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- Web Exclusive: See more A-List Readers' Picks from each category.
- Web Exclusive: Read more about Ted Drewes, including his take on customers, cars, and concretes
PG. 2: FOOD
PG. 3: SHOPPING & BODY
PG. 4: SERVICE & KIDS
PG. 5: AMUSEMENTS & SPORTS
PG. 6: CELEBS & MEDIA
PG. 7: CULTURE
PG. 8: NIGHTLIFE
1904 STEAK HOUSE
What if they built a steakhouse and nobody came? It happened to Jeff Ruby at River City Casino, but we doubt it will happen there again. The dining areas and bar at 1904 are thankfully unchanged from Ruby’s take and are just too spectacular to ignore. The menu’s the same as well: same spice-dusted, USDA Prime, dry-aged, bone-in filet; same 2-pound lobster. Go there now, before they elect to keep it the same for the third time. 777 River City Casino, 314-388-7630, rivercity.com.
show-me state showoff
The Fountain on Locust
Words rarely fail us—except when describing The Fountain on Locust—so we made one up: It’s full of “uniquities.” There’s a stunning 360-degree mural, audio clips of a restaurant serial called Soap Hospital, plus a scratch kitchen, ice-cream specialties, and a restroom voted “America’s Best.” By all means visit The Fountain with kids, friends, and visitors…because you’ll never adequately describe it. 3037 Locust, 314-535-7800, fountainonlocust.com.
Chocolate Cake, Tony’s
Tony’s role as St. Louis’ ultimate provider of luxurious comfort food provides a clue about our dessert pick. Save room after your lobster Albanello for the dark chocolate layer cake with homemade banana ice cream. Three layers and plenty of dense, bittersweet chocolate ganache are the perfect visual and gastronomic foil for the pale, winter sunlight–yellow ice cream. It’s a Platonic combination; you’ll never want banana bread without chocolate chips again. 410 Market, 314-231-7007, tonysstlouis.com.
Tutti Pizza, Anthonino’s Taverna
St. Louisans are finally becoming (a bit) more open-minded about pizza. Good. It means we can send them off to Anthonino’s on The Hill for a tutti pizza with shrimp, squid, clams, and scallops. The handmade crust contributes, but the shellfish, along with, yes, mozzarella, takes it over the top—even more so with a light brushing of the harissa pepper sauce that accompanies the falafel. 2225 Macklind, 314-773-4455, anthoninos.com.
Stadium Sports Bar and Grill
Not many foodstuffs can claim a transition from a throwaway to a commonplace item, while offering as many variations as Cher does costume changes in concert. And none better than the colossal-size wings served at the new Stadium Sports Bar and Grill, where the secret is marinating those jumbos before frying. The bedazzled Cher believed in “love after love”—we believed in love after our first skillet full of these wings. 999 N. Second, 314-881-7595, lumiereplace.com/Stadium-Sports-Bar-Grill.aspx.
Peel Wood Fired Pizza
Traditional Neapolitan pizza should be consumed immediately after its 90-second bake in a 900-degree oven. That’s the way it’s done at Peel in Edwardsville, Ill., located above a creek near one of the area’s many bike trails. Your reward is a nubby, blistered crust that’s equally crispy and chewy, plus creative salads, dozens of draft beers, and even some expertly blistered chicken wings. Peel convinced us that dining in for pizza can be—no, should be—a first-class dining experience. No delivery, no to-go orders—no problem. 921 S. Arbor Vitae, Edwardsville, Ill., 618-659-8561, peelpizza.com.
sandwich, downtown division
Tri-Tip Sandwich, The Over/Under Bar & Grill
Tri-tip, from the bottom sirloin of beef, appears at The Over/Under as a steak sandwich, slices grilled to order and topped with caramelized onions, mushrooms, and a blue-cheese aioli, all of this on a French roll. Properly cooked, as it is here, tri-tip is tender, juicy, and flavorful. 911 Washington, 314-621-8881, overunderstl.com.
early dinner deal
Budget dining has become easier recently, thanks to recognition of the down economy. Evidence? The Red Bird Special at Duff’s: five choices of entrée, including a vegetarian option, served every day from 5 to 6:30 p.m. for $10. That succulent pork chop with a fruited mustard sauce isn’t lying there alone, either; these are full plates with sides. This gives new meaning to the idea of “happy hour.” Hungrier? A three-course prix fixe is $25 all evening. 392 N. Euclid, 314-361-0522, dineatduffs.com.
sandwich, central west end division
Mortadella Panini, Taste
Mortadella, the original bologna (made in the kitchen at Taste), fontina cheese, arugula, and a seriously garlicky aioli dance inside the thickly cut panini. Whether it comes with pistachios (as in Italian mortadella) or bits of preserved lemon, it’s an exciting sandwich. Just don’t ask us to decide which is better. 4584 Laclede, 314-361-1200, tastebarstl.com.
sandwich, cherokee street division
The Cubano, El Torito
This Cubano isn’t Cuban, but Mexican, a torta jam-packed with ham, carnitas, chorizo, a hot dog–like sausage, cheese, avocado, and a fried egg. If you thought Crown Candy Kitchen paid cardiologists, you haven’t seen this immense, delightful creation. It’s utterly delicious. And amazingly, it doesn’t drip grease. 2753 Cherokee, 314-771-8648.
lunch with a view
Museums aren’t the first places that come to mind for business lunches. But Bixby’s is perfect: open every day, with comfortable chairs, a menu that touches various levels of formality, and food that’s tasty and beautifully presented. What else is needed? How about a view over Forest Park, which ranges from soothing to stunning, depending on the weather and season? As a bonus, the tab benefits one of our town’s great institutions. Missouri History Museum, 5700 Lindell, 314-361-7313, bixbys-mohistory.com.
Ciabatta, Bugatti’s Steak & Pasta
For many discerning diners, the bread service is a harbinger of the entire dining experience. At Bugatti’s, they will be dining well. An entire loaf of oh-so-airy, warm-from-the-oven house-made ciabatta is fanned onto a large oval platter. Alongside is a trio of accompaniments: olive tapenade, herb butter, and sun-dried tomato relish. One may be tempted to consume the whole loaf, but take our advice and hold back a wee morsel for the saffron-seafood broth beneath the butter-roasted sea bass. Ameristar Casino, 1 Ameristar, 636-940-4471, ameristar.com.
Combining the elegance of fine-dining fare with corner-bar ambience is no mean feat. Toasted ravioli here is stuffed with buttery chunks of lobster and served with a truffle-Parmesan dip. Tater tots are cradled in a cheesy, luxurious casserole. Meaty, tender veal cheeks are tossed with linguine. Basic ingredients, inventively dressed, are presented in an atmosphere that’s swank and sophisticated—but that still comes off like Sam Malone is running the place. 2961 Dougherty Ferry, 636-825-0600, tavernstl.com.
While being the best Cajun/Creole joint in Dardenne Prairie is like being the best bobsledder in Miami, the crawfish étouffée here is worth the drive. The creamy, smoky, caramel-colored roux over fluffy rice tastes like a spoonful of Mardi Gras. Studded with juicy, sweet crawfish tails and topped with a scatter of green-onion nibbles, it’s a meal that plays all the right notes on your New Orleans–lovin’ palate. 2698 Technology, O’Fallon, Mo., 636-561-8878, louisianacafeonline.com.
