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Though unassuming and simple from the outside, 33 Wine Shop & Tasting Bar provides outstanding hospitality, more than 700 wines and one of the best beer lists in the city. The result is a relaxing yet engaging opportunity to sip, contemplate or just plain drink your vino. Though lacking a full menu, there's a nice array of cheese, cured meats and crackers to hold you over. Pricing is great, with bottles marked up just $9 over 33's very competitive "take home" prices (it is a wine shop, too), which makes 33 a great place to go big on a specialty bottle. The oft-rotating draft selection, along with the list of bottled brew, highlights great beers both American and imported, many of which are rarely available on tap locally.
3500 Winehaus offers classic wine-bar fare too accompany its extensive selection of wines by the glass and bottle. Inside offers bistro seating and couches to lounge in or, when weather permits, oenophiles can indulge their pleasures on the patio. 3500 Winehaus' concise menu includes meat-and-cheese plates as well as sweet and savory cakes from Hank's Cheesecakes.
The long-time patrons who lamented the closure of Bryan Carr’s Pomme Restaurant and Pomme Café & Wine Bar can find respite at Avenue. The Clayton bistro, located just a few blocks away from its popular predecessors, combines the two concepts under one roof, but also allows Carr to up the ante on his classic French-influenced fare. The veteran chef keeps some of Pomme’s favorites on Avenue’s menu but also adds several successful new dishes, such as authentic cassoulet with white beans, duck confit, sausage and pork shoulder. The pork schnitzel, topped with brandy-sauteed apples, is another standout dish, and appetizers such as wild mushrooms served with buratta over crusty bread demonstrate Carr’s culinary prowess. Avenue has an excellent brunch, with offerings such as blueberry and lemon pancakes and an overstuffed ham, egg and Gruyere crepe that doubles as a hearty breakfast wrap. Pomme may still be on everyone’s mind, but Avenue proves to be a worthy followup.
The beloved St. Louis institution has received a 21st-century makeover. Its new location in the Central West End's Maryland Plaza is a sleek, modern dessert bar. The menu divides desserts into light-, medium- and full-bodied selections. The last group offers a chocolate terrine as dense as a neutron star and a surprisingly good version of the ubiquitous flourless chocolate cake. Medium-bodied desserts include a silky chocolate pot de crème, and the standout among the light-bodied desserts is a smooth, cooling milk chocolate semi freddo. You can try selected Bissinger's chocolates in "Confection Flights," and several liqueurs are available as shots served in a cup made of chocolate.
Brennan's has achieved must-go status among St. Louisans. The quaint Central West End cigar bar and wine market recently got a big city renovation, adding to its already considerable allure. The bar on the main floor of Brennan's is presided over by a billboard-sized sign, with text that changes regularly. Recent offerings: "When a smoking Indonesian toddler looks cooler than you, it's time to reevaluate your Ed Hardy gear," and "Chuck Norris will be upstairs this evening playing ping pong with an ironing board and a watermelon." An unmarked door in the middle of the room leads to the modern-day speakeasy in the basement cellar.
Restaurateur Dave Bailey's The Bridge offers a terrific casual-dining experience in a stylish downtown space. The two-story upscale hideaway in downtown St. Louis celebrates artisanal beers and wines and craft cocktails. Artsy lighting and a sumptuous wooden bar create a classically beautiful atmosphere you won’t soon want to leave. The menu intensely focuses on creative small plates, snacks, charcuterie and cheese, sandwiches, salads and small entrees. The decor, especially the giant bird's-nest light fixtures, is, frankly, awesome.
Copia beat the odds, reopening two and a half years after a fire gutted the stylish and popular Washington Avenue restaurant. The look and the menu didn't change much in the hiatus. The space is outsize, with a spacious main dining room and an even bigger "wine garden" (with a retractable roof!). The menu caters to the tastes of St. Louis diners before the economy collapsed. Standout dishes include the smoked spare ribs and duck breast in a sauce of its own pan juices with candied dates and green peppercorns. If a dish sounds too 1990s-early 2000s-ish to be good - like, say, tuna with wasabi-infused mashed potatoes - trust your gut.
An attractive sliver of a space in downtown Ferguson, Cork Wine Bar offers a wide selection of the most popular varietals as well as a seasonal menu of "plates." These dishes can be shared, but many are proportioned close to entrée size. The sliders are quite good, and the flatbread pizzas feature a light, flavorful herb-speckled crust and sensible arrangements of ingredients.
The Domain Street Wine Bar is a fairly new bar to a fairly new part of town. Open just over a year in St. Charles' New Town area, the Wine Bar has an upscale loft feel, along with a list of more than 75 wines, beer, martinis, and food like cheese platters and humus. Its signature drink is an Almond Joy martini, made with coconut vodka, Creme de Cacao, Amarula and Frangelico. On Monday and Tuesday, the Wine Bar offers half-off wine bottles, with karaoke nights and live music alternating most nights Wednesday through Saturday. The Wine Bar also hosts events such as prom night, where patrons come decked out in their prom dresses and tuxedos and dance to a DJ spinning all the hits from Ke$ha to "Don't Stop Believin'."
"Eichenberg Winery, one of Missouri's newest wineries, is located in the historic German town of Cole Camp. Cole Camp is about 30 minutes North of Warsaw (Truman Lake) on Highway 65, taking 52 East for 4 miles. The winery is located in the original blacksmith shop of Cole Camp, built in the early 1900's and recently nominated for the historic register." (MissouriWine.org)
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