Bar FeaturesJun 01, 2012
The Hot List: Nightlife
How do we love the Lou when the sun goes down? Let us count the ways...
Story: Matt Sorrell
See the full Hot List feature in the June issue of ALIVE, or in the digital edition.
Horizon at Harry's
Horizon burst onto the nightlife scene just this spring, and it’s already making ample noise. Created from part of the dining space at its parent restaurant, Harry's, the boutique nightclub features an elevated VIP area to enjoy bottle service with posh appointments like yellow suede banquettes and handcrafted stonework—not to mention the stellar view of the St. Louis skyline. Some of the best spinners frequent the high-tech DJ booth, and the beats are accentuated with special effects like a liquid nitrogen jet that instantly cools down the crowd when things heat up. 2144 Market St., Downtown, 314.421.6969.
Houlihan's has been a fixture on the STL dining scene for years, and its happy hour offerings are a big part of the reason why. With food and drink menus that feature crazy deals on app favorites like wings, nachos and lettuce wraps—plus multiple drink specials that make it easy to sample from a variety of top-flight libations—Houlihan's makes happy hour even happier. Plus, with restaurants in Brentwood, Creve Coeur and Chesterfield, there's a location convenient for anyone who wants to drop in and unwind. Multiple locations, houlihans.com.
Best Craft Brewery: Urban Chestnut Brewing Company
Since arriving on the St. Louis scene last year, this craft brewery has been making big waves in the beer world, garnering such accolades as one of the top five best new breweries in the world, according to Ratebeer.com. The roster of beers includes the Revolution series, a group of modern, creative American brews, and the Reverence series, which hearkens back to more traditional European styles. The attached brewpub also offers some pretty tasty snacks to accompany the many varieties of beers on tap. Look for a newly expanded beer garden to be up and running this summer. 3229 Washington Ave., Midtown, 314.222.0143.
Best Bar: Taste
You don’t need a password to get inside, like the speakeasies of years past, but maybe you should. The rich, intimate interior of Taste makes you feel like you’re part of one of the best-kept secrets in town—especially once you experience its rotating selection of craft cocktails, made the old-school way, like most else in the cool establishment. Drinks are listed by flavor profiles, and the culinary offerings go well beyond the usual bar fare, featuring unique dishes made with locally sourced ingredients and created in plain sight in the open kitchen. Need we say more? 4584 Laclede Ave., Central West End, 314.361.1200.
Best New Nightspot: Three Sixty
Three Sixty hasn’t stopped buzzing since it opened late last year, and don’t plan on the hype diminishing anytime soon (we are in its first full Cardinals baseball season, after all). With a premium view of the panorama of Downtown, including a bird's-eye view of Busch Stadium, Three Sixty is the place to party in Downtown St. Louis. But, the view is just the beginning of the experience. Guests get to delve into a menu that includes all manner of creative cuisine from Executive Chef Rex Hale, including artisan cheeses and meats and a bevy of small plates and snacks—in addition to the healthy lineup of creative cocktails, wines and beers from behind the bar. We’ll drink to that. 1 S. Broadway, Downtown, 314.241.8439.
Most Innovative Concept: Blood & Sand
As soon as you push through the revolving door on the nondescript stretch of St. Charles Street and enter the plush interior, it's apparent that Blood & Sand isn't your grandparents' social club. It’s a members-only culinary coalition of sorts, where creativity in food and drink go hand in hand, allowing members to explore the boundaries of their palates in a comfortable, intimate atmosphere. For a modest fee, members get access to top-notch cuisine featuring the best local ingredients, as well as an array of liquid creations, courtesy of the expert bar staff. So, why become a member? The more appropriate question is, why not? 1500 St. Charles Street, Downtown, 314.241.7263.
Best Cocktail Menu: Sanctuaria
There are plenty of places around town to have a fine cocktail, but no watering hole comes close to matching the quality and quantity of Sanctuaria's offerings. From the innovative cocktail club menu with a choice of 150 creations, to the seasonal cocktail list, to the cocktails on tap, and even a menu featuring select concoctions created by club members, Sanctuaria boasts around 200 total choices. Its beverage program isn't just a big deal locally—the list was nominated as the Best Cocktail Menu in the World at last year's Tales of the Cocktail in NOLA. Still undecided? The award-winning bar staff will create a libation to fit your personal taste. 4198 Manchester Road, The Grove, 314.535,9700. 30. Mandarin.
Best Lounge: Mandarin
Located in the heart of the Central West End, Mandarin has positioned itself as the center for upscale nightlife. From the chic East-meets-West de?cor to the gorgeous rooftop bar overlooking Maryland Plaza, the club exudes a level of sophistication and class that few other nightspots have managed to achieve. Guests can choose from an extensive bottle service list and a decidedly high-end drink menu that includes indulgences like the $50 gold Standard Cosmo, garnished with real gold. cocktails are also available tapas-style, so guests can sample a variety of libations. A little bit of NYC in the CWE, for sure. 44 Maryland Plaza, Central West End, 314.367.4447.
