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St. Louis City Neighborhoods: Tower Grove

4198 Manchester Avenue; 314-535-9700 or click here for more info and a map

Happy Hour: Weekdays 4 to 6 p.m., with a late-night happy hour after 10 p.m.; $2 off all cocktails and $1 off all draft beers

While lots of ink these days is dedicated to the public's growing knowledge of wine and craft beers, a quieter but no less important revolution has been taking place in the world of cocktails. It started on the nation's coasts and, thanks to the dedication of mixologists such as Sanctuaria's Matt Seiter, has finally worked its way to the Midwest. Think you know what a Manhattan tastes like? Or an actual Cosmopolitan, before Sex and the City mucked it up? Wonder what the difference is if you shake a cocktail instead of stir it? Chances are you're way off, but the good news is that all is not lost to history. In fact, at Sanctuaria, they strike a balance between creating cocktails by the book (really — they've got tons of old-school texts) and crafting innovative drinks. Here, what was old is new again: Largely forgotten liqueurs like falernum and overlooked bitters including peach and grapefruit and celery all have a home here. (KM)

Three Monkeys
3153 Morganford Road; 314-772-9800 or click here for more info and a map

Happy Hour: Weekdays 4 to 7 p.m.; half-price select appetizers, $1.95 domestic bottles of beer, $2 well drinks, $3 glasses of wine and $1 to $1.50 off all draft beers

With friendly, relaxed service, Three Monkeys is perfect for sipping a beer. The highlight of the discounted appetizer menu is the lobster Rangoon, which is creamy and delicious. There's a casualness at play here, and while there are no creative cocktails or overly impressive culinary concoctions, the atmosphere is ideally Midwestern: cheery, neighborly and laid-back. At Three Monkeys the drinks will always be cold and the smiles warm. (KK)

4121 Manchester Avenue; 314-531-3699 or click here for more info and a map

Happy Hour: Weekdays 4 to 7 p.m.; $2.75 rails and $2.25 domestics, other nightly drink specials

Novak's has been around since before the Grove became popular. Hell, even before the Grove was known as the Grove. Warm and welcoming, it's long been a good neighbor. It's got a reputation for being a GLBT-friendly establishment, but Novak's is so much more than that: It's a place to get social at the large wraparound bar; a place to play pool or darts or shuffleboard; a place to grab a bite from the huge menu (there are a couple dozen burgers and sandwiches alone to pick from); a place to while away the hours on the lovely, spacious back patio. What more could a gay, straight or somewhere-in-between bargoer want? Though Novak's most popular nights are Fridays and Saturdays, every night of the week brings a different burst of activity, from raucous drag king and queen shows to competitive trivia nights. (KM)

Tin Can Tavern and Grille
3157 Morganford Road; 314-865-3003 or click here for more info and a map

Happy Hour: Weekdays from 3 to 7 p.m.; $1 off most beers, $3 well drinks and $4 glasses of wine

There are other Tin Can taverns (there's one downtown, as well as one in Columbia), but the original location on Morganford will always be south city's favorite can castle. Constructed out of brick, corrugated steel and walls of koozies that patrons have personalized with Sharpie markers, the Tin Can is also known for its hearty fare and dozens of drinks. Throughout the week it plays host to bands and trivia nights and, of course, daily happy hours beginning at 3 p.m. Though the place seems to go from zero to packed in no time flat, you'll find patrons are laid-back and don't mind bumping elbows. Like you, they're content to throw back throwback beers out of cans and contemplate ordering another basket of mini corn dogs. Also like you, they almost certainly will. (KM)

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