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20 of the Coolest Places to Get Married in St. Louis

The day you tie the knot should be anything but ordinary — which is why we’ve dug up some of the most amazing places in St. Louis for you to get hitched. From holy to hipster, quirky to cool, the venues are the perfect backdrop for saying your vows. You’ll be saying “I do” to one of them before you know it.

Schlafly Tap Room
Yes, one of your favorite local breweries has the ideal space for your wedding. The Club Room at Schlafly Tap Room not only has its original indoor brick walls and its own private bar — it also has a balcony and 12-foot windows showing off a gorgeous skyline.

The Butterfly House
If you’re a fan of nature’s only appealing insect, you can get hitched in a house full of them! Located in Faust Park, The Butterfly House in Chesterfield will make your wedding a beautiful change of pace.

The Magic House
If you want a fun-filled wedding where you can even let out your inner child at the reception, hit up the Magic House. You remember going there as a child; now spend the day you will never forget there as well. With beautiful indoor and outdoor venues and plenty of interactive activities, the Magic House will make for the perfect wedding venue for the kid at heart.

The Corner Gates
Equal parts unique and stunningly beautiful (just check out that 13-foot chandelier!), the Corner Gates makes for a perfect space for private events — including your wedding. Located in the Lemp Brewery Complex, the Corner Gates served as the stables for the brewery back in the 19th century. You’ll get a dose of history along with a touch of elegance when you set the scene for your wedding here.

Peabody Opera House
Take center stage in St. Louis’ historic Peabody Opera House. Named one of the best wedding venues in America three years in a row by Brides Magazine, the Peabody Opera House is certifiably a great location for any couple looking to feel fancy on their special day.

Union Station
Who wouldn’t want to get married at the Greatest Station in the Nation? With indoor venues like the luxurious grand hall or outside with a grand view of the historic train station, St. Louisans will feel right at home having a wedding here. Plus, the renovations coming to the train park in the next year will enhance the experience even more.

Centene Center for the Arts
With equal parts art, history and awesome architecture, the Rialto Ballroom and Atrium at the Centene Center for the Arts will easily win your heart. Admire the detailed iron work and Italian marble corridors as you head up to the forth floor, where there will be plenty of room for dinner and dancing. And did we mention the rooftop terrace, which has a view of the St. Louis skyline? Yeah, you’ll love that, too.

The Science Center
Having a wedding under the stars is nearly impossible to do in a city full of lights like St. Louis, but once again, science can provide the solutions to our problems. The St. Louis Science Center features the James S. McDonnell Planetarium, which will put your wedding directly under 9,000 sparkling stars and even glowing planets.

Botanical Gardens
The appeal of most outdoor weddings is that you are surrounded by nature — and it doesn’t get much more natural than the Botanical Gardens. Home to some of the most stunning plants in the world, this venue will make your wedding day a breathtaking showcase of nature — though we don’t recommend it for those with bad allergies.

Koken Art Factory
Art shows, comedy, live music — Koken Art Factory does it all. So it should come as no surprise that this unique event space also makes for the perfect quirky-cool venue for your wedding.

The Weingarten
If having the ceremony and reception in the same venue is high on your priority list, a winery just might be your perfect fit. Missouri is full of great wineries thanks to Hermann and Augusta, but we’re also big fans of The Weingarten in Belleville. Surrounded by woods, cornfields and a lake, The Weingarten will make for a beautiful venue and stunning photos. Top the whole affair off with excellent wine, and it makes for the perfect day.

The Gateway Arch
Gateway to the West? More like gateway to a lifetime of happiness! There is not a more St. Louis thing you could do than get married under the most significant monument in the city.

Jefferson Underground
If you’re all about a good view, Jefferson Underground may just be your place. This rooftop party venue is anything but typical with decor inspired by Mississippi River folklore and Greek mythology. With both indoor and outdoor spaces, a stage, an open-hearth fireplace, a bar, a dance floor and a catering area, Jefferson Underground has it all.