The best sushi? Easy: Nobu’s or Seki. Sushi Ai, though, deserves A-List attention because it affords diners the opportunity to sample a variety of sushi neta, or toppings, without mortgaging the house. The sushi’s made competently to order—you just request as much as you like (at lunch or dinner)—for an amazing price. Sample snapper. Try tuna. This is the place for a leisurely exploration of the delights of sushi. 12644 Dorsett, 314-205-8985, sushiaionline.com.
Ask for “Peruvian style” when you order the ceviche here. That whack of spice comes from aji, tiny peppers that, along with lemon and lime, onion and garlic, work their magic on chunks of sweet tilapia. It’s spicy. You’ll appreciate the knobby corn on the cob and baked sweet potato that cut the fire—and you’ll be craving more. Mango offers a unique glimpse into a wonderfully unusual cuisine. 1101 Lucas, 314-621-9993, mangoperu.com.
Table 52 at Kemoll’s
Sometimes you just want the best: the finest champagne, the most expensive piece of chocolate, and the best table in the house. It gets no better, and no loftier, than Table 52 at Kemoll’s. You’re 40 stories up, with a panorama of the Gateway Arch so spectacular it’d make a romantic out of Al Bundy. Put away that cellphone, sit back in a soft, leather chair…and maybe even order a bottle of the finest champagne. 211 N. Broadway, 314-421-0555, kemolls.com.
Rooster Hill Farm and Gift Emporium
Sure, on a per-ounce basis, gasoline is now more expensive than Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. But consider: cream of potato and leek soup. A flaky-crusted chicken pot pie. Chocolate-pecan-bourbon pie. All served in a century-old farmhouse with more rustic charm than a Martha Stewart Thanksgiving special. It’s worth the trip to Fults, Ill., to Rooster Hill Farm, a truly A-List dining destination, but note: This farm serves lunch only, except on weekends, when service ends at 7 p.m. 4162 Wetlzer, Fults, Ill., 618-458-6226, roosterhillfarmandgifts.com.
The Gyro Company
A tiny deli surrounded by cemeteries, The Gyro Company makes you appreciate still being upright and taking nourishment. In this case, that’s in the form of spectacular gyros and equally good doner kebabs, with slabs of savory pressed meat, tomatoes, lettuce, and sweet onions, all slathered in lip-smacking tzatziki. Whether the mix is folded in a chewy pita or—the doner version—a yeasty Bosnian flatbread, this immaculate, family-run joint serves it perfectly. 7240 Gravois, 314-832-2563.
memorable main course
Southern Fried Chicken, Monarch
More black-tie than black-skillet, Monarch doesn’t seem right for it, but some of the city’s best fried chicken is here. A light flour-and-cornmeal coating gives a crispy, sweet golden crust to a generous portion of fried fowl. That fine balance between crunchy without and tender-juicy within is hard to do with a deep fryer, let alone in the skillet. Mashed potatoes and gravy provide the essential, sublime side. 7401 Manchester, 314-644-3995, monarchrestaurant.com.
It’s classy, romantic, decidedly upscale, great anytime—but few St. Louis eateries are a better celebration destination than Bistro 1130. Its lamb chops, with a fragrant goat-cheese crust, are perfect to commemorate (finally) that graduation. Anniversaries are splendidly spent over a platter of creamy, asparagus-studded risotto. Still in the mood to celebrate? Try the sautéed veal. This is a refreshingly formal atmosphere combined with superb French cooking. 1130 Town & Country Crossing, 636-394-1130, bistro1130.com.
Addie’s Thai House
The Massaman version at Addie’s, lustrously gold and supple with coconut milk, is probably the most delectably authentic Thai curry in town. Coriander, cumin, turmeric—spices flirt on the palate. Try the traditional beef option. Along with a tom yum goong that gets the balance of galangal and lemongrass correct, this is superb Thai cuisine prepared to deliciously exacting standards. 13441 Olive, 314-469-1660, addiesthaihouse.com.
Match a glass of light, fruity Xarmant Arabako Txakolina with a golden-brown croquette of salt cod sitting in a pool of lemon-scented aioli, and you’re as close to small-plate perfection as you’re ever likely to be. Tapas, the original small plates, are uniformly delightful here: the buñuelos de bacalao are a glorious, salty, crunchy, and moist reminder that gastronomically at least, size does not matter. 5257 Shaw, 314-772-8272, modestotapas.com.
A staple at any Indian restaurant, the lunch buffet is elevated to an art at Mayuri. It’s a massive, multihued smorgasbord whose authenticity is clear on first viewing (or even better, first deep inhalation), its uncommon delights including pakodas, paruppu podi, chole poori, and idli, while the mango lassi is a crowd-favorite meal-ender. Be warned, though: Spicy here means just that. 12513 Olive, 314-576-7272, mayuri.com.
unsung kitchen staffer
Lou Rook Jr.
The regulars call him Papa, as in “What’s Papa’s soup today?” Lou Rook III—Annie Gunn’s executive chef, technically his dad’s boss—dubs him “our version of the Soup Nazi.” He’s in the kitchen five days a week at 6:30 a.m., expertly cutting filets, strips, and rib-eyes for dinner that night. He’s septuagenarian Lou Rook Jr., and if we’re all lucky, he’s not retiring anytime soon. As his son says, “The man’s irreplaceable.” 16806 Chesterfield Airport, 636-532-7684, smokehousemarket.com.
How is it that a pizza chain provides the smoothest, most delightful service in town? Dewey’s regional manager David Justice doesn’t hire based on experience, doesn’t hire only clones of himself, and doesn’t ask prospects yes-or-no questions. Should a stellar personality show through on the written application, though, you start tomorrow. Four metro locations, 314-726-3434, deweyspizza.com.
Retro is so often bracketed by air quotes; Mama Josephine’s retro is the real, unadulterated deal. While you might detect Granny’s decorating tastes in this cozy eatery’s floral-print curtains or gewgawy wall adornments, most of that nostalgia takes place on the plates, from the “Meat Loaf Mama’s Way” to the pan-fried chicken to the eight-layer lasagna, so homey it’s served in a bowl. And yes, Mama Josephine watches over it all…in portraiture. 4000 Shaw, 314-771-4001, mamajosephines.com.
restaurant to frequent since the smoking ban
The Bleeding Deacon
The Bleeding Deacon’s a dive bar with a great chef. Such an improbable juxtaposition has served the establishment well, drawing curious gourmands and serious beer swillers, with just one problem—foodies hate cigarette smoke more than barflies hate foodies. The ban has now resolved this conundrum, allowing all five senses to revel in the meatloaf sliders, butter burgers, grilled-cheese sandwiches, and bacon-flavored brownies topped with bacon ice cream. 4123 Chippewa, 314-772-1813, bleedingdeaconstl.com.
Restaurant Dream Team
Daniel Espinoza, 1111 Mississippi
When was the last time you found the recitation of nightly specials interesting? Never, except when it comes from Daniel Espinoza, in his ninth year at 1111 Mississippi. He’s soft-spoken but deliberate, he’ll change cadence, he pauses, he stops—the guy’s engaging. You may even ask him to repeat the specials, not because you didn’t understand, but just to hear how someone can make the routine so…pleasant. 1111 Mississippi, 314-241-9999, 1111-m.com.
