The bar at Olive + Oak proves that sometimes simplicity is the best choice. Stark white subway tiles, a white bar, and the warmth of open wooden shelving give this spot a distinctly California feel. With the pops of color from herbs, orchids, and the glowing red heart, a night at the bar here just feels right. Attention to detail isn’t just in the decor, though. The wine list is perfectly curated, and the cocktails from Morgaine Segura-Martin and her husband, Charlie, are impeccable. They change with the seasons (or at their whim), so don’t get too comfortable with them, but always trust the new ones will be A+. Don’t skip out on the famous O+O burger, either.
Let’s hope Yellowbelly is the prototype for future St. Louis bars. This place is beautiful, with a thought out design from floor to ceiling. The interior is bright, modern, and tropical. It honestly doesn’t feel like you’re in St. Louis at all—you could pick the restaurant up and transport it to any major city and it would fit right in (especially if that city was LA or San Diego). It’s exciting that celebrity Chef Richard Blais is behind the food, but we’d argue it’s more exciting that Tim Wiggins is behind the bar. He’s slayed at his other bar, Retreat Gastropub, and from what we’ve tried at Yellowbelly, it appears he has done it again.
Gerard Craft can do no wrong. Trendy and photogenic, with Mediterranean-style blue tile walls and a warm wooden bar top, sitting at the bar will make you feel like you’re in Europe—or, at the very least, Chicago. Sardella takes its cocktails just as seriously as its food. As you might expect, the drink menu changes with the seasons, but their team of bartenders can handle anything from the classics to the wildly creative.
A swanky, dark restaurant and bar with one of the best cocktail programs in the city. The decor whispers speakeasy, but it’s the upstairs Bullock Room that will transport you to another time. Orange-tinged lights and candles mute the dark woods and red patterned wallpaper, making it feel like movie set from the '50s. Intimate booths and perfectly made cocktails make this a great date spot and a fun place for catching up with friends.Ted Kilgore, master mixologist (our words, not his), has been mixing craft cocktails since before it was cool. Go to the bar and have him whip you up something unique to your liking.
If you ever went to Cielo at the Four Seasons St. Louis, you already know it’s not that hard to make the 8th level bar feel sexy. With a massive terrace and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the city and river, it’s always felt sexy. But with the recent Cinder House renovations, things got even more beautiful. A new bar top made out of South American blue granite makes a bold statement, and the new bar area seating options feel contemporary. It’s the kind of bar you’ll find yourself sitting at for hours. Plan on Ubering home (or getting a room).
Go to Taste after the sun sets. When you walk in the door and through the velvet curtain, it’ll take your eyes a second to adjust to the dim edison bulbs and candlelight. This actually feels like a speakeasy–especially if you manage to snag a seat on the couches upstairs. There is limited seating, so be prepared for a wait on busier nights. Taste boasts a combination of inventive small plates in a sexy atmosphere with a list of craft cocktails that’s a mile long. In Taste’s own words, they are “an experience in atmosphere, flavor, and service,” and we couldn’t agree more. Another Gerard Craft gem, Taste is great for just about any occasion. Again, we can’t overstate how good both the food and cocktails are.
Who’d have thought that one day a tiny abandoned gas station in Tower Grove would be one of the city’s sexiest bars? Simplicity is the name of the game at OLIO: a marble top, tiled walls, contemporary bar stools, and lights hung on a track, wires and all exposed. At night, a seat at the bar feels dark and intimate, but during the day it’s equally beautiful—just an airy and bright spot, perfect for a day date. The cocktails are a mix of European classics and modern inspirations, and the food is focused on modern Israeli small plates. It’s always a winner.
If you’re looking for beautiful restaurants in general, Nixta should be on the top of your list. Like its neighbor and sister restaurant, OLIO, it’s a relatively small rehabbed garage, but the color scheme and decor will make you feel like you’re steps away from the ocean in Mexico. Blues, teals, and coral make up the color palette, plus the warm wood of the tables and bars. Sitting at the bar and enjoying a mezcal-heavy beverage is a summertime necessity—or a great winter escape.