The Jewel Box
If a breathtaking view is what you’re looking for on your wedding day, look no further than the Jewel Box in Forest Park. This greenhouse displays thousands of varieties of both local and exotic plants. The all-glass windows and ceiling allow the perfect amount of sunlight in, making any couple shine as they take their vows.

Busch Stadium
The home of the Cardinals is obviously a great place to get a beer and watch a great game, but Busch Stadium is also a great place to get hitched. With a number of packages offered, saying “I do” in the coveted home of baseball’s best team is more of a reality than you would think.

City Museum
The most fun place in St. Louis could also be the most meaningful to you. The City Museum downtown offers 4 unique sections of the museum where you can tie the knot. Whether it is in their elegant vault room or on the legendary first floor mezzanine, the City Museum can be the perfect wedding destination for any couple.

St. Louis Zoo
The zoo isn’t just the best place in St. Louis to see animals from around the world — it’s also a prime location to tie the knot! With 11 different serene venues offered throughout the zoo, this location is bound to make your wedding an unforgettable experience.

St. Francis Xavier College Church
While there is certainly no shortage of gorgeous churches in St. Louis, St. Francis Xavier College Church is one of the most architecturally brilliant and beautiful churches this city has to offer. If you are looking for a more traditionally religious ceremony, then this church located on St. Louis University’s campus may be the perfect place.

Third Degree Glass Factory
Third Degree Glass Factory is just too cool of a space for any event (we should know — RFT has hosted an event here, too). From rehearsal dinners to ceremonies to receptions, Third Degree Glass Factory has you covered. You can even take the traditional unity ceremony to a new level with a glass ceremony.

Four Seasons St. Louis
The Four Seasons offers banquet room options for your wedding. The coolest venue at the hotel, however, is on the 8th floor terrace right outside of the restaurant Cielo. With elegant pools and canopies, along with a picture-perfect view of the Arch right behind you, your outdoor wedding will be unforgettable.

For more places to get married in St. Louis, please visit RiverFrontTimes.com.

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Limousine Facts You Probably Never Knew

Riding around in cars is fun, but riding in a limousine is even better! Why not let VIP Enterprises get you where you need to be in style? And while we’re at it, here are a few facts you probably never knew about limousines.

Go long

Although “technically” the first limousine was built in 1902, it was little more than a luxury car designed to be driven by a chauffeur. It was not until 1923 that a vehicle was built that can truly be considered the heir to the phallic ego props we know today. Built in Arkansas, these first “stretch” limousines became popular with the big bands like the Glenn Miller orchestra for their ability to transport people and equipment in comfort, and as a result acquired the nickname of “big band busses,” although it sounds like “musician’s mini-van” would have been a more apt description.

Stay cool

Put a bunch of celebs in the same space and you get a lot of hot air, so it’s no surprise that a limousine was the first vehicle to be equipped with air conditioning. The Packard motor company was the first to offer AC in 1940, although it was large and took up half the trunk space. In true modern limo style, though, it was more about saying you had it than making life comfortable, because that early system had no automatic temperature control. But hey, at least it gave those early passengers something to complain about.

Now we’re flying

Limos are pretty expensive, but not as expensive as a Boeing 727. Unfortunately you can’t land a 727 in downtown Los Angeles without causing major disruption and death, so a Mexican limo company has come up with a solution. By cutting off the wings of a Boeing 727 and mounting the fuselage on a bus chassis, this company has created…something. Sporting a full bar and even a dance floor, this luxury vehicle sure checks the boxes on the inside. But while cutting off the wings and adding wheels might have sounded pretty good on paper, in practice the result is less private jet and more private parts.

Wings come as standard

One limo that doesn’t need to pretend to fly is the presidential limo, colloquially known as Cadillac One. Because as well as being the nearest thing to the Batmobile in the real world, with smoke grenades, armored glass, and several quarts of the president’s blood in the trunk, Cadilac One also comes with its own plane. The leader of the free world also represents American car companies, and since the hands of the president have certain “Midas” like endorsement powers, you know he can’t take a seat in anything that isn’t built in America. So when POTUS travels to another country, Cadillac one goes too in a Globemaster C-17 transporter.

