Every Thursday through Saturday night, two pro piano players sit down at Jive and Wail's two baby grand pianos and proceed to bang out Top 40 hits from a plethora of eras, including time that has not yet come to pass, though these future-songs cannot be heard by present-day ears. Audience participation is not only encouraged but demanded by the dueling pianists—who are not above threatening their audience with atonal jazz if no song requests are forthcoming. Once you've made your request, the bar's high-tech sound system makes sure you won't miss it while refreshing your tipple at the full-service bar.
Established in 1876, Charles P. Stanley Cigar Company and Lounge caters to tobacco enthusiasts with a variety of rolled cigars, which can be paired with libations from their full bar. Mosey through Stanley’s shelved humidor stocked with more than 1,000 cigars from such brands as Arturo Fuente, Rocky Patel, Ashton, and Romeo and Julieta, a company known for combining tobacco leaves grown by feuding families ($6.75+ each). After selecting a cigar, stroll to Charles’s full bar and order a mug of Guinness ($6), a glass of Crown Royal ($9), or a Jack Daniels and soda-pop mixture ($8). As guests puff and sip, they can admire the lounge’s 42’x12’ Cuban mural and the 21-foot ceiling equipped with an exhaust system before settling into an Italian leather couch to catch a game on one of the lounge's flat-screen TVs or to try lighting stogies with nothing but an imaginative spark.
You wouldn’t think that food could change a city. But that’s exactly what Travel + Leisure praises Mosaic for, declaring that its innovative dishes and inspired design scheme have helped bring the former urban industrial St. Louis Garment neighborhood from “grimy to glam.” Since the their 2004 opening in downtown St. Louis, Mosaic restaurants have sprouted up in airport and Des Peres locations, bringing with them the contemporary gourmet menu of founder and head chef, Claus Schmitz. The highly trained, award-winning culinary whiz folds fine ingredients into internationally inspired tapas, soups, and entrees, whipping up dishes such as roasted grass-fed bone marrow or sustainable Chilean sea bass and pairing them with seasonal cocktails and fine wines. Outside the kitchen, Schmitz’s dining room’s interior design is equally appealing, with high ceilings, a freestanding bar, and tall windows that stream in sunshine while filtering out the glares of the jealous, hungry cars parked outside.
“While far too many menus babble with details, Three Sixty’s undersells,” a reporter for St. Louis Magazine wrote after a visit. “’Smoked salmon chips’ in no way covers what arrives: a couple of tablespoons’ worth of rough-ground, fragrantly smoked salmon atop a big crispy, salty potato chip, topped with tiny capers and nibbles of sweet red onions.” Even the name, 360 St. Louis, merely hints gently at the bejeweled panorama of downtown St. Louis and birds' eye view into Busch Stadium that sprawl before the eatery. The 6,000-square foot rooftop bar, part of the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark, also surrounds diners with a dramatic wine wall, flat-screen TVs, and toasty fire pits.
From behind an expansive outdoor bar and several indoor bars, mixologists craft shaken and infused cocktails, drawing on inventive ingredients including pumpkin puree, house-made ginger liquor, and local apple cider. Bartenders also supply an extensive selection of wines and beers, which guests can nurse while grooving on the dance floor to DJs spinning four nights a week.
While barkeeps tend to libations, Executive Chef Rex Hale draws upon more than 25 years of culinary experience that has taken him everywhere from South Africa to the British Virgin Isles. In 360 St. Louis' open kitchen, he uses locally sourced ingredients to create globally inspired, upscale bar food such as short rib sliders and handmade fish tacos. St. Louis Magazine considers his wild mushroom and goat cheese pizza a "must-try," while his lobster risotto is "realized extravagantly."
At each of Drunken Fish's upscale restaurants, chefs create traditional and specialty sushi, along with stir-frys and other Japanese entrees. Fresh tuna nigiri and 10 oz Teriyaki glazed strip steak make for tasty pairings with signature cocktails, such as the Madame Butterfly with raspberry vodka, mango puree, and pineapple juice. Drunken Fish has four convenient locations within St. Louis, each featuring modern decor.
Al Waha is best known for their Bedouin cuisine, but also serves Afghan food and offers a hookah and full bar. The meal begins with a traditional cup of Bedouin coffee infused with cardamom; this is an important ritual in Bedouin hospitality that involves the host preparing the beans in the presence of guests. As such, the highest compliment of generosity in Bedouin culture is "he makes coffee from morn till night," whereas the most grievous insult is "the best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup." Following this stimulating aperitif, diners can pass around plates of velvety musakaah ($5.50) and hummus ($4.99), both served with bread. From there, let your stomach wander to classic nomadic entrees such as tender butter chicken seasoned with chili pepper and served with creamy tomato sauce over a bed of basmati rice ($10.95). The Al Waha plate provides a sultan's feast of ground beef and pomegranate-tomato sauce piled high on top of raisins, crushed almonds, and dried-apricot-flecked rice ($9.95). In addition to vegetarian options such as kodar bleban (cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, carrots, and green beans simmered in yogurt sauce with rice), many dishes can be prepared sans meat upon request. Cool concoctions such as mango lussy (sweet mango puree blended with cream) and irfa beljoze (cinnamon boiled in water and topped with coconuts and walnuts) wash down the salt and spice at $3.49 each and provide a delightful segue into a dessert of fruit-flavored hookah smoke.