St. Louis: An Ephemeral Experience

St. Louis is an ephemeral experience. Perhaps ephemeral is a way to describe any travel experience, but for me, any trip to this town is defined by the amazing yet fleeting experiences of local food and unique nightlife.

St. Louis: An Ephemeral Experience

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by monkeyrob on July 27, 2006

To be honest, I did not like living in St. Louis. I managed for a year, but did not have much a desire to go back. But, in the time since my life in St. Louis, visits have brought about a nostalgia for elements of life in STL.

I have since gained a greater appreciation of the diversity of experiences the city has to offer. More than anything, my taste buds remember St. Louis most fondly. My visits, which I have come to enjoy more and more, are defined by culinary and cultural delights of a town stuck between eastern American culture and a trend towards a more western style of life. The cuisine and nightlife is just as diverse as this city's population. It is unmistakably distinct in a way many American cities are not.${QuickSuggestions} Avoid national chains when it comes to eating. Don't fear local "chains" such as Emo's. Also, not all frozen custard is created equal!${BestWay} While the city is at a crossroads of east and west, its transportation and layout reflects a more western city. Sprawled. Try a car. A bus is tough given the immense span of the city and its distance from the suburbs.

Imo's Pizza

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by monkeyrob on July 27, 2006

A visit to St. Louis is incomplete without the following:

1. Imo's St. Louis-style pizza
2. One (at least) order of toasted ravioli
3. If you must, a Bud. (But look for a Schlaflys first)

The pizza is unique to STL. A very thin, crunchy crust (quite unique) with a tasty, but typical sauce is the norm. The kicker is the provel cheese, with a very unique flavor. It may not be a winner for everyone, but it's worth a try, as the flavor is something I have only experienced in St. Louis.

A toasted ravioli is, essentially, a fried, breaded meat ravioli. Served with marinara on the side, it is incredible. Many restaurants around the city make their own toasted ravioli, so be sure to try it whenever possible (though some places do serve the frozen stuff, so eater beware). Imo's makes a good t-rav. While there may indeed be fine in the city, the tradition of this restaurant makes this a t-rav not to be missed. I cannot go to STL without having a plate before departure.

When eaten in combination, your St. Louis experience will be considered complete.
Imo's Pizza
4479 Forest Park Ave.
St. Louis, Missouri, 63108
(314) 535-4667

O'Connell's Pub

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by monkeyrob on July 27, 2006

The experience at O'Connell's goes something like this: enter, stand in line briefly for seat, sit, meet new folks, and eat great food. I suppose that won't make complete sense until you visit O'Connell's pub, just off the Hill and near SLU.

The seating includes booths and a couple of huge round tables that accommodate multiple parties. If you come at a busy time in a small group, chances are you are sitting with some great locals (with exceptional taste). Aside from the atmosphere, the draw at this pub and restaurant is the burgers. The burgers are big, affordable, and juicy. I am not typically a burger person, but I skip anything else on the menu for these burgers. I recommend the O'Connell's Ale to go with the burger (I am not aware of the affiliation, but it shares the same name is very good). The onion rings are thick and crunchy, a must for the side dish.

O'Connell's is also a great place for pints. It's cozy in a very authentic Irish pub manner. Since my time living in Europe, I have made it a goal to find a pub that really feels like an "Irish" pub. This is one such place. A down-home, local STL Irish pub. If you skip the burger and just have drinks, the atmosphere won't disappoint. Just make sure to get some onion rings on the side.
O'Connell's Pub
4652 Shaw Ave.
St. Louis, Missouri
(314) 773-6600

Schlafly Bottleworks

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by monkeyrob on July 27, 2006

Great Beer in STL, and its not Bud (or Bud Light)? Schlafly's is a microbrew pub that's smoke-free and offers a wide variety of great craft beer. The food's good, too. It is the premier micro-brew of STL.

A wide range of beers are available here at this local micro-brew pub. It's a brilliant building that has both restaurant and bar seating--all smoke-free (arguably the best part). The food is great--try the toasted ravioli as an appetizer. It's standard fare as American food goes, but there are distinct STL touches to most of it.

Okay, food aside, the main attraction is the beer. It's miles above that other STL brewery. A wide range is available at the Bottleworks, and the line-up changes depending upon season. It is all fresh and delicious. Schlafly's diverse line-up and quality make it the top choice for craft beer in Missouri.
Schlafly Bottleworks
7260 Southwest Ave.
St. Louis, Missouri, 63143
(314) 241-2337

The City Museum: Cabin Inn

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by monkeyrob on July 27, 2006

City Museum: take a kid or be a kid again. A children's museum that is also a late-night place for adults to enjoy with a brew: it's a children's museum, it has a liquor license, go figure! To find this amazing nightspot, look for the old warehouse with a yellow school bus on top. Really--you can't miss it.

The Cabin Inn is just that, a cabin. Tucked into the side of the activity-filled Museum, the Cabin Inn is a quaint place to get a drink and relax outside. Yes, most of the seating is outside, but don't worry. There are huge fire pits everywhere, so it's easy to keep warm, even in the winter. Drinks are simple and cheap. I usually go for a pint of Schlafly's.

The real fun is the museum that stays open late on the weekends. Explore caves, slides (lots of them), and climbing areas in a mix of indoor and outdoor mazes. It's great for exploring, laughing, and having a good time. When you get tired, have a drink. Then go back for more! You must see it to believe it. No review, picture, or website can do it justice. While in STL, you must go.

City Museum
701 North 15th St.
St. Louis, Missouri, 63103
(314) 231-2489

Frolf: Disc Golf in Creve Coeur Park

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by monkeyrob on July 27, 2006

Frolf STL: Creve Coeur Lake Park Disc Golf Course. Don't forget your discs for this walk in the park, a relaxing year-round activity in St. Louis. This is a great course for STL: not crowded, easy to find, and good surroundings. It has official holes/baskets that are well marked and maintained. The signage is lacking on some holes, but the folks playing there are very friendly and are willing to help. Best of all, it's free--all 18 holes.

I went all year when I lived nearby, even in the snow. It's a relaxing walk in the park, and often you have that entire section of the park to yourself. Located right next to the lake, winds often make it an adventure, but unlike some courses, it's very difficult to lose a disc, as the course is wide-open (though there are several trees, its very hard to get a disc stuck). If you have never tried disc golf, this is a great course to learn. There aren't too many obstacles or things/cars to break on bad shots. It's one of the better local city courses I have been to around the country.

Creve Coeur Park
2143 Creve Coeur Mill Rd. 63146
St. Louis, Missouri

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