Clayton club-goers might remember 16 South Bemiston for the dramatic entrance offered by the previous tenant, Area 14 – a late-night club extension of Tani Sushi.
But the sushi spot has moved to Forsyth, Area 14 is done, and the space is now home to Extra Brut, a unique Champagne and oyster concept that will open its doors on Friday, August 4.
The bar, the first of its kind for St. Louis, champions the exploration of Champagne. A hefty selection of nearly fifty bottles of various sparkling wines will be available, with a rotating selection by the glass each night as well.
Extra Brut is the brainchild of Whitney Vinzant, also the owner of Louie’s Wine Dive next door.
Says Vinzant, “We are around wine a lot. We think wine, we taste wine on a daily basis. Coming back to something clean and crisp like Champagne has always been a joy. And when you learn about the hard work that goes into each bottle, the challenging fermentation process and the people who work with it, you understand that it’s a truly unique product. It’s fairly unknown in the Midwest and St. Louis.”
Patrick Olds, a partner in the venture who also serves as the sommelier at Louie's Wine Dive, says, “We wanted to offer a diverse selection from France and around the world.”
Prices range from $42 to $600 a bottle. This is not a place to get drunk, but to savor. This is a haven for enthusiasts. There are no spirits here, no beer — just bubbles, as far as the eye can see.
Chef Tim Adams has put together a perfect pairing menu featuring oysters six ways. Raw oysters will be flown in daily from the East, West and Gulf coasts.
Charbroiled oysters are topped with cheese and a creole bordelaise sauce, while "Oysters Kathryn" are baked and stuffed with spinach, cream, garlic, shallot and parmesan and finished with pernod. "Bienville Oysters" are baked and topped with shrimp, bacon, crimini mushrooms, garlic, thyme and green onion. Oyster shooters are served with vodka, crystal barbeque sauce and lemon.
Also available on the small plate menu is caramel kettle corn, goat cheese crostini, aged prosciutto with fruit and a shrimp cocktail.
Long hallway entrance | Sara Graham
Once boasting a club vibe, the space has been completely transformed into a modern spin on 19th century French architectural style. The long hallway has been brightened up with crystal sconces and whitewashed brick and lined with champagne bottle riddling racks (used in the final critical stages of Champagne production). A 100-year old wrought iron gate from Hungary opens at the end to welcome guests into the bar and lounge.
The main space is light in color and bathed in ambient light during the day. A raw aesthetic of exposed brick and concrete, iron piping and industrial-style light fixtures is married with cool white marble and a polished white oak bar.
The bar will be open on Friday and Saturday nights only from 6 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Scroll down for more photos of Extra Brut.
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Entrance on Bemiston | Sara Graham