In 1999, Jimbo Sinovic opened the first Big Daddy's in the historic Soulard district, less than a half mile from the iconic Anheuser-Busch Brewery. The eatery's drink specials and tasty pub staples, served for lunch, dinner, and late-night owl watching, established the bar as a neighborhood favorite, and inspired its owner to declare it "The Best Bar in the Whole Wide World." Jimbo has since expanded Big Daddy's to four locations in the St. Louis metro area, including two in Illinois.
The cheers of fans at Busch Stadium drift toward O'Kelley's At The Ballpark, located within walking distance of the St. Louis Cardinals' stomping grounds. A fleet of flat-screen TVs lines the exposed-brick walls of the pub, broadcasting the games of every team in the city and embarrassing trampoline accidents of every rival team.
As patrons root for the home team, the chefs busily whip up sauerkraut and thousand island dressing for reuben sandwiches. Housemade barbecue sauce simmers on the stove, destined for plates of slow-cooked pork. The chatter of billiard balls punctuates the sound of busy silverware and players at a Golden Tee arcade game. On select nights, a DJ spins tunes or live musicians fill the pub with twanging guitars and lyrics about wearing illegal sunglasses to school.
If you follow the right cobblestones on the Landing, you'll end up in front of Jake's Steaks, an eatery known for serving steaks, barbecue, and burgers within a T-bone's throw of Sidewinders Saloon. As the name implies, the focus is on steak. The culinary crew collects wet-aged Angus beef to create artistic interpretations of meat—cowboy rib eyes with perfect marbling, for instance, and Kansas City strip steaks topped with house butter. Their magnum opus is The Bull, a 25-ounce bone-in fillet that, if finished, earns the eater a spot on the Wall of Fame and a new accomplishment to include on their Viking resumé. The kitchen also churns out dry-rubbed barbecue ribs and pulled-pork sandwiches made from meat infused with flavors from the steak house's own round-the-clock smokers.
Jake's stands just in front of Sidewinders Saloon, a bar that dispenses a bevy of tequila and beer. Throughout the week, the bar hosts theme nights with live music and karaoke, and on select nights holds the doors open until 3 a.m. The building's close proximity to Busch Stadium and The Arch make it a prime spot for postgame celebrations or steak-tossing competitions on the banks of the Mississippi.
The kitchen at Tif's on the Landing churns out grilled burgers, hot pizzas, and shareable pub grub to complement the bar's full offering of beers and cocktails. Inside the red-walled bar area, fans down well drinks by the glass, goblet, or pitcher as sports games play on flatscreen TVs. Outdoor seating allows for mingling al fresco in the summertime, and DJs keep tunes pumping from the venue's 7,000-watt sound system Thursdays through Saturdays.
Social House Soulard packs its 4,500 square feet of space with 15 TVs, live entertainment, a dance floor, and a kitchen serving pub fare favorites until 10 p.m. Athletes cavort and endorse baby formula on HDTV screens overhead as breaded pork tenderloin sandwiches and cold domestic brews fill fists. Live bands commanding power chords wash over revelers on the sprawling dance floor, and on some nights, DJs spin top 40 hits.
Daily tours chaperone fans through Busch Stadium's modern confines to explore the home of the World Series–champion St. Louis Cardinals. Guides lead visitors to parts of the ballpark not normally seen by home-game crowds or on television, including the Cardinals dugout, Redbird Club, and the secret nest where minor leaguers incubate. On the half-mile walk around the stadium, visitors are free to take pictures and pose as a commentator calling an imaginary game from the broadcast booth or as a manager signaling for a pitcher from the dugout. Tours embark from Gate 3's Stan Musial Statue, who stoically doesn't wave goodbye as groups set out for their one-hour trek. Check the website for start times, as they differ throughout the year.