Bruno's Closes; Contents for Sale in Online Auction

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Photo by Kristie McClanahan
A sign that went up a few days ago advertises Bruno's contents for sale.

In south St. Louis, lots of people knew to say "Olive this bar!" when talking about Bruno's American Grill -- a low-key neighborhood joint near Clifton Heights with solid pub food, a large whiskey selection and Yahtzee games on the tables.

But apparently it wasn't enough to keep the place open -- Bruno's has closed its doors, and a financial consulting company that handles asset recovery for creditors has commenced an online auction of its contents.

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St. Louis Is Esquire's Bar City of the Year

Categories: Booze

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Photo by Mabel Suen
A Hemingway daiquiri at Planter's House -- one of the bars that helped St. Louis earn Esquire's nod as Bar City of the Year.

St. Louis bars are finally getting the recognition they deserve as the best in the U.S. That's courtesy of Esquire: The magazine has named the Gateway City the nation's "Bar City of the Year," with an extensive writeup that honors such neighborhood classics as Dressel's Public House, The Royale, Sanctuaria and Planter's House.

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The Gin Rickey Is the Cocktail for Summer 2015

Categories: Booze

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A perfect gin rickey. | Patrick J. Hurley

The rickey was born in Washington, D.C., in the late nineteenth century. The original version was bourbon-based, but it was only several years later when bartenders changed the base of the cocktail that it really took off. Gin became the rickey's liquor of choice, and rightly so -- few combinations are as alchemically perfect as gin and citrus.

See also: Resurrecting the Daiquiri: The Cocktail of Summer 2014

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Planter's House Debuts New Spring Cocktail Menu

Categories: Booze

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The beautiful "Red Shark" cocktail. | Patrick J. Hurley

As much as we love to enjoy our favorite cocktails at our favorite bars, we relish the chance to try new drinks when a fresh cocktail list comes out. Planter's House (1000 Mississippi Avenue; 314-696-2603) -- tapped by this paper as the best place to drink cocktails -- released a brand-new cocktail list last night. Whether they are dreaming up new concoctions or mixing a spot-on classic one, Ted Kilgore and company never disappoint. But this time, they have really outdone themselves.

See also: How to Keep Your Beer from Skunking While Drinking Outside

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Still 630 Wins Gold Medal from the American Craft Spirits Association

Categories: Booze

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Still 630's winning spirits. | David Weglarz

Still 630 is essentially a one-man operation. The St. Louis craft distillery was founded in 2012 by David Weglarz. He's been plugging away, making small-batch whiskies and rum, with some local recognition and distribution. But Weglarz won big when he entered his spirits in their second-ever competition with the American Craft Spirits Association.

See also: Still630 Distills Whiskey in Downtown St. Louis

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5 Easy Steps to DIY KahlĂșa

Categories: Booze

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"The Dude Abides," a vegan version of a white Russian, complete with vintage glassware. | Patrick J Hurley

The Drunken Vegan, a.k.a. Patrick J. Hurley, is a full-time barman at the Civil Life Brewing Company and cocktail enthusiast about town. He's an unapologetic drunkard, a vegan and a bon vivant, and, no, he doesn't think those last two terms contradict each other.

In the dead of winter, rich, sweet drinks are appealing -- preferably those that call to mind warming climes and long sunny days. You can't go wrong with KahlĂșa. It's very easy to make on your own, and the homemade stuff is much better than most store-bought coffee liqueurs.

See also: The Night Owl Is the Not-So-Secret Spot Upstairs from Tree House

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No-Compromise Cocktails for Mardi Gras at Evangeline's

Categories: Booze

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A hurricane cocktail made with real fruit juice. | Patrick J. Hurley

The Drunken Vegan, a.k.a. Patrick J. Hurley, is a full-time barman at the Civil Life Brewing Company and cocktail enthusiast about town. He's an unapologetic drunkard, a vegan and a bon vivant, and, no, he doesn't think those last two terms contradict each other.

Mardi Gras is almost here. If you head down to Soulard and get a plastic cup of something bright red called a hurricane, chances are, it's not one. Besides rum, a hurricane should contain real passionfruit juice. Sadly, many places will be using a powdered mix, like those silver packets of Pat O'Brien's Hurricane Cocktail Mix they sell at the liquor stores this time of year. If you want a good hurricane, avoid the crowds in Soulard and head to Evangeline's Bistro and Music House (512 North Euclid Avenue; 314-367-3644) in the Central West End.

See also: How to Make Grenadine at Home in 3 Easy Steps

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A Sneak Peek at Element's New Drink and Snack Menus

Categories: Booze

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The "Blood Moon." | Patrick J. Hurley

The Drunken Vegan, a.k.a. Patrick J. Hurley, is a full-time barman at the Civil Life Brewing Company and cocktail enthusiast about town. He's an unapologetic drunkard, a vegan and a bon vivant, and, no, he doesn't think those last two terms contradict each other.

Lafayette Square's Element (1419 Carroll Street Street; 314-241-1674) recently brought on a new chef and bar manager. Recently promoted executive chef Brian Coltrain will be focusing on what he calls contemporary comfort food. The real fun is upstairs in the lounge, though. There, bar manager Sasha Alms has put together a brand-new cocktail list with the help of his talented staff -- plus the lounge menu will bring street food indoors.

See also: Ancho Reyes, a Spicy Chile Liqueur, Arrives in St. Louis

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Ancho Reyes, a Spicy Chile Liqueur, Arrives in St. Louis

Categories: Booze

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Tasting Ancho Reyes | Patrick J. Hurley

The Drunken Vegan, a.k.a. Patrick J. Hurley, is a full-time barman at the Civil Life Brewing Company and cocktail enthusiast about town. He's an unapologetic drunkard, a vegan and a bon vivant, and, no, he doesn't think those last two terms contradict each other.

A couple of months ago, an odd product started appearing in liquor stores and on the shelves of the more adventurous bars: Ancho Reyes. It's a Mexican liqueur made with real ancho chile peppers. Its rich and surprisingly good flavor makes it a natural ingredient to add to cocktails served at better Mexican restaurants, the kind of places that already go well beyond the margarita slushie.

"This is too good to pass up," Kyle Harlan, bar manager at Mission Taco Joint (908 Lafayette Avenue; 314-932-5430) remembers thinking after first tasting Ancho Reyes. "We like products that use real ingredients. You can taste it. It's like biting into an ancho chili, but toned down a little."

See also: 10 Great Bars Without Televisions (Or, Where to Avoid the Big Game)

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Layla's Tony Saputo and the Good Pie's Jeffrey Moll On St. Louis' Evolving Cocktail Scene

Categories: Booze

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Tony Saputo's Manhattan Kansas Revisted. | Nancy Stiles

A few weeks ago, we picked cocktails and bartenders for our "Underrated/Overrated" series and asked readers to vote on the place they think has excellent cocktails but doesn't get enough attention. As voting went on, it became clear that Layla (4317 Manchester Avenue; 314-553-9252) and the Good Pie (6665 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-899-9221) were going to take the top two spots.

Before we could declare a winner, though, Layla owner and barman Tony Saputo got in touch and offered a sit down with himself and the Good Pie's bar manager, Jeffrey Moll, Jr. "We are both big fans of each other and I personally think he is producing easily some of the greatest drinks in the city," he wrote.

See also: Reinventing the Cocktail at Layla

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