The gothic-themed Sanctuaria (4198 Manchester Avenue; 314-535-9700) has an eerie façade that looks like it could be hiding countless secrets. One of the tapas bar's best secrets, its "Cocktail Club" menu, which features 150 mixed masterpieces, is being recognized on the global stage. Recently the cocktail list became one of four international nominees for World's Best Cocktail Menu, a prestigious Spirited Award that will be presented on July 23 in New Orleans during the weeklong Tales of the Cocktail event.
Bar manager Matt Seiter says that what sets Sanctuaria's Cocktail Club Menu apart from other nominees, and from any other menu in St. Louis, is the educational concept behind the list.
"It's not about bragging; that's not the point. It's an educational approach to broaden horizons about classic and original cocktails." Seiter says. The Cocktail Club menu is only available to patrons who pay a one-time $20 fee. After that they receive a notebook to keep track of their own tasting notes or thoughts on the drinks they've tried. As members work their way through the 80 classic and 70 original cocktails on the list, many of which have never been included on a regular menu, they receive benefits and discounts galore, including invitations to special events and discounted drink prices.
Seiter and other Sancturia employees are heading down to New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail with their fingers crossed. Despite being up against competition from New York, London and Sydney, hopes are high for the potent potable prodigies of Sanctuaria.
"I think that our chances are pretty good," says Seiter. "While [the other nominees] are phenomenal menus, they're just menus. Ours has concept, an educational aspect that is something different and innovative."