Taste, Gerard Craft's Iconic CWE Bar, To Be Replaced by BRASS BAR

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Taste, the beloved bar that changed St. Louis cocktail culture, has served its last guests. - LAURA ANN MILLER
  • Laura Ann Miller
  • Taste, the beloved bar that changed St. Louis cocktail culture, has served its last guests.

Once upon a time, if you walked into any bar in St. Louis looking for a classy cocktail, your options were likely to consist of an apple-tini or a Stoli Vanila and Coke. Then came Taste (4584 Laclede Avenue), Gerard Craft's revolutionary establishment helmed by acclaimed barman Ted Kilgore, that lit the spark that lit the city's beverage scene afire and changed the way we drink forever.

Now, after twelve years, the iconic bar is headed to the annals of St. Louis restaurant history. In a Facebook statement posted Wednesday afternoon, Craft announced that the restaurant has closed, effective immediately.



"Now in 2021, after 12 years of service, we are sad to announce that Taste by Niche has closed its doors for good," Craft's post reads. "Like so many others in our industry, the past two years have led to countless pivots, and changes, and while we were hopeful to usher in a new era of Taste when we reopened in June, bouncing back was harder than we anticipated."

Opened in 2009 at its original Benton Park location, Taste was an instant success, earning a spot in Bon Appétit Magazine as one of the ten best new bars in the country. In 2011, the bar moved to the Central West End where it solidified its reputation as the city's top cocktail establishment and serve as a launching pad for some of the city's most respected bar professionals.



When the pandemic came to town in full force in March 2020, Taste, like all of the establishments in Craft's Niche Food Group, temporarily shuttered its doors and reopened this June. Now, just four months after that attempted reboot, the bar will close for good, signaling the end of an era in St. Louis cocktail culture.

The news is not all bad, however. In place of Taste, Craft has announced that a new concept, BRASS Bar, will operate in the space as a complementary concept to his wildly popular adjacent restaurant, Brasserie. Described as a place for French snacks and cocktails, Craft anticipates that BRASS BAR will be the place to go for pre-dinner beverages or a post-dinner aperitif; to facilitate the connection, the restaurant and bar will soon have a doorway connecting the two concepts.

We have reached out to Craft for comment and will update as additional information becomes available. Read the entire statement on Taste's closure below.

In 2009, with the help of legendary bartender Ted Kilgore, Taste by Niche opened and was quickly named one of the 10 Best New Bars in the country by Bon Appétit magazine. These days, a Negroni is commonplace on any restaurant’s drink menu, but in 2009 when Taste opened, classic cocktails were rare. Late night food was also scarce, and Taste was one of the few spots that offered refuge for the post-11 pm diners seeking great food. It was the perfect era for such a special place to thrive.

Now in 2021, after 12 years of service, we are sad to announce that Taste by Niche has closed its doors for good. Like so many others in our industry, the past two years have led to countless pivots, and changes, and while we were hopeful to usher in a new era of Taste when we reopened in June, bouncing back was harder than we anticipated.

The silver lining is that Brasserie has managed to thrive, thanks to the amazing staff, and needs room to expand. We will be re-opening the space very soon as BRASS BAR serving French Snacks and Cocktails. It will be a great place to pre-game your Brasserie dinner with an aperitif and snack or to finish your meal with a digestif and dessert. We will also be booking the entire space for Brasserie Private Events which will be available for the upcoming Holidays. A connecting door to Brasserie’s dining room will eventually be added so no one needs to leave the building. We would like to thank staff, past and present, as well as all of the guests that have supported us since we opened in Benton Park in 2009. Cheers to beautiful memories and new beginnings.
We are always hungry for tips and feedback. Email the author at cheryl.baehr@riverfronttimes.com.


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