Posted On: 10/01/2016
Scarlett’s Wine Bar in the Central West End, owned by the same people as Sasha’s Wine Bars, serves up rich, generous pours from a finely curated menu. But the real stars at this chic little come-as-you-are bistro are the crispy slices of pizza charred in the wood-fire oven dominating the kitchen. Here are a few reasons to pull up a chair at Sasha’s feisty new little sister.
Food The breakfast pizza, quickly fired to perfection in the enormous 750-degree oven, arrived bright and bubbly. Slivers of bacon were crisp, crumbles of sausage were thick, and the savory herbed cheddar and mozzarella cheeses were artfully dressed with hunks of tomato. The crispy house-made crust was slightly blackened in all the right places and soft and fluffy in all the others – great for dipping in the sunny egg yolk in the center of the pie. Other wood-fired pizzas include a classic Margherita and a savory-sweet pear and prosciutto pie that came with fresh mozzarella and a sprinkling of scallions. The menu offers a variety of options: smoked trout plates, cheese and meat boards, a burger, salads and other entrees familiar to fans of Sasha’s, but the draw here is definitely the pizza. While many wine bars have a bad habit of slinging meager, overpriced flatbreads, Scarlett’s pies are reason enough for a return visit.
Drink On Friday nights I’m getting comfortably numb with a second glass of Field Recordings Neverland, a big, bold California blend recommended by my server who assured me, quite correctly, I wouldn’t be disappointed. This and the rest of the menu were presented on what I hope was a waterproof iPad. Guests can browse the touch screen, swiping through about 23 reds, 25 whites and a handful of rosé and sparkling options, along with pairing recommendations. But orders are taken the old-fashioned way, by attentive and knowledgeable servers. The staff has a solid grasp of the menu, which is stocked with approachable, predominately European wines like the Gerard Bertrand, a medium syrah-grenache blend or the La Petite Perriere, a light and summery sauvignon blanc that went insanely well with a plate of smoked trout. Wines by the glass hover around $9 to $12. The cocktail menu was nothing to write home about, but the beer was. A summer selection heavy on session brews like saisons, farmhouse ales, sours and Weisse beers was suited for slow patio sipping.
Space A cushy, communal booth runs the length of the main barroom, which is appointed with chic marble-topped tables and walls covered in repurposed wine crates. A long table in the back is flanked by a massive wall of wine racks looking onto the boisterous open kitchen. The best seats in the house are out front on the pleasant little patio littered with a handful of tables and classic Parisian cafe chairs. Old-World, European style meets Napa Valley cool throughout the mature, well-dressed space.
Atmosphere Much like the jazz reverberating through hidden speakers in the main room, the vibe at Scarlett’s is low-key. Patrons in their 30s and 40s, some with toddlers in tow, settle up their tabs and skedaddle as darkness falls, making room for younger, lively groups of casual but well-heeled friends. A slightly smashed nightcap crowd packs the patio and hovers over the bar till last call around 1 a.m.
Situated next to the popular Northwest Coffee on the quiet corner of Laclede and Boyle avenues, the smart yet unassuming little wine bar is well on its way to becoming a neighborhood staple.
Scarlett’s Wine Bar
4253 Laclede Ave., St. Louis, 314.797.8223, Facebook: Scarlett’s Wine Bar
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