The JFK blues

Back in the days before Kennedy was shot, presidential limos were just standard cars—and Kennedy liked his to be blue. No president before or since has been seen in anything that wasn’t black, and because TV was mostly black and white in the 1960s, most people thought JFK’s Caddy was black too. After Kennedy was shot presidential limos started getting armor. And in an ironic twist, that armor nearly cost president Ronald Reagan his life, because when Reagan was shot in 1981, the one bullet that hit him out of the six that were fired was a ricochet off the armor of his limousine.

Waste not, want not

It is standard practice in the 21st century for the presidential limo to be replaced every four years, the old ones getting passed down to the vice president and other lesser mortals. But back in the day when Kennedy was shot, the Secret Service wasn’t so quick to waste a good car. After JFK’s very public and messy death, you might expect that car to be replaced, because who would want to use that car again? But no, it was painted black, had a roof added and a little more protection from bullets, and it was hauled out three more times to carry Lyndon B. Johnson, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter.

Getting nowhere fast

It seems no crime is too great for the “hey, look at me!” crowd, because someone has desecrated a Ferrari 360 Modena by converting it into a limo. And while the new prancing dachshund can get eight passengers to their destination at 170 miles per hour in a streak of Ferrari red, these “gains” are somewhat undermined when the occupants try to exit—because nothing says class like exposed underwear and bumping heads on gull-wing doors.

Gold plated ego

As if hiring a limo isn’t attention seeking enough, why not have one gold-plated? And not just any limo: the Sultan of Brunei clearly wanted to make a statement for his wedding, because he bought a Rolls Royce Silver Spur stretch limousine, and had it plated in 24-carat gold. And here’s hoping that wedding lasts, because that’s one $14 million wedding feature that you definitely can’t use twice.

Prius limo

It’s hard to imagine a limo being described as environmentally friendly, and it’s equally hard to imagine a celeb actually caring so long as people are looking at them, but someone obviously does—because that same someone has built a limo out of a Prius. And while we should probably applaud any effort to reduce the impact of inflated egos on the environment, any success in that direction achieved by using the Prius is probably outweighed by the inevitable increase in smug.

Elvis was a good tipper

According to an anecdote once told by Larry King, Elvis might be the world’s best tipper. After performing at the Miami convention center, he took a limo on his way back to Miami International airport. And while most celebs might throw out a casual “thank you” as they get out of the car, it seems Elvis was a little more generous with his gratitude. When he got out of this particular limo Elvis asked the driver “do you own this limo or do you work for the company?”, the driver responded “I work for the company”. So Elvis says “you own it now” apparently gifting the driver the car—you can bet that driver was all shook up (sorry).

For more limousine facts, please visit Grunge.com.

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The Five Best Irish Bars in Nashville

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Nashville is famous for music, mostly of the country style. However, Nashville has a good selection of Irish bars that may just have some bagpipe music to go along with the hearty Irish ales. These five different bars give Nashville locals and visitors alike the chance to have a touch of the green as part of an evening of good food and great drinks.

Fleet Street Pub

The Fleet Street Pub is in the heart of the world famous Printer’s Alley. No live music or karaoke here: this is a pub for serious consumption of great beers. The list of imported drafts include the famed Harp Lager and Guinness Stout direct from Ireland. Imported bottled brews come from the best breweries in England. Enjoying a couple of beers in a quiet setting is what to expect at Fleet Street.

Dan McGuinness Irish Pub

The first Dan McGuinness Irish Pub was built in Memphis. The Nashville version is located on Demonbruen Street. Holding true to the original pubs in Ireland, Dan McGuinness puts you in Ireland right here in Nashville. A wonderful menu of Irish fare compliments the great lineup of beers on tap. You will find all your favorite brews here.

McCreary’s Irish Pub and Eatery

Located on Main Street in Franklin, McCreary’s Irish Pub and Eatery is a fun and friendly pub. Enjoy a good selection of Irish beer on tap. The pub offers late-night happy hours, breakfast on the weekends and Celtic music live on Friday and Saturday nights. This is a great Irish pub with a very nice menu to go along with your choice of brews.

