the midwestern in downtown st. louis photo by adam rothbarth

6 St. Louis-area places you can rely on for a great whiskey experience

The last decade has seen huge growth in demand for whiskey, leading to inflated prices and a secondary market for bottles that were once reliably easy to find. Fortunately, the St. Louis area has several bars where you can purchase a pour of hard-to-find bourbon, sample a flight, or even buy a bottle of whiskey from a barrel that was hand-selected by the bar. Every whiskey bar has a huge list of bourbons, but a few boast offerings that help them stand out from the pack. Here are six places you can rely on for a great whiskey experience.

The Midwestern Meat & Drink
Coming in at around 300 unique bottles, The Midwestern’s whiskey selection is among the largest in the region. However, there’s much more to this place than the sheer volume of choice available. The list is categorized by distillery, with further categories for Missouri, Irish, Scotch and Japanese whiskeys. There is also a section for the restaurant’s private barrel picks, which currently includes over 20 whiskeys exclusively available at The Midwestern. These single barrel picks can be purchased by the pour or by the bottle. The food at The Midwestern is barbecue-focused and includes items like BBQ nachos, brisket mac ‘n’ cheese, and the Buffalo pulled pork dip, which is served with corn tortillas, candied jalapenos and lime.

900 Spruce St., St. Louis, 314.696.2573,


blood & sand in downtown st. louis // photo by laura miller


Blood & Sand
Complementing Blood & Sand’s impressive range of both cocktails and wine, the restaurant’s incredible whiskey selection features over 280 different bottles. The list includes American bourbons, whiskeys and ryes, but also features selections from Ireland, Mexico, Sweden, India and Japan. Scotch plays a big role too, with selections from the Highlands, Speyside, Lowlands and Islay. The cocktail list includes classics like the whiskey sour, Old-Fashioned and the restaurant’s take on its namesake cocktail, but try something from the restaurant’s “favorites” list like the Big Poppa (bourbon, mezcal, tamarind syrup, mint syrup and lime juice). Also, keep an eye out for Blood & Sand’s spirit pairing dinners, which typically feature a five-course tasting menu with at least one matching whiskey pour or cocktail served with each round of food.
1500 St. Charles St., St. Louis, 314.241.7263,

City Park Grill
City Park Grill is among South City’s top spots for whiskey fans. The bar’s list of over 150 different bottles is certain to offer something for you, whether it’s an old favorite or a new discovery. However, the big draw here is the variety of flights: The Wheat Your Whistle option includes a selection of four wheated bourbons, while the Car Starter is a sampler of barrel-proof whiskeys. A flight called It’s Not How You Start, It’s How You Finish includes whiskeys finished with toasted French oak staves or in rum, sherry or Armagnac barrels, a process that imparts additional flavor to the whiskey. The selections within each flight are regularly rotated, so your favorite flight may be updated from one visit to the next. Another attraction is City Park Grill’s “tasting hour,” with discounts offered on a select list of whiskeys from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
3157 Morgan Ford Road, St. Louis, 314.899.9338,


the cabin at judy creek in glen carbon, illinois // photo by david kovaluk


The Cabin at Judy Creek
Located in Glen Carbon, Illinois, The Cabin at Judy Creek offers a nice beer selection, an impressive wine list and a simple yet delicious food menu. The interior is decorated with rustic elements inspired by the owner’s family cabin, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. If you like whiskey, you’ll love the option to create your own flights. Unlike most bars, The Cabin allows you to build your own flight, enabling you to customize and explore different flavors and profiles. Simply choose one of three price tiers, then select three samples from the relevant whiskey list. If you’re out for a cocktail, try the house Manhattan, made with Minor Case rye, sweet vermouth and bitters, served over a single ice ball.
3730 S. State Route 157, Glen Carbon, 618.205.8556,

Venue on Main
Venue on Main sits on the quiet side of Main Street in downtown Belleville. The building, constructed in 1879, has been renovated to restore its original brick walls and wood floors, creating a comfortable, rustic setting. Owners Bill and Conni Tilley have a passion for bourbon and wine, a detail that is borne out by a great wine list and a collection of about 160 different bottles of whiskey. That selection includes some whiskeys not typically found in the St. Louis area; for example, the bar’s Nulu Whiskey Co. barrel pick, finished in amburana barrels. Another reason to visit is the connection the Tilleys have with Nashville musicians, including a number who have appeared on shows like The Voice. All this makes Venue on Main one of the only places in the bi-state area where you can discover an up-and-coming artist while simultaneously sipping on your new favorite whiskey.

202 W. Main St., Belleville, 618.920.3846,

Stubborn German Brewing Co.
This Waterloo, Illinois, venue describes itself as a brewery with a whiskey problem: Yes, Stubborn German makes some amazing beers, but they also have an incredible whiskey menu. With a selection of around 150 different bottles offered at the bar, including around 30 of their own barrel picks, you’re sure to find something that suits your style. Most whiskey bars offer flights of three or four pours, but Stubborn German goes above and beyond with some flights including as many as six samples. Alternatively, check out the bourbon of the week, which is a 1.5-ounce pour offered at half the regular price. Stubborn German also features one of the area’s best bottle shops, so if you find a whiskey you love, you may be able to purchase a bottle for your home bar.
119 S. Main St., Waterloo, 618.504.2444,


Bill Moran is the creator behind the Instagram account @st.louis_taverns, where he anonymously reviews bars throughout the St. Louis area.


Tags : Cocktails, Places, Bars