Best Neighborhood Bar (West County) St. Louis 2009 - Larry's Tavern
Think west-county neighborhood bars and it's hard to not get stuck in Westport, distracted by chains or places that are a bit more cushy than bars in other parts of the metro area. That ain't the case with Larry's Tavern. Located across Manchester Road from a new subdivision advertising houses starting in the $300,000s and backed up to the chichi shops of Wildwood Town Plaza, Larry's white clapboard building and gravel parking lot stick out like the house of an old coot who's refused to sell while fancy developments have grown around it. While wondering how it's survived the onslaught of expensive sprawl, you've got to admire the tenacity and quality of a place that can thrive in such an environment. Larry's feels like it belongs in south city, with only the occasional Volvo in the parking lot to imply otherwise. Inside the air's ripe with cigarette smoke and the constant sizzle of fresh burgers on the grill. Folks at the bar range from their twenties to seventies, nursing beers and sharing stories. During one visit the bartender talks a customer into letting her use his swimming pool for a party. Streams of patrons pick up carry-out boxes of burgers and fries during the lunch hour, not stopping to imbibe, even though the old guys at the bar are generous with the free beer tokens. What's the rush, when time's standing still at Larry's?