Gut Check has been looking back on the Riverfront Times Best of St. Louis 2011, but we're also keeping an eye on the Best of St. Louis 2012 by nominating finalists for our awards this fall. To see hundreds more winners and finalists, suggest your own contenders and download the Riverfront Times Best of St. Louis mobile app, visit our Best of St. Louis homepage.
A great wine bar begins with a great wine list but requires so much more besides: A staff who knows wine, of course, but also knows how to talk with customers without making them feel stupid. A sophisticated but relaxed vibe. A selection of wine-friendly food, either a full menu or snacks, doesn't hurt, either.
Page through to see our finalists for "Best Wine Bar" -- and don't hesitate to suggest your own nominees in the comments.
33 Wine Shop & Tasting Bar (1913 Park Avenue; 314-231-9463)
33 Wine Shop & Tasting Bar is for the serious wine lover who can't stand the pretensions of the stereotypical wine lover. The staff here knows wine as well as anyone else in town -- even better, they know how to talk with you about wine, drawing out what you like in a wine and then talking you into expanding your palate. Even better, they have topnotch wines for any budget. A great beer list and a small menu of cured meats and cheeses rounds out this Lafayette Square gem.
Remy's Kitchen & Wine Bar (222 South Bemiston Avenue, Clayton; 314-726-5757)
Since opening in 1995, Remy's has enchanted its patrons with an extensive list of vino from both the old and new world. For its efforts, this Clayton mainstay has been honored with the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator magazine eleven years running for its fine menu of more than 90 wines by the bottle and 30-plus glasses of grape. In addition to its award-winning wine selection, Remy's also serves must-taste lunch, dinner and dessert menus, all well-curated by executive chef Lisa Slay and executive sous chef Rachel Moeller.
Bridge Tap House & Wine Bar (1004 Locust Street; 314-241-8141)
With a selection of more than 100 bottles of wine -- and more than 20 by the glass -- downtown's Bridge Tap House & Wine Bar offers a destination drinking experience with a rich supply of options for thirsty sippers. Though it also offers a lengthy beer menu, Bridge has the cool ambiance of a luxe wine bar, as rustic, refined decor dons its swanky Locust Street location. Since opening in 2010, Bridge has quickly become a popular watering hole for downtown businesspeople in search of post-work drinks as well as quick bites to munch on, like cheese and charcuterie plates. A rotating list of specials range from wine flights to discounted glasses of grape; its simple elegance makes spending an evening at Bridge a welcome change of pace.
Sasha's Wine Bar (4069 Shaw Avenue; 314-771-7274)
Sisters with Sasha's Wine Bar & Market (4069 Shaw Boulevard; 314-771-7274), Sasha's Wine Bar -- or Sasha's on Shaw as it's often called -- offers its guests the same outstanding vino selection with more space to sip. With a large bar area and separate dining room as well as a spacious, resplendent patio, Sasha's on Shaw sets itself apart from its predecessor. Its laid-back, welcoming vibe makes it the ideal place to enjoy a smooth glass of grape, and at Sasha's, the selection numbers in the hundreds. With varieties hailing from Missouri to California, Spain and beyond -- not to mention a hearty food menu of pizzas, crêpes, cheese plates and more -- it's almost too easy to while away the hours here.
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