Arlene Maminta Browne, Robust
Most restaurants fail miserably at marketing themselves. Most. Along with husband (and sommelier) Stanley Browne, Arlene is slaying it in Webster Groves at Robust due to her omnipresence in and mastery of all forms of social media. Promotions like “Cinco de Vino” and “Name the Unnamed Dessert” seem especially brilliant given their paltry promotional costs. Are you listening (correction, tweeting), fellow restaurateurs? 227 W. Lockwood, 314-963-0033, robustwinebar.com.
Brooke Curtis,The Tavern Kitchen & Bar
How many restaurateurs show up on their day off just to say hello to a party? Curtis supplies the first kind word, the final farewell, and on her visit to your table, plenty of heartfelt words in between. A well-run restaurant is usually a busy restaurant. So have you seen the crowds at The Tavern? 2961 Dougherty Ferry, Ste. 101, 636-825-0600, tavernstl.com.
Wes Johnson, Salt
Enthusiastic, talented, approachable, likable…a chef need not possess all these traits to become noteworthy, but in this Midwestern town—and judging from the apparent success of Salt, Johnson’s latest venture—it’s as good a combination as his local pork–and–fennel meatballs with blackberry jam. No surprise that he hails from Buffalo, Mo., population 3,500. 4356 Lindell, 314-932-5787, enjoysalt.com.
Jake Hafner,The Civil Life Brewing Company
He’s so down-to-earth that you won’t feel silly asking him what a cicerone is (psst, it’s a beer sommelier). The gregarious former owner of 33 Wine Shop & Tasting Bar plans to open soon The Civil Life brewery, specializing in “session” beers, low-alcohol brews to enjoy socially with friends. We predict he’ll have many. 3714 Holt, thecivillifebrewingcompany.com.
You’ll swear there’s no way to polish off that mountain of crisp, house-made matchsticks. Trust us—you’ll eat every nub. 427 S. Kirkwood, 314-822-5440, cafeprovencal.com.
410 Market, 314-231-7007, saucemagazine.com/tonys
Boathouse Forest Park
6101 Government, 314-367-2224, boathouseforestpark.com
Blues City Deli
2438 McNair, 314-773-8225, bluescitydeli.com
World’s Fair Donuts
1904 S. Vandeventer, 314-776-9975
McGurk’s Irish Pub and Garden
1200 Russell, 314-776-8309, mcgurks.com
Multiple locations, 314-727-6633, restaurantpi.com
Sidney Street Café
2000 Sidney, 314-771-5777, sidneystreetcafe.com
Unique Dining Experience
Crown Candy Kitchen
1401 St. Louis, 314-621-9650, crowncandykitchen.net
33 N. Sarah, 314-535-5100, terrene-stlouis.com
This department store is a far cry from today’s dingy and harshly lit superstores. Breeze through the doors of Von Maur to find spacious, sunlit aisles, glistening floors, and soft piano music. It’s the perfect environment to make sure that Lancôme foundation is the right shade, and the friendly staff is happy to escort you around to surrounding counters without a trace of commission envy. The Meadows at Lake Saint Louis, 2 Fountain Grass, Lake Saint Louis, 636-561-7040, vonmaur.com.
Housed in new Maplewood digs, this accessory boutique specializes in handmade jewelry by artisans who design with a few in mind, not the masses. Find beaded cuff bracelets, May28th watches, cameo rings from Tasha Hussey, and The Falling Star Necklace from Jess LC—all unique and all affordable. Also be sure to check out the custom wedding jewelry from in-house designer Katie Miller. 7312 Manchester, 314-588-8203, charm-boutique.com.
best new boutique
Cha (which stands for Classy Hip Apparel) has settled in nicely among the shops of Clayton Road. With a wide but well-edited selection of clothing and accessories, this Ladue boutique has staying power. You’ll find jewelry from Sepia, crocheted Toms shoes, Shoshanna dresses, and Naughty Monkey sandals. Overwhelmed by trends? Owner Sarah Craig Garlich is happy to steer you in the right direction. 9666 Clayton, 314-993-8080, shop-cha.com.
secondhand with a purpose
This Rock Hill resale boutique is setting a stylish example: The best way to shop is by giving back. All of Rung’s profits support the Women’s Foundation of Greater St. Louis. When you buy a gently used Kotur bag, Christian Dior suit, Donna Karan blouse, or whatever else you may find among the racks, your dollars go directly to helping women in the St. Louis community. 9739 Manchester, 314-918-0575, shoprung.org.
Sarah King, Blush Boutique
Blush Boutique owner Sarah King carefully reads mountains of fashion magazines every month—you can even find her favorite pages pinned up all over the Kirkwood shop. She knows trends and understands that her customers would really rather not spend a small fortune on a handbag or party dress. King searches the country for high-quality merchandise at a steal. Just take one look at her unique style, and you’ll know you’re in good hands. 110 N. Clay, 314-965-4411, shopblushboutique.com.
designer shoes at a discount
Designer clothes have been a mainstay of T.J. Maxx’s Des Peres location, and now the discount store is amping up the shoe department. The shelves are piled with Frye, Prada, Gucci, Sigerson Morrison, and the like. Make sure to scour the clearance section, where you’ll spot discounts up to 80 percent off retail. Olympic Oak Village, 12129 Manchester, 314-965-4010, tjmaxx.com.
A wedding gown is one of the most important pieces of clothing a woman might ever wear, so gown alterations have to be just right, with no room for error. R&M Designs owner Connie Simpson and her team cut lace, sew fine silk, and rework a bodice with the skill of Michelangelo. Simpson is known for her ability to make the most impossible challenge into the perfect fit. (R&M can also handle most any other apparel alteration.) 11150 Manchester, 314-821-2932.
Moris Fashions for Women
Your schedule is packed: client breakfast, lunch with the boss, then post-work drinks with the girls, with no time for a wardrobe change. What should you wear? Moris Fashions in the Central West End has it covered. Choose from a Ted Baker sheath, a Hugo Boss skirt and blouse, or a BCBGMAXAZRIA wrap dress for a perfect day-to-night look. 26 Maryland Plaza, 314-361-6800, morisfashions.com.
local online retailer
Native St. Louisan Cindy Teasdale McGowan started with a modest mission in mind: “to be the nation’s premiere online destination for high-end personalized children’s gifts.” Well, she is well on her way. Makaboo has shipped blankets, hoodies, bibs, sweaters, and countless other monogrammed baby gifts to every state in the country. With a celeb following that includes the children of Alanis Morissette, Hollywood is starting to figure out that St. Louis has it goin’ on. 609 N. 13th, 314-553-9555, makaboo.com.
If you stop by this well-stocked boutique in the Central West End, you’ll find owner Hillary Dutcher buzzing around the wonderful selection of home goods, clothing, and accessories. With jewelry from House of Harlow 1960, handbags from Orla Kiely, and apparel by Lauren Moffatt, you’ll be able to pick up the perfect hostess gift, birthday present, or date-night dress. 304 N. Euclid, 314-367-7004, ivyhillboutique.com.
custom men’s clothing
A St. Louis institution for nearly 60 years, this Frontenac shop has dressed many of the city’s most stylish men. With a staff that is known for its expertise and customer relationships, Woody’s has shown that personal service is not dead; nor is the desire for made-to-measure clothing. Woody’s starts with a few measurements, and from there, clients select buttons, lining, ticking, lapels, cuffs—oh, the beauty of custom-made. 10411 Clayton, 314-569-3272, woodyseclub.com.
