Bars & Clubs

  • Best Cougar Den

    Mihalis Chophouse - CLOSED

    BREAKING NEWS: MAN ATTACKED BY COUGARS! A young man was mauled by a pack of cougars at Mihalis Chophouse Friday evening. The women, believed to be seven in number and all in their late forties, pounced on the man, 24, only moments after he had ordered a Jack & Coke. He wore a golf shirt, untucked, jeans and flip-flops. Two… More >>
  • Best Bar Food

    Tip Top Food & Spirits - CLOSED

    To have great bar food, you first need to find a great bar. You're not going to get the munchies if you don't hang around for a drink or four. Tip Top Food & Spirits is a great bar in the old-school St. Louis style: a small, smoky neighborhood joint in a mostly residential area of Soulard. Owner Djordje "George"… More >>
  • Best Drink Special

    Booze Pitcher

    Leave the pitchers full of beer, margaritas or sangria to the minor leagues — the Booze Pitcher at 100 West is for pros only. Found in a forgettable Ballwin strip mall inside a bar that's had more name changes than Prince, this mega-cocktail will put an extra swagger (and a stumble or two) in your step. Throw down $9, and… More >>
  • Best Place to Play Pinball

    CP Pinball

    Just a 30-minute drive from St. Louis, in a little town called South Roxana, next to the Shell Industrial plant, stands pinball heaven. CP Pinball doesn't look like much from the outside. It's in a quiet neighborhood and doesn't sport any big, neon signs. But once you're through the front door, you know you've come to the right place. Packed… More >>
  • Best Place to Wake Up and Get Down

    The Grind/Sol Lounge - CLOSED

    Since last we met over the pages of a Best of St. Louis edition, we've all gotten a year older, a bit wiser, but also a smidge more fatigued. Hey, there's no shame in any of that! Remember: Being tired is not a sign of being feeble. It just means you need more coffee to keep you going till the… More >>
  • Best Jukebox

    Courtesy Diner

    How many rotten nights out have been redeemed by Courtesy Diner? Too many to count, as the venerable greasy spoon offers early-morning salvation by the plateful to all seeking sanctuary. Strike out at the bar? Shake it off with a stack of pancakes. Looking to sober up? Courtesy's famous slinger (a heaping mess of eggs, chili and hamburger patties) will… More >>
  • Best 3 a.m. Bar

    Jack Patrick's Bar & Grill

    There's a saying among St. Louis barflies: "Nothing good ever happens after 1:30 a.m." — a reference to the closing time of most watering holes on the Missouri side of the river. Evidently these folks haven't been to Jack Patrick's. The downtown establishment (located at Olive and Tenth streets) has a pronounced sports-bar feel, thanks to numerous television sets blasting… More >>
  • Best Rock Club to Die in the Past 12 Months

    The Ground Floor

    For most residents of St. Louis, trekking across the river into Illinois for entertainment purposes is generally an unfortunate misstep that begins in a hazy moment of weakness at about 2 a.m. and often ends sometime the following morning in Sauget. But for five years the Ground Floor consistently offered compelling reasons to figure out how the hell to get… More >>
  • Best Rock Club

    The Bluebird

    Gather 'round, children! Let Old Rock Scenester tell you a story. Once upon a time, I had to go to Chicago, Kansas City or Columbia to see decent shows. (It goes without saying that I walked there, uphill both ways, through the snow, barefoot.) But that was before the Bluebird stormed into town and established itself as a venue capable… More >>
  • Best Happy Hour

    Terrene - CLOSED

    Small plates are perhaps the ultimate drinking-and-dining experience. Not only do you get to sample a host of different dishes, but eating something with each round just seems more, well, civilized. Hell, in some cities in Spain, where tapas are a way of life, bars are obligated to serve a bite with each round. At Terrene the happy hour (5… More >>
  • Best Place to Drown Your Sorrows

