Bars & Clubs

  • Best Kept Secret (Happy Hour Division)

    Mango Peruvian Cuisine

    As a city, we can no longer ignore the gem of a happy hour sitting right under our noses at Mango Peruvian Cuisine on Lucas Avenue. This year-old outpost of the original Shrewsbury location offers a regularly scheduled happy hour Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. and a late-night happy hour, both of which provide ample opportunity to… More >>
  • Best Cocktail Name

    Tequila Mockingbird

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  • Best Neighborhood Bar (East Side)

    Moonlight Tavern - CLOSED

    Peach doesn't want us to write anything about the Moonlight Tavern. A heavyset old-timer, Peach is at his regular spot on a recent Friday evening, occupying a barstool at this cozy bar nestled into the cornfields of Troy. "Don't go ruining this place," he warns us. "Don't go making it popular." Still, there's a kindness to Peach's reproach. After all,… More >>
  • Best Place to Play Pool

    The Cue

    The dingy, poorly lighted pool halls of your grandfather's memory are a thing of the past. Billiard halls were once the bane of high society — at least in The Music Man, where pool sharks threatened to undo the moral fiber of River City. In this particular river city, though, you needn't look further than Maplewood's the Cue for a… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Club

    The Loft

    Where other hip-hop clubs fail, the Loft, a midsize venue in the burgeoning midtown strip, excels. Olive Street is lined with tricked-out Escalades and cruisers on weekends, and men and women shoulder their way into the packed house looking fresh off a shoot for BET. Reserved VIP booths line one wall, and HOT 104.1's best DJs burn up the dance… More >>
  • Best Rock Club to Die in the Past 12 Months

    The Library

    The Library, the aptly named venue housed in the former Soulard branch of the St. Louis Public Library, enjoyed a brief run in a spectacular setting. From late March 2009 to July 1 of this year, the venue booked a varied selection of local talent. While many bars and clubs can be classified by their adherence to a certain style… More >>
  • Best Place for Cocktails

    Lola - CLOSED

    No matter your mood when you walk into Lola, something about the place makes you want to enjoy a drink. The crucial word here being "enjoy." The old movies flickering on TVs above the bar and the live music (an eclectic mix: jazz, singer-songwriters, DJs) relax your brain, while the friendly staff settles your nerves and the libations poured by… More >>
  • Best Gay Bar

    Bad Dog Bar & Grill

    We'll admit it: The first thing that drew us to this leather bar was its name. That and its scheduled rope-tying classes. (The saloon, which picked up its midtown stakes and moved to the Grove last year, teaches the techniques used in kabuki theater.) And, OK, the promise of fur suits and bondage gear for sale didn't hurt, either. But… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar (West County)

    Annie Gunn's

    Look, we know: Annie Gunn's is great at a lot of things. We've sung the praises of chef Lou Rook. We've given the place Best Steak House in an earlier iteration of this annual STL love-fest. Wine Spectator continually gives the Chesterfield eatery's impressive list its Award of Excellence. The burger is a visitor from Planet Delicious; there should be… More >>
  • Best Place to Play Pinball

    The Silver Ballroom

    Pinball, beards and tallboys: None of these things ever actually went out of style. Their popularity might wax and wane, but each one has always been considered cool to some degree. (The Who didn't write "Skee-Ball Wizard," for crying out loud.) And so Bevo's Silver Ballroom has built a legion of cools we'll call "flipsters," those south-city-dwelling, PBR-drinking, facial-hair-sporting, hard-rocking,… More >>
  • Best New Bar

    The Silver Ballroom

    You see it spelled out above the bar as soon as you walk in: Retox Center. Sobriety, like elevator music, serves an essential function in life, but inside the Silver Ballroom, it's hard to remember what that function is — or, for that matter, why anyone bothers making elevator music when they could be playing punk rock instead. The Silver… More >>
  • Best Bouncer

    Elliott "Boo Boo" Bradshaw

    Unlike some bouncers who are hungry for action and all too happy to show off their best Dalton impersonation, Boo Boo's not a tough-guy in that obnoxious meathead kind of way. However, he's also not one to shy away from dishing out some instant karma, so don't think you can get away with anything on his watch. As one coworker… More >>
  • Best Drink Menu

