AOL PICK from our Editors
Where to find the best St. Louis bars? That depends on what you’re looking for. Do you prefer great live music, especially blues? Head to Soulard or the downtown Blues Triangle for one of the best St. Louis nightlife scenes. If beer’s your thing, there’s no shortage of microbreweries, given St. Louis’ 150-year-old brewing tradition. Hoping to find an open-minded crowd? Bars in The Grove neighborhood have always been a safe haven for the LGBT crowd, but it’s now a hot-spot for everyone. Prefer bottle service and beautiful people? The downtown Loft District is your scene. If you’re a betting man (or woman), there are seven casinos in the region, the most prominent being Lumiere Place Casino on Laclede’s Landing downtown. Looking for a college party atmosphere? Laclede’s Landing fits that bill, too. Something more refined? You’ll prefer the Central West End. And if you just can’t quite put your finger on which of the best St. Louis nightlife you want, then something along the eclectic Delmar Loop will click. Things usually heat up by 10:30PM, and the majority of bars close at 1AM. However, if you’re not ready to call it a night yet, a select few establishments stay open until 3AM.
Neighborhood: Lafayette Square
Imagine sitting in a good friend’s wine cellar as he uncorks bottle after bottle of his favorites for you to try. That’s the vibe at 33's sleek, unpretentious and cozy (and yes, by cozy we do mean “small”) wine bar in Lafayette Square. A native of Northern California, owner Jeff Stettner seems to have wine flowing through his veins. He has assembled an astonishing wine list featuring 750 selections, spanning the best of Old- and New-World vineyards. Don’t be intimidated; Stettner and staff are enthusiastic guides who’ll help you navigate the drink menu, which also includes 40 beers and a selection of spirits. If it’s packed—as it is most weekend nights—look for a spot on the outside patio, or take a bottle to go from one of the best St. Louis bars. Closed Sundays and Mondays.
More Details on 33 Wine Shop & Tasting Bar
St. Louis is a beer town. We’re not just talking about the mass-produced Anheuser-Busch products that have been brewed here for 150 years. There are also a dozen microbreweries in the St. Louis area serving up their own signature blends o’ barley and hops. Opened in 1991, Schlafly Tap Room is the pioneer among them and the most recognized microbrew name in the region. Located downtown in a century-old building on the National Register of Historic Places, the Tap Room serves 10 brews year-round, plus several other seasonal varieties, all straight from the tap—nothing bottled. There’s live music on the weekends and highly popular monthly festivals, ranging from the Brew & Q in May to HOP In the City in September, when the Tap Room serves all 40 beer varieties produced in the past year. Whether you manage to visit during one of these festivals or not, The Schafly Tap Room is sure to be one of the best St. Louis nightlife no matter when you get there.
More Details on The Schafly Tap Room
Neighborhood: The Grove
Don’t head to Atomic Cowboy just for its 3AM closing time and killer margaritas. This exposed-brick cantina—considered St. Louis’ best “omnisexual” bar—in the up-and-coming The Grove neighborhood offers an explosion of options for late-night entertainment. There are swing and salsa nights, weekly hip hop shows in its downstairs dance club called The Basement, hardcore rock acts and monthly burlesque shows in its adjacent Fox Hole, cozy fire pits and late-night BBQs on the patio, and on it goes (call ahead to find out what the theme is for the night you’re planning on visiting). The drink list is one of the most creative in town, with concoctions such as the Banana Hammock and Dirty Girl Scout, served up alongside house-infused sangria and Stag beer.
More Details on Atomic Cowboy »
The anchor of the Blues Triangle just south of Busch Stadium, BB’s Jazz, Blues and Soups is perennially crowned the best St. Louis club for blues in local polls. Photos of St. Louis music royalty—Fontella Bass, Ike Turner, Johnny Johnson—adorn the brick walls of this 150-year-old building, which has served as a boarding house, millinery, diner and bordello over the course of its history. Top local talent and touring acts grace the stage nightly; the cover charge varies according to the act. The acoustics and sightlines make the two-story venue seem cozier, as does the attentive service. We love the bartenders for their stiff pours, which might catch up to you by night’s end given that this establishment doesn’t close until 3AM.
More Details on BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups »
Neighborhood: The Delmar Loop
You can find your thrills in Blueberry Hill, a fantastically fun frolic of a bar, grill and music club. Just follow the St. Louis Walk of Fame until you see the neon blue sign. This cornerstone of the Delmar Loop is as packed with pop culture memorabilia as it is patrons: The Beatles, The Simpsons, Howdy Doody and hundreds of other collectibles provide satisfying eye candy to go along with the juicy cheeseburgers and 60 varieties of beer by the bottle. If the 145,000 tunes on the digital jukebox don’t do the trick, then catch a live show downstairs at the Elvis Room or Duck Room, where Chuck Berry himself still struts his stuff a few times a year at one of the best St. Louis nightlife scenes.
More Details on Blueberry Hill »