The 4 Best Cocktail Bars in St. Louis (My Favorites)

best cocktail bars st louis

There’s something so inherently romantic about going to a cocktail bar. It might be that I wear glitter on nights out or that I’m from a town so small, the idea of a cocktail bar felt fancy and impossible for most of my developmental years.

It might also be that I just really enjoy gin.

Either way, finding a good cocktail bar — yummy drinks, ample seating, lighting that is flattering but not dark, and with bartenders that are present and kind — has been a sort of chase for me in my twenties. I am introverted in the way that I spend five days completely alone for every one night out I have, so I will not waste my time going to any place that is not one hundred percent the vibe.

These places? Their vibes are immaculate, and they’re all in St. Louis, Missouri.

Warning: this article is for only people over 21. If you’re under 21, all these places are boring, gross, and so is alcohol, actually, and being drunk! It’s distinctly terrible all the time…

Do you think The Kids (™) are gone? Okay. Keep reading.

Map of the best cocktail bars in St. Louis

My favorite atmosphere: Pagan Wine Bar

Tucked away in a strip of Central West End, Pagan is one of those places that when you walk in, you immediately think of ten other people you want to invite there.

It’s also a place to know before going just how drunk you’re willing to get because, let me tell you, these cocktails are tasty.

There’s this Rose Martini that, I swear to god, I dream about. She’s pink with roses in her and she tastes like your dreams coming true and I could drink them every day for the rest of my life if I didn’t have that aforementioned introvertism.

The owner is also the bartender who is also the server and who, most importantly, is named Ed. The first time I went to Pagan, Ed called me Miss Emma and recommended the Rose Martini, that, once again, I would move to this city for.

Also, not for nothing, I look really nice in the soft pink and purple lighting inside of this place. The chairs are comfortable, the drinks are endlessly tasty, and the atmosphere is just interesting enough that you feel one hundred percent like the main character. What else could you want for a night out?

  • Address: 239 N Euclid Ave, St. Louis, MO 63108
  • Website: Pagan Wine Bar

Best for a date: Planter’s House

The thing to know about Saint Lousians is that we love a story. I’m not saying other people don’t love a story, but I am saying that I have met more people in this city that know about this city than any other place I’ve lived or visited. The people here love their community and for a lot of them, that means knowing the history behind it.

Planter’s House appeals to this part of our psyches. Named for the city landmark Planter’s Hotel, which stood from 1817 to 1922, the main attraction to this cocktail bar is not its delicious food (although I think I could buy my way across the Styx with an order of their Crab Cakes) or its expansive cocktail and bar menu. The main thing that I adore about this space is the Bullock Room.

The Bullock Room, “a snug and romantic bar” that even offers private parties, is named after Tom Bullock, who was a bartender at the St. Louis Country Club before, during, and after prohibition, and who was the first African American to write a cocktail book.

Here, you get the soft, warm atmosphere of a speakeasy with the full cocktail list of Planter’s House. And what a cocktail menu it is. With a seasonal menu, a list of classics, and even mocktails, there’s something for everyone here.

Personally, I would drink my weight in the In A Pickle cocktail, which features Hendrick’s Gin, Velvet Falernum, elderflower, lime, cucumber, and dill. And, also, importantly, right now their season menu includes The Imagination Library, a Vodka drink that tastes like happiness, and for each drink bought, one dollar goes to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. A good drink for a good cause to our good Queen Dolly. Bless be!

Best for learning: The Gin Room

Look, Natasha Bahrami is the Martini Lady and I have no choice but to honor, respect, and adore her.

Natasha is an internationally renowned Gin Hall of Famer, the founder of Ginworld, and one of the world’s leading experts on the spirit itself. I love her. Do I know her? Of course not. But parasocial relationships exist for a reason, people, and Natasha posing bottles of Missouri Gin in trees to post on the cocktail bar’s Instagram? That’s the reason! I know it.

The Gin Room offers classes, special events, and opportunities to learn all about gin. I first learned about gin by watching Lorelai Gilmore discuss her martini preferences at a verbal breakneck speed, and my mission in life became to also love martinis. Natasha makes it easy.

The menu features not only a wide variety of martinis, negronis, gin and tonics, and whiskey-lover cocktails, but also flights, low and no proof cocktails, and recommendations for where to start if you’re new to gin.

As gin is my alcohol of choice, and I am a middle child, I can understand that the wide menu might feel a bit overwhelming. But let me tell you — there is nothing bad on this menu at all. Their on draft Blackberry Bush? The seasonal Are You Not Entertained? The In Remembrance of Summer martini? All of these, and more, make me think that Natasha is exactly right on what she claims on her website — there’s a gin out there for everyone

  • Address: ​​3200 S Grand Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63118
  • Website: The Gin Room

Best for a casual night: Small Changes

Sometimes, you want to wear a cute top and some glitter to get your martini. And sometimes, you want to wear a sweater and take your dog with you. I get it. I got you.

Small Changes is the perfect place for a casual cocktail. Self-dubbed as the dive bar stepchild of Planter’s House, this cocktail bar offers the same incredible quality without the upscale atmosphere. There’s a patio where you can bring your dog and a rotating list of cocktails that are as innovative as they are delicious. Currently, The Killer Was Smiling is my favorite because it has apple brandy and it is Scorpio Season.

But soon… soon friends, it will not be Scorpio Season and, instead, it will be Christmas Time. And boy, oh boy, does Small Changes deliver on that front.

Miracle at Small Change is a nostalgic Christmas-themed cocktail bar and, yes, that includes the kitschy decor and festive drink menus. I have been thinking about the Elfing Around cocktail since the day the menu was released — prosecco, gin, mulled wine reduction, grapefruit shrub, aromatic bitters, and orange bitters. Get your reservation soon for the Holiday Season.

If you see me there double fisting the naughty and nice shots… no, you didn’t.

  • Address: ​​2800 Indiana, St. Louis, MO 63118
  • Website: Small Changes

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