The 10 Best 3 a.m. Bars in St. Louis

If there's one thing that can be said about St. Louis — the real St. Louis — it's that we're a thirsty bunch. It matters not what time it is, whether the sun is up or down or what the joyless teetotalers of high society may think: Around here, we know everything is just a little bit better with a drink in hand.

Never is this more true than late at night, when bars that keep regular hours close up shop and turn their clientele loose on the streets. From there these dedicated drinkers head to the bars where the real drinking is done: those wonderful, magical establishments that keep the alcohol flowing as late as 3 a.m. Here are our ten favorites.

-- Daniel Hill

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Atomic Cowboy
(4140 Manchester Avenue, 314-775-0775)
Atomic Cowboy is more of an entertainment complex than simply a bar. The Grove mainstay has expanded and grown continuously since it opened fourteen years ago, with a dining area, a dance floor, a companion venue (the neighboring Bootleg) and a sprawling patio with its own bar and stage as well. Atomic is known for its regular live music and events, its kitchen churning out some of the tastiest burgers in town and a drink program sure to please your taste buds, regardless of the late hour.
Photo credit: Ryan Gines
Atomic Cowboy
(4140 Manchester Avenue, 314-775-0775)

Atomic Cowboy is more of an entertainment complex than simply a bar. The Grove mainstay has expanded and grown continuously since it opened fourteen years ago, with a dining area, a dance floor, a companion venue (the neighboring Bootleg) and a sprawling patio with its own bar and stage as well. Atomic is known for its regular live music and events, its kitchen churning out some of the tastiest burgers in town and a drink program sure to please your taste buds, regardless of the late hour.

Photo credit: Ryan Gines
In all, it can make for a wild scene. "I'm not a restaurateur, I'm a ringmaster," owner Chip Schloss memorably told RFT a few years back. "We're in the circus business here. If people walk out of the doors, shake their heads and ask what just happened, then I know they are likely to come back." That must explain why the place always seems to be packed.
Photo credit: Ryan Gines
In all, it can make for a wild scene. "I'm not a restaurateur, I'm a ringmaster," owner Chip Schloss memorably told RFT a few years back. "We're in the circus business here. If people walk out of the doors, shake their heads and ask what just happened, then I know they are likely to come back." That must explain why the place always seems to be packed.

Photo credit: Ryan Gines
BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups
(700 South Broadway, 314-436-5222)
There are 3 a.m. bars, and then there are 3 a.m. institutions. BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups is decidedly the latter. One of the oldest blues bars in the St. Louis area, the downtown bar keeps the live music (and the drinks, naturally) flowing well into the early morning hours, with a packed concert calendar bringing bands to its small stage every night of the week.
Photo credit: Ryan Gines
BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups
(700 South Broadway, 314-436-5222)

There are 3 a.m. bars, and then there are 3 a.m. institutions. BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups is decidedly the latter. One of the oldest blues bars in the St. Louis area, the downtown bar keeps the live music (and the drinks, naturally) flowing well into the early morning hours, with a packed concert calendar bringing bands to its small stage every night of the week.

Photo credit: Ryan Gines
Some of St. Louis' finest blues, jazz and soul musicians frequent that stage — marquee names like Kim Massie, Roland Johnson and Marquise Knox, to name a few — and since the much-lamented closing of its like-minded neighbor, Beale on Broadway, in January that roster has only grown. Beale's closing may have put an end to the storied downtown Broadway "blues triangle" of yore, but the blues is alive and well within the walls of BB's.
Photo credit: Ryan Gines
Some of St. Louis' finest blues, jazz and soul musicians frequent that stage — marquee names like Kim Massie, Roland Johnson and Marquise Knox, to name a few — and since the much-lamented closing of its like-minded neighbor, Beale on Broadway, in January that roster has only grown. Beale's closing may have put an end to the storied downtown Broadway "blues triangle" of yore, but the blues is alive and well within the walls of BB's.

Photo credit: Ryan Gines
DB's Sports Bar
(1615 South Broadway, 314-588-2141)
If a fourteen-year-old boy deep in the throes of pubescence were to design his ideal tavern, it would probably look a whole lot like DB's Sports Bar. Nailed all over the walls and even the ceiling, skateboard decks and snowboards form an important part of the decor. A bevy of flatscreen TVs (eight behind the bar alone) make it possible to watch pretty much every game or sporting event simultaneously. And best of all for the young and horny, the female staff members have a habit of wearing nothing but bikinis as they serve drinks.
Photo credit: Ryan Gines
DB's Sports Bar
(1615 South Broadway, 314-588-2141)

If a fourteen-year-old boy deep in the throes of pubescence were to design his ideal tavern, it would probably look a whole lot like DB's Sports Bar. Nailed all over the walls and even the ceiling, skateboard decks and snowboards form an important part of the decor. A bevy of flatscreen TVs (eight behind the bar alone) make it possible to watch pretty much every game or sporting event simultaneously. And best of all for the young and horny, the female staff members have a habit of wearing nothing but bikinis as they serve drinks.

