The Ten Best Dive Bars in St. Louis
Selecting Riverfront Times' Best of St. Louis 2012 wasn't easy. Choosing the winner meant several worthy candidates would go unmentioned -- until now. In this RFT Music series, we're beeboping and scattin' our way through notable runners up in a number of categories. This week: The best dive bars in St. Louis.
Jaime Lees The Silverleaf Lounge
The Silverleaf Lounge
(3442 Hereford Street; 314-481-4080)
The bartenders here claim that the Silverleaf is the smallest bar in the city of St. Louis, and that's a believable claim. The entire room holds just a few small tables and a row of stools along the bar, and what also must be the smallest bathrooms in the city of St. Louis. But the patrons are chatty and welcoming to non-regulars, and the tiny jukebox is stuffed with new country and old blues. Don't expect many frills here, but the tiny draft-beer selection and limited cocktail options are more than made up for with the friendly spirit of the bar and the Etta James on the jukebox.
Red's Eighth Inning Bar
Red's Eighth Inning
(6412 Michigan Avenue; 314-353-1084)
This rowdy little establishment is situated right in the middle of a neighborhood, near the corner of Michigan and Holly Hills avenues. The huge jukebox is constantly blaring, and the people there are always looking to see or be seen. It's a great people-watching bar, not least of all because the modern rock music is usually playing so loud that neighboring tables can't hear you shit-talking with your friends. The bartenders don't take any crap and won't hesitate to kick you out if they don't like you, or hug you and offer you a free drink if you manage to get on their good side. Old school.
Highlights Bar and Grill
(7301 South Broadway; 314-351-2422)
There's a little smattering of dive bars on South Broadway (just down the river from Bellerive Park) that welcome newcomers and make exploring new establishments easy with their fabulous prices. The corner space occupied by Highlights was formerly called Kathleen's Steak House. The drinks are cheap here, but know what you want because there isn't a drinks menu to be found. It's the kind of bar where people are friendly, but they won't really bother you. And though the bar stools may all be full, it's still easy to get the attention of the bartender. This place does offer something extra that is lacking in many dive bars: food. The pizza selection is limited, but hey -- dive-bar pizza!