The Tilted Kilt

The Tilted Kilt in Hendersonville is one of a very popular chain of Irish-themed pubs/sports bars. The food at this establishment is good with Irish-style meals and standard bar fare as well. The number of brews on tap is staggering, with multiple choices of lager, ale, stout and wheat. If you like it on tap, chances are good that Tilted Kilt will have it for you.

Findley’s Irish Pub

Findley’s is in the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. Featuring live music, good food and a good selection of on tap and bottled beers, this is a good stop if you have business at the convention center. It is one of the many restaurants and bars in the complex.

For more information on the best Irish bars in Nashville, please visit AXS.com.

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St. Patrick’s Day in St. Louis: 10 St. Louis Pubs to Get Your Irish On

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Pubs in Ireland are much more than drinking holes. These establishments are a place where you see friends and family, a low-key spot to spend the night enjoying yourself – a home, for some regulars, away from home.

And while an ideal St. Patrick’s Day in St. Louis certainly includes Guinness and Jameson, Irish culture extends far beyond alcohol. So if you’re looking for a good corned beef sandwich or a hearty potato soup to complement that draught, here are 10 St. Louis restaurants that will make you feel like you’re back in the Old Country.

10. Helen Fitzgerald’s
This Syberg’s spin-off is the place to be for an Irish-American bash. The menu doesn’t scream authenticity, as the restaurant specializes in standard bar and pub dishes. But if you’re looking for a great time, flowing drinks and Syberg’s signature hot wings under a good-time Irish setting, this is the place to be. It’s a place to enjoy Irish drinking culture without leaving behind the American bar essentials. This grill has enough pub favorites to please any hungry and thirsty patron, and plenty of St. Patty’s specials to keep your celebration going through the weekend.

Helen Fitzgerald’s, 3650 S. Lindbergh Blvd., South County, St. Louis, Missouri, 314.984.0026, helenfitzgeralds.com

9. The Pat Connolly Tavern
The beloved bar known to many in Dogtown as Pat’s Bar and Grill has a new name – and is back under the ownership of the family who originally opened the place back in the 1940s. That means a pared-down menu of classic pub fare, as well as a roster of a brews with connections to either St. Louis or Ireland. Unusual among the city’s Irish bars, it also has an impressive list of classic cocktails; new owner Joe Jovanovich (grandson of the eponymous Pat) found the bar’s original drink menu in his mother’s attic and based the current list off it nearly word-for-word.

The Pat Connolly Tavern, 6400 Oakland Ave., Dogtown, St. Louis, Missouri, 314.647.7287, patconnollytavern.com

8. John D. McGurk’s
McGurk’s is more a Missouri mainstay than an Irish one (it was founded in Soulard back in 1978), but feels like it belongs on another continent in a more fun time. An eclectic mix of Irish music, extensive food-and-drink offerings, a vast layout that includes plenty of cozy nooks and a genuine up-for-anything vibe have made this bar a St. Louis mainstay. Musical guests from Ireland sometimes even fly out to perform here, while the giant outdoor garden makes this the place to party on warm days. A menu comprised of pub favorites and American standards is available, so there’s something here for both a family dinner or a raucous night out with friends.

John D. McGurk’s, 1200 Russell Blvd, Soulard, Missouri, 314.776.8309 and 108 S. Main St., O’Fallon, Missouri, 636.978.9640, mcgurks.com

7. O’Leary’s Pub
If you’re out looking for some hearty Irish cheer, look no further than O’Leary’s Irish Stew, a mix of carrots, Guinness and spices. The pub’s Potato Soup, topped with Cheddar and bacon, is another made-from-scratch option. A number of American favorites are alongside these Irish staples, so there’s something for every hungry party guest. Just make sure to come thirsty as well – this South County bar has drink specials every day of the week.

