Fridays South (posted 4/26/11)
Remember when tattoos were pretty much exclusively for bikers, military guys, and criminals? That's what I grew up believing anyway. But Gen Y seems to take a more liberal view of tattoos. And the urban hipster seems to consider it a requirement. You will find plenty of urban hipsters and the consequent tattoos at The Royale. In fact, the tattooed urban hipster seems to be the target audience - and be a prerequisite for employment there.
But you will also find some of the best food at any tavern in St. Louis. And you will also find a refreshing pro-St. Louis attitude (despite the inexplicable absence of Anheuser-Busch products).
The Royale strives to be different from the normal St. Louis tavern. More upscale. It is not the sort of place you and the fellas are going to want to go to pound some beers. It is more the sort of place you go to on date night.
Billinois gives you the low-down on this bar in his latest review.
J&A (posted 10/15/11)
J&A's is a great, straight-shooting tavern, located in the Central West End. Because of that location, it benefits from a strange dynamic.
It can best be explained thusly: At some point or another, we've all had to go to some industry event or seminar for your job. Attendees at these inevitably consist entirely of middle-aged fat people. So, there you are, sitting there amongst the olds, when you spy a reasonably attractive 20-something across the room. Something about her makes your pants go crazy. In the back of your mind, you know she's not that great, but she is unreasonably hot given the surroundings.
To the tavern-goer, J&A's is that woman. In the Central West End, you expect nothing but bistros and other such nonsense. And J&A's shows up to surprise you. Even after several visits, J&A's still surprises us.
And so we offer our latest review, of J&A's, a true old-school tavern.
McGurk's (posted 8/21/11)
Some may have noticed that until now, not only have we not reveiwed McGurk's, but it was not even listed on our site.
That was not an oversight, which may surprise some. After all, isn't this an Irish pub, which STL Taverns professes to love? Isn't the interior all old wood and brick, which everyone knows is the best tavern decor? And doesn't this place have a really strong beer garden, something STL Taverns is always raving about?
The answer to all these questions is, of course, "yes." And we are mindful that McGurks is probably the most famous bar in St. Louis. But somehow, this place did not seem to fit the bill of a real St. Louis tavern.
The main reason for that is the crowd. We are against crowded bars on general principle, and this crowd is unusually despicable. It seems to be full of people trying to cling onto a fraternity lifestyle. You can, however, escape these crowds by going during the day, but then there are a bunch of old people in the place. And by old people, I'm not talking about the derelict holding up the bar you find in most St. Louis taverns, but more like ladies from your mom's bridge group. And then, of course, there is the fact that you can expect to get pummeled with live music in this bar almost every night of the week so that you cannot hear a damn thing. All in all, it seemed more like one of the dreaded "scene bars" that we avoid at all costs.
Still, we were out taverning one day in the middle of the afternoon and decided, if we were ever going to go review this place, that was the time to do it. So we braved a trip into the poster child for everything we were not. We were fully prepared to hate it.
We did not hate it though. We didn't fall head over heels in love with it either. It is a fine tavern when you aren't pushing your way through the crowd or trying to hear over the music. And the beer garden is over the top. As a result, it belongs on STL Taverns.
So, check out Billinois' latest review.
Check out the full list of taverns reviewed by STL Taverns correspondents.
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