Beer has been king in St. Louis, Missouri, since the mid-1800s, when immigrants from Germany and Bohemia started arriving en masse. They set up dozens of small, local breweries and utilized the city’s natural cave system to provide year-round refrigeration. Today, a hip craft beer scene continues to flourish alongside industry giant Anheuser-Busch InBev. The city is also home to more pubs, bars, and watering holes than you can count, and more are popping up all the time. Whether you’re looking for upscale, low key, or live music, St. Louis has a bar for you. Below are a few of the city’s best bets, in alphabetical order.
Baileys’ Chocolate Bar
Chocolate lovers won’t want to miss Baileys’ Chocolate Bar near historic Lafayette Park. The much-loved spot—located above Pop, a new champagne bar by the same owners—serves decadent desserts and martinis. The space is cozy and romantic, with marble tables and French accents that give a nod to the building’s past. Baileys’ Chocolate Bar has been serving up ice cream martinis like the Signature, made with chocolate ice cream, Irish cream, and chocolate vodka, since 2004.
Broadway Oyster Bar
The Broadway Oyster Bar has been a popular spot for Cajun/Creole fare and live music in downtown St. Louis since 1978. The restaurant and bar, located in a 170-year-old building just down the street from Busch Stadium, has one or two live acts every night covering a wide variety of musical genres. In addition to offering wine, beer, and cocktails, the Broadway Oyster Bar puts its own spin on New Orleans-inspired drinks like its Original SoCo Hurricane and Creole Mary.
Under the slowly rotating moon atop the Moonrise Hotel, Eclipse serves up quirky cocktails in a contemporary space. Its rooftop bar and all-seasons Twilight Room are entirely solar powered and offer great views of the activity taking place along the Delmar Loop. Check out the bar’s cocktail menu for favorites like Buffy the Vodka Slayer, Nanas In Cabanas, and Just Another Mezcal Monday while nibbling inventive small plates and appetizers.
John D. McGurk’s Irish Pub and Garden
For a pint of Guinness, a steaming plate of corned beef and cabbage, and a mound of sticky bread pudding, head to John D. McGurk’s Irish Pub and Garden. Established in 1978, McGurk’s is St. Louis’ leading Irish pub. The Soulard institution has a warm, brick-and-wood interior as well as an expansive 15,000-square-foot garden patio. McGurk’s hosts live music most evenings, including bands all the way from Ireland.
Narwhal’s Crafted isn’t your typical bar. Since opening in 2016, the nautical-themed locale in Midtown has garnered a loyal following—especially among students at nearby Saint Louis University—thanks to its frozen cocktails featuring real fruit and fresh herbs. Everything is made from scratch each day, proving that frozen drinks can be upscale. Favorites include the Thai Collins, with hints of coriander and lemongrass, and the strawberry basil lemonade.
Inside a renovated gas station from the 1930s, Olio offers Israeli-inspired small plates made from local ingredients alongside a solid drink menu. Olio complements its more formal sister restaurant Elaia, which is next door, and carries the same award-winning wine list. The casual hotspot also stocks a selection of vermouths, anissettes, and amari, among other spirits. Check out Olio’s spin on classic cocktails while taking in the ambiance of the Botanical Heights neighborhood.
Planter’s House is an homage to one of St. Louis’ best bartenders—Tom Bullock, who literally wrote the book on cocktails in 1917—by one of the city’s preeminent mixologists. Since its opening in 2013, the cocktail bar has become a go-to spot in Lafayette Square for drinks like the Planter’s House Punch and the Manhattan—Planter’s House Style. For those seeking a more intimate experience, check out the elegant Bullock Room upstairs.
Robust Wine Bar
Robust Wine Bar in Webster Groves sells a wide selection of wines, all given a “Robust Factor” to help you pair them with the kitchen’s cheese and charcuterie plates or other shareables. Wines can be ordered by the glass, bottle, or flight, and there’s a pleasant patio in front that’s perfect for people watching along West Lockwood Avenue.
Located at the southwestern corner of Tower Grove Park, The Royale is known for its annual Kentucky Derby party, when guests dress up in their fanciest hats and seersucker suits. But this pleasant neighborhood bar is also a great place to go for trivia nights, playoff games, or just to enjoy a drink on a Tuesday night. If the weather is nice, sit in The Royale’s courtyard, which is often ranked among the best patios in the city.
Founded in 1991, Schlafly has become the largest locally owned craft brewery in Missouri. It has two locations in St. Louis: the Tap Room in downtown St. Louis and the newer Bottleworks in Maplewood—both of which are excellent spots to grab dinner and a pint of its popular Pale Ale or Hefeweizen Ale. Between these two locations, Schlafly brews more than 60 styles of beer, including seasonal favorites like the Summer Lager and the Oktoberfest.
The Scottish Arms
The Scottish Arms styles itself as “a proper Scottish pub,” and as you’d expect, it stocks an notable selection of single-malt scotch and whiskey. The Central West End bar also serves up traditional Scottish dishes, such as scotch eggs, haggis, bangers and mash, and fish and chips. Stop in for a pint and enjoy some hospitality straight from the Scottish Highlands.
Taste is a small place, but it serves up a large selection of spirits, including dozens of gins, whiskeys, and more. Choose from its extensive menu of 39 classic cocktails—all made to perfection—or order the Bar Choice to get a special drink made just for you. This Central West End bar’s menu of small plates and appetizers pair well with its stellar spirit offerings. Get there early to get a seat.
When it comes to great views, it’s hard to beat Three Sixty on the top floor of the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark. The downtown hotspot offers indoor and outdoor seating with sweeping views of the Gateway Arch, the St. Louis skyline, and Busch Stadium—making it especially popular during the Cardinals’ home games. The menu features a wide selection of local craft beers, seasonal cocktails, and small plates utilizing meats and produce from local suppliers.
Urban Chestnut Brewing Company
St. Louis has a number of fantastic craft breweries, and Urban Chestnut Brewing Company is near the top. The brewery focuses on creating modern American beers like its Winged Nut Ale, in addition to tried-and-true options like the Zwickel Bavarian-Style Lager. Urban Chestnut has three locations in the city, including a German-style bierhall in The Grove and a biergarten in Midtown. Each location offers its own dining options, from schnitzel to pizza.
It’s impossible to see everything there is to see inside Venice Café in just one visit. Every surface in this Benton Park mainstay is covered in tiles, toys, and other colorful knickknacks. The bar is known for its funky décor, super casual atmosphere, over-the-top patio, and live music, which includes open mic night every Monday and blues music on Tuesdays. Be sure to bring cash, as credit cards are not accepted.