Gastro Pub in St. Louis

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    Bridge Tap House & Wine Bar
    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.
    Dressel’s is a St. Louis institution, the Platonic ideal of a Welsh pub and one of the very best spots in town for a pint of good beer and cultured conversation. Which makes the trick that owner Ben Dressel and chef Michael Miller have pulled all the more impressive: Without robbing Dressel’s of any of its charms, they have elevated its food to among the best in town. The dishes are unfussy but elegant and deeply flavored. Recent standouts have included trout over a celery-root purée, chicken paired with a classic panzanella bread salad and deviled eggs flavored with ham hock and wasabi. Never fear: Dressel’s pub essentials (the burger, the chips and rarebit) are still available, and still as delicious as ever.
    Quincy Street Bistro
    When Quincy Street Bistro opened in 2011 in the city’s Princeton Heights neighborhood, it was a very good corner tavern. When Rick Lewis, who had worked under Josh Galliano at the acclaimed restaurant Monarch, took over the kitchen in late 2012, Quincy Street became a very good restaurant. Lewis has refined the menu and added a Southern accent. The BLT, for example, features tart, crisp fried green tomatoes as well as house-cured bacon. Suppers include fried chicken and catfish as well as pork roast and cast-iron seared steaks. The burgers — ten-ounce patties ground from locally raised beef — are among the best in town.
    Retreat Gastropub presents as overly trendy, ticking just about every box in the list of contemporary dining trends. This is not merely a schtick, however. Behind the trendy exterior lies a solid bar that serves excellent, from-scratch cooking. True to the gastropub moniker, Retreat considers itself “more than a bar, not quite a restaurant,” though the food is good enough to stand on its own. Small plates, like beet carpaccio, smoked trout or pork toasts with goat cheese are made for noshing, while larger dishes like the porchetta with apple cherry chutney make for a fuller meal. The restaurant’s signature sandwich is its “Farmhouse Burger,” two patties of peppery smashed meat topped with candied bacon, a sunny-side egg and three cheese sauce. The trimmings are over-the-top, but they don’t cover up the fact that this is an excellent piece of meat. Another must-try is the chicken pesto flatbread, a thin-crust, spread with arugula and topped with chicken confit and Gouda cheese. It’s easy to fill up on the savory, but be sure to save room for Retreat’s bread pudding. The soft, vanilla cream infused bread soaks in so much caramel you’ll have to slurp it with a spoon. This is the best version in town.
    Three Kings Public House
    The three friends/owners behind Three Kings Public House in the Loop offer truly imaginative and savory dishes. Also referred to as a “gastro pub”, Three Kings offers standard bar favorites, such as burgers and sandwiches, but also a variety of Mediterrean-influenced entrees. As much as possible is sourced from local Missouri and Illinois farms. The bar features 22 beers on tap, 40 bottled beers, a rotating selection of one-of-a-kind beers and house-made liquor infusions. In true pub fashion, several flat screens are located throughout the restaurant for keeping up with the game.

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