So, in somewhat a hazy memory that can’t be helped by the number of beers I’ve had over the last year, I forgot that Draft Magazine put together a list of the top 150 bars in the United States last January. Unfortunately for St. Louis, our only mention last year was John D. Mcgurk’s Irish Pub & Garden.
No offense to the fine people at McGurk’s, but St. Louis’ beer scene has come a long way, baby. So, to help the writers at Draft Magazine, I’m going to put together a list of 10 bars in the metro area that have made St. Louis a kick-ass destination to drink beer. In no particular order:
The International Tap House (Soulard & Chesterfield)
With over 500 beers available in bottles and over 40 beers available on draught, it’s safe to say that the International Tap House is probably the premiere destination to drink beer in St. Louis. Their ever rotating tap handles will always provide for new beers on draught every time you walk in the door. Not only can you sample a wide selection of the world’s greatest beers at the bar, but you can create a mix-a-six to take home.
When you’re 30 minutes outside of the downtown St. Louis area, you have to offer up something special. Bigelo’s owner Mark Pruitt does his best to not only offer up great local beers, but also to offer up some beers that aren’t available on the Missouri side of the river.
33 Wine Shop and Tasting Bar
Don’t let the name fool you, this isn’t some über-pretentious wine bar, 33 Wine houses one of the best selections of beer in the St. Louis area. While they might not boast the largest number of tap handles in the metro area, they do a fantastic job of hand picking each of their six tap handles to find new and unusual styles to enjoy. They’re also one of the few locations in St. Louis to offer aged beers and beers at cellar temperatures.
With over 55, The Bridge can now boast about having the largest number of tap handles in the St. Louis area. One of my favorite aspect of The Bridge is the multiple sizes in which you can purchase draught beer. Interested in only a sample? They have a 4oz size available. Want to enjoy a big-ass pour? They have a 20oz size available as well (even 20oz snifters, which is really cool.) And if you really liked the beer, you can even get a growler to go.
The one-time king of the St. Louis beer scene still ranks among the best places to enjoy a beer in St. Louis. Their devotion includes not only serving unique beers but also providing education about beer. Every Wednesday during the Fall and Spring they offer a beer school where they bring in members of the beer industry to discuss the art of brewing and beer styles. It’s always fun to drink while you learn.
The Good Pie
The Good Pie’s owner, Mike Randolph, makes no bones about being a beer guy. He loves beer. A quick look at their ever rotating draught selection will quickly confirm that while they may not have the largest selection of beer in St. Louis, you can see that it was lovingly picked as some of the best beer available in the area.
While there always can be a bit of leeriness when a large corporate entity decides to get into the craft beer game, I have to say that the 1904 Beerhouse does it right. Not only do they have a large selection of rotating draught and bottled beer from around the globe, but it’s the only local casino which allows you to buy the beer and play some slots.
What began as a stable for the horses that would pull the shipments of beer from the Lemp Brewery at the turn of the century now features one of the most diverse selections of draught beer in St. Louis. If having selections from all over the globe wasn’t enough, The Stable also features it’s own line of handcrafted beers that are made in house.
We’re all looking for a place where everyone knows our name. The thing I like the most about The Royale is that it’s probably the place on this list that really caters to its regulars. It’s the place that you’re happy to call your neighborhood bar and unlike most neighborhood bars in St. Louis, it features a kick-ass beer selection.
While everyone knows them for their famous pizza, people may not have realized they have a pretty great selection of beer as well. Not only do they offer up a selection of beers from around the United States, but have also worked with Schlafly to create an exclusive beer only served at the Pi restaurants.
So, here are my thoughts on the tops places to get a beer in St. Louis. This was a difficult list to put together as there were a couple of places that could have made the final few spots.
Let’s just hope that St. Louis makes a better impression than it did last year. What are you picks? What would you change?