O’Leary’s Pub, 3828 S. Lindbergh Blvd. #118, Sappington, St. Louis, Missouri. 314.842.7678, olearysrestaurant.com

6. Seamus McDaniel’s
Dogtown has long enjoyed a strong Irish presence, and Seamus McDaniel’s is a key part of that. Through its community involvement, this bar has been at the forefront of keeping tradition alive in the area since the ’90s —the owners are even acting as grand marshals of the Dogtown festivities this year. The restaurant has plenty of specials the day of the parade, so there’s no excuse not to stop by. Grab a pint of the bar’s house-brand Irish ale while you’re at it.

Seamus McDaniel’s, 1208 Tamm Ave., Dogtown, St. Louis, Missouri, 314.645.6337, seamusmcdaniels.com

5. O’Shay’s Pub
If you find yourself in The Grove and fancy an Irish twist to your evening, the staff at O’Shay’s would be happy to accommodate. The restaurant’s casual approach to traditional dining features dishes such as Corned Beef Tacos, O’Shaypherd’s Pie and the “Kilkenny Burger,” a 1/2 pound corned beef patty with Swiss and horseradish sauce. The bar’s extensive selection of Scotch, whiskey and beer will take the edge off, while a fun sports bar vibe keeps the party going even after dinner service is over.

O’Shay’s Pub, 4353 Manchester Ave., Forest Park, St. Louis, Missouri, 314.932.5232, oshayspub.com

4. Llywelyn’s Pub
Just about everybody in St. Louis has a Llywelyn’s Pub near them. With five STL locations, the restaurant is a popular drinking hole. But it also carries an extensive selection of Irish/Welsh dishes, which were just updated Monday. Llywelyn’s owner actually traveled to Ireland last year to see what pub fare was popular, and so contemporary Irish cuisine has influenced this brand-new menu. Thus Pub Curry, with a mix of vegetables, shrimp and rice doused in yellow curry, is now an option. The new menu also features some classic Irish ingredients served non-traditionally, like the Irish Breakfast Sandwich or Guinness-braised Steak Flatbread. Whatever you’re craving, there’s a location right around the corner to help make your dream a reality.

Llywelyn’s Pub has five locations in the St. Louis area, including 17 West Moody Ave., Webster Groves, Missouri, 314.962.1515, llywelynspub.com

3. Flannery’s
A variety of Dublin pub offerings and a traditional feel make this downtown St. Louis bar feel like a classic. Staple dishes include traditional Irish beef stew, corned beef hash, a reuben sandwich on hearty rye bread, Guinness-infused shepherd’s pie and even Irish nachos: thick-sliced potatoes (naturally) topped with Cheddar, onions and jalapeños, then toasted in a skillet and served hot with sour cream. The restaurant is also home to what might be the city’s greatest mashup of authentic Irish fare with a St. Louis staple – the Irish slinger features mashed potatoes and corned beef topped with eggs, chili, cheese and onion. Flannery’s is a go-to for the sports-watching crowd, but it’s also a great spot to catch live music every Wednesday.

Flannery’s, 1234 Washington Ave., Downtown, St. Louis, Missouri, 314.241.8885, flanneryspub.com

2. Tigin Irish Pub & Restaurant
The Gaelic name says a lot even before you set foot inside this downtown bar. What roughly translates to “small cottage” accurately describes the environment that Tigrin has created for customers. OK, so it’s not quite a house in the traditional sense – no warm bed is on offer, alas. But we’ll settle for servings of Corned Beef & Cabbage, Blackened Chicken & Shrimp Boxty and Shepherd’s Pie. And since many menu items here are made with Guinness, including the barbecue sauce and cheddar bread, you’re not going to find a more festive setting unless you fly overseas. The restaurant has plenty planned on and around St. Patty’s this year, so a fresh pint just might be in order.