    Taste by Niche

    The drink menu at Taste by Niche is a living, breathing thing. Literally. Its name is Ted. That's Ted Kilgore, to be precise, the mixologist whose whims and inspirations alter Taste's cocktail selection frequently and whose rapid cocktail-shaking is the constant backbeat of an evening at Taste. Kilgore has gained national recognition for his work: Bon Appétit magazine named Taste… More >>
  • Best Lesbian Bar

    Attitudes Nightclub

    This old girl, which has been comfortably ensconced in the Manchester strip in the Grove for more than twenty years, is about as friendly as a place can be, even if it's got a cage hanging in the back of the room. That's for dancing, by the way, which is what you come to Attitudes to do — that, and… More >>
  • Best Wine Bar

    33 Wine Shop & Tasting Bar

    No, there isn't a sign. No, the website hasn't been updated — well, ever. But these details are neither indicative of sloth nor a hipster ploy. Instead, owner Jeff Stettner and his talented staff of Dylan Mosley and Mike Bianco are so focused on providing outstanding hospitality to their customers and riding herd over the 700 wines on their list… More >>
  • Best Place to Play Darts

    Blueberry Hill

    There are few pleasures simpler and more enjoyable than rounding up a few friends, a few beers and a whole lot of small, sharp objects. We're referring, of course, to playing darts. We haven't found a better spot to play than Blueberry Hill — it's open every day of the year on famed Delmar Boulevard, a dart room big enough… More >>
  • Best Rock Club

    Off Broadway

    The best rock clubs feel like home — no matter if your version of home is a dirty dive, a cozy theater or a history-laden bar. Benton Park's flagship venue, Off Broadway, is a little bit of all three. More important, in recent years the club has become a haven for the city's bands and musicians. Annual traditions — the… More >>
  • Best Lounge

    Rendezvous Room

    A bright purple sign above a dark corner on Vandeventer promotes this "Premium Cocktail Lounge," where you can quench your thirst for early '90s R&B and strong Hennessy cocktails from the tiny, glowing bar at a cheap price. Your two-for-a-dollar jukebox selection includes Nina Simone, Usher, Keith Sweat and the perfect ambiance for slipping into the night with a special… More >>
  • Best Margarita

    Las Palmas

    The margarita scene is divided between a few upscale takes on the classic Mexican cocktail — and a whole lot of sour-mix-dominated crap on the other. No offense to the upscale versions, but when we drag our ass out of the office after a long week's work and belly up to the bar for some chips, salsa and queso, we… More >>
  • Best Happy Hour

    Hammerstone's

    Why does St. Louis love Hammerstone's? Because Hammerstone's loves St. Louis. For more than a decade, this Soulard institution has been the place to eat, drink and be merry like a local. It's a well-worn and well-loved bar that wears its personality proudly. Although known for its large, fair-weathered patio and infamous annual Mardi Gras celebration, Hammerstone's happy hour is… More >>
  • Best Wine Garden

    The Map Room

    Nestled in Benton Park on the corner of Withnell and Lemp avenues, the Map Room might be the ghost of Charles Dickens' favorite coffee house, a nineteenth-century-style salon that's almost too perfectly appointed with antique sofas, vintage glass and, of course, maps. But the museum fussiness disappears on the back patio, a wide space covered with soft gravel and bounded… More >>
  • Best Jukebox

    Claudia's Pub

    Don't call Claudia's Pub a dive bar. Sure, the cash-only joint may be located in south city and may serve exclusively Busch beer from its lone tap, but Claudia's is far too clean and welcoming to be a true dive. While the shuffleboard table seems to take up the length of the bar's south wall, it's the wall-mounted jukebox, located… More >>
  • Best All-Ages Venue

    The Firebird

    We all have fond memories of concerts we saw as kids — whether we were (mortified to be) driven there by our parents or (secretly) snuck out of the house. With its friendly, all-ages policy, the Firebird facilitates such formative experiences. Young 'uns aren't cordoned off from the front row — and, yes, this means their favorite national and local… More >>
  • Best Bar Bar

    34 Club

    "Bar bar" is a term reserved for only the most revered watering holes, no-frills establishments where real drinkers go to drink — whether to drown their sorrows on a Tuesday afternoon or raise the roof on a Friday night. The Central West End's 34 Club is exactly that sort of place. The crowd includes every demographic, from homeless guys to… More >>
  • Best Martini

