A Weekend Guide to Midtown Saint Louis
In Midtown, there are a multitude of options for eateries, live entertainment, shopping and exploration. Eat, drink, shop and explore the neighborhood like a native with our guide below.
The Golden Fig
3041 Olive St.
The Golden Fig, a women’s clothing boutique, opened this year on Olive Street featuring an array of new and pre-owned pieces. New inventory arrives regularly and includes brands like Free People, J Brand, Karl Lagerfeld, Paige, rag&bone, Stuart Wietzman, Rebecca Minkoff and more. Replete with elegant, gold-leafed branding and accouterments, it’s a welcome respite from the predictable department-store experience, yet you’ll still leave feeling like you’ve treated yourself.
Owned by artist, photographer, French teacher and new mother Sarah-Marie Land, shoppers get the benefit of Land’s diverse, curated taste and holistic, worldly approach. Her multi-hyphenate status is exemplified perfectly by the range of pieces The Golden Fig offers. You’ll find the perfect little black dress alongside statement tops and accessories. The boutique finds itself footing as both a sartorial ode to the woman who understands fashion and all of its subliminal shorthand, and as an aid of expression for how the woman who is constantly evolving—which is a painful process, at best. So why not tackle it in a gorgeous pair of Franco Sarto heels?
International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum
3415 Olive St.
The International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum has undergone many transformations. First finding a home base in Santa Barbara, then in Oklahoma City, and now in St. Louis, the museum’s renewed focus has been on the photography community and frequent exhibitions. While visiting, your attention may be piqued not only by the rotation of stunning photography on view, but by the array of intricate cameras on display, or programming that includes artist talks and events.
Last year, music legend Kenny Rogers—who is also a celebrated photographer—visited St. Louis to receive a lifetime achievement award from the organization, and famous photographers including William Eggleston, Anne Geddes and Cindy Sherman were also inducted into the Hall of Fame. Visitors will also discover that Steve Jobs is an inductee, which may seem like a quirky choice until contextualized. “His most profound contribution to the artistic community is the iPhone, which, in less than a decade, has changed both the art of photography and the industry around it,” the organization reflects. As CEO and president Patty Wente says, “Everyone’s a photographer now.”
Visiting the organization’s 6,000 square feet of exhibition space could happily fill an afternoon, seeing the world through a beautifully curated view.
While You’re In The Neighborhood …
Check out new bands and popular musicians at this eclectic rock club.
2706 Olive St.
A concert venue specializing in all things loud.
3108 Locust St.
The Moto Museum
Meticulously displayed vintage motorcycles from around the world.
3441 Olive St.
Scott Joplin House State Historic Site
2658 Delmar Blvd.
You’ve undoubtedly heard the work of musician and composer Scott Joplin, whose iconic compositions “The Entertainer” and the familiar “Maple Leaf Rag” are both celebrated pieces that solidified his place in the Great American Songbook. Dubbed “The King of Ragtime,” Joplin was one of the millions of African-Americans in the U.S. who moved north during the late-1800s and early 1900s, and the musician settled in St. Louis from 1901 to 1903.
While in St. Louis, Joplin rented a home with his wife at 2658 Delmar Blvd. St. Louis was a focal point of the ragtime music movement and where Joplin hoped to pursue his dream of becoming a successful composer and musician. The home fell into disrepair in later years, and through the efforts of Black St. Louis activists in the 1970s who campaigned to save the building from demolition, it was designated as a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1976.
Today, Joplin’s former home has been transformed into a museum open for public tours. Although the items are not original to Joplin, the home has been restored and redecorated as it would have been during his time. As a player piano belts out his melodies, you can peer into one of the small side rooms where it’s supposed he wrote “The Entertainer.”
