The St. Louis List… Finally!

After a long hiatus, I’m back and excited to share with you a list several years in the making. In spring 2016, I sat down with two wonderful humans to create our top picks in the great city of St. Louis. Like many, St. Louis wasn’t a place any of us dreamed of visiting or settling in, and yet here we are making the world’s longest favorites list. Like Lincoln, Nebraska, I found St. Louis to be incredibly underrated, hence my delay in publishing this list! Being underrated is a glorious thing these days, but StL cannot and should not be kept secret. This city has many great things going for it, not the least of which is its delicious food, iconic parks and neighborhood hot spots.

Whether you are a new resident or just passing through for a weekend, we have sorted our recommendations by category and sprinkled it with our unfiltered opinions for your convenience. You have the tools, now go forth and explore! Dual credit to this glorious piece of art goes to John Land and Aaron Rutledge. ❤

Fav Brunch (because it should have its own category in STL):

  • Southwest Diner – New Mexican-style breakfast is to DIE for.
  • Rooster in Tower Grove – their egg scrambles are all amazing!!
  • City Coffeehouse and Creperie in Clayton – everything, nom nom.
  • Egg in Benton Park
  • Benton Park Café – the hash browns are SO good…
  • Atomic Cowboy in The Grove – BEST bloody mary in STL and fantastic brunch (similar to SW Diner though)
  • Scottish Arms in the CWE – go there for bloody mary/mimosa bar and rich Scottish food
  • Tavern in the CWE
  • Gamlin Whiskey House in CWE – YESSSS for their brunch.
  • The Mud House on Cherokee
  • Melt on Cherokee – WAFFLESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

Favorite Lunch & Late Night Eats:

  • Everest Café (Nepalese, Indian and Korean) – Try their lunch buffet! It’s worth writing home about…
  • Lona’s Lil Eats (Vietnamese Rice Paper Wraps!!) – Everything. Is. Awesome.
  • Seoul Taco (Korean BBQ) – a local favorite of the WUdents!
  • Mission Taco (Baja)
  • Salt + Smoke, Sugarfire, Pappy’s & Bogart’s (BBQ) – StL is known for its incredible BBQ so if you can only choose one, we suggest choosing from these. Pappy’s ribs are like heaven, Salt + Smoke’s smoked pork and white cheddar cracker mac literally make Steph die and go to heaven… and Bogart’s has something extra special in their applesauce…we suspect drugs.
  • Fork & Stix (Thai) – pad thai and sticky rice… nom nom.
  • Sen-Thai (Thai)
  • Sameem (Afghan)
  • Café Mochi (Sushi) – only for happy hour, ½ priced rolls and beers, yes please.
  • Meskerem (Ethiopian)
  • LuLu’s Seafood and Dim Sum (Chinese/Dim Sum)
  • Bailey’s Range Downtown – burgers and milkshakes all day…
  • Basso at the Cheshire – American-Italian fusion, open late!
  • Nora’s in Dogtown – sandwich deliciousness, great lunch special ❤
  • The Block in CWE

Best Patios:

  • The Royale in Tower Grove
  • McGurk’s in Soulard
  • Billy G’s in Kirkwood
  • Vin de Set in Lafayette Square
  • Three Sixty – BOMB ASS view of The Arch/Downtown/everything!!
  • The Boathouse in Forest Park
  • Venice Café in Soulard – the CUTEST, most eclectic spot – CASH ONLY

Sweets:

  • Donut Drive-In – Try their BOWTIES ❤
  • Cyrano’s (New Orleans-ish vibe)– BEST DESSERT, try their bread pudding even if you’ve never liked it before. Chaaaaaaanged my life!
  • John Donut – expect for everyone there to be rude and somehow constantly pissed off about making donuts…but the donuts i.e. the apple fritters are truly game-changing and it’s “an experience”.
  • Clementine’s Creamery in Lafayette Square
  • Jeni’s Ice Cream in CWE
  • Ted Drewes or Mr. Wizard’s Frozen Custard – there are two camps, and everyone seems to have an opinion. Try a concrete at both and decide for yourself…
  • The Fountain on Locust in Midtown – great boozy milkshakes and spiked sodas of every flavor…
  • Bailey’s Chocolate Bar – whole list of chocolate martini’s, desserts are hit-or-miss (some great, some meh and overpriced… see for yourself!)
  • Park Avenue Café in Lafayette Square – BEST selection of gooey butter cake in StL, and in case you didn’t already know, gooey butter cake is a STAPLE of the Lou 🙂

Bars & Nightlife:

  • McGurk’s on Tuesday Nights – live Irish music, real cute 🙂
  • ITAP in Soulard – great pizza place attached, insane beer selection!
  • Three Sixty – for reasons stated above, if you’re only in town for a night, the view is a must-see!
  • The Moonrise at Eclipse Hotel on The Loop
  • Handlebar – if you want to be ankle-deep in hipsters on the dance floor listening to 90s music, this is your spot.
  • Failoni’s or Talayna’s – if you’re looking for a ratchet night out on town, preferably with a larger group of friends, where you significantly lower the average age (especially at Failoni’s), go to one of these spots!
  • The Grove (“The Gayborhood”)
    • Rehab for the Drag Show or day drinking on the weekend
    • Just John’s for a drink and “to be seen”
    • JJ’s after midnight (or 12:30…) for dancing
  • Carson’s in Soulard – go there for karaoke, it is super foolish; do NOT go there any other time!
  • Cherokee Street – Earthbound Brewery (local microbrew), The Whiskey Ring (great cocktails), and Fortune Teller Bar (also has fortune teller on staff)
  • 4 Hands Brewery

Places To Avoid WUdents (aka avoiding college students and The Loop):

  • Kaldi’s Coffee on DeMun
  • Rosalita’s on Wash Ave – get a marg and try their fajitas!
  • Urban Chestnut – the Midtown location when it’s warm, Grove location if you’re wanting to sit inside! Great beer, good eats.
  • HAPPY HOUR at Five Star Burger in Clayton (best happy hour deals award)
  • Retreat in CWE – incredible cocktails that are somehow both smoky and sweet (magic)
  • Fast Eddy’s in Illinois – if you’re willing to make the 45-minute drive, it’s SO worth it for $1 chicken-on-a-stick 🙂
  • Historic St. Charles – unreal that this is so close to STL, super cute, lots of wine, lots of cute local shops, great day trip.
  • Colleen’s Cookies on Forsyth – super close, but weirdly not overrun by WUdents; great breakfast!
  • Rise – great coffeeshop in The Grove

Favorite Things to Do:

  • FOREST PARK: Because it deserves its own category.
    • Seeing Broadway shows at The Muny (1,000 free seats EVERY show)
    • Walking/jogging/picnicking
    • Ice Skating at Steinberg Rink
    • Balloon Glow in the fall ❤
    • Paddle boating ❤
    • Movies on Art Hill
    • Shakespeare in the Park
    • Fair St. Louis – biggest 4th of July party EVER. Three days of free concerts!
    • The Zoo!… And the Zoo Lights in the winter.
    • Missouri History Museum – usually has some really great temporary exhibits coming through!
  •  City Museum (and Steph trying not to injure herself)
  • Movies at the…
    • Moolah Theatre in Midtown
    • Hi-Pointe Theatre on Skinker – the new back lot is awesome, place is cute overall – like stepping back in time!
    • Tivoli Theatre on The Loop—indie movies and Oscar-Nominated Shorts!
    • AMC Esquire – LEATHER RECLINING SEATS AND BEER 🙂
    • Frontenac Theatre = THEIR POPCORN OMGG
  • Karaoke in private rooms at Joojoo!
  • Anheuser-Busch Brewery – the Biergarten is cute, the food is surprisingly cheap and good (for public food) AND the tour = free beer. What more could you want?! GREAT spot in the winter for “Brewery Lights” or any other time for any other reason.
  • Take a trip for an adventure at The Offsets
  • Go hiking at Castlewood or Queeny Park
  • Food Truck Fridays at Tower Grove Park
  • Exploring Soulard – Mardi Gras parade, Octoberfest, and shopping/bloody mary’s at Soulard Farmer’s Market… so good!
  • St. Patrick’s Day Festival in Dogtown
  • Grovefest in The Grove
  • $5 improv shows on Monday nights at The Improv Shop
  • Garden Glow and Whitaker Jazz Festival at the Missouri Botanical Gardens
  • $5 lunch specials at Mi Ranchito
  • LazerTag and Demoball at Adrenaline Zone
  • Broadway shows at the Fabulous Fox Theatre ❤
  • Jazz at The Bistro
  • Chocolate tasting at Kakao (or Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate)
  • Cheering on the Cardinals at Busch Stadium – SPORTS!