    The Filling Station

    The Filling Station is dim. The brick-red walls don't reflect light. They absorb it. Walk in past the fellas in jean shorts and "Freedom Isn't Free" tank tops, sit at the bar and ask the lass what she recommends for sorrow-drowning purposes. She's liable to set up a shot of Jack Daniel's and a Budweiser. Whether it's a tough job… More >>
  • Best Outdoor Drinking

    The Jade Room

    Drinking outdoors is one of the greatest pleasures of St. Louis summertime. When the warm breeze flows through town and makes you feel all twitterpated, thoughts turn to how you might enjoy two of your favorite pastimes (drinking and shit-talking) concurrently in the out-of-doors. Outside the Jade Room is the perfect spot to hang out and sip a refreshing cold… More >>
  • Best All-Ages Venue


    If you're sixteen and looking for a place for your band to play its first real show outside a garage or basement — and if your musical chops can hold their own against your peers' — Fubar might just be the place for you. Looking to fill out its near-nightly lineup of live music, the newly minted midtown venue quickly… More >>
  • Best Beer Selection in a Bar

    The Stable - CLOSED

    Want to locate a beer connoisseur in a bar? Look for the guy staring daggers at the same half-dozens taps you find everywhere else in town. Maybe, if he's an optimistic connoisseur, he'll be leaning over the bar, peering deep into the fridge, seeking that one token bottle of something decent. Want to locate a beer connoisseur at the Stable?… More >>
  • Best Bouncer

    Darryl Brown

    The parallels between attending a show at Cicero's and playing the first level of Super Mario Bros. are stunning. The primitive video game involves three simple, yet tedious stages (parking, walking to the club, and waiting in line, respectively), ultimately ending in the final stage: an encounter with a large, menacing boss character whom you must pass to enter the… More >>
  • Best Drink Menu


    Halfway through a lemongrass mojito at Urban, we declared it "the perfect summer drink." So refreshing! So subtle! So expertly blended! Then, we ordered a Gin Garden — gin, muddled cucumbers, apple juice. Oh, this, we declared (our short-term memory starting to go), this is the perfect summer drink. In the interest of fairness, we ordered a Hibiscus, made with… More >>
  • Best Bouncer

    Darryl Brown

    The parallels between attending a show at Cicero's and playing the first level of Super Mario Bros. are stunning. The primitive video game involves three simple, yet tedious stages (parking, walking to the club, and waiting in line, respectively), ultimately ending in the final stage: an encounter with a large, menacing boss character whom you must pass to enter the… More >>
  • Best Place to Play Pool

    Nick's Irish Pub

    Every city needs a place like Nick's Irish Pub: a neighborhood bar with a shamrock-and-shillelagh shtick that serves up tall pints and makes you long for the snug little taverns of Ireland. And while Nick's nails the cozy atmosphere of the quaint public house, there is plenty of room to roam: A nice beer garden awaits those desiring a drink… More >>
  • Best Place for Cocktails

    Atomic Cowboy

    Any place can make a good cocktail, but Atomic Cowboy is expert at serving up cool cocktails. The surroundings certainly help: This bar's interior and exterior decorating elements — vintage furniture and exposed brick indoors and the Quonset hut and fire pit out back — work together to set quite a scene for all manner of fun and ballyhoo, from… More >>
  • Best Open Mic

    The Shanti

    A hirsute fellow clad in an electric-blue tutu leans back against the bar. One of his two sidekicks wears a platinum mullet wig, the other a taupe suit and tie. They're on the board, but we won't know what this act is all about until the end of a set of twelve-string guitar medleys and bland Johnny Cash and Elvis… More >>
  • Best Jazz Club

    Jazz at the Bistro

    Outside Jazz at the Bistro, the neon sign that features a stylized saxophone evokes the bygone era when nearby Grand Boulevard was called the "Broadway of St. Louis." Inside the club, it's the local equivalent of yesteryear NYC's 52nd Street, home base for the legends of jazz during the post-World War II era. Jazz at the Bistro succeeds by presenting… More >>
  • Best Martini

