Best 3 a.m. Bar St. Louis 2006 - Mangia Italiano
Readers' Choice: Pin-Up Bowl
As the clock strikes 1:30 a.m. on South Grand, choruses of "Get out!" ricochet through the strip of bars. It's the witching hour, the nightly ritual of the great hipster migration. Those still seeking alcohol stretch out their arms for balance, shuffling like the living dead, drawn to their three-o'clock mecca: Mangia Italiano, a bar whose worldly selection of beers and wines will appease both connoisseurs and cheapskates. Thanks to Mangia's recent expansion, the place no longer feels like a smoky sardine tin; patrons are able to actually sit back and watch musicians play instead of standing onstage with them. While the retro d?cor adds undeniably kitschy charm, it's the eclectic regulars who make Mangia what it is: the butt-grabbing couple, bandana boy and the mono-dreadlocked, one-man dance machine. Slightly cultish and as close-knit as a good wool sweater, Mangia is the south-city equivalent of a country club, with only half the pretension.