I personally love heading to “Sasha’s on Shaw” in the Tower Grove Park area of St Louis. It may be because I live in that area and can walk there. Another good one for craft beer and a great wine selection of all prices is 33wine. If you ever drive through St Louis, you have to stop in.
Unfortunately, I’ve found more restaurants and wine shops to avoid than to follow since moving to St. Louis. The only place I like here is 33 Wine, and I think it’s actually really a great wine shop/bar. I appreciate that they have an actually temperature controlled cellar, an extensive and varied wine list, enthusiasm about geekier wines, and knowledge about how to store, serve, and talk about wine. They seem to have a pretty impressive beer and whisky list as well but that’s not something I’ve delved into yet. I actually think this shop is on par with the good bars I’ve been to in the cities I’ve lived in. It’s unfortunate that a lot of the list needs to cater to the STL palate because I think the owner has the knowledge and interest to bring a full-on Terroir-type bar to STL.
Honestly, wasn’t really impressed by Sasha’s on Shaw. From the couple of times I’ve been there, they seemed more into their ambiance than the best presentation of their wine. There’s a place called Wine Press on Olive Street I would also avoid for many reasons from wine storage to service.
Wine and Cheese Place is alright–they have a pretty decently varied selection, but nobody on the floor seems to know anything about wine and they don’t really cater to a geeky crowd. I guess the only other place I buy wine here is Wine Merchant in Clayton. Selection isn’t as good as Wine and Cheese Place but the floor staff is more knowledgeable and engaged. They have some decent tasting classes too, though the wine has been a little boring. I do like that you can buy both cheese and wine/liquor in the same store here.
Sidney Street Cafe is a solid restaurant but has a pretty bad wine list and their staff is hit or miss in terms of knowledge about what they do have. The stemware is also pretty poor. I keep forgetting to bring my own stuff here. Does anyone know their corkage policy?
Nice incite. St Louis is a beer town. At least it is starting to become a craft beer town. Just one more step to wine!
Have you tried Copia Restaurant & Wine Garden? It’s expensive but the wait staff really know their stuff and they have a fairly extensive wine list. The food is good too.
I have not tried the new “Elaia and Olio” but it looks to be promising as well.
Yeah, I’ve enjoyed learning more about beer since moving here. It is definitely a good town for that. Thanks for the other recommendations. I think I looked in on Copia a year or so ago but didn’t eat there for whatever reason. I didn’t realize their list was so big. (Not really sure The Prisoner counts as an “off the beaten path” wine though.) Will definitely have to check it out. I appreciate that there’s not a huge upcharge for opening the bottle in-restaurant too.
Olio looks like it has potential and an interesting list. It’s been hard to find much from Greece here but they have a few bottles. Thanks a lot for the heads up about this place.
Went to Little Country Gentleman in Clayton this weekend. This restaurant exceeded my expectations by a longshot. They change their menus completely over the course of a couple weeks (a dish at a time) and offer a three-course menu (pick one of two options for each course) and an eight-course tasting menu. You can also do an accompanying wine pairing, which was fairly interesting. The wine director is a friendly guy and happy to talk with you, even in a busy dining room. He also is a big fan of the Louis/Dressner portfolio and the wine lists reflect this great new addition to the STL wine scene. (Was very pleased to be able to get Bernard Baudry Chinon. Possibly the first time I’ve seen that on a wine-by-the-glass list anywhere.) Stemware was more than adequate and frankly impressive for St. Louis. Pours were generous as well and my only complaint is that the reds were served a bit warm. Rare Wine Co. madeira on the dessert list too.
Food is excellent, light but flavorful, and inventive. Some Yelp comments noted that the service was a little bit overly-warm since the restaurant’s opening early last fall, but that either wasn’t the case or it has died down since then. Had gone to the bar the week before and was pleased with that experience as well–they are still working out the kinks in their cocktail program but had a few good drinks on the list. (Still, would go to Taste over LCG for a pure cocktail experience. The wine list here is enough to keep you entertained at dinner.)
Would recommend this place for a solid dinner and wine experience. Had the three course; will be going back for the eight course soon.
Went to Olio (the bar portion of Elaia and Olio) yesterday afternoon to check it out. Definitely solid ambiance, very Brooklyn-like with it being in a converted gas station. I think the restaurant is upstairs or next door. The wine selection was alright, we ended up having a couple glasses: an interesting white from the Savoie and I got an Etna Rosso from the restaurant. My bottle had been open too long and was a little oxidized. Not really sure what their storage situation is either… they had some beverage fridges but I didn’t see any wine refrigerators in the bar. Their whites looked more interesting than the reds. Staff was friendly even though we caught them during shift change, but a little less comfortable and engaged than the guys at 33 Wine.
They do monthly tasting menus of three or four glasses–they had a great Madeira selection for a bar that size, with a Rare Wine Company bual and a 1968 D’Oliveira bual. Solid stuff. They’re thinking of doing a madeira or madeira-port-sherry tasting list next month, which would be great. Something to keep an eye on.
Food was also pretty good, though they were just serving cheese and tapenade when we were there. Liked what we had though. I’d recommend checking this place out.
You guys may not get out to the West County area often. If you do venture West, Balabans is a great option for dinner, with an execellent wine selection.
The St. Louis Wine Market, in Chesterfield Valley, is one of the better wine stores in the area. A great group of guys that know their wine.
Old thread, but I know Cooper’s Hawk Winery on the Plaza in KC, MO doesn’t have a corkage fee. Food is delicious too, recommend the Southwest egg rolls as an app! I believe this is any wine bottle, though I’ve only ever used bottles that I’ve gotten from them for being a member there…