Best Sports Bar: Lester's Sports Bar & Grill
The latest location of the venerable local chain in the CWE finally brings the Lester's experience to city dwellers, and they’re soaking it up in droves. The space features plenty of the things that have endeared Lester's to sports fans across the metro area, like the plethora of TV sets (more than 30 at last count) tuned in to all of the must-see games—and plenty of sports memorabilia to keep even super fans agog—in addition to CWE-specific amenities like the rooftop patio area. The latest lester's also features the same menu available at the other restaurants, including the famous pastrami and other house-made meats. 4651 Maryland Ave., Central West End, 314.932.6040.
Best Wine Bar: Sasha on Shaw
With 40 wines by the glass and 150 by the bottle, Sasha's on Shaw definitely has the inventory to stand above the pack of area vino establishments. Nestled as it is in a largely residential stretch of Shaw Boulevard, Sasha's is just as much a neighborhood bar as it is a wine bar. The warm, inviting interior and cozy patio encourage guests to drop in, have a glass of the grape and kick back without a worry in the world. The delectable dishes, served until 1am, also make it the perfect spot for nighttime noshing. 4069 Shaw Blvd., Shaw, 314.771.7274.
Best Casino: Lumiére Place Casino & Hotels
As a top-of-the-line casino, Lumiére hosts a mind-boggling array of gaming options, including a 13-table poker room, 55 table games and more than 2,000 slot, video poker and multi-game machines. But, the Lumiére experience goes beyond the casino floors. guests can take a break from the tables and catch some live entertainment, indulge in dining options that run the gamut from casual to fine fare or take a longer staycation in the luxurious accommodations of the adjacent Four Seasons Hotel. 999 N. Second St., Downtown, 314.881.7777.
Best Late-Night Hangout: Lucas Park Grille
One of the cornerstones of the revitalization of Wash Ave, Lucas Park Grille has been a late-night fan favorite for eight years and counting. Come midnight, throngs of partygoers faithfully file into the expansive 8,000-square-foot space featuring soaring ceilings and a chic lounge atmosphere, with music to match. Crowds still come early to sample from the eclectic menu of small and large plates and the selection of some 300 wines by the bottle. But, cocktails aplenty keep the bar bumping till 1:30am Sunday through Thursday, and 3am Fridays and Saturdays. Night owls need not look any further for a perch. 1234 Washington Ave., Downtown, 314.241.7770.
Best Live Entertainment Venue: The Coliseum Music Lounge
Located just west of Jefferson Avenue, The Coliseum is bringing a host of entertain- ment options to Wash Ave. An homage, of sorts, to the original St. Louis Coliseum, which was located across the street until the early 1950s, the new venue is a hotspot not only for live music, but for live events of all types—from comedians and fashion shows to seminars and product launches. The striking interior features a custom bar, chandeliers and waterfalls to entertain the eyes, while the array of creative cocktails and local eats tantalize your taste buds like no other. 2619 Washington Ave., Midtown, 314.531.2842.
Best DJs: The Pepper Lounge
There are plenty of places around town that claim to have the best DJs spinning on the reg, but none can compare to the nationwide roster of mix-masters that regularly rotate through The Pepper Lounge, including DJ Costik, DJ Kid Cut Up, DJ Greasy, DJ Big D and more. Unlike some venues that do away with amenities in order to pack the dance floor, Pepper presents guests with soaring wood-lined ceilings, plenty of plush seating and a bar that houses enough spirits to satisfy anyone's cocktail needs. If the beats get to be too much, step outside for a breather at the bamboo and elephant grass Tiki bar. 2005 Locust St., Midtown, 314.241.2005.
Best Patio: Copia
There's nothing quite like the airy enjoyment of drinking and dining al fresco—the only problem is the mercurial temperament of Mother Nature. Copia has solved this quandary by installing a retractable roof over its massive 7,500-square-foot wine garden. With the flick of a switch, diners can enjoy their wine under the stars, or get instant protection from the elements. The best part? The soaring ceilings, water features and abundant greenery still give the patio the feel of the great outdoors no matter what’s happening outside. 1122 Washington Ave., Downtown, 314.241.9463.
Best LGBT Hangout: Just John
Located in the center of The Grove, Just John has cemented a reputation for itself as a place where anyone and everyone can go to have a good time. The open vibe is bolstered by fan-favorite events like Homo Bingo and JANE Wednesday nights for the ladies. There are also plenty of drink specials, hot local DJs, a rockin' dance floor and tons of indoor and outdoor seating for those who just want to hang out and do their thing. The term all-inclusive just got a whole new meaning. 4112 Manchester Road, The Grove, 314.371.1333.
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