Workout / Athletic Gear
What began as a Webster Groves climbing shop in 1973 has expanded to three locations and been recognized as one of the nation’s top 25 independent outdoor specialty retailers. Talk about ascending to new heights. Multiple locations, 314-962-7715, alpineshop.com.
Women’s Boutique (Non-Chain)
110 N. Clay, 314-965-4411, shopblushboutique.com
Men’s Fashion (Non-Chain)
9831 Clayton, 314-692-2003, misterguyclothiers.com
1126 Town & Country Crossing, 636-220-6110, klutchstyle.com
Multiple locations, 314-725-3456, scholarshopstl.org
West County Center, 314-255-2000, nordstrom.com
Kiyoka Gray, Wellbridge Athletic Club & Spa
Kiyoka Gray was 50 when a friend told her she might want to become a massage therapist. That friend deserves serious kudos, because Gray is a master of massage, working out knots with such expertise that you’ll leave feeling like Gumby. 7620 Forsyth, 314-746-1501, wellbridge.com.
pet-friendly workout studio
The Scoop–A Pilates Studio
Debbie Moore Johnston, owner of The Scoop, loves dogs, so when she opened her Pilates studio, she made sure it was dog-friendly, providing water dishes and a back porch for sunbathing to encourage students to bring in their pets. But it’s not all for the dogs. With classes, group lessons, and one-on-one Pilates coaching, pet owners have something to smile about, too. 8136 Big Bend, 314-968-9629, thescoop-apilatesstudio.com.
Somewhere between Tae Bo and tai chi, Nia combines martial-arts kicks with dance moves—and a dash of empowerment. Classes are held throughout the region, from Edwardsville, Ill., to Richmond Heights, Clayton to the Arch. The workout is fun, easy to follow, and always includes at least a few minutes of freestyle. gatewaynia.com.
Heather Kun, The Face & The Body
This is personal—your esthetician will see you in a way that is reserved for a select few (your betrothed and your OB-GYN), so feeling comfortable is key. Heather Kun has a knack for making what could be a very awkward situation seem like coffee with an old friend. She’s quick, professional, and effective. 2515 S. Brentwood, 314-725-8975, faceandbodyspa.com.
A trained cosmetologist and aesthetician, Paula Lee magnanimously shares her extensive makeup knowledge by offering lessons and custom-blend foundations, as well as makeup applications for those special occasions when you don’t want to chance it. 636-544-9006.
Branca combines all of the necessary ingredients of indulgence and looking good: salon, spa, and a restful atmosphere. 12627 Olive, 314-469-1222, studiobranca.com.
Life Time Fitness
3058 Clarkson, 636-227-0200, lifetimefitness.com
Multiple locations, 314-647-5121
The Face & The Body Spa
Multiple locations, 314-725-8975, faceandbodyspa.com
Pilates and Yoga Center of St. Louis
9825 Clayton, 314-569-9400, pilatescenterstl.com
Spencer Auto Glass
A hail–and–tornado siren duet kept you up half the night. At 7 a.m., bleary-eyed, you get in the car. Hm. There’s a line across your field of vision. Blink. Still there. Swipe the windshield wipers. Still there. It’s a 3-foot crack, courtesy of the local weather. Luckily, we have a recommendation: Spencer Auto Glass. Its workers will bring over a new windshield, install it on the spot, and guarantee the work for as long as you own the vehicle. Given your car’s stylish new “golf ball” look, that might be a while. 1732 B Westpark Center, Fenton, 314-731-2020, spencerautoglass.com.
R & S Pool & Spa
You thought you knew what you were getting when you bought a pool: lazy days of leisure and an easy exercise spot. What you forgot: all the skimming, pH testing, and troubleshooting. Ugh. Don’t panic—visit R & S Pool & Spa. In the words of one customer, “This place is like magic.” 12001 Dorsett, 314-209-0770, rspool.com.
All Along Press
This year, All Along skipped up Cherokee Street to a larger storefront, in the old Proper Shoe Store. And though you can definitely get cheaper business cards and wedding invitations at FedEx Office, for not much more AAP will hand-set and hand-print something that will go into the scrapbook for keeps—in fact, you’ll think twice before tossing that business card into a fishbowl, even for the chance to win a free sandwich. 2712 Cherokee, 314-827-6185, allalongpress.com.
way to avoid the vending machine
Fruit My Cube
You’ll never want to hit the vending machine again after getting a box of fresh fruit delivered at work. For $10.25, you can try exotics like Abate Fetel pears and Cara Cara oranges alongside more traditional fare from the Belleville Farmer’s Market. Fruit My Cube delivers to hundreds of locations in St. Louis, but if your employer isn’t on the list, you can order a cube individually—and if you get a piece that’s gone bad, they’ll make it up to you. Find a supermarket that promises that. 618-420-2140, fruitmycube.com.
Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions
Got a mole? Provided we’re not talking about spies, we’ve got the guy for you: The Mole Hunter, a.k.a. Jeff Holper. Holper specializes in mole control and has given seminars, spoken on TV and radio, and even written a book about the little beasts. But his crew handles everything from bug infestations to Canada geese and wayward coyotes, with an endorsement from no less a man than Whitey Herzog. 314-544-7378, holperspest.com.
Three Dog Bakery
Your human friends aren’t the only ones comforted by an oven-baked meal and cake for dessert. Go beyond biscuits with an all-natural doggie bag from this bakery. 1134 Town & Country Crossing, 636-527-3364, threedog.com.
9904 Page, 314-427-6771, russosgourmet.com
Walter Knoll Florist
Multiple locations, 314-352-7575, wkf.com
Moving Service (Non-Chain)
McGuire Moving & Storage
8645 S. Broadway, 314-241-0600, mcguiremoving.com
Baxter Gardens of Chesterfield
17259 Wild Horse Creek, 636-532-1033, baxtergardens.com
The St. Louis Family Theatre Series
Presented by the Junior League of St. Louis, the productions are frequently performed by TheatreworksUSA from New York and companies from Chicago and D.C. The actors stage original plays or take a book like The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales and bring it to life. Often the actors scurry out after the performance to sign autographs, shake hands, and thrill the toddling theatergoers. The shows are best for ages 5 to 10. Florissant Civic Center Theatre, James J. Eagan Center, 1 James J. Egan, 314-921-5678, florissantmo.com/theatre/familytheatreseries.shtml.
place to rock out
Dave Simon’s Rock School
OK, he’s not Jack Black, but Dave Simon’s got rhythm and knows kids love playing music they hear on the radio—and not from the classical station. Simon recently started the Kidzrock band, with classes for kids ages 4 to 8. The wee rockers play on size-appropriate instruments with a teacher and teen in each band. Rock out, baby! 1305 Baur, 314-692-7625, dsrockschool.com.
Oh Lolli Lolli
This “itsy bitsy candy shoppe” really is tiny. The walls are turquoise; the counter, hot pink. And the array of candy is amazing. If you like M&Ms, you’ll love Sixlets, which the store sells in every conceivable color. Gummy bears are available in a variety of shapes and flavors. There is a wall of vintage choices—remember those chalk-like candy cigarettes? Sugar dots? Marshmallow cones? And of course, there are lollipops. Life is sweet. 802 DeMun, 314-721-9600.
where kids clamor for seconds
Mr. Harry’s Carnival Food
It’s Jamie Oliver’s nightmare, but a child’s dream: The food of the fairway—cotton candy, funnel cakes, snow cones, turkey legs, chili pies, Coney dogs, and more—is all here. The owner calls his establishment “a shaved-ice van with a restaurant attached.” It’s good for all ages. 15581 Manchester, 636-256-1908, mrharryscarnivalfoods.com.
environmentally friendly kids’ clothes
If you’re keen on everything green, you’ll be buying your toddlers’ togs and toys from this new store in Webster Groves. Owner Jessica Kester, a one-time teacher, has packed the boutique with clothes made of organic fibers, as well as recycled products, like Fuzz That Wuzz stuffed animals created from recycled plastic bottles. 27 S. Old Orchard, 314-962-5437, verdestl.com.
