Top 10 Places to Drink in St. Louis Before the Hold Steady Show

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(poster by Logan Alexander; original here)

The Hold Steady are playing Monday night at the Gargoyle on the campus of Washington University. It's a dry venue, meaning the only drinking patrons ever do there during a show there is in a bathroom stall or out of a water bottle filled with booze.

Now, this situation is downright antithetical to the Hold Steady's partying nature -- seeing the band play without a drink in hand is like seeing the Osmonds at CBGB's. However, you could take your burgeoning alcoholism into your hands, yell "Double whiskey, coke, no ice!" and go out before the show.

To help alleviate the dry venue issue -- and to responsibly advocate drinking without driving -- A to Z has come up with ten places within walking (or Metrolinking) distance from the Gargoyle (which although it feels like a pit, it certainly isn't a "party pit.")

The Gargoyle holds about 500 people, and luckily for those concert-goers, the Delmar Loop is just a short walk away via this artery: the Ackert Walkway. This walking path connects you, the thirsty music fan in the Loop, to the esteemed confines of Wash. U.

The top ten list is after the jump.

10. Richmond Heights VFW, 1330 South Big Bend Boulevard
The wood paneling on the interior of this drinking cave (a scant two miles away from the venue) makes one feel pretty good about all things American, And when you're about to see a band that sprinkles names of American cities into many of its songs, a VFW hall is a genuine place to start your night. Get there early to catch happy hour -- $5 pitchers end at 6 p.m. -- and then make the 40-minute walk (according to Google Maps) to the Gargoyle. Or find a non-drinking friend.

9. El Maguey, 6333 Delmar Boulevard
Have a pitcher or two's worth of margaritas and then sing "212-Margarita," while sitting at one of the few outdoor tables, all while annoying the passersby on Delmar.

8. Broadway Oyster Bar, 736 South Broadway
On Monday, the St. Louis Cardinals play their first home game of the season. Take in the atmosphere downtown -- but not at a cookie-cutter sports bar. Instead, head to this hippie hangout and have a few shots. When you're done, hop on the Metro Link at the Stadium stop and ride it to Wash. U. Of course you'll be crammed in the train car with hundreds of Cardinal fans -- but after taking a few of Broadway Oyster Bar's shots, you might be OK with that.

7. Krueger's, 7374 Forsyth Boulevard
Voted the "Best Neighborhood Bar (Mid County)" by this very publication in 2004, it's also the closest bar to Wash. U. and has a happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. But it opens at 11 a.m. if you're feeling like a daylong bender.

6. Dorm Room
No, I'm not encouraging you to drink with underage co-eds in a dorm room. But hey, if your younger second-cousin's friend from high school has an acquaintance that attends Wash. U., why are you not texting her? The sliminess you might feel washes off in the shower with surprising ease.

5. McClain's Corner, 3516 South Big Bend Boulevard
This "dive bar" is a good 3.8 miles from Forsyth, so you might want to catch a cab from this Maplewood establishment back to the show, but it's worth the fare. And as an added bonus, our very own "Dive Bomber," Robin Wheeler has this report from McClain's.

4. Par Lounge, 1001 McCausland Avenue
The Hold Steady have more than a few songs about the old days of its punk, hardcore-matinee attending past. Take Craig Finn's lyrics to heart and have a drink this punk dive-turned-golf bar, Par Lounge. More than a few people cringed when they found out that their beloved Hi-Pointe was closing, and a few might have groaned when they learned it was turning into -- gasp! -- a bar centered around golfing, the most yuppie of all the sports that involve khakis and white leather gloves.

3. Blueberry Hill, 6504 Delmar Boulevard
This is the closest bar to the all-important Ackert Walkway, and it's one of the Loop's biggest landmarks. For the uninitiated, it's where Chuck Berry performs once a month, includes a full bar and a solid beer selection.

2. Cicero's, 6691 Delmar Boulevard
At the corner of Delmar and Kingsland Avenue, Cicero's has a selection and range of draft beers that's stellar. It's spacious and the happy hour crowd is diverse. You might find a few other THS fans bellying up the bar.

1. Your Car
If you're looking to "pre-game" it the old fashioned way, your car (with the keys out of the ignition!) may be a popular choice come Monday. Not that we're condoning it, of course.

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