Best Wine List in a Restaurant (Value) - 2009
33 Wine Shop & Tasting Bar
1913 Park Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63104
When Jake Hafner announced in January of this year that he was selling his Lafayette Square wine bar, St. Louis oenophiles panicked: Would 33 Wine Shop & Tasting Bar, bereft of its guiding spirit, become one more characterless spot selling whatever plonk distributors were trying to offload that week? Thankfully, new owner Jeff Stettner is a kindred soul to both Hafner and 33's many devoted fans, and he continues to curate a wine list that offers something for everybody — including those with a limited budget or whose interest in wine outstrips their knowledge, or both. The key is conversation: Tell Stettner what you like, or what you think you like, and how much you want to spend, and he'll guide you to an inspired choice, sometimes with a few leading questions (Old World or New? Dry or sweet?), sometimes — especially once he gets to know you — following his own whim. For those who live to pair wine with food, 33 now offers monthly "Dorm Room" dinners, in which local chefs prepare a multicourse meal using only what you'd find in a dorm room: hot plate, microwave, toaster oven.