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Food & Drink

Best Wine Bar 

Copia Urban Winery

We, uh, spent a good deal of time mulling over this category. Our ruminations were extensive, our comments varied. "Hmph," we said, then "ernf" and "thppt." Not expressions of dissatisfaction, mind you, but of inner turmoil. This city is blessed with wonderful wine bars; to pick just one seems a fool's errand. Erato, the lovely smoke-free space on South Grand, is near-holy in its airy serenity and respect for the grape. Sasha's, in the picturesque DeMun neighborhood, is like a mini-trip to Napa—all generous pours and exquisite edible pairings. But Copia Urban Winery on Washington Avenue owns our oenophilic heart. This place is gorgeous. Twenty-foot ceilings and exposed-brick walls don't mean a thing if the wine list's weak but at Copia the selection is as inspiring and audacious as the space. And "winery" isn't a misnomer: Imbibers can choose from several varietals made on-site. Treat yourself to a glass of the huge, spicy 2003 Titus cabernet sauvignon or the honeysuckle-scented Hopler gruner veltliner, or stay closer to home with Missouri's own 2003 Chaumette norton or Les Bourgeois premium claret. Heck, go ahead and buy a whole bottle (or two), because here's the finest aspect of the best wine bar in town: Every bottle is sold at retail price, with only an $8 corkage fee tacked on if you choose to enjoy the wine on the premises. In a town where twice-retail is de rigueur, this policy is as refreshing as a bottle of chilled-just-right Bollinger Special Cuve.

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