    The Famous Bar

    Ah, the martini. The name alone conjures up an air of old-fashioned sophistication, a stylish civility that ignores fashion. The only problem with such an elegant, effortless drink is the fact that a good one is just so damned hard to find. Thus, in the spirit of improving your life the best way we know how (i.e., with booze), we… More >>
  • Best Karaoke

    Mangia Italiano

    We know, we know: Mangia Italiano ain't exactly a state secret. They serve great pasta by day and cold beer until 3 a.m. every night, and it is ground zero for hipsterdom on South Grand (a blessing or a curse, depending on your disposition). But hear us out on this one: While most karaoke bars force you to sit through… More >>
  • Best Blues Club

    BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups

    With the 21st-century renovations to its 19th-century building pretty much complete, BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups retains its title as St. Louis' blues headquarters, a seven-nights-a-week hub of activity for local music lovers, tourists and musicians alike. BB's continues to offer an impressive variety of touring blues bands and local and regional blues and jazz performers, and the newly expanded… More >>
  • Best Place to Slow Dance

    The Hide Away

    The Hide Away isn't all that hidden. It's right on Arsenal just east of Hampton, but the feel of the joint is far different from other bars in the area. It's a place where time stands still. Drink prices are left over from the Great Depression and served up by a busty young babe in Betty Page duds. Though a… More >>
  • Best Dance Club

    Club Viva

    Viva may lack the glitz of joints like Lush and Pepper Lounge, but the dance moves its patrons flaunt on a nightly basis more than make up for any perceived deficiency in the swank department. The tiny basement club has been a fixture of the Central West End for more than a decade. While the music runs the gamut from… More >>
  • Best Lounge

    Moon Lounge

    While the lesser loungers among us stare forlornly at a poster of a cat grasping at a tree limb (caption: "Hang in there, Baby!") on Mondays, the straight-up partiers make every weekend a three-day one at the Moon Lounge. Located above Lush near Saint Louis University, the Moon regularly crams in some 300-plus people for its Monday-night mash-ups — and… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Club

    The Loft Jazz Club

    The Loft doesn't bang as hard as east-side hotspots like Club Casino or have the hipster cachet of the underground nights like Lucas School House's Café Soul. Yet it manages to strike a middle ground between the two. A pioneer in the now-popping midtown club scene, the Loft Jazz Club is a misnomer in that it doesn't feature jazz and… More >>
  • Best Bar Bar

    Rosie's Place

    Rosie's is located in the heart of the Central West End, across the street from glitzy joints Moxy and Chez Leon, but it could easily pass for the bluest-collared watering hole in town. Crammed into a single narrow room, the establishment is, simply put, a drinking person's bar. A place where people booze, laugh and commiserate. The air is smoky… More >>
  • Best Place to Play Darts

    Eagle's Nest Pub & Grill - CLOSED

    The neon sign says it all: "Bud 'n Darts." Owner Don Withoelter concedes that, yes, the Eagle's Nest Pub & Grill is "primarily a dart bar." That explains why nearly every square inch of the place is covered with plaques, trophies or (steel-tip) dartboards. But even when it comes to pointy instruments, this is an egalitarian Eagle: All comers are… More >>
  • Best Gay Bar


    It ain't easy being a gay bar anymore. They may all soon be in some virtual nexus formed from Second Life, and Xtube. Or it might be that gay bars go the way of the Negro Leagues after Jackie Robinson, as the dichotomies between straight and gay clubs melt. But for now gay boys still want to get out… More >>
  • Best Lesbian Bar


    Drag shows. Free darts and pool on Wednesdays, $2 beers all night on Tuesdays. The go-to watering hole for generations of the St. Louis gay/lesbian/transgender community. Despite its longevity, Attitudes ain't no stuffy old museum of queer culture. The old girl still vibrates with hip-hop and a diverse spectrum of lesbian clientele, from the urban to the old-school Melissa Etheridge… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar (East Side)