Tigin Irish Pub & Restaurant, 333 Washington Ave., Downtown, St. Louis, Missouri, 314. 241.8666, tiginirishpub.com

1. Molly Darcys Pub
Located in the Seven Gables Inn, this pub traces its heritage back to a town in southwest Ireland called Killarney. The original Molly Darcys opened there more than 10 years ago, with this second location in the heart of Clayton following in September 2008. With its strong Celtic background, it’s only natural the restaurant serves authentic Irish dishes like lamb stew and pot pie. The quaint and welcoming atmosphere provides all the more reason to stop in and stay awhile.

Molly Darcys, 26 N. Meramec Ave., Clayton, St. Louis, Missouri, 314.863.8400, mollydarcyspub.com

For more Irish Pubs in St. Louis, please visit FeastMagazine.com.

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Romance in St. Louis: Gayot’s Top Ten Romantic Restaurants in St. Louis

Sometimes we all need a little help when it comes time to impress a date. Certain restaurants may please the tongue and fill the belly but don’t tug on our emotions. The selections we have gathered here have that certain something—perhaps a light-speckled patio, or a roving musician, or inspirational garden—that can really impress a date. Presented in alphabetical order, here are the top ten romantic restaurants in St. Louis.

1. Annie Gunn’s: The vast network of local farmers and quality international suppliers chef Lou Rook III has assembled makes every dish a feast. An example is the toasted cheese sandwich, which oozes melty goodness from Hungary, Denmark and Wisconsin, and it’s served with tomato jam from a producer just down the road. Serious steak eaters can’t do better than the giant, hand-cut rib-eye, whether it’s plain or smoked. It’s a good idea to call ahead — even for lunch. And if you’re lucky you may snag one of the walled-off, private alcoves where you can indulge in highly addictive potato chips or house-smoked shrimp. For dessert, try the ever-changing sorbets or a cheese plate with a little more wine; the list is expensive but wide-ranging, with a penchant for top California and European labels. For those interested in something different, experiment with cellar master Glenn Bardgett’s Missouri offerings.

2. Aya Sofia: The warm, red-accented dining room and gauzily draped booths may not have been designed with engagements in mind, but they do make the perfect backdrop for the most romantic of evenings. And the mezze platters — hummus and tabbouleh, stuffed grape leaves and fried feta — are ideal for intimate sharing, topped off with baklava for dessert. Or, if a ring isn’t in the works, they’re all good for enjoying with the happy hour crew from work. A more than acceptable beef-and-lamb döner appears across the menu, from salads to platters. The iskender, döner on a bed of pita with tomato and yogurt sauces, is better now that the authentic touch of a butter sauce has been added. Other Turkish classics — dolma, imam bayildi (baked eggplant), whole roasted lamb — are likewise authentically cooked and served. This is a family operation, with the husband-and-wife team of chef Mehmet Yildiz and general manager Alicia Aboussie plus sommelier Jill Aboussie overseeing the wine list.

3. Brasserie: Brunch may be an American institution, but it’s the perfect meal to show off the French touches at Gerard Craft’s Brasserie by Niche — expect the likes of such classics as beignets, quiche and eggs en cocotte. Meanwhile, the dinner menu offers spot-on renditions of bistro-style steak frites, onion soup and croque madame. The menus stays approachable by avoiding French terms unless there’s not an English translation (for example, in the case of cassoulet with duck confit, tomato, sausage and white beans) or the French name just sounds better (tender, wild Burgundy escargots). Early diners sometimes snap up all the day’s specials on the menu du jour, which is where the kitchen’s creativity edges out the traditional approach. Not that there’s anything wrong with tradition, as the dessert menu proves with its profiteroles and crème brûlée. Wines tend to be French, though North American selections that pair well with the cuisine are available, too. The European-influenced cocktails include seasonal specials well worth sampling.

4. Cielo: Perched eight floors over the riverfront, Cielo isn’t the highest restaurant in St. Louis, but the wide-open feel created by the floor-to-ceiling windows and expansive rooftop deck certainly gives diners the sense of having transcended the earth for awhile. The fare is Mediterranean on the Mississippi, with Italian-trained chef Fabrizio Schenardi incorporating pastas and a selection of shellfish into the menu. Step back from the truffle-Parmesan chips and the sautéed rapini, however, and the dishes—anchored by a massive rib-eye—adhere less strictly to Italian interpretation. Eager, attentive servers look to please, though on busy nights they may be swamped. Although Cielo is in a hotel, it draws plenty of local curiosity seekers for the view over the Gateway Arch, especially after dark. The wine list has evolved in the right direction, though a few service glitches remain.

