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St. Louis City Neighborhoods: Central West End


Bar Louie
14 Maryland Plaza; 314-678-3385 or click here for more info and a map

Happy Hour: Weekdays 4 to 7 p.m.; discounts on select menu items, $3 draft beers, $4 glasses of house wine, $5 signature martinis

Bar Louie draws the Central West End's up-and-coming young-professional community, so expect a put-together-looking crowd with fresh-from-the-office button-downs and power stilettos. For a chain bar, Bar Louie's food is typical, but that's not always a bad thing: It's consistent and reliable. The signature martinis tend to be on the sweeter side, but the "Cable Car" has a subtle spice-cake flavor that makes it worth trying. Bar Louie also offers an impressive number of choices in the draft-beer department — about twenty from various breweries. (KK)


Café Eau
212 North Kingshighway; 314-454-9000 or click here for more info and a map

Happy Hour: Drink specials and timing varies by day; highlights include $6 wines on Wednesday from 4 to 7 p.m., $3 domestic pints on Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. and $5 infusion cocktails from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday; on Thursdays, well-brand martinis are $3.99 from 7 p.m. to close, with $4.99 call brand martinis

Hotel bars can be inconsequential places, somewhere to drink when you don't know the neighborhood rather than a thoughtful choice. Not so Café Eau: It's a destination unto itself. Wall-size paintings look right at home next to the televisions tucked here and there, just as the high-backed booths' warm oranges and reds perfectly complement the cool gray marble bar. It's a place that simultaneously manages to be timeless and of-the-moment. Note how it can just as easily accommodate modern tastes (drinks made with house-infused mango, ginger, cucumber vodkas, for example) as it can serve up cocktails from the classics canon. (KM)


Chi
4 North Euclid Avenue; 314-367-2209 or click here for more info and a map

Happy Hour: 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; buy-one-get-one-free nigiri, half-price selected sushi rolls, appetizers and large fruit-infused sake, $2 Bud Light and Budweiser Select bottles, $4.50 Sapporos, $5 cosmopolitans and other cocktails

The happy hours at this pocket-size sushi bar — which is colorful, hip, linear and punctuated by electronic music — happen every day the eatery is open, making this Japanese treat quite affordable for Central West End dwellers and fans of the nabe alike. Start off your Chi experience with half-off edamame and miso soup and a couple of pieces of buy-one-get-one-free nigiri. Then, fill 'er up with two or three rolls, some of which are also half-price. The medium rolls are just the right size, with options including a tuna-and-avocado mix and spicy shrimp with avocado, crunch and a not-too-too-spicy sauce, both going for less than $3.50. For dessert, order up the apple-infused sake (think Jolly Rancher green apple), and you're well on your way to a buzzy, contented evening. (AS)


Herbie's Vintage 72
405 North Euclid Avenue; 314-769-9595 or click here for more info and a map

Happy Hour: Weekdays 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.; half-price appetizers, $2 Bud Light, Budweiser and Budweiser Select bottles, $2.50 draft beers, $3 Guinness pints and well drinks, $3.50 microbrews; late-night happy hour from 10:30 p.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday featuring dessert and drink specials

When this restaurant space, formerly occupied by Balaban's, went dark in 2008, the entire Central West End felt sad, disoriented, unanchored. Fortunately, Herbie's Vintage 72 fills the large area on Euclid nicely and has the neighborhood rejoicing — if not literally in the streets, then certainly within the restaurant and bar itself. That may be why happy hour feels so, well, happy here. Appetizers such as shrimp dumplings and carpaccio go for half-price, making them $3.50 and $5 respectively. The drink deals aren't too shabby either, with $3 Guinness pints and $2 Budweiser Select. On Mondays, even the cocktails are only $5. We recommend bellying up; even if you aren't a regular, you'll feel like one in just a few hours. (AS)


The Scottish Arms
6-10 South Sarah Street; 314-535-0551 or click here for more info and a map