    The Stagger Inn...Again

    You walk into the Stagger Inn...Again (the original bar closed for a disco successor) and you try to find a seat at the mahogany bar. The barstool is worn (and sometimes warm) and comfortable, and it sinks down like a cushy bicycle seat. When you're inside a bar that's just around the corner from Madison County's sterile granite courthouse, you're… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar (North County)

    Judy's Fireside Lounge

    The fire never goes out at Judy's. While there is in fact a functional fireplace at the ancient Overland watering hole, in the scorching summer months a neon sign burns eternally above the cozy hearth tucked in the corner. Judy, the bar's namesake, died years ago, so the pints are now poured by her old business partner, Suzie. A crane… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar (South County)


    In south St. Louis County, O'Leary's fire doesn't refer to Chicago's bovine-ignited inferno of legend, but rather to the one that started unceremoniously in a trash can at O'Leary's, the bar, and eventually consumed the place in September 2006. It reopened six months later, just in time for St. Patrick's Day, and now a partially melted flat-screen television mounted over… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar (City)


    Choosing the best neighborhood bar in the city is sort of like picking the cutest puppy in a basketful of golden retrievers. Not. Easy. That's because, to the delight of city dwellers and the despair of their livers, there are so many great bars in so many great neighborhoods. Cozy taverns tucked into brick buildings, elegant wine bars anchoring nightlife… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar (Mid-County)


    Webster Groves might have a reputation as a great place to raise a family, but let's be honest: Sometimes you need to get away from the kids. You don't have to go very far, though. Located at the western end of what passes for Webster's downtown, Robust is the ideal place to enjoy being a grown-up again. The décor is… More >>
  • Best New Bar

    The Gramophone

    What's not to love about the Grove? This stretch of Manchester Avenue continues to blossom with new bars, clubs and restaurants that cater to all kinds of clientele. The Gramophone opened this year with the mission of uniting the disparate strands of this city's music scene, all while serving fresh, inventive cocktails. The bar hosts DJs and live music nearly… More >>
  • Best Cocktail Name

    The Buttery Nepal

    More >>
  • Best Bartender

    Ted Kilgore

    Ted Kilgore doesn't know your name. It's not that Monarch's bar manager is unsociable; his focus just lies elsewhere — namely, on the drink he's about to pour for you. No matter what you decide on, this cocktailophile knows the drink's history, all of its variations and everything else you can think to ask. That's when Kilgore's on top of… More >>
  • Best Margarita

    Las Palmas Mexican Restaurant

    The word "margarita" is thrown around far too liberally. In its true form, the margarita is one of the best drinks out there: both refreshing and warming, both easy-drinking and sophisticated. But all too often, the appellation is attached to the Mountain Dew-hued travesties that appear at just about every subpar Tex-Mex joint north of Nuevo Laredo. Las Palmas, an… More >>
  • Best Bartender

    Ted Kilgore

    Ted Kilgore doesn't know your name. It's not that Monarch's bar manager is unsociable; his focus just lies elsewhere — namely, on the drink he's about to pour for you. No matter what you decide on, this cocktailophile knows the drink's history, all of its variations and everything else you can think to ask. That's when Kilgore's on top of… More >>
  • Best Bloody Mary

    Brandt's Café - CLOSED

    First, the sticker shock: You'll have to shell out $9 for initial access to Brandt's bloody mary buffet, available from 9 a.m. till noon Saturday and 9 a.m. till 2 p.m. Sunday. After you pick between premium and rail vodka, you've got the run of Brandt's buffet table, and there are more accoutrements to choose from than there are sides… More >>
  • Best Underground Club

    Camp Concentration at Apop Records

    Located in the musty catacombs below Apop Records in the burgeoning Cherokee district, Camp Concentration is, literally, an underground venue. Such an atmosphere is fitting for the types of the genre-bending, under-the-radar acts that tend to play in the low-lit basement. Everything from seminal noise pioneers to experimental electro and dance-punk outfits can be seen dealing it out for modest… More >>

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