Selecting Riverfront Times' Best of St. Louis 2013 wasn't easy. Choosing the winner meant several worthy candidates would go unmentioned -- until now. In this RFT Music series, we're beeboping and scattin' our way through notable runners-up in a number of categories. This week: The best 3 a.m. bars in St. Louis.
HandleBar (4127 Manchester Avenue; 314-652-2212) Once the odd new kid on the block, HandleBar has now established itself as an anchor, becoming a friendly and successful neighbor to Atomic Cowboy. At first the bar seemed sort of doomed. Its bike-friendly-plus-we-have-pierogies mystique was slightly alarming, even more so because it occupies a space that has changed hands and names several times -- but its spunky appeal prevails. The patrons come in droves nightly, be it for long-running parties like That 80's Club and London Calling, post-FBC blowouts or just a chill night on the patio.
Par Lounge (1001 McCausland Avenue; 314-646-1300) This one's for all the county kids and grown Claytonites who live practical lives and have, like, jobs that start in the morning. Par Lounge straddles that line where city dissolves into county. You can practically smell the sprawl from here, this shotgun bar where the music died when the much-loved Hi-Pointe closed in 2006. The bar has seen a recent uptick since the Delmar Lounge closed; industry types commingle with the aforementioned real people who drink till 3 a.m. and still manage to be on that early-morning conference call.
Nick's Irish Pub (6001 Manchester Avenue; 314-781-7806) We hate to love it, or maybe we just hate it, but there's no getting around the fact we find ourselves at this Maplehood mainstay once or thrice a quarter -- the cheap beer, anonymous crowd and multiple hiding places keep us coming back to get totally hammered more often than we'd like to admit. When the blaring flatscreens in the main bar start to bore, we head upstairs for another Jameson shot, bypass the rowdy crowd at the pool tables, take a round at hunting big game in the video nook, and get in a round of darts before spotting someone's ex and hightailing it down to the sort-of patio. Take it from the Madhatter: move down, clean cup. Oh yeah, Nick's happy hours are ridiculous, like $2 Tuesdays -- perhaps the best evidence that St. Louis' Tuesdays are everyone else's Fridays.
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