Happy Hour: Weekdays 3 to 6 p.m., with a late-night happy hour from 9 p.m. to close on Sunday and Monday; $2 baskets of crisps, $2 off draft beers, $1 off glasses of wine; Wednesday late-night happy hour from 9 p.m. to close featuring $1 Budweiser, Budweiser Select and Bud Light bottles, $1 Pabst Blue Ribbon cans, $3 select domestic drafts

We like a bar with history, and even though the Scottish Arms hasn't been around as long as some — there are more than a few century-old establishments back in the homeland — it does have some stories to tell. For starters, grab a seat at the bar and ask about its origins, a good tale that we won't give away here. And with twenty or so brews on tap (all two bucks off per pint during happy hour), you'll surely think of a few more yarns to spin. Maybe that glass of Strongbow ($3.50 during happy hour) takes you back to your poor-but-thirsty studying-abroad days; perhaps that Blue Moon (also $3.50 during happy hour) simply reminds you of summertime. No matter the beer or the story, know that the Arms is the kind of place where Scottish music plays quietly and where a patron might buy a whiskey for his server, a bar where male workers don kilts and, if you choose, you can make romance by candlelight — all in all, the Scottish Arms is the kind of bar we desperately love. (AS)


Terrene
33 North Sarah Street; 314-535-5100 or click here for more info and a map

Happy Hour: 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; select discounted appetizers, $2 Anheuser-Busch beers, $2.75 Schlafly beers, $5 glasses of house wine, rail liquor specials

Everything at Terrene — from the bar to the dining room to the patio — feels fresh, crisp and lighter than air, qualities that we can appreciate in any season. We also love that happy hour here is one of the best-kept secrets in town. This isn't a dumbed-down cuisine thrown together for happy-hourers who don't know any better — oh, no. These discounted dishes are main-menu mainstays, just reduced in price for a few glorious hours each week. For a handful of dollars, you can dine on appetizers such as crispy frites or veggie-sausage flatbread and sip $5 glasses of wine. Feel free to chat with colleagues or make friends with the gracious bar staff while you class it up a bit after work, and don't forget to come back in the summertime for dinner on the patio — a most delightful evening out. Literally. (AS)


Tom's Bar & Grill
20 South Euclid Avenue; 314-367-4900 or click here for more info and a map

Happy Hour: Weekdays 4 to 7 p.m.; half-price appetizers, $2 domestic draft beers and bottles of beer, $3 premium draft beers and well drinks

A warm and friendly sports bar at the edge of the sprawling Barnes-Jewish Hospital complex, Tom's Bar & Grill features plenty of wooden high-tops, TVs and neon beer signs. Happy hour attracts a lively mix of people, especially on nights when the Cards are playing. The staff is friendly, and the food generally comes up quickly. Tom's is the type of place you go back to when you want a beer without the hassles of changing out of your work clothes or doing your makeup. You go as you are to have a cold drink and a good time. And Tom's is OK with that. Perhaps the best perk of all in this car-clogged neighborhood: There's a free parking lot exclusively for Tom's patrons right next door. (KK)


West End Grill & Pub
354 North Boyle Avenue; 314-531-4607 or click here for more info and a map

Happy Hour: Weekdays 4 to 7 p.m.; half-price appetizers, beer and martini specials, $4.50 select glasses of wine, $1 oysters on Thursday

When you walk into the West End Grill & Pub, you feel automatically comfortable, like you've just stepped into a friend's bar. Maybe that's because the crowd looks like a cross-section of the city. You've got older folks, college students, solo drinkers, people in groups — all kinds of your neighbors having a nice time sitting and chatting at the handful of tables in the bar area and at the bar itself. The bloody mary mix, made in-house with just enough kick, is shaken with Stolichnaya vodka and served up in a martini glass. Try this drink in the evening just once, and you'll wonder why you've only been indulging your bloody mary jones in the morning. For appetizers, you can't go wrong with the filling fried polenta ($3.12 during happy hour!), served crispy French fry-style with two dips: one creamy, one tomatoe-y, and both extremely tasty. (AS)

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