The Manual

 In Culture, Interviews

The guy’s guide to all things unmistakably male in St. Louis


Eat, Drink & Be Manly

The Old Boys Club might be out of session, but there’s still a place to meet, thanks to the Charles P. Stanley Cigar Company and Lounge [1] Downtown, which aims to reacquaint the modern man with the civilized era—when distinguished men relaxed in each other’s company and discussed the issues of the day while enjoying a quality smoke and a fine tipple. The current generation of Stanleys is continuing the tradition started by their venerable ancestor in 1876. Stepping into the lounge is like retiring to your own 21st-century drawing room, replete with dark woods, rich leather…and plasma screens. Select a popular brand like Rocky Patel or Arturo Fuente from the massive humidor, or have one of the cigar stewards (a smoking sommelier of sorts) help you select a stogie based on your preferred fl avor profile. Pair it with a fine port or Scotch, and slow things down. You might not be able to afford a country home or a trip to the continent, but you can definitely spring for a fine cigar. 1000 Washington Ave., 314.436.3500.

You have a relationship with your barber and your golf pro. Why not your butcher? The Block in Webster Groves makes it easy with a steakhouse, community butcher and bar all rolled into one. Owner Marc Del Pietro keeps a professional butcher on staff who holds expertise on the entire animal and can steer you to all of those overlooked, yet delicious, economy cuts (shoulder steak, anyone?) that can make things easier on your taste buds—and your wallet. He’s also able to recommend rubs and spices (The Block has six different house-made blends) as well as proper cooking techniques so you can make the most of your meat. A bar to sit and enjoy a drink while the butcher makes your cut? Say hello to your new best friend. 146 W. Lockwood Ave., 314.918.7900.


  • With locations in Soulard and Chesterfield, iTap has a rotation of 40 beers on tap, plus a cooler stocked with 480 bottled beers. Now that’s a global tour worth taking.
  • Recognized by “Whisky Magazine” as one of the great whisky bars in the world, The Scottish Arms boasts a mind-boggling array of Scotches from every region. Start the night with gusto; take a cab home. 8 S. Sarah St., 314.535.0551.
  • Whether you head to the original Lester’s in Ladue or the newer CWE digs, you can count on 60+ plasmascreen TVs, including a couple in the restroom. Need we say more?

Get brewsmart by enrolling in Cicero’s Beer School. Classes meet each Wednesday during the “school year,” so get your books; the next semester starts in January.

There’s nothing like indulging in a handcrafted cocktail at a first-rate drinking establishment. But with the right bar tools and some quality ingredients, you can whip up your own high-end libations at home.

Adam Frager, mixologist extraordinaire and co-owner of the new Blood and Sand, reveals the must-have ingredients for a top-notch home bar:

  • Boston Shaker This classic unit is all you need to mix the perfect cocktail.
  • Hawthorne Strainer The best way to get your creation from mixing tin to glass.
  • Oxo Measuring Cup Features smaller measurements than traditional jiggers for consistent drinks every time.
  • Angustura Bitters An essential ingredient for classic cocktails. It doesn’t make your drink bitter, but helps meld flavors.
  • Nolet’s Gins These venerable spirits are ideal for drinks old and new.

Bar tools available at Sur La Table, 1701 Lindbergh Blvd., 314.993.0566. Ingredients at Randall’s Wines & Spirits, 1910 S. Jefferson Ave., 314.865.0199.

Classic Wet Martini

  • 2 oz gin
  • 1 oz dry vermouth
  • 2 dashes orange bitters

Stir with ice and strain.

Clean Up Your Act

Why settle for whatever the retailers have, or blindly follow what the fashion mavens decide to send down the runway this season? It might take a bit longer, but a custom-made shirt or suit [2] can make you look and feel like a million bucks—for not a lot more than you’d drop at the mall. Local clothiers like Bill Whitney of Billy Grey and Wendy Jones of Savile Row guide men to take charge of their wardrobes, by investing the time to help them realize what looks good on them. They take a swatch of cloth, a myriad of measurements and a personal knowledge of their client’s styles and skillfully craft not just an impeccably fitted item, but an empowering experience. The result: a sharp-dressed man with a handle on his look.

Billy Grey: 314.560.3509,
Savile Row: 9727 Clayton Rd., 314.567.8500.

There’s nothing wrong with a rented tux—if you’re going to the junior prom. Grow up and have Moris Fashions create a custom tuxedo that fits like it was made for you. Because it was. 26 Maryland Plz., 314.361.6800.

Ditch the disposable and do it right. The best shave you can get is from an experienced barber, who can see details in your beard you didn’t even know you had. The Art of Shaving [3] offers shaves featuring hot towels and a full product line designed for prepping, lathering, shaving and moisturizing. Make shaving something you get to do, not something you have to do. Saint Louis Galleria, 314.862.1045.

Your watch might not define you, but it definitely sends a message. Opt for a statement number that taps into your adventurous side like this Breitling Montbrilliant Legende Limited from Simon’s [4]. 8113 Maryland Ave., 314.725.8888.

Swap your tired backpack for the Tumi T-Pass Carlton Briefcase [5] with technology that lets you send it through airport security without the hassle of removing your laptop. Man travel just got that much easier. Plaza Frontenac, 314.432.2360.

Stylish STL men know Blues in the Loop is the go-to for the latest in men’s denim. Owner Tammy White says the waxcoated wash is the denim of the moment. Retire your ragged Wranglers and get into the new “wax-on” denim, treated to stiffen jeans and give them a bit of a sheen. Now that’s slick. 6317 Delmar Blvd., 314.863.2121.

It’s essential to know where you want your trouser cuffs to break, what your ideal sleeve length is, and how many vents you prefer in your coat. It’s even more important to have a trusted professional who can guide you in the right direction and tailor your clothes to perfection. Industry veteran Leonard Vladimirov [6] of Leonard’s Tailoring has been in the biz since the late ’80s. His 360-degree view ensures your suit pants don’t fit like your favorite baggy jeans. And, he’s not afraid to offer up the unvarnished truth about what that jacket really looks like from behind. 2806 S. Brentwood Blvd., 314.962.9669.

Shift Into High Gear

Think going green means forfeiting a ride with style? Re-think. The Fisker Karma [7], a premium electric plug-in hybrid that’ll go from 0 to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and still get 100 mpg, offers the option to plug in or fill up. And, with a top speed of 125 mph, it’ll have you at the global warming conference in no time. If you missed the Karma sneak peek at Plaza Motors last month, catch it on the show floor while you still can. 11830 Olive Blvd., 888.867.9765.

Too often, the thought of men living alone, left to their own devices, conjures up images of empty pizza boