CBGB Named One of the Best Dive Bars in the U.S.


One of our favorites is one of Thrillist's favorites. too. - KELLY GLUECK
  • One of our favorites is one of Thrillist's favorites. too.
CBGB (3163 S. Grand Boulevard), the Tower Grove South bar beloved for its dim lighting and stiff drinks, has been named one of the 33 best dive bars in the nation.

The honors come from Thrillist, which clearly has done its homework. Its description of CBGB is rich in both history and detail:
For years, the only table bussing came courtesy of a stubble-bearded guy named Larry, who cleaned up tables in exchange for a couple beers and the freedom to nap at the table by the door.

Larry doesn't come around much anymore, but in the 22 years bartender Matt Wagner has managed the place, gloriously little has changed. Live music is still free or cheap, a bottle of Stag still costs $1.50, and a gin bucket comes cheap and toxic and in an actual bucket. For some reason there’s a painting of Dennis Quaid on the wall. And those two women’s toilets still face each other unmitigated. As a female regular fondly remembers, “I made so many friends in there.”

In fact, the only quibble we have with the Thrillist piece is that it proclaims CBGB "almost undocumented even in its own city." Clearly they're not reading the RFT; we've named the delightful dive the "best place to drown your sorrows," "best place to play pinball" and, yes, "best dive bar" countless times in its 31-year-old history. Naturally, we also included it in our "real drinkers' guide to the best St. Louis dive bars" and even listed its infamous gin buckets as one of the 75 reasons to love St. Louis. Great dive bar? Yes. Undocumented? No.

Still, we're delighted to see others share in the love. This is one local spot that deserves every accolade it gets .... or is that just the gin bucket talking?

We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at sarah.fenske@riverfronttimes.com

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