Taste (4584 Laclede Avenue; 314-361-1200)
The Hours: All day Sunday and Monday, 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.
The Deal: $6 for Taste's "classic cocktails."
The Scene: One step through Taste's heavy wooden front door and its entryway curtain, and it's obvious that this is a hip place to be. As Gut Check glanced around at the restaurant's brightly colored concoctions, teasing and tempting, we just wanted to grab a waiter, point to all of the customers holding drinks and say, "I'll have what they're having."
Taste's cocktail menu is overwhelming, with sometimes unrecognizable liquors listed as ingredients: Cherry Heering? Not sure what that is, but we'll take it. It's obvious that Taste doesn't skimp on drink mixins -- order a drink, and you won't be asked whether or not "rail" is OK. They all looked impressive, each one served in a particular glass with whichever garnish deemed necessary, and it's a treat to watch the bartenders (ahem, mixologists) work their magic behind the bar as they shake and stir. The drinks tasted good, too, although for those not up to speed on nicer liquors, it might be hard to know where to start. Fortunately Taste's very knowledgeable and friendly bartenders and waitstaff take out most of the guesswork for you.
It's dimly lit, and the music is played at a respectable volume. The decor is dark, wooden and a little Victorian, with modern touches.
Why You'll Go Back: Because a $6 Old-Fashioned made with Angostura bitters is just too good a deal to pass up. Gut Check has paid $6 for a whiskey sour with Ten High and drink mix as the active ingredients, so to have well-made drinks at such an affordable price is quite a treat indeed.
The Verdict: Taste is a departure from the normal happy-hour scene, but it is definitely worth the trip. $2 domestic drafts can only go so far -- every so often it's OK, necessary, even, to treat yourself to a classy drink mixed by people who really know their stuff.