St. Louis' Best Neighborhood Bars 

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Fox & Hounds Tavern. - TOM HELLAUER
  • TOM HELLAUER
  • Fox & Hounds Tavern.
MID-COUNTY

The Fox & Hounds
Step into the Fox & Hounds Tavern (6300 Clayton Road, Richmond Heights; 314-647-7300) inside the Cheshire Hotel, and you'll feel immediately transported to a sitting room in the English countryside. The dark-and-moody interior, complete with a stone fireplace, makes it feel like a cozy winter's day regardless of the season. On weekends, enjoy live music from either a jazz trio or a lone pianist. Along with your scotch, hearty ale or drink of choice (there is a proper cocktail list), you can find small plates and a limited number of large options if a hunger craving hits. The bar has long been a local favorite. The dim lighting makes it a perfect place for date-night drinks, the comfortable couches in the center of the room a great excuse to sit a little bit closer. The eclectic bar generally has a good crowd, and its central location make it an easy spot for pre- or post-dinner drinks.

Sasha's on DeMun
Everyone from desperate Clayton housewives to Wash U college students loves Sasha's on DeMun (706 DeMun Avenue, Clayton; 314-863-7274). The half indoor/half outdoor space is in rotation for just about everyone's happy hour, Tinder date or "let's meet for a drink" spot. The vibe is consistently cute, cozy and crowded, regardless of the season, with a wine list that's eclectic and diverse in both price and variety. And with menus displayed on iPads, searching and reading about varietal choices is an educational experience, not just a game of eeny, meeny, miny, moe based on how much you want to spend. The food menu is suitable for light snacking or a full meal, with the pizzas and cheese plates being standouts. Regardless of the season, Sasha's will always leave you with a warm glow — half wine buzz, half "this place is just so damn perfect."

Sportsman's Park. - TOM HELLAUER
  • TOM HELLAUER
  • Sportsman's Park.

Sportsman's Park
Sportsman's Park (9901 Clayton Road, Ladue; 314-991-3381) has been a go-to spot for watching sports and eating burgers since NFL Hall of Famer Jackie Smith opened it (with Norman Probstein) nearly 50 years ago. Everything about the bar oozes old St. Louis, and a nostalgia for time gone by greets you with every visit. The dark walls are adorned with St. Louis sports memorabilia (including a huge Jack Buck photo montage) and TVs, making it a classic, unpretentious spot to grab a beer or cocktail, which can be hard to find in the Ladue zip code. Besides being known for drawing an older, male, post-country-club crowd, Sportsman's has earned a reputation for what are arguably St. Louis' best chicken fingers. Grab an ice-cold Budweiser and some bar snacks, and watch the Redbirds as Jack Buck looks on.

The Crow's Nest
The Crow's Nest (7336 Manchester Road, Maplewood; 314-781-0989) hits that sweet spot between neighborhood restaurant and dive bar. Its no-nonsense attitude is apparent from the start. The sign outside reads, "Come and see what everyone is complaining about." And if a good beer selection, salty bartenders, long hours and pinball machines aren't reason enough to rank the Crow's Nest high on your list of watering holes — well, you might complain, but why should they care? The food offerings are not traditional frozen bar food, but elevated and craveable, while the back patio provides a semi-hidden, outdoor oasis for a laidback evening or an afternoon happy hour to enjoy the weekday drink specials. Check the bar's website before heading out; it features different theme events, including stand-up comedy, trivia, game nights and its famous weekend Metal Brunch. "Come in sober," the Crow's Nest instructs. "Leave happy." And we always manage to do just that.

The Village Bar. - TOM HELLAUER
  • TOM HELLAUER
  • The Village Bar.