Photo credit: Ryan Gines
Predictably, the bar's clientele is mostly male, but thankfully the vibe is more playful and fun than seedy or sleazy, as might be expected from one of the clubs on the east side. (Plus you don't have to go to Illinois — a big plus.) Just don't have too much fun, or you might earn yourself the dubious honor of "Drunk Fuck of the Month," complete with your photo displayed on the wall and framed with a toilet seat. Sure it's juvenile — but nobody does juvenile quite like DB's.
Photo credit: Ryan Gines
Predictably, the bar's clientele is mostly male, but thankfully the vibe is more playful and fun than seedy or sleazy, as might be expected from one of the clubs on the east side. (Plus you don't have to go to Illinois — a big plus.) Just don't have too much fun, or you might earn yourself the dubious honor of "Drunk Fuck of the Month," complete with your photo displayed on the wall and framed with a toilet seat. Sure it's juvenile — but nobody does juvenile quite like DB's.

Photo credit: Ryan Gines
Flamingo Bowl
(1117 Washington Avenue, 314-436-6666)
Perhaps the best part about bowling is that it is one of the only sports for which alcohol can reasonably be called a performance-enhancing drug. Something about six or seven or fifteen beers just makes it so much easier to whip a fourteen-pound orb down the lane and act like it was all skill, not sheer luck, when that ball actually strikes the pins. It stands to reason, then, that a bowling alley that's open until 3 a.m. would be packed with the finest bowlers in all the land.
Photo credit: Ryan Gines
Flamingo Bowl
(1117 Washington Avenue, 314-436-6666)

Perhaps the best part about bowling is that it is one of the only sports for which alcohol can reasonably be called a performance-enhancing drug. Something about six or seven or fifteen beers just makes it so much easier to whip a fourteen-pound orb down the lane and act like it was all skill, not sheer luck, when that ball actually strikes the pins. It stands to reason, then, that a bowling alley that's open until 3 a.m. would be packed with the finest bowlers in all the land.

Photo credit: Ryan Gines
Enter Flamingo Bowl, downtown's brightly colored, retro-chic paradise for pinheads. With a bar that serves late and a kitchen that doesn't close until 2 a.m., you'll be able to find the perfect balance of inebriation necessary to achieve true 300-club greatness. Just don't get so sloshed that you start throwing the balls overhand. They hate that.
Photo credit: Sarah Rusnak
Enter Flamingo Bowl, downtown's brightly colored, retro-chic paradise for pinheads. With a bar that serves late and a kitchen that doesn't close until 2 a.m., you'll be able to find the perfect balance of inebriation necessary to achieve true 300-club greatness. Just don't get so sloshed that you start throwing the balls overhand. They hate that.

Photo credit: Sarah Rusnak
Gramophone
(4243 Manchester Avenue, 314-531-5700)
No, you're not drunk — well, maybe you are; this is a bar, after all. But there are indeed horrifying monsters staring at you in the bathroom of the Gramophone. A fanged lizard-like creature with a pulsing brain stands cross-armed at the door, his five eyes trained right at you. A dual-mouthed head with eyeballs embedded in its giant hands oversees as you do your dirty bathroom business. And that triangle-shaped thing with wings and light shooting out of its head? Pretty sure it's not to be trusted either. 
Photo credit: Paul Sableman / Flickr
Gramophone
(4243 Manchester Avenue, 314-531-5700)

No, you're not drunk — well, maybe you are; this is a bar, after all. But there are indeed horrifying monsters staring at you in the bathroom of the Gramophone. A fanged lizard-like creature with a pulsing brain stands cross-armed at the door, his five eyes trained right at you. A dual-mouthed head with eyeballs embedded in its giant hands oversees as you do your dirty bathroom business. And that triangle-shaped thing with wings and light shooting out of its head? Pretty sure it's not to be trusted either.

Photo credit: Paul Sableman / Flickr
Escape this place, filled of late with the jaw-dropping murals of truly maniacal local artist Jason Spencer, and hurry to the counter for a sandwich, surely a source of solace. The Gramophone serves some of the best in town and serves them damn late, with a kitchen that stays open nightly until 2:30 a.m. Let the bread soak up some of that alcohol you've been imbibing so you can safely stumble home, then try not to think about the fact that those terrifying creatures will obviously be pulling some Nightmare on Elm Street shit on you in your sleep tonight. Sweet dreams!
Photo credit: Mabel Suen
Escape this place, filled of late with the jaw-dropping murals of truly maniacal local artist Jason Spencer, and hurry to the counter for a sandwich, surely a source of solace. The Gramophone serves some of the best in town and serves them damn late, with a kitchen that stays open nightly until 2:30 a.m. Let the bread soak up some of that alcohol you've been imbibing so you can safely stumble home, then try not to think about the fact that those terrifying creatures will obviously be pulling some Nightmare on Elm Street shit on you in your sleep tonight. Sweet dreams!

Photo credit: Mabel Suen