Night Moves

Ranked No. 1 in nightlife, St. Louis is drawing attention for its fun, affordable ways to hit the town.


Story By Sara Graham
Visuals By R.J. Hartbeck

The secret is out! According to Apartment Guide, St. Louis is the hottest ticket in the country when it comes to nightlife.

The national rental resource named the Gateway City the top city for nightlife in the nation in its 2019 look at what makes residents stay in town and stay out late, beating out entertainment heavyweights like New York City, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. As writer Apartment Guide writer Brian Carberry puts it in a recent post:

“From pubs to clubs, these hopping locales have the most nightlife options per resident night owl. Raise a glass to our list of the 10 best cities in the country for nightlife – based on the ratio of bars, clubs and nightclubs, breweries and live entertainment businesses to the population.”

Apartment Guide’s rankings consider the number of entertainment spots per person in a given city, and the publication’s research shows one bar, club, brewery or music venue for every 1,143 people in St. Louis, the highest ratio of the 50 cities in its list. 

4 Hands Brewing Company is helping St. Louis develop its nationally known craft beer scene.

The Best Beer in the Nation

With local roots dating back to the 1800s, Anheuser-Busch was and is an important part of St. Louis history. Even before the world-renowned brewery was founded in 1869, St. Louis’s new German inhabitants helped put the city on the beer production map. 

Eventually, smaller brewers began helping Anheuser-Busch quench the region’s thirst for beer. Today, the metro region has more than 50 craft and microbreweries, all with tasting rooms and many with hearty pub food and live music. In fact, USA Today readers recently lauded St. Louis for having the best beer scene in the country, thanks to the high number of breweries, bars, festivals and home-brewing interest here. Schlafly Tap Room, Urban Chestnut Brewing Company, 4 Hands Brewing Company, Recess Brewing, Third Wheel Brewing and more have planted roots in communities throughout the region, from the Metro East to the city’s core to St. Charles County and every point in between and beyond.

And St. Louis is pushing the local and national beer conversation even further with WellBeing Brewing crafting only non-alcoholic brews that invite more people to socialize. The company’s Heavenly Body Golden Wheat recently became a favorite for one Washington Post writer.

Beer isn’t the only thing on the drink menu, though — the wine and cocktail efforts in St. Louis are earning their own attention, including from Thrillist. Bridge Tap House & Wine Bar in downtown St. Louis, 33 Wine Bar in Lafayette Square and Robust Wine Bar in Webster Groves are highly regarded throughout the region for not only what’s in the bottle but also for the intense knowledge of the folks who cultivate and pour the wine. And the bar scene is intoxicating, thanks in large part to Planter’s House in Lafayette Square, Blood & Sand downtown and Retreat Gastropub in the Central West End; all are known for their own takes on classic cocktails and experimental libations.

Bars like BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups feature live music every night of the week.

Catching the Rhythm

St. Louis offers plenty of nighttime fun with or without adult beverages, and as one of the top 10 cities leading the nation in low cost of living, an evening out in the Gateway City won’t break the bank.

Known for its rich blues heritage, St. Louis ensures that music of all kinds is a key part of the nightlife here. The region has hundreds of venues and bars that feature local and national acts every night of the week. In the city center, BB’s Jazz, Blues and Soups is a small club that attracts some of the top musicians in the country. The Pageant, a large venue in the Delmar Loop, has been lauded as one of the best music venues in the world and in 2018 was No. 4 in global ticket sales, according to Pollstar data. With a capacity of 350, Off Broadway in the Marine Villa neighborhood provides a more intimate experience for all genres of tunes. In St. Charles, the Bottleneck Blues Bar at Ameristar Casino in St. Charles settles music cravings when it’s time to take a break from the poker table. And for those who want to command the stage themselves, there’s plenty of karaoke in all corners of the region.

Dancers can also find their groove, with house beats, techno, hip-hop and party tunes shaping the atmosphere in clubs around the St. Louis region. Need a little help swinging those hips? Instructors at Club Viva! in the Central West End share the keys to Latin dance during classes before the club really gets going. 

There’s room for folks who want to be entertained while seated, too, especially in the Grove neighborhood. Attitudes Nightclub, Rehab Bar & Grill, the Monocle and more attract some of the region’s best drag and burlesque performers, with plenty of other clubs and bars nearby to keep the party going after the show ends.

And St. Louis is increasingly becoming known for its robust, homegrown comedy scene. Throughout the region, comedy lovers show up at venues like Helium Comedy Club, the Laugh Lounge, the Heavy Anchor, the Improv Shop and the Funny Bone for high-caliber stand-up, improv and sketch entertainment from national headliners as well as local favorites. In a major homegrown win, the annual Flyover Comedy Festival pulls the whole scene together with an annual event that highlights the talent that St. Louis has been incubating every night for years.

With this many entertainment options, St. Louis residents have plenty of ways to stay out all night.

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