The Joint: The Scottish Arms 6-8 South Sarah Street; 314-535-0551
The Hours: 3-6 p.m. Mon.-Fri. Late-night happy hour 10 p.m.-close
The Deal: $3 rails, $2 off draft beers, $1 off wine by the glass, $2 baskets of crisps. Late-night happy hour: Specials including $4 wee bombs (miniature car bombs), $3 rails and beer specials.
The Scene: We've never been to Scotland, but in our mind's eye every pub has a worn wooden bar and cozy booths that look like they've been varnished with a nice, malty ale. Oh, and everyone is sporting a kilt. It can't be a coincidence that the Scottish Arms in the Central West End has precisely this whiskey-swilling vibe.
While most of the patrons leave their plaid-ware at home, for the friendly staff kilts are part of the uniform. What keeps this from becoming a gimmicky bar is its sincere dedication to providing high-quality beers and whiskies, as well as delicious Scottish-inspired food (like the lamb burger, and the chicken curry pasties. The layout of the bar -- and the early start of the Happy Hour -- make it perfect for sharing beers with friends and enjoying a mellow afternoon. Later on the place can get crowded, putting you in close quarters with your fellow jovial drinkers.
Why You'll Go Back: As St. Louisans, we've become inured to Anheuser-Busch products and their attendant merchandising accouterments. But that doesn't mean that every time we enter a bar we need to be blinded by neon Bud Light signs. The Scottish Arms is the perfect place to enjoy heartier brews from the British Isles, Ireland and other Western European beer powerhouses.
The Verdict: While its Happy Hour specials are by no means rock bottom, the Scottish Arms offers great draft beers we'd drink anyway. A discount merely sweetens the pot. We wouldn't mind seeing some more inviting food markdowns, but that's just our stomach growling.