Hard times call for Cheap Thrills! That's our story for Best of St. Louis 2009, and we're sticking to it.

If a free paper's not cheap enough for you, when you need a break from browsing through (and quarreling with) our 400-plus top picks, check for a growing number of videos highlighting some of this year's winners.

When you're done with that, by all means join us on Thursday, November 5, when we celebrate Best of St. Louis honorees with a gala at the City Museum (see "Best Place to Take Out-of-Town Guests"). Festivities commence at 7 p.m. and go on till 11. Yep, you read right: We're partying an extra hour this year! And it's even better than cheap — it's free! All you need to do in order to revel in the food, drink and cornucopia of Cheap Thrills is to RSVP in advance by e-mailing [email protected].

To help pass the time, we're rounding up a few dozen of our closest friends for a rousing game of Nails, this year's "Best Cheap Thrill."

RFT editorial staff and contributors

Writers: Jessica Baran, Dennis Brown, Bill Burge, Tom Carlson, Ellis Conklin, Suzy Crancer, Mark Dischinger, Zach Dyer, Meghan Edmonds, Tom Finkel, Brooke Foster, Ian Froeb, Chad Garrison, Keegan Hamilton, Kristen Hinman, Roy Kasten, Tom Kavanaugh, Aimee Levitt, Nick Lucchesi, Kristie McClanahan, Todd McKenzie, Dean Minderman, Shae Moseley, Dave Nelson, Nicholas Phillips, Stefani Pollack, Christian Schaeffer, Aaron Schafer, Alison Sieloff, Bonnie Spinola, Dara Strickland, Kristy Wendt, Robin Wheeler, Annie Zaleski
Design: Tom Carlson
Illustrations: Tim Lane
Layout: Sarah Norwood
Videographers: Nick Lucchesi, Stew Smith
Ballot tally: Courtney Schilling
Fact-checking and proofreading: Margaret Bauer, Meghan Edmonds, Kristie McClanahan
Editorial coordinator: Alison Sieloff

Click here to download a vector-based pdf Winner graphic.