The Village Bar
The Village Bar (12247 Manchester Road, Des Peres; 314-821-4532) opened all the way back in 1948 and has remained a staple ever since, an oasis in the middle of the strip malls, shopping malls and chain restaurants that now dominate the area. It was actually scheduled for demolition in 2016, but the voice of the people prevailed and the bar survived — a west county miracle. Don't be fooled by its candy-cane-colored exterior: The Village Bar's interior is dimly lit and dark, which is perfect for drinking a cold beer and taking in a Blues or Cards game. This classic neighborhood spot is on the small side and as such can get pretty crowded for both dinner and lunch, although the back deck provides a handful of additional tables on nice days. The Village Bar also offers plenty of TVs, a jukebox, shuffleboard and some really good burgers and onion rings.

Billy G's
Modern, massive and massively popular, Billy G's (131 West Argonne Drive, Kirkwood; 314-984-8000) has become a hot spot not just for Kirkwood, but for its surrounding neighborhoods and fellow suburbs, since opening in 2013. In the family-dining mecca of Kirkwood, known for its kids' menus and long-standing mom-and-pop establishments, Billy G's is a magnet for happy hours, sports fans, live music and, on weekends, the after-dinner drinks crowd. The huge patio is a draw year-round, but especially in the summer, when it's packed from happy hour to close almost every night. During the fall and warmer winter days, the heat lamps keep the party going. Inside, the large bar area is full of patrons wearing Vineyard Vines and Kirkwood regulars. Regardless of the time of year, the main dining room is family friendly and the large menu with large portions really does have something for everyone.

Krueger's
On any given night at Krueger's (7347 Forsyth Boulevard, University City; 314-721-9965), you'll find half the bar is full of post-work suits from nearby Clayton and the other half packed with your typical casual bar-goer (probably in a Cardinals or Blues shirt). The proximity to Wash U also means there will be a fair share of grad students and older undergrads. And hell, if you go late enough you might even see a chef or two; Krueger's is well-loved by the industry crowd. Like most true neighborhood bars, this is not a spot for craft cocktails — unless your idea of a cocktail is a vodka soda or a Jack and Coke. Stick with the specialties: beer, burgers and baseball. Krueger's also offers sidewalk dining and a menu consisting of the usual suspects of fried appetizers, sandwiches (both hot and cold) and salads. In addition to the burgers, the other standout is the kitchen's famous chili, because who doesn't love some late-night chili?

Geyer Inn. - TOM HELLAUER
  • TOM HELLAUER
  • Geyer Inn.

The Geyer Inn
If you picked up a south-city dive bar and dumped it in Kirkwood, you'd have the Geyer Inn (220 South Geyer Road, Kirkwood; 314-814-9402). This old stone bar looks more like Grandma's cottage than a dive bar. Inside, the cozy interior sports a loose hockey theme, with a mish-mash of Blues memorabilia, a hockey foosball game and a jukebox. Originally built as a gas station in 1904, the property was converted to a tavern in the 1930s and updated again in 2010. It offers a full bar, a handful of taps and a minimal beer selection dominated by AB products. If you show up at this watering hole with more than three friends, you'll feel as if you rented out the whole place. The crowd is all local and mainly in their 50s or older; eavesdroppers should expect to overhear plenty about their glory days at Kirkwood High.

Double D Karaoke
You know the feeling. You've just spent way too much time and money at the St. Louis Galleria, and now you're driving down Brentwood Boulevard, feeling like a chump. You spot a low-slung parking garage with a weird entrance ramp connected to a straight left turn off an intersection. Take that left and get thee to Double D Karaoke (1740 South Brentwood Boulevard, Brentwood; 314-961-5646). Grab a $1 jello shot and a free bag of popcorn, and consider the temptations of grilled cheese bites. Our advice? Go for it. As long as it's not Sunday, karaoke starts at 8 p.m., and at that point, you'll start to see why this gem of a bar attracts all comers — the after-hours office-partiers, the college students and everyone in between. At some point, someone will start crooning "Walking in Memphis." Then somebody else will climb the vocal ladder that is "Rebel Yell" — and a pitch-perfect Frank Sinatra will follow up with a classic you never knew you needed in your life. Even if you don't have a singer's bone in your body, Double D's will cure you of more than just shopping woes. It'll get you hooked on a great feeling.

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