For the St Louis friends, I will be taking the Advanced Exam in October. What are the can't miss spots to hit? Staying downtown at the Four Seasons.
St Louis has islands of good places to eat and drink. Unfortunately downtown is kind of lacking. The one place I can recommend is Lucas Park Grille. Rich Ross is in charge of the wine program and he has done an excellent job.
I've listed a few different areas below with multiple places to eat and drink within walking distance. They are also within 10-15 minutes of the Four Seasons.
Botanical Gardens area:
Indo, Union Loafers, Nixta, Elia, AO & Co Market and Olio are all on at the same intersection and all great... Actually, I haven't been to Indo yet, as it just opened, but the reviews have been great. About a 10 minute drive from the Four Seasons.
33 Wine Bar - Chill minimal wine bar in a century old building, with awesome staff and unbeatable bottle pricing.
Polite Society - Fun place to be at night with a solid cocktail/beverage program, and good food.
Planters House - some of the city's best cocktails, good food and also a really well designed spot.
Elmwood - Topnotch restaurant run by a true hospitality professionals with a California focused wine list.
Acero - Great upscale Italian.
Foundation Grounds - Coffee
Side Project - Barrel aged/fermented beers. Definitely our most nationally well known beer geek brewery.
Schlafly - Our OG not so micro anymore brewery. Still great
Wine and Cheese Place and The Wine Merchant are our two best wine shops and located about 1/2 a mile from each other.
Pastaria - Don't let the playful vibe deter you, amazing casual (not American) Italian. Extruded noodles, and great Neapolitan pizza.
Sardella - attached to Pastaria, higher end Italian focused menu and a great space.
Mai Lee - Not quite Clayton, but close and solid Vietnamese. No problem bringing wine either, and a good spot if you have a larger group.
Parker's Table - A fantastic wine shop, and easily one of the best designed wine shops out there. Awesome staff, and a good spot to also get a sandwich for lunch.
Louis Demun - really good Italian
Kaldi's Coffee - these are all over, but my favorite is the one in Demun. Great place to cram for theory, great coffee without getting too geeky, and each location has a different food menu.
Taste, Savage, Vicia and Bulrush
Beer: Civil Life and UCBC are my favorite breweries, but if you are a beer nerd, Side Project is the place to go.
*Next to the Grove location of UCBC is URB, which serves UCBC beer and is turning out some of STL's best pizza.
BBQ: Check out Bogarts or Sugar Fire.
Coffee: Kaldis (multiple locations), Blueprint, Comet (best pastries in town and geek coffee)
I'm sure that I am missing a few others
For shame Keith Herrick ;) No mention of some of my great college memories ... the pantheon of St Louis drunk cuisine - Imo's pizza, toasted ravioli (Mama's on the Hill in my opinion), and Ted Drewe's Frozen Custard (must get the Flying Dutchman sundae). Also BB's with great live music and their sweet potato fries and the Broadway Oyster bar is just down the street with a pretty tasty crawfish bisque.
Granted, I haven't been back there in 15 years or so, so I'd attach more weight to Keith's recommendations, but I'm going to be there in September and I can't wait to see if my memories of some of these places hold up!
Keith Herrick you forgot Budweiser.
Keith Herrick how about a good wine store to grab some last min tasting wines? Open on Sunday LOL