Baiku Sushi Lounge
3407 Olive St.
Chef Eliott Harris and restaurateur Brad Beracha worked together for years before opening Baiku Sushi Lounge in Midtown. They’d headed up Miso, the Clayton sushi staple, before kicking off Baiku in 2014. Four years later, the sleek and modern sushi lounge is an extension of the duo’s creative synergy, brought about by decades of collective expertise in the restaurant industry. Visit Baiku on a bustling evening around dinnertime and enjoy plate after plate of sushi in a variety of colors and styles that resemble edible terrariums. What guests don’t see are the chefs hard at work crafting each roll, sashimi dish or entree platter.
While Baiku has classic menu favorites like miso soup, shrimp tempura and California rolls, the proprietors showcase their creativity on the “Specialty Rolls” section of the menu. There, you’ll find items like the Serpent—made with shrimp tempura, cucumber, eel, avocado and sweet soy reduction—or the hi ROLL—made with salmon, crab asparagus, kaiware sprouts, shiso and truffled yuzu mayo. Consider a scroll through the restaurant’s Instagram feed, where you’ll find delectable plated shots and the occasional photo unabashedly captioned, “This is how we roll.”
While You’re In The Neighborhood …
Be sure to order the biscuits, which come in flavors like lemon lavender, with a side of carrot curd.
3224 Locust St.
Frequently dubbed the best barbecue in the city, if you’re in the neighborhood—or, even if you aren’t—a visit to Pappy’s is a must.
3106 Olive St.
The Bronson House
Enjoy appetizers and cocktails on the lively patio, perfect during spring and summer.
3201 Washington Blvd.
Urban Chestnut Brewing Company
3229 Washington Ave.
With the rise of independent craft brewers, kicking back with a glass of thick amber beer or a light, refreshing brew can happen all days of the week—especially at St. Louis’ beloved Urban Chestnut Brewing Company (UCBC). You’ll find its three St. Louis locations full of young professionals sipping artisan libations and devouring its tradition German pub fare.
The brewery was co-founded eight years ago by German-born brewmaster Florian Kuplent and David Wolfe, both formerly of Anheuser-Busch. What began as their own small endeavor benefited from the wealth of experience they gathered while working for the beer juggernaut, which has also benefited their local devotees.
While UCBC is modeled after the traditional German brewhaus, with its giant wooden tables and menu items like bratwurst with mustard and sauerkraut, the team has also meticulously placed homages to the modern drinker. It’s a place where one can come gingerly sip a dark lager or scarf down a warm pretzel plate in the wave of company. When it comes to some of humanity’s uniting elements—food, beer and camaraderie among them—here, who you are, or who you aren’t, doesn’t matter.
While You’re In The Neighborhood …
Wellspent Brewing Company
In response to the growing demand for craft beer, this beloved Midtown spot delivers.
With house-blended and aged crust, you’ll love Hugo’s for an artisan slice of pie.
The Fountain on Locust
An Art Deco-styled neighborhood staple well known for desserts—we also love the Caesar-salad sandwich.
3001 Locust St.
If there’s anyone who could pull of a whiskey-bar-meets-vegetarian-forward-restaurant concept, with loads of vegan and gluten-free options available, it’s St. Louis restaurateur David Bailey. It’s inspiring to see Bailey excel with a genre that’s wildly different from his other endeavors like the elevated burger-and-fries diner Baileys’ Range, Rooster or the Bridge Tap House & Wine Bar.
Vegetarians often are left sifting through menus that explicitly cater to meat eaters, but not at Small Batch. Bailey and his team make use of tofu, house-made pasta, pesto and bread baked fresh daily, so diners won’t be trading meat for flavorless entrees. Quite the opposite: the filling, delicious combinations will leave you sated and surprised by the thought of meatless pleasures.
The menu offers vegetarian versions of traditional meat dishes, like cavatelli and bolognese: The bolognese is made with ground beets, cremini mushrooms, mustard greens and rich cream sauce, while the cavatelli is made with pesto, capers, tomatoes, red onion, Kalamata olives and feta. Be sure to choose a libation to enjoy alongside your entree from more than 100 options, and savor the array of flavors within both.
Photography courtesy of Carmen Troesser for GUIDED: Saint Louis.