No wonder kids jump for joy. Chesterfield’s Sky Zone complex is an indoor trampoline park that’s perfect for a high-flying game of dodgeball or just another way for the kids to burn off that extra energy. 17379 Edison, 636-530-4550, stlouis.skyzonesports.com/home.aspx.
6303 Delmar, 314-726-9611, citysprouts.com
Saint Louis Zoo
1 Government, Forest Park, 314-781-0900, stlzoo.org
Multiple locations, 314-842-3111, vettasports.com
Multiple locations, 877-789-2327, buildabear.com
consummate date night
The Chase Park Plaza
Decisions are the agony of dating—until The Chase makes them for you. You know where you’re eating, whether it’s a filet of beef and rhubarb sorbet at Eau Bistro or a brick-oven pepperoni pizza at Café Eau. The Dinner & a Movie package might be a tad pricey, but you won’t clutch in the middle of the date, wondering how much you’re spending. Relax, and go for a late-night swim; you already know you’re spending the night. 232 N. Kingshighway, 314-633-1000, chaseparkplaza.com.
West End Grill & Pub /Gaslight Theater
Dinner to theater is a smooth segue, especially when you dine in West End Grill & Pub, walk past dark-red walls hung with photos from the old Gaslight Square, and enter the intimate Gaslight Theater. Maybe you carry in your Manhattan and watch a little burlesque, or finish your rib-eye and laugh off the calories with a comedy. This place has so many fond regulars, it’s practically a club—with culture. 354 N. Boyle, 314-531-4607, westendgrillandpub.com; 358 N. Boyle, 314-458-2978, gaslighttheater.net.
Festival of Nations
There’s no ersatz multiculturalism or commercialized global kitsch at the International Institute of St. Louis’ Festival of Nations. It’s all authentic. Meet the Maasai. Hear the pulse of Japanese taiko drumming fused with the staccato beat of tap dance. Get hennaed and play highland games. For one weekend—August 27 and 28 this year—the whole world opens to you and your neighbors. Tower Grove Park, 4256 Magnolia, 314-773-9090.
luxurious movie experience
B&B Theatres’ Wildwood 10
You’re not home in your sweats, nudging the dog off the couch while the kids squabble in the other room. You’re reclining—all the way back if you like—in a cushy chair. Your martini’s conveniently resting at your elbow, next to your pesto flatbread. Ceiling-mounted Dolby speakers and “RealD 3D” immerse you in the film. But you share your gasps of shock and roars of laughter with 30 or 40 grown-ups, far from the hordes of seat-kickers, wailing babies, and ending-spoilers. Wildwood 10’s luxury Marquee Suites are the most civilized movie experience in St. Louis. 16820 Main, 636-273-1001, bbtheatres.com.
You’ve crammed into photobooths with friends and sat stiffly in front of mottled blue backdrops for your parents. This is the brilliant compromise: the fun of a photo booth, professionally done, with limitless options. Green-screen technology lets you pose in front of an exotic destination or mingle with dinosaurs. And Cherokee Photobooth celebrates holidays with free snaps and maybe a face painter…or a troubadour…or a belly dancer. Santa’s got to be jealous. 2637 Cherokee, 314-757-8408, cherokeephotobooth.com.
Cinema on the Plaza
A lot of things are better outside. Dining alfresco. Listening to jazz under the stars. And watching movies on a Friday night at Old Post Office Plaza. The flicks play at dusk, just as downtown’s lights come on. The series picks are crowd pleasers: Top Gun, Almost Famous, Shaft. The ticket, like so much of what’s best about this city, is free. (Fridays in June and September, 8 p.m.) Old Post Office Plaza, Eighth and Locust streets, downtownstl.org/play/cinemaontheplaza.aspx.
Chuck Sanderson owns 100 games, all restored and tenderly maintained so they’re bright and clean and won’t frustrate you by breaking down. Stick a six-pack in his fridge, and settle in for the night. (Open the third Friday and Saturday of every month.) 115 Sinclair, South Roxana, Ill., 618-251-6337, cppinball.com.
MothUp St. Louis
MothUp’s bigger than St. Louis—it’s part of a nonprofit cultural phenomenon called The Moth that’s hip on both coasts. But there’s something about the everybody-knows-everybody feel of St. Louis that’s made for storytelling—especially when you know the stories are true. (They have to be.) At the local MothUp, you might hear Joe Edwards or your dental hygienist telling stories about sex or death or redemption or the ridiculous. The venue changes every month, but the art form’s as old as bedtime. facebook.com/pages/mothup-st-louis/112996075386936.
Sure, there are newer and flashier bowling alleys. But the 52-lane behemoth’s retro vibe, bottled beer, and weekly specials make it an ideal place to throw caution to the wind. 7960 Clayton, 314-781-0282, tropicanalanes.com.
Pere Marquette State Park
13653 Lodge, Grafton, Ill., 618-786-2331, pmlodge.net
Wehrenberg Theatres’ Ronnies 20 Cine
5320 S. Lindbergh, 314-843-4336, wehrenberg.com
Stone Hill Winery
Multiple locations, 800-909-9463, stonehillwinery.com
Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams
Like every other Rams fan, we were skeptical at first. Both the team and the Heisman Trophy winner had been bloodied and bruised. Then No. 8 arrived, and everything changed. The Rams came up one win short of the playoffs, and the team’s No. 1 pick put up record rookie numbers—most attempts, most completions, most consecutive passes without an interception—to be named the Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year. Now, hope is alive again at the Edward Jones Dome.
Terry Michler, Christian Brothers College High School
CBC’s Terry Michler is the nation’s winningest soccer coach, with more than 825 W’s. He’s led the Cadets to seven state championships. In January, the National Federation of State High School Coaches Association named him Coach of the Year. He’s a fervent believer in the Dutch philosophy of soccer, which emphasizes technique—something Michler has mastered in his coaching over four decades at CBC.
Bradley Beal, Chaminade College Preparatory School
The air up there is thin—one could argue Bradley Beal is among the area’s best guards ever, among greats like Bill Bradley, Jo Jo White, and Larry Hughes. The shooting percentages alone are staggering: 73 percent for two-pointers, 50 percent from three-point land. That’s not to mention Beal’s averaging 32.4 points per game and 2,634 points total. At the McDonald’s All-American High School Basketball Game, he outscored the much-hyped Austin Rivers and went on to be named Gatorade Player of the Year. This fall, when Beal takes the court as a University of Florida Gator, St. Louis will be watching.
Kelly Pang, Washington University
When it comes to volleyball, you might equate height with might. But for libero Kelly Pang, it’s her 5-foot-1 build that makes her so good. As a freshman, two years ago, she set a single-season record for the Washington University Bears with 702 digs. The Honolulu native also was named the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s National Freshman of the Year and made the first-team AVCA All-America team for the past two years. After helping lead the team to a national title in 2009, she finished with 30 digs in last year’s semifinals loss to Emory University. With Pang’s defensive prowess (not to mention standout setter Marilee Fisher), the Bears are sure to remain a favorite this fall.
