well-thumbed copies of National Geographic (the only sanctioned nudity kids ever saw, back in the day), they're now, by necessity, competing pretty well with the layout and amenities… More >>
  • The Cigar Club at the Ritz-Carlton

    Best Place to Meet Single Men

    The Cigar Club at the Ritz-Carlton

    Can't nothin' beat a man who favors mahogany over maple and marble to metalaminates; a guy with his own tricked-out kitchen who still prefers somebody else's cooking; a dude who smokes, but only Macanudos. We're talking about a fellow with a good sense of timing, direction and certitude. The kind whose inner compass knows when it's happy hour; the kind… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet Single Women

    Draw Club

    Alternating weekly between the Art Lofts and the Gauthier Gallery (check the Web address above for details), Draw Club combines the essential elements of an eventful encounter: booze and nudity. But we're not recommending Draw Club so you can go ogling the (typically female) models. That's bad form. You're looking for a talented artist. Organizer Chris Myers says Draw Club… More >>
  • Best Place for a First Date

    SqWires

    Until recently, we were of the opinion that to qualify as a potential first-date destination, a venue must offer booze, and plenty of it. (You know, to overcome the awkwardness of the situation.) Then we went out on a date with someone who doesn't drink. Suddenly, "shooting," "pounding," and "shotgunning" were unavailable as first-date activities. So we had to find… More >>
  • Best Place for a Last Date

    Chez Leon

    So this is it. You knew when he asked you out to dinner that something was amiss. Though you've been considering how your life might change for the worse tonight, how can one truly brace oneself for this? Good thing you suggested Chez Leon. When he starts in with, "We need to talk," instead of crying, go ahead and order… More >>
  • Best Kept Secret

    North Oaks Bowl

    When Tino DiFranco opened Normandy Lanes in 1960, his patronage was, to the best of his recollection, "100 percent white." The largest bowling alley in the state of Missouri (64 lanes; 32 to a side), DiFranco's center is now called North Oaks Bowl, and it now caters to an all-black clientele. "It really hasn't changed that much," says the 76-year-old… More >>
  • Best Worthy Cause

    Save Normandie Golf Course

    Since catching wind last year of plans to turn Normandie Golf Course into a suburban housing development, residents of the north-county neighborhoods of Bel-Nor and Greendale have waged a grass-roots protest that's as much a love-in as a call to war. Over the past year, they've voted out members of the town council thought to be sympathetic to developer Taylor-Morley… More >>
  • Best Nickname

    FoPoCoCo

    Forest Park Community College… More >>
  • Best Sister City

    Saint-Louis, Senegal

    What do you look for in a sister city? You want a city you can hang out with on lazy summer days, a city that understands your self-consciousness about your slumping social status, a city that knows what it's like to have a French colonial background in this crazy, mixed-up, modern world. In short, you want a city like Saint-Louis,… More >>
  • Best Month to Be in St. Louis

    August

    St. Louis is super-smoking hot in August. But guess what: So is every other city not bordering the Arctic Circle. Why on earth would a person abandon one sweltering climate in favor of another? It makes no sense. Sure, you could escape to San Francisco, a cosmopolitan, oceanside city where the weather is perpetually mild -- except in August, when… More >>
  • Best Month to Leave St. Louis

    June

    It's pretty normal for the thermometer to eclipse 90 in St. Louis in June. This is a problem, as summer isn't technically supposed to start until the last week of the month. At this point, it's OK for the temp to reach 90, but not for the first three weeks of June. The first three weeks of June are supposed… More >>

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