Given its geographic location, it comes as no surprise that St. Louis combines a number of dive bar-friendly influences, the city’s Midwest roots mixing with a vibrant urban core that makes for good dive bar hunting conditions. In true Midwestern fashion, nicely aged neighborhoods dot the area, each with its own set of St. Louis dive bar options.
Maybe the city’s best example of a dive bar embedded into its local surroundings is The Hideaway
, a squat brown building in an otherwise residential area that features a low ceiling, carpet throughout and a piano bar all within snug confines. The furniture resembles a vintage tavern starter pack, low square wooden tables, curved chairs with armrests, wooden spindles found throughout the space.
On a different end of the dive bar spectrum, St. Louis’ CBGB
combines live music and exposed interior features to create a true no-frills divey experience. The bar’s windows open up to a small patio, creating a compelling indoor-outdoor space when the St. Louis weather cooperates. But be sure to keep an eye out for its location, the only indication of the bar’s name a small piece of neon in the window and spray paint on the front door.
And then there’s dive bar specialist The Silver Ballroom
, the self-proclaimed first pinball-only bar in America. The pinball table selection here is predictably robust, roughly 20 pieces ranging from vintage games to more modern entries. Most impressive is its location, the first floor of what looks like an otherwise nondescript apartment building, and its food offering that includes on rotating basis Tiny Chef’s Korean street food.
Options here are as diverse as the city of St. Louis itself, rotating out from the city’s center to sample the flavor of each of the area’s neighborhoods. Better yet, St. Louis dive bars are often so embedded into their surroundings that they organically cater to and benefit from the vibe of the local community.