Professional Athlete (Besides Albert Pujols)
Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
St. Louis Cardinals’ home opener
Strangest College Mascot
Billiken, Saint Louis University
Michael Drummond, Project Runway
Before “making it work” in the last season of Project Runway, St. Louis native Michael Drummond was already a fashion standout. In 2009, Drummond won St. Louis Fashion Week’s Project: Design for his clothing line, The Exquisite Corpse. One of two St. Louisans on Project Runway last year, Drummond made it the furthest, taking ninth place in the competition after losing a challenge to design a classic American sportswear look inspired by Jacqueline Kennedy. Although the project may have killed his chances on the show, we can’t wait to see how his fashion career evolves. theexquisitecorpse.com.
It’s hard to believe Erin Bode released her first studio album an entire decade ago. This April, when Garrison Keillor broadcast A Prairie Home Companion from Fox Theatre, the former Webster University student performed not one but three memorable songs. Her latest album, Photograph, stretches from jazz to pop, but that unmistakable voice is ever-present, beckoning listeners to take a deep breath and relax. erinbode.com.
Don Draper knows what attracts people’s attention—and so does Jon Hamm. Since last year, the former John Burroughs student and teacher has successfully made the jump to the big screen, appearing in last year’s The Town and The A-Team before starring alongside former student and fellow St. Louisan Ellie Kemper in Bridesmaids. Yet Hamm remembers his roots, doing commercials for the Blues and Mizzou, as well as attending local fundraisers. Mr. Draper, the next drink is on us.
What would Cardinals baseball be without Mike Shannon (steakhouse and Shannonisms aside)? In his 40th season of broadcasting, Shannon is a fixture whose time with the Cards—as both a player and broadcaster—has stretched from Stan Musial to Albert Pujols, Red Schoendienst to Tony La Russa, Jack Buck to John Rooney. Somehow, all seems right in the world during a lazy afternoon spent listening to Shannon on KMOX. The St. Louis native turns 72 this month, but you’d never know it. Here in St. Louis, Shannon’s as timeless as the game. stlouis.cbslocal.com.
“Step Right Up,” Annie Zaleski, Riverfront Times
Before leaving her post as music editor at the Riverfront Times in early April, Annie Zaleski penned a poignant reflection on how life has changed since the Americans With Disabilities Act passed two decades ago. To illustrate the premise, she shared her own story: being diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 15 months old, the ADA’s passage when she was 11, a college internship at Alternative Press in Cleveland (where she’s employed now), the nuances of airline travel and trips to the grocery store. Woven throughout her story were anecdotes from other advocates of those with disabilities, most poignantly, Paraquad founder Max Starkloff, who died just weeks after the story was published. riverfronttimes.com.
locally produced tv series
Living St. Louis, KETC-TV
In a video introducing Living St. Louis, former host Jim Kirchherr described the show’s premise by outlining what the show is not: celebrity scandals, traffic reports, and car crashes. “We won’t be live and late-breaking,” he said, “but we will definitely be local.” Since the KETC-TV series first aired on January 5, 2004, its team of producers has upheld that promise. Last year alone, the show received four Emmy Award nominations for stories ranging from a circus performer’s sermons to a look back at a day in 1939 when smog was so thick it blocked the sun. Whatever the topic—pelicans, portable toilets, presidential visits—the show finds a way to make nonnews fascinating. ketc.org.
Mike Flynn, Punching Kitty
Three times daily, the blog Punching Kitty, run by Mike Flynn, points out the humorous, ironic, and just plain weird news of the day. Whether it’s commenting on a meth bust, the latest gossip, or captioning a photo of Albert Pujols in his whitey-tighties, Flynn keeps us coming back, wondering what he’s going to post next. punchingkitty.com.
Grand Center Migration
If there’s one thing Grand Center is lacking, it’s culture… Kidding! In truth, when KWMU-FM first announced in 2008 that it was moving to Olive Street and Grand Boulevard, we were excited about the possibilities. (Already, the station’s picked up where Classic 99 left off, broadcasting the St. Louis Symphony’s concerts.) Then, last fall, KDHX-FM unveiled its plans to move to the one-time Creepy Crawl space, where it plans to host live concerts and community events. Together, the stations are making the arts more accessible to the masses. stlpublicradio.org, kdhx.org.
Courtney Landrum, Y98
Sure, the morning show is called Phillips & Company—and rightfully so, considering Guy Phillips has been with Y98-FM for 30-plus years. But the perfect answer to his on-air antics is producer and co-host Courtney Landrum, with her outgoing personality and witty quips. After more than a decade at Y98, she manages to juggle a full load—and keeps it fun along the way. y98.radio.com.
Nicholas J.C. Pistor, @nickpistor
We first noticed Post-Dispatch staff writer Nicholas J.C. Pistor on Twitter during the August Busch IV scandal. But @nickpistor really made a name for himself in the Twitterverse for his coverage of the Chris Coleman murder trial this spring. For the two weeks of the trial, he gave us updates, often hourly, on what was going on inside and outside of the courtroom. After the verdict came down, many #colemantrial followers congratulated him on his work. We do, too. stltoday.com.
Dave Glover, FM NewsTalk 97.1
Last October, the quick-witted DJ celebrated his afternoon talk-radio show’s 10th anniversary with a kegger in Queeny Park. Here’s to 10 more years. 971talk.com/glover.
Evening News Anchor Duo
Kay Quinn and Mike Bush, NewsChannel 5 at Ten
Bill McClellan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
TV Morning Show
Fox 2 News in the Morning
The Pruitt-Igoe Myth
For 30 years, the site stood empty; a spontaneous forest sprang up where 33 high-rise buildings once stood. The Pruitt-Igoe Myth begins with a shot in that forest. By the time the credits roll, you’ll call into question what you think you know about Pruitt-Igoe—and St. Louis. Director Chad Freidrichs spent years gathering material, then tweaked and edited until the flow and the tone were perfect; like Errol Morris’ best work, it walks a graceful line between art and hard journalism. As the film’s traveled the festival circuit, it’s continued to rack up raves (including from Variety critic Robert Koehler) and awards (most recently Best Documentary Feature at the Oxford Film Festival). pruitt-igoe.com.
music release of the past year
Riverboat Soul, Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three
Sure, there are the accolades—the Independent Music Awards named it 2010’s best Americana album; MOJO included it in its top-10 blues list for 2010; and it landed on blues and roots music charts all over the world. But Riverboat Soul, whose title tips its porkpie hat toward St. Louis’ own stretch of the Mississippi, is remarkable in its own right. The album combines old-timey music recorded in old-timey fashion (laid down and mixed in two days, just like in the O Brother, Where Art Thou? days), but somehow charts new territory. More good news: The band’s follow-up, Middle of Everywhere, is scheduled for release July 19. pokeylafarge.net.
I Went to a Show
Not everyone qualifies as a superfan—or has the stamina to see music shows every night. The problem is, if you don’t go out, you lose track of what’s going on. Fortunately, there’s Team IWTAS: Jess Luther, Dave Baker, Corey Woodruff, Julie Dill, and Annie McCance. They see every show worth seeing, write up every album worth listening to, and provide early warning for shows you would hate to miss. They do it in sparkly, sassy prose and post it on a simple but beautifully designed website. Music may be the universal language, but these interpreters are crucial. iwenttoashow.com.