    The Famous Bar

    Whether a martini is shaken or stirred, it must be poured snap-frost cold, but not so cold that the faintest film of ice doesn't dissolve with the first sip. Olives should be no larger or smaller than a healthy grape, and — this is vital — the bartender must comprehend the difference between dry and wet without Googling it on… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar (City)

    Zack's Lounge - CLOSED

    Zack's Lounge is a bit like your favorite old pair of boots: It's a little worn out, yes, but it's also reliable and cozy. Zack Walls and his little shoebox of a bar, which stands next to a small church and not much else, have been serving up good times to the Ville neighborhood in north St. Louis for the… More >>
  • Best Brewpub

    Schlafly Tap Room

    In the course of our research, we hit every brewpub in town and can declare authoritatively that the Tap Room is still king. Let's start with the beer selection, which averages a dozen Schlafly beers, plus two cask beers — the expected standards and seasonals you know and love, plus a host of small batches available only at the Tap… More >>
  • Best Karaoke

    Rockin' Gators Bar & Grill - CLOSED

    Located on the corner of Gravois and MacKenzie roads, Rockin' Gators has no obvious front door. The south-facing entrance is a simple, solid white door. Its rear entry, accessible from the parking lot, looks more like a service entrance. But if the exterior of the one-story stone building looks less than inviting, the clubhouse atmosphere inside couldn't be more so,… More >>
  • Best Blues Club

    BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups

    There are lots of places in St. Louis to hear the blues, but BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups stands apart, both as a music venue and as a sort of unofficial clubhouse for local blues musicians. Just a few blocks south of Busch Stadium, BB's has live music seven nights a week, with local and traveling bands playing to an… More >>
  • Best Place to Drown Your Sorrows

    Slo-Tom's Lounge

    To call Slo-Tom's Lounge an anachronism is accurate but not entirely true. It is, perhaps, best described as a simulacrum, the sort of place you've seen in a thousand old movies, and maybe even your dreams — but that never really existed. Inside Slo-Tom's is a dark and enfolding womb complete with a drink list and the saddest jukebox in… More >>
  • Best Bloody Mary

    Rooster

    In true democratic spirit, Rooster offers you no less than eleven choices of bloody mary! Sorry. That may be a lot to absorb for someone who actually needs a bloody mary. We'll softly explain. Each drink starts out with the unique house blend: a concoction of tomato juice, two kinds of hot sauce, Worcestershire, A.1. and seventeen different spices. From… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar (Mid-County)

    Barrister's

    Unless you work as a lawyer, businessman or investor, Clayton ain't much of a neighborhood. But Barrister's — located in the heart of St. Louis' white-collar world — doesn't need permanent residents to create a community atmosphere. It has soccer instead. Scarves and insignia for a dozen different European clubs define the décor. During the World Cup, Barrister's was the… More >>
  • Best Beer Selection in a Bar

    International Tap House

    The original location of the International Tap House bravely opened in the craft-beer desert of Chesterfield in early 2009, and it worked so well that it scooped this award in last year's "Best of St. Louis" issue. Owners Brad Lobdell and Sean Conroy weren't content, though, and began scouting locations in the city of St. Louis, eventually settling on a… More >>
  • Best Open Mic

    Binions - CLOSED

    For too long, the open-mic scene in St. Louis has been the undisputed provenance of dudes with acoustic guitars. And that's OK, mostly — there's nothing wrong with dudes or acoustic guitars, but they're hardly the only people in town with a song to share. So it was heartening to happen upon Binions on the opening night of its live-band… More >>
  • Best Jazz Club

    Jazz at the Bistro

    As the main performance venue for the nonprofit Jazz St. Louis, Jazz at the Bistro may not have the same business model as a traditional for-profit operation, but it's got all the other characteristics of a classic jazz club. Now presenting music eleven months a year, JATB features top touring talent and local performers on alternating weeks, all playing in… More >>
  • Best 3 a.m. Bar

    Novak's Bar & Grill - CLOSED

    Your mother may have warned you that nothing good can ever happen after 1 a.m., but we disagree. Late night (or is it early morning?) is a magical time when it's no longer today and not yet tomorrow, and here in St. Louis, no place embraces these thrilling hours better than Novak's Bar & Grill. Open every night of the… More >>
  • Best Bartender

