St. Louis' new generation of wine bars
While drinking culture in the 2010s was largely dominated by craft beer and its natural habitat, the micropub, a new wave of wine bars reflects the rise of a generation of wine enthusiasts looking to put their own stamp on St. Louis’ drinking landscape. From low-key spots to chill with an approachable glass to places specializing in the latest trends, here’s a selection of new wine bars to check out.
With its bright and airy space, glazed brick walls and a string-lit patio that feels like your best friend’s backyard, natural wine bar ‘Ssippi strikes the perfect balance between playful, homey and modern. One of the most recent entrants to the ever-growing St. Louis natural wine space, ‘Ssippi offers a variety of natural wines designed to appeal to any palate, including reds, whites, oranges and rosés that showcase the versatility of natural wines. “The cool thing about the wine space is that it’s always changing. There’s always more to learn and try,” said Brogan Drissell, who co-owns the bar with girlfriend Emily Kostiuk. There are 12 wines you can try by the glass and nearly 40 bottles available for retail purchase alongside a smattering of draft beers, cocktails and small plates.
2926 Cherokee St., St. Louis, ssippi.xyz
Grafted Wine Bar & Lounge
Housed in a historic mansion in Belleville built in the 1850s, Grafted Wine Bar & Lounge offers specialty wines from around the world. With 30 wines offered by the glass and around 100 bottles for purchase, there’s plenty of room for experimentation, and owner Magda Gilpin is happy to serve as your trusted adviser. “If you say you like a pinot grigio, for instance, I’ll recommend an Encruzado from Portugal,” Gilpin said. “I want to introduce people to a new favorite in a safe setting.” While sipping, stop by the wine bar’s Old World room, a nod to the mansion’s historic roots that’s furnished with antique pieces, a cozy fireplace and velvet furniture, before heading to the New World room, which incorporates bright pop art and more contemporary statement pieces.
310 E. Washington St., Belleville, grafted.wine
Winnie's Wine Bar
The latest offering from Hamilton Hospitality Group is slated to open later this summer in the former home of Charleville Brewing Co. An homage to co-owners Paul and Wendy Hamilton’s lifelong passion for wine and travel, the travel-themed bar boasts maps of wine regions, vintage propellers and suitcases, and will feature varietals from major wine regions around the world, as well as an assortment of beers. Vinophiles can look forward to travel-themed wine flights and a specialty frozen rosé accompanied by small plates from Hamilton’s Urban Steakhouse and Bourbon Bar. “We hope to fill a gap in wine bars that we’ve noticed in the neighborhood,” Paul Hamilton said. “We’ve been talking about opening Winnie’s for years, and we’re excited to open.”
2101 Chouteau Ave., St. Louis, Facebook: Winnie’s Wine Bar
Grand Spirits Bottle Co.
Michael Fricker’s new combination bar-and-retail shop specializes in natural wines and assorted spirits. Fricker aims to take the guesswork out of choosing a wine by providing pairing recommendations and allowing guests to sample anything from the shop’s floor-to-ceiling racks before purchasing. All the wines are organic, meaning they have no additives or preservatives, and Fricker sources them from producers that avoid herbicides and pesticides. “Not all natural wines are funky,” Fricker said. “We definitely have our fair share of those, but we have classic options as well – just without the pesticides, acids and sulphates that many wines have.” Sit down and enjoy a rotating selection of small plates like the recently featured macerated peaches with yogurt, pistachio and mint, or pop in and grab a bottle to enjoy at home.
3194 S. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, 314.769.9933, grandspiritsco.com
Wine Down Cafe
Inspired by his experience working in kitchens in New York and L.A., owner Kevin Shed opened Wine Down Cafe in Carondelet to share his ever-growing wine expertise with the St. Louis community in an approachable setting. Picture your favorite sports bar, but instead of loud “rah-rahs,” Stevie Wonder plays lightly in the background and guests can chat comfortably at the bar. “It’s a very calm environment,” Shed said. “We treat everyone like family.” The curated wine list includes 12 to 14 options served by the glass and bottle, while the food menu features both small bites, like Philly cheesesteak egg rolls or a house charcuterie board, as well as salads, sandwiches and entrees like chicken con broccoli and a seared salmon bowl.
7529 Michigan Ave, St. Louis, 314.696.2205, winedowncafestl.com
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