This trend caught on in New York and Chicago due to high rents; in St. Louis, it works because we don’t have a large pool of spendy collectors to support large numbers of commercial galleries. But that’s OK. If you’ve visited Los Caminos (2649 Cherokee, loscaminosart.com), Isolation Room (5723 Dewey, isolationroom-gallerykit.com), or Cosign Projects (2733 Arsenal, cosignprojects.net), you know seeing art in a domestic space offers some advantages. You get to see what a piece would look like in your living space. It can feel lots warmer than white plaster and track lighting. And it’s like a nonprofit art space in miniature, which gives young curators—and sometimes established artists—the leeway to take risks and do new things.
citywide cultural event
Southern Graphics Council International Conference
“Printmaking conference” sounds dry—and doesn’t begin to describe what happened. If you happened to be on Cherokee Street March 16, you understand—there were exhibits or music shows in every storefront, a flash parade, and hundreds of people in the street—both out-of-towners and locals. There were no fights, drunken scenes, or imbroglios. It was magic. And that’s not even taking into account the dozens of other print-themed exhibits and events that happened elsewhere that weekend—in Grand Center, at Wash. U., on the Loop. Tom Huck of Evil Prints even staged his own late-night alternative to SGC, Hell Week, including “The Printbangers Ball” at Atomic Cowboy. Though we may not host another big arts conference for a while, the energy’s still pulsing through the local arts scene. 314-633-7634,sgci2011.samfoxschool.wustl.edu.
St. Louis Independent Bookstore Alliance
When Subterranean Books came wickedly close to closing in February, owner Kelly von Plonski collaborated with Nikki Furrer of Pudd’nHead Books, Vicki Ervin of Main Street Books, and Jay Steele of Left Bank Books to form SLIBA. From crisis came brilliance: a weekly local Indie Bestsellers list; a website with info on upcoming readings, local book news, and recommendations; and fun events like literary speed dating and an “Indie Bookstore Cruise.” Members now include local used bookstores like Dunaway Books and The Archive. Our only regret: This idea didn’t come to fruition 15 years ago…The Library Ltd. might still be around. stlindiebook.com.
George Hickenlooper Tribute, St. Louis International Film Festival
Though full-blown Hollywood success evaded Hickenlooper for most of his career, he always felt loved in his hometown. So it was twice as tragic that his death occurred on October 30, days before his final film, Casino Jack, opened at the St. Louis International Film Festival. Working under these stressful circumstances, SLIFF principals Cliff Froehlich, Chris Clark, and Brian Spath quickly organized a tribute around the screening. Friends, family, and collegues, including Kevin Spacey, flew to St. Louis in support. A terrible situation was made poignant thanks to SLIFF. cinamstlouis.org.
Kayak at the Confluence: A Tribute to George Hitchcock
Hitchcock was the editor of KAYAK, a ’60s literary magazine that was arguably one of the most influential journals of the late 20th century. After Hitchcock died last August at age 96, former student Liz Wiley—who now lives here—organized a proper tribute. Held at the Ethical Society of St. Louis in March, it included an exhibit of all 64 issues of KAYAK and a lineup of poetry superstars. Poets, curators, and editors flew in from around the country. And though the event flew under the radar locally, we hope it doesn’t discourage Wiley from organizing future literary events.
The inaugural LouFest in Forest Park last year exceeded all expectations. More than 8,000 people showed up to hear She & Him, Broken Social Scene, and more. With two stages and room to spread out, people could watch in comfort and never had more than a 10-minute wait between acts. Allowing high-school garage bands to play this year is icing on an already delicious musical cake. (This year’s fest is August 27 and 28.) loufest.com.
theater with a purpose
Mustard Seed Theatre
Mustard Seed Theatre gets its name from Matthew 17:20 (“If you have faith as small as a mustard seed…”), so it’s no surprise that it’s on a mission to examine our relationship with God and ethical responsibility to the world. But if you’re expecting religious claptrap or uncomplicated allegory, look elsewhere. This company puts on productions with substance and tackles philosophical questions that transcend any faith. 6800 Wydown, 314-719-8060, mustardseedtheatre.com.
Prison Performing Arts
An entire episode of This American Life was devoted to its 2002 production of Act V of Hamlet at the Missouri Eastern Correctional Center. Now, it also offers a weeklong workshop where juvenile offenders are taught how to rap, DJ, and dance to hip-hop. Promoting literacy and self-expression among a population of men and women who are easy to forget has been Prison Performing Arts’ goal for two decades. While taking the bard behind bars might not be easy, anyone who’s taken part in one of the productions assures you it’s worth it. 314-289-4190, prisonartsstl.org.
“Joe Jones: Painter of the American Scene,” Saint Louis Art Museum
Famous in his time, Social Realism painter Joe Jones captured working-class people and real strikes. His work ebbed from view until he was nearly lost in obscurity. SLAM’s show—the first major survey of Jones’ work—reminded St. Louis that it needed to lay claim to this important painter and alerted the art world to how resonant Jones’ work remains. 1 Fine Arts, 314-721-0072, slam.org.
underdog theater company
HotCity has enough guts to stage Equus, enough humor to put on Slasher, and enough talent to pull off everything from Sam Shepard to Christopher Durang with flair. Formed in 2004 with the merger of Hothouse Theatre and City Players, this company takes chances and fosters the development of new playwrights. Hot indeed. 314-289-4063, hotcitytheatre.org.
Blues / Jazz Music Venue
Jazz at the Bistro
This nonprofit, nonsmoking jazz club celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and is beloved not just by audiences, but by musician—which is why it attracts the best of the best, from Sonny Rollins to the Yellowjackets. 3536 Washington, 314-534-3663, jazzstl.org/jazz-at-the-bistro.
Saint Louis Art Museum
1 Fine Arts, Forest Park, 314-721-0072, slam.org.
Indie Music Venue
3511 Lemp, 314-773-3363, offbroadwaystl.com.
Center of Creative Arts
524 Trinity, 314-725-6555, cocastl.org
701 N. 15th, 314-231-2489, citymuseum.org
Rock Music Venue
6161 Delmar, 314-726-6161, thepageant.com
Theater / Theater Company
527 N. Grand, 314-534-1111, fabulousfox.com
Urban Chestnut Brewing Company
Brewmaster Florian Kuplent spent two decades studying beers, from a diminutive brewery in Germany to the enormous batches at Anheuser-Busch. Along the way, he picked up a thing or two, enough to launch two sets of beers: the Revolution and Reverence series, one American, the other European-style. With business partner David Wolfe, Kuplent started the craft brewery in a rehabbed 1920s garage in February. The duo then quickly branched out to distribute its beers to other area taps. Perusing the chalkboard of choices at the midtown location—the Zucker Weisse, the Winged Nut, the Kinsale—you’ll quickly see that Urban Chestnut is brewing something special. 3229 Washington, 314-222-0143, urbanchestnut.com.
DeMun Oyster Bar
Everything about Alan Richman’s new restaurant in DeMun is hip: the mosaic-tile floor, a molded-glass shucking station front and center, a slew of custom windows that raise up on nice nights. Then there’s the seafood: half a dozen types of oysters shipped from the West Coast, shrimp, scallops, and more. And the drinks? There’s a respectable wine list, but it’s manager Chad Michael George and his team of mixologists’ cocktails that constitute a real gem beyond the oysters. 740 DeMun, 314-725-0322.
