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Jun 01, 2010

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Hot Block: Lafayette Square

Historical charm meets modern convenience in this elegant and refined St. Louis neighborhood.
Story: By Sheniqua Faulkner
Photos: Photo by Carrie Iggulden

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For as short a time I’ve been a St. Louisan, I’ve created what feels like a lifetime’s worth of fond memories surrounding Lafayette Square. Maybe it’s the charming Victorian surroundings that make it seem as though the memories are like sepia-toned, age-weathered photographs, because no matter where you are in Lafayette Square—whether relaxing in the beautiful park, walking in down a street of stately Painted Ladies or sneaking a kiss by the romantic fountain in the square’s center—you feel like you’ve stepped back to the most elegant period in St. Louis history. Look around, however, and you’ll spot modern loft buildings, unique dining concepts and state-of-the-art fitness centers that squarely place Lafayette Square in 2010.

With ALIVE’s new office located a short 5-minute drive away, I’ve been forgoing my usual Starbucks in favor of a cup from Park Avenue Coffee. Known for their selection of gooey butter cake, Park Ave. offers over 70 varieties of the decadent St. Louis favorite. The atmosphere here is both energetic and relaxing, and oftentimes, co-workers will meet for brainstorm meetings or take a late-afternoon field trip for a snack break.

For even more decadent delights, there’s Baileys’ Chocolate Bar. This romantic restaurant is a favorite spot for amorous diners to indulge in one of the two dozen potent chocolate martinis (my favorite is a spicy one called “Sexual.” As a feisty Scorpio, this isn’t merely a preference, but a way of life), or a tantalizing array of delicious desserts like the Chocolate Inebriation—layers of chocolate cake topped with chocolate stout, chocolate ganache and cinnamon ice cream. Swoon!

Browsing Rue Lafayette reminds me of the cute antique shops in Paris. Co-owner Araceli Kopiloff-Zimmer’s adventure in remodeling the space at 2024-26 Lafayette Avenue were captured on an episode of “Renovation Realities” on the DIY Network. Her and her team’s efforts were well worth it. Here, you can treasure hunt antiques, shop for unique gifts (many with fabulous French flair) and also dine and sip at the cozy adjoining cafe.

On nice days, I sometimes spot a small group practicing yoga in Lafayette Park. I find out that they are yogis with Marbles Yoga, a studio that offers classes in all levels of yoga practice, from basic Hatha yoga to Ashtanga-based Power yoga. What’s more, I’ve recently learned that Marbles is also an art studio that displays the works of local artists. Just up the street from Marbles is VFit, a facility that offers studio space for group workout classes and a gym for public membership. They also help clients get in shape with personal training and small group training.

Tour the block with Associate Editor Sheniqua Faulkner here: www.alivemag.com/aliveTV/sub_aliveTV_main.cfm


More to Explore: Lafayette Sqaure

Hip To Be Square
Can’t-miss hot spots on and around Lafeyette Square.

1. 33 Wine Shop & Tasting Bar
1913 Park Ave. 314.231.9463
2. Arcelia's Mexican Restaurant                                                     3001 Park Ave. 314.231.9200
3. Baileys' Chocolate Bar
1915 Park Ave. 314.241.8100
4. Eleven Eleven
1111 Mississippi Ave. 314.241.9999
5. Four Muddy Paws
1711 Park Ave. 314.773.7297
6. Hair Designs By George
1901 Park Ave. 314.436.3372
7. Lafayette Fire Company No. 1
1801 Park Ave. 314.621.5001
8. Looking Glass Designs
1917 Park Ave. 314.621.3371
9. Marbles Yoga
1905 Park Ave. 314.621.4744
10. Napolean's Retreat
1815 Lafayette Ave. 314.772.6979
11. Park Avenue Bed & Breakfast                                                   2007 Park Ave. 314.588.9004
12. Park Avenue Coffee
1919 Park Ave. 314.621.4020
13. Ricardo's Italian Cafe
1931 Park Ave. 314.421.4833
14. Rue Lafayette
2026 Lafayette Ave. 314.772.2233
15. Square One Brewery
1727 Park Ave. 314.231.2537
16. Sqwires Restaurant
1415 South 18th Street 314.865.3522
17. Trova
1900 Park Ave. 314.776.2141
18. V Fit Gym
1807 Park Ave. 314.600.5777
19. Vin De Set Restaurant
2017 Chouteau Ave. 314.241.8989
20. Vino Vitae
1637 South 18th Street

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