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Soccer may still be catching on in the rest of the country, but St. Louis has long been infatuated with the beautiful game. Amsterdam Tavern opened in 2008 on Tower Grove South's bustling row of bars and restaurants, and it's a stellar addition to the city's already impressive roster of soccer-friendly establishments. Unlike most other places, though, fútbol actually comes first at the Amsterdam. Scarves from dozens of European clubs decorate the walls (Arsenal and, of course, the Dutch club Ajax get the most prominent displays) along with memorabilia from Saint Louis University soccer and other historic local teams. The selection of draft and bottled beer is ample, and burger joint the Dam slings up the greasiest, most delicious burgers to accompany them just next door for patrons to enjoy barside. Best of all, the Amsterdam prohibits smoking inside the tiny bar, although smokers can puff to their lungs' delight on the massive outdoor patio. As for the other type of smoking that the city of Amsterdam is known for, the only homage is a badass picture of Bob Marley decked out in soccer gear.
Tucked within Tower Grove South at the corner of Spring and Wyoming, BlackThorn Pub and Pizza is an old-school South-side watering hole that also happens to serve some of the city’s best pizza. The delightfully divey neighborhood haunt is well-known throughout the city for its deep-dish Chicago-style za drowning in mozzarella and their famous spicy sauce. And the kitchen also serves up thin-crust and pan pizzas, as well as a small selection of other joint staples like garlic bread and a few basic salads. If you decide to grab dinner at BlackThorn, be prepared to make an evening of it. You can expect to wait awhile for your pie whether it’s busy or not, but the chalkboard walls, shuffleboard table, and retro arcade games that give the neighborhood bar its quintessentially South St. Louis vibe - not to mention the freely-flowing drinks from a full bar - will provide more than enough entertainment to keep you occupied until the main course arrives.
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