To have “fat pockets” is to be doing well, whether you’ve got a lotta money, an abundance of curves, or a surplus of groove. The nine guys in FatPocket—bassist Ryan Murray, guitarist Mike Curtis, saxophonist Jason Hansen, trumpeter Jeff Simpher, bari sax Chris Wilson, trombonist David Winton, keyboardist Robert Johnson II, drummer Kevin Williams, and vocalist Eric Williams—are definitely in the pocket together and bring the funk (from Curtis Mayfield to Chaka Khan) as few can. 314-421-9400, fatpocketfunk.com.
It used to be that a musical quintet consisted of matching suits and spin moves, something akin to The Temptations. Today, ScreenWerks has upped the ante—and the production quality. The team consists of four jockeys: DJs Jay E (who produced Nelly and the St. Lunatics’ “Country Grammar”), 2nd Nature, Jordan Laws, and Steve 1der, along with executive producer Jonathan “Shecky Green” Shecter. Mashing up videos and music, they create a full pop-culture party experience. vimeo.com/screenwerks.
DJ Andrew Mullins
By day, Andrew Mullins is a brand manager at a local marketing agency. By night, he DJs packed events from Zoofari to Pistons & Pearls. Mullins’ music philosophy, as described on his MySpace page, is simple: “A little bit of what they want, a little bit of what they need…sooner or later, they’ll figure it out!” That might mean house, at other times, hip-hop—Mullins has a knack for hitting his target audience. myspace.com/djandrew1.
Steven Becker is well-known in St. Louis’ dining scene, with Nadoz Euro Bakery Café offering some of the city’s best sandwiches and his popular catering company serving the region’s top events. So when Becker decided to expand his repertoire to the wine-bar scene earlier this year, it was safe to say he’d do it right. Architecture firm Space created a modern atmosphere, located on The Boulevard–St. Louis in Richmond Heights. Becker then partnered with chef Kathy “Crash” Schmidt to create a menu that includes oven-fired pizza, charcuterie, and artisan chocolates—perfect for pairing with a long list of reds and whites. 16 The Boulevard–St. Louis, 314-726-0400, vinonadozwinebar.com.
Area 14 Lounge & Sushi
The atmosphere at Tani Sushi Bistro was already among Clayton’s hippest: tiled walls, long booths, dim lighting. Then sister establishment Area 14 took the vibe one step further. Pass through an unmarked door at 14 S. Bemiston, walk down a dark hallway, and you find an intimate lounge with white leather couches, illuminated geishas, and cold sake and Sapporo beer. A posh lounge geared toward scenesters and a secret spot in downtown Clayton—as perfect together as a pair of chopsticks. 14 S. Bemiston, 314-727-8264.
Gerard Craft and company first refined the recipe in Benton Park: acclaimed mixologist + exclusive atmosphere + restaurant-adjacent locale = packed watering hole. Then, in March, the team applied the formula to the Central West End: same acclaimed bartender, with a menu catered to taste profile; a speak-easy–like interior; and proximity to Brasserie by Niche. The food—braised pork belly, crispy trout—isn’t too shabby, either. Somehow, after settling into its new digs, Taste has elevated the local drinking scene yet again. 4584 Laclede, 314-361-1200, tastebarstl.com.
The Over / Under Bar & Grill
From the moment The Over/Under opened in July 2009, we liked this sports bar’s odds. Consider: 35-plus LCD TVs and a 120-inch projector screen outside; free shuttles to Cards, Blues, and SLU basketball games, with the Edward Jones Dome right around the corner; and superb happy-hour options till 6:30 p.m., amid an interior that’s slicker than those run-of-the-mill sports bars. The result: a winning...well, you get the idea. 911 Washington, 621-8881, overunderstl.com.
Charles P. Stanley Cigar Company and Lounge
It was a brave move, opening a cigar lounge only months after the smoking ban took effect. But for owners C. Patrick Stanley III and Kevin O’Reilly Stanley, the move was a long time coming—their great-grandfather ran several cigar stores downtown more than a century ago. The humidor offers an array of top-notch cigars: Arturo Fuente, Macanudo, Padron... And the rehabbed Merchandise Mart space, with leather couches and fancy chandeliers, provides a cozy setting to sip a Scotch or light a Montecristo—without worrying about the smoking ban. 1000 Washington, Ste. C, 314-436-3500, stanleycigarco.com.
The Jive & Wail
Even before The Jive & Wail shuttered its Maplewood location last year, the owners had hinted about a downtown location—but with no opening date, the piano bar’s future looked dim. Then, in January, the bar reopened along Wash. Ave. The scene is the same (i.e., dueling pianos, debauched bachelorette parties), but the downtown location means the piano bar is singing a new tune. 1223 Washington, 314-781-7000, jiveandwail.com.
Jamie Kilgore, Niche
Much ink has been spilled describing Taste mixologist Ted Kilgore’s fancy concoctions—and deservedly so. But did you know Ted is only half of a dynamic drink-mixing duo? Along with her husband, Jamie Kilgore is certified by New York’s prestigious BAR (Beverage Alcohol Resource) and helped launch the United States Bartenders’ Guild’s local chapter. After a stint at Terrene, Jamie is now a mixologist at much-lauded Niche—fitting, given the path of her other half. 1831 Sidney, 314-773-7755, nichestlouis.com.
Foam Coffee & Beer
Mike Glodeck’s corner coffeehouse-slash-bar at S. Jefferson Avenue and Cherokee Street has quickly become a staple of the burgeoning area—and why not? With traveling musical acts, open-mic nights, and retro decor, it hearkens back to a time when coffeehouses were countercultural hubs. As the name implies, Foam is where you can order a mocha in the morning and a Founder’s Dirty Bastard at night—or vice versa. 3359 S. Jefferson, 314-772-2100, foamstl.com.
The mansion on Lindell Boulevard sat empty for more than two years, an architectural marvel that had housed Savor in the past. Not until this spring did chef Wes Johnson—who earned a name at The Shaved Duck and Eclipse—reopen the stately building’s doors for business, serving an impressive menu of local ingredients and naming the eatery after one of the most fundamental ones. The dining rooms are cozy, but the dimly lit bar (with bottles of its namesake on the walls) and wine cellar beckon for a nightcap. 4356 Lindell, 314-932-5787, enjoysalt.com.
A good margarita contains real lime juice, is not overly sweet, and is poured from a cocktail shaker. This one is. 5127 Hampton, 314-351-9000, pueblosolisstl.com.
2 Maryland Plaza, 314-454-0000, thecoffeecartel.com
Casa Loma Ballroom
3354 Iowa, 314-664-8000
The Lobby Lounge, The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis
100 Carondelet Plaza, 314-863-6300, ritzcarlton.com
International Tap House
Multiple locations, 314-621-4333, internationaltaphouse.com
McGurk’s Irish Pub and Garden
1200 Russell, 314-776-8309, mcgurks.com
Sasha’s Wine Bar & Market
706 DeMun, 314-863-7274, sashaswinebar.com
Lester’s Sports Bar & Grill
Multiple locations, 314-994-0055, lestersrestaurant.com
By Jeannette Cooperman, Rosalind Early, Nicole Benoist Edgerton, Rose Maura Lorre, Dave Lowry, George Mahe, Christy Marshall, Nancy McMullen, Jarrett Medlin, Joe and Ann Pollack, Stefene Russell, and Margaret Schneider