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Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Ten Best Neighborhood Bars in St. Louis

Posted By on Thu, Feb 16, 2012 at 12:54 PM

Page 2 of 3

DIANA BENANTI
  • Diana Benanti

Sasha's on Shaw When you think about a neighborhood bar in St. Louis, generally the first thing that comes to mind is a tiny, weathered tavern, virtually untouched since the mid-'80s. A bar bar, if you will. Sasha's doesn't reside in the same proverbial hemisphere as your local tavern, though, because down Shaw way they're classy like that. Sasha's is warm and beautiful, but you'll barely notice as you flip through its drink list and devour the downright sensual descriptions of its wines. Whether you're in the mood for a $9 glpass of Pinot Noir or a $295 chrome-coated bottle of Dionysus Downfall (not its real name), Sasha's is where oenophiles want to go when they die.

The Royale Bars are like people -- some you can see weekly for years and never get enough, and others you can know intimately inside of fifteen minutes. But the Royale is an instant classic; we could visit once a day and never tire of the joint. In fact, since it opened in 2005, we've been dropping in every week, if only to keep our "haven't been to the Royale" dermatitis at bay. Though South Kingshighway proper is only a neighborhood in the loosest sense of the word, the Royale rests at the confluence of too many hip nabes to be overlooked. It's a hop and two skips from Shaw, a leisurely stroll from Southwest Garden and just down the way from Tower Grove South. It hosts a number of must-do events, from the yearly Kentucky Derby party where folks don their best hats and Gatsby-esque glad rags for the races, to Cocktail Museum Sundays, when the nimble-minded barkeeps delve into the past and mix up obsolete quaffs that'll have you rethinking your old standby.

Rosie's Place While the well-heeled boys and the girls in stilettos do battle down at Euclid and Maryland avenues, we're down the street marinating in the unmistakeable Budweiser and stale-cigarette aroma at Rosie's. Situated on the southerly side of the West End, the neighborhood's penchant for pretension melts away inside this delightful dive. While some CWE spots offer sumptuous seating and a little thing called ambiance, we'd rather park it on a cracked vinyl barstool and squander our bullion buying shots for the house and putting "Gimme Shelter" on the jukebox just one more time.

DIANA BENANTI
  • Diana Benanti

J and A's We're almost scared to mention this recession-friendly watering hole, but we've never been one to bogart the good stuff, and Jimmy and Andy's certainly qualifies. You can get two pints here for less than it costs to buy one gallon of premium gasoline, and God knows which one will last you longer. Rumor has it J and A's once functioned as a speakeasy, and it may or may not be one of the oldest bars in St. Louis. Anywhere you can get liquored up and walk out with package booze and Lotto tickets qualifies as one of the best bars ever, not just in River City.

And the best neighborhood bar in the city of St. Louis...

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