No tour of this beer, blues, and barbecue town is complete without a visit to the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. But do be aware that A-B is no longer the beloved hometown employer. When the giant Belgian concern InBev took over in 2008, many St. Louisans lost jobs—and the entire city lost faith in this once-iconic company. Despite this, both beer fans and history aficionados will want to take a narrated tour of the King of Beers’ erstwhile castle, and afterward, enjoy complimentary A-B products in the hospitality room.
To experience a true St. Louis brewing success story—one that’s growing jobs rather than slashing them—head toward downtown to check out the popular local microbrewery Schlafly Tap Room at 21st and Locust. (You’ll find a second Schlafly outpost, the Schlafly Bottleworks, in Maplewood. The Bottleworks serves up organic fare and hosts one of the area’s most popular farmers markets through the spring and summer months.)
Sample a pint at Urban Chestnut Brewing Company near Midtown, and get a taste of another great St. Louis craft brewery—one that’s symbolic of the craft-beer renaissance that’s swept the city in the past few years. Other stellar local breweries include The Civil Life Brewing Company in South City and Morgan Street Brewery on Laclede’s Landing downtown. In Soulard, iTap wows even the choosiest beer connoisseur with its hundreds of bottles and drafts.
To keep up with what’s hot on the St. Louis beer scene, check out the excellent www.stlhops.com, authored by hometown brewscholar Mike Sweeney.
Grab a table on the patio at the Broadway Oyster Bar, toss back a few chilled oyster shooters, and enjoy some great live blues. Live music plays pretty much every night at the Oyster Bar.
B.B.’s Jazz, Blues, and Soups is a legendary venue that serves up live tunes every night of the week alongside great Cajun classics like jambalaya and gumbo.
The Old Rock House is a fabulous refurbished saloon that serves up both blues and barbecue.
When it comes to barbecue in St. Louis, the key word is pork. Lots and lots of pork. There are countless St. Louis restaurants that serve up their best pork steaks and country-style spare ribs every day. But to really satisfy your ’cue cravings, head to Pappy’s Smokehouse in Midtown. This altar to smoked pig is the best barbecue restaurant in town.
Running a (very) close second is Bogart’s Smokehouse, the wildly and deservedly popular Soulard barbecue shop opened by Pappy’s own pitmaster, Skip Steele. Do not miss the house-made pastrami or the deviled-egg potato salad.
Want in on a barbecue secret (one so good we’re almost reluctant to share it)? Some of the best ribs in town appear weekly at The Piccadilly at Manhattan, near the St. Louis- Maplewood border. Just how good are these ribs? Well, on nights when they’re available, you’re very likely to find Pappy’s owner Mike Emerson enjoying a plateful and praising owner (and grill-master) Nick Collida.
Excerpted from the Second Edition of Moon St. Louis.