Best Neighborhood Bar (South County)

Hessler's Pub & Grill

"I remember my first beer..." reads one of the staff T-shirts at Hessler's. Which is just perfect, because untold numbers of south-county residents have, in fact, enjoyed their first beer (and probably "first beer," if you catch our drift) at this very place over the last three decades. It's also fitting that owner Bob Peters is a south-county native himself (and a graduate of Lindbergh High School). He took over the joint in early 2009, and though Peters has given the menu and the building a bit of a facelift, he has managed to keep Hessler's spirit intact, down to its rough-hewn wood walls and stonework that's been in place since it opened in 1983. Now that it has gone smoke-free, Hessler's is also a great place for a family-friendly dinner option — something that would have been unthinkable not so very long ago — and its website even boasts a "Family Special" coupon. Happy hour runs five days a week, and features $2 domestic bottles and drafts, $2.50 wells, $3 wine, and many of its apps (wings, skins, mozzarella sticks and most other fried goodies) for just $5. The "Hessler Burger" and St. Louis-style pizza remain on the menu and wildly popular, just like they were back when you had your, erm, "first beer" oh so many moons ago.

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