5. The Crossing: French and Italian influences are trending upward, and The Crossing is poised to capitalize — just as it was back in 1998 when owner Jim Fiala opened this mainstay of the Clayton dining scene. You may well see limos parked out front and the city’s movers and shakers tucked into the creamy dining room. Despite that, service is unpretentious and friendly. Beware the blue cheese soufflé placed on your table shortly after arrival; it’s addictive and filling. Start with amberjack crudo with caviar, pan-seared foie gras with greens and berries, or lamb sweetbreads. Then discover egg raviolo, a farm-fresh egg inside a ricotta ravioli. Beef tenderloin and bison loin are both local and grass-fed. All three tasting menus are a steal, and happily they all include the signature warm chocolate torte. An expansive, European-leaning wine list offers a good number of quartinos, perfect for discovering new styles and regions.

6. Dominic’s Restaurant: From the tenderloin carpaccio to the double pork chop with caramelized onions, osso buco and veal saltimbocca, Dominic’s classic Italian dishes provide a culinary tour with little bursts of innovation. Between the pastas and the entrées, it’s tough to save room for dessert, but the tiramisu, flambés and wedding cake are too good to pass up. The strong wine list is regularly revised but always heavy with Italian labels. Dominic’s is upscale not only in terms of price and décor (flattering lighting from chandeliers, brocaded walls, gilt-framed landscapes), but in the way the staff handles customers. Dominic Galati himself, elegant and reserved, takes his job seriously and makes sure his employees do, too.

7. Elaia: St. Louis is fertile ground for rising culinary talent, and Ben Poremba, chef/proprietor at Elaia (and its sister wine bar Olio), has tossed his hat into the ring with an ambitious first restaurant. In a rehabbed house seating only about 30 patrons, he enthusiastically offers the tried and true — namely, charcuterie from his other business, artisanal meat curer Salume Beddu — alongside experimental dishes like charred thumb-size octopi, ceviche of opah (moonfish), spaghetti with pig ear, and pickled herring with apples, beets, blackberries and buckwheat. Keep an eye out for playful interpretations of Mediterranean classics and for vegetables that pop up in unexpected preparations. Impressively, the wine list holds its own with the unique food, thanks to general manager Andrey Ivanov, a certified advanced sommelier. Desserts, including the cloud-like chouquette from the bakery across the street, are not to be missed.

8. Giovanni’s on the Hill: Dishes like farfalline del Presidente Reagan and pappardelle alla Bella Oprah are the first clue that you’ll be in illustrious company while dining here. The clientele, largely professionals and folks celebrating special occasions, tends to dress and act the part. But underneath the chandeliers and paintings, there’s an undercurrent of welcome simplicity. Plump mussels with tomato, wine and basil, for example, evoke a seaside café in Palermo. Capellini luxuriates in only olive oil, garlic and Parmesan. Of several veal entrées, our favorite is the house specialty, with a rich white wine sauce plus Fontina and prosciutto. The traditional end to an Italian meal on the hill, tiramisu, rises above the rest. Wines are high-caliber without seeming exorbitant. Black-tie waiters can be slightly overwhelmed at times, but no one can fault owner Giovanni Gabriele as host of the elegant space or his son, Frank, in the kitchen.

9. Sidney Street Cafe: Co-owner/chef Kevin Nashan walks a well-balanced line between pleasing his longtime customers — those who come to celebrate anniversaries, get engaged and impress colleagues — and wowing foodies. His restaurant remains a fine place for steak, whether prepared traditionally, paired with egg pasta or graced with wasabi. Nashan doesn’t limit himself to any one region or cuisine, so you can find chicken-fried rabbit legs with sourdough waffles alongside a trio of Missouri lamb with lemon aïoli. Desserts take classics in new directions. Carrot cake features crispy ginger meringue, passion fruit gel, golden raisins, lemon curd and butternut squash sorbet. A distinguished wine list and well-trained servers enhance the experience.

