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Today's the big day: You're finally going out for drinks with that nice young lady from accounting. Nothing too fancy -- it's not a Saturday-night dinner, for crying out loud! -- but you want to make a good impression, so you're taking her to the wine bar at Monarch (7401 Manchester Road, Maplewood; 314-644-3995; open until 1:30 a.m.). Excellent choice, but you're still very nervous that you're going to screw something up. Relax! Monarch's bar takes the guesswork out of wine; not only does the sleek space's menu offer abundant choices and easy descriptions ("mellow whites," "robust reds" and the like), but it also pairs a variety of dishes with each of the different types of wine. So instead of panicking when she orders a "crisp white" wine, simply request some Moroccan shrimp to share. And if a "juicy red" suits her fancy, feel confident about trying out the spinach cannelloni (unless, of course, she wants to do her own food-and-wine pairing, in which case you should happily oblige her, sit back and panic about what your next topic of conversation will be).
Mondays-Saturdays, 2007

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