    Matt Seiter

    Ask bartender/mixologist Matt Seiter to surprise you, and he probably will. His bar at Sancturia in the Grove neighborhood is stocked full of obscure bitters, fresh herbs and micro-distilled spirits that he uses to tease out nuances in both familiar favorites and new creations. To whip up his "autumn blush," for example, Seiter adds North Shore No. 11 gin to… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar (South County)

    The Pink Galleon

    The best neighborhood bars eschew the new. It's tough to find comfort and nostalgia in a place that's squeaky-clean and relentlessly modern. So follow the siren song of the (painted) bare-breasted mermaids to the Pink Galleon and throw back some drinks like it's 1987. (Don't worry, ladies, they haven't forgotten about you: Check out the bathroom, uh, art featuring the… More >>
  • Best Outdoor Drinking

    The Royale

    Whether it's July, January or some month in between, it's always a good time to drink in the Royale's back yard. The area is largely shaded in the summer and features a small fountain, both of which help to counteract the effects of the booze you probably shouldn't be drinking during a heat advisory. For the winter months and in… More >>
  • Best New Club

    2720 Cherokee

    Hula hoops. Dubstep. Electronica. Reggae. Hipsters and hippies commingling with ravers for a utopian nightclub experience. A lot of the shows at 2720 are eighteen-and-up — and boy do those kids know how to party! Over the past year, this 14,000-square-foot south-city behemoth has become an integral part of the burgeoning music scene in St. Louis, bringing in internationally renowned… More >>
  • Best Place to Slow Dance

    Casa Loma Ballroom

    Sure, Cherokee Street is having a resurgence, with new shops, galleries and restaurants opening all the time, but the Casa Loma Ballroom is no new kid on the block. For more than 50 years, the Casa Loma has been offering lessons, private events and the sweet magic of a romantic night out to the St. Louis masses. Friday nights offer… More >>
  • Best Bar Food

    Ferguson's Pub

    Ferguson's Pub is the quintessential south-city neighborhood bar. Dim and smoky, it sits on the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and Mount Pleasant Street with a glowing Budweiser sign and metal bars over the porthole-size windows. But behind the unassuming exterior is one of the best bar menus in the city. Ferguson's is no gastropub (damn near everything is deep-fried), but… More >>
  • Best Drink Special

    Stag Nite at El Lenador

    Hump day. Despite its more lurid connotations, this phrase essentially reminds us that our lives are but a cycle of workaday suffering and that we're in the trough — as far as we can get from the weekend. But why sit glumly in front of the tube when you can celebrate the downhill sweep toward the weekend? Johnny Vegas understands:… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar (North County)

    Mimi's Subway Bar and Grill

    If some crazed dictator or terrorist ever decides to drop the big one on us, Mimi's is the only bar in St. Louis ready for the day of reckoning. The place is hidden in the back of a strip-mall parking lot, downstairs in the windowless basement below a pharmacy. Fueled by $1.25 frosty mugs of Busch and 50-cent Jell-O shots,… More >>
  • Best Bar Décor

    The Bleeding Deacon - CLOSED

    Any pub that uses old album covers to house its menus, as the Bleeding Deacon does, betrays at minimum an affection for kitsch. The walls of the Bleeding Deacon, however, up the ante to profound love. Proprietor Mike McLaughlin calls the wall collage his "work in progress": There's at least a dozen beer mirrors, two piñatas and posters from punk… More >>
  • Best Dance Club

    Sol Lounge - CLOSED

    Bottle service is for rap stars, reserved tables are for wannabes and people with too much money, and we've got better things to do than wait in line to get patted down just for the privilege of busting a move on an overcrowded dancefloor. This is St. Louis. We only wait in line for Ted Drewes. It's the simple things… More >>
  • Best Underground Club

    Floating Laboratories

    Since its establishment in June 2009, Floating Laboratories has emerged as the premier St. Louis venue for outsider/underground music. Built into the bluffs along the Mississippi River, FL offers a secluded, nurturing sanctuary for experimental troubadours, analog synthesis and art installation. Originally designed as a studio for founder Kevin Harris, the venue has evolved into a concert space showcasing acts… More >>

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