10. Tony’s: Tony’s continues to provide the most attentive service in town, and it’s the only restaurant that finishes the meals tableside; for example, the signature dish, lobster albanello, with the chunks of sautéed shellfish heated in the creamy sauce with wine and mushrooms. The deboning of the Dover sole is still more dramatic, but it’s nothing compared to the dessert flambés. Alternatively, we can also recommend the steaks, osso buco, rack of lamb and veal trio. There’s a chef’s tasting menu for two worth mentioning, too, for its beef tenderloin with foie gras. If none of that matches your mood, order something not on the menu, and no one will bat an eye. Elegant and austere décor includes neutral walls and statues throughout the larger dining room. The dress code has relaxed a bit (though jackets are still required on Saturdays). The wine list is enviably long and broad, and it’s quite reasonably priced for the setting.

For more information on more Romantic Restaurants in St. Louis, please visit Gayot.com.

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5 Key Considerations For Planning a Winter Event

The winter season presents a unique opportunity for planning a winter event. Think snow, think festivities and think stunning winter-themed decoration – the possibilities to shine are limitless.

All it takes is a little imagination and a few good ideas to get the creative juices flowing and for you to create an amazing winter wonderland for your guests.

But, before you start planning a winter event, there are a few key considerations to take into account.

Planning a Winter Event

  1. Location

If you’re near a ski resort why not consider using it as the venue for your winter event? With winter snow falling you’ll have an amazing backdrop with endless photo opportunities. Guests can be snapped sitting on ski lifts, walking in the snow or even atop a horse-drawn sleigh. Careful choice of venue gives you the opportunity to put on something truly different and memorable for your guests.

If your event is of an appropriate size, try to hunt down a venue with a huge open fireplace. It’s a fantastic way to add a cozy atmosphere to the event and is really in keeping with the winter theme.

  1. Decorate, Decorate, Decorate.

A winter theme is a great event planning opportunity and an open invitation to have fun with decorations. Adorn chairs with covers inspired by the season. Festive is the way to go if the event is appropriate for this particular theme. Think holly, berries, and snow – all the decorative items associated with the festive season can come into play.

Why not decorate the venue to look like a magical snow-covered forest in keeping with the winter theme? You can achieve this look by using indoor trees, cotton wool, trimmings, glitter, and beads. You’re only limited by your imagination.

Remember to make a special effort with menus, programs, and other table items.

Enhance your winter theme by using crystals that are reminiscent of snow or ice or show off an impressive ice sculpture with the company logo embossed into the ice.

  1. Guest Comfort

Naturally, at a winter event, you need to take guest comfort into consideration more so than on a warm summer’s evening. Think about laying out blankets, check the availability of additional heating and make sure guests’ rooms are warm and cozy. Nothing is more certain to spoil your guests’ happy memories of your winter event more quickly than having to spend the evening in a cold room.

  1. Stay in Control

Keep yourself updated on weather forecasts and advise your guests accordingly. It may be that you have to do some contingency planning (always have a back-up plan) if the weather doesn’t work in your favor.

Make sure to talk to the venue management because they have the experience to advise you on how to handle inclement weather.

  1. Special Winter Venue Considerations

Make sure whatever venue you choose is going to be accessible to your guests in the event of heavy snow. If you use a ski resort, for example, it’s a good idea to check how accessible the venue has been in previous years and what equipment the resort has to keep the venue open should a heavy fall of snow occur. Accessibility is key to a ski resort’s success so, once again, management should be able to arm you with all the information you could possibly need to make an informed decision.

Finally, make certain that the venue itself caters for the proper clearing of localized snow and ice as well as the salting of their outdoor areas. You don’t want your amazing winter event to be spoiled by slipping accidents that could have been avoided with a bit of foresight.

For more information on planning a winter event, plesae visit TheBalance.com.

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