Finger-friendly foods abound here: from Side Pocket Potato Skins (dolled up with bacon bits, cheddar cheese, and sour cream, $6.99) to fried cheese sticks ($6.99), the extensive list of grabbable grub stretches on longer than a sloth-baseball double-header. For heartier bites, the Hall of Fame Burgers ($7.99) are all made from a half pound of Kobe beef and served on a Kaiser roll with lettuce, pickle, and fries. A small selection of salads and sides appeases those in search of a lighter bite. O'Aces features weekly drink specials as well as pool tables, dart boards, foosball, arcade games, and a sports-themed mural dedicated to St. Louis sports. Enjoy live music every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, or showcase your own vocal dexterity on Karaoke Thursdays.
To help visitors navigate its staggering list of more than 200 international wines, Robust Wine Bar & Caf? implements the Robust Factor?a system that categorizes quaffs by aspects such as flavor profile strength, dryness or sweetness, and tannins. These bottles are then grouped into eight categories ranging from "bubbles" and "crisp" to "sweet," and yes, "robust." It's this attention to detail that's helped earn the European eatery accolades such as a Sauce Magazine Reader's Poll award for Favorite Wine Bar in 2012 and a pair of OpenTable Diner's Choice awards.
And yet Robust's owners realize that wine, much like an actor playing Spartacus, isn't always meant to stand alone. Each of the cafe's three St. Louis-area locations pairs its bottles with a spread of charcuterie and shareable plates. Artisan cheeses from the Midwest and the Mediterranean are served alongside morsels of Spanish chorizo and dry-aged, salt-cured beef. Meanwhile, chefs craft internationally inspired bites such as house-cured salmon semi-crudo, herbed pork tenderloin, and shrimp and grits. On some nights, glasses clink and forks scrape plates in tune with live music performances?one of the many types of events hosted at the neighborhood retreat.
Framed memorabilia, celebrity caricatures, and TVs line the walls at Weber's, a neighborhood pub that takes pride in its chow and sociable setting for taking in the game. Topping the expansive menu is the pork tenderloin ($8.99), made of tender-cut, juicy meat that's flame-broiled and lovingly basted in your choice of Cajun or Jamaican spice sauce. Spice up lackluster stickball championships with the hot, meaty chicken wings ($8.99 regular, $11.49 platter), or start your own stickball game with cheese-stuffed Bosco sticks ($6.99). Sandwich artists can build a burger (starting at $7.99) or nosh the Mardi Gras burger ($8.99), which bedecks a charbroiled ground chuck patty in shrimp sauce, Cajun spice, and a rhinestone jumpsuit. Your Groupon is also good for drinks; Weber's offers an array of beers on tap and by the bottle.
Llywelyn's menu introduces an impressive assortment of traditional pub classics to salads, flatbreads, wraps, and ambitiously portioned sandwiches. Start with an order of Welsh potato chips ($3.95); flaky, fried Irish pies ($7.95); beer-battered fried pub pickles ($7.25); or the much-talked-about chicken chili ($4.95 for a bowl). Then wrap mouth muscles around fish and chips ($10.25): two beer-battered and fried cod fillets served with house-made tartar sauce. From meaty chunks of lamb, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, and green beans swimming in Guinness-Jameson stock ($9.95) to shepherd's pie ($10.95), the selections side well with a sudsy sip. The beer menu includes an exhaustive library of selections by the draft or bottle. Llywelyn's also offers a menu of kid-friendly fare.
Humans cannot be expected to perform well at karaoke or during open-mic nights if they don’t receive the proper fuel. Therefore, Dylan’s Sports Bar and Grill's kitchen churns out a menu of hearty pub classics, and the bar offers potent brews to subdue excess nerves. On select Monday nights, guests can prepare for a competitive game of darts by carbo-loading with pasta alfredo or greasing elbows with a french dip’s au jus. Friday and Saturday nights call locals to the mic to demonstrate their singing skills—which generally seem to increase whenever audience members tuck toasted ravioli in their ears. Dylan's also features a few things you might not find at other eateries—a liberal smoking policy, for example. Thanks to a cutting-edge ventilation system, diners can smoke at their tables while keeping the air fresh for nonsmokers nearby. And even after reveling late into the night, they open bright and early at 6 a.m. to serve breakfasts of omelets, biscuits and gravy, and a "hangover cure"—a mound of crispy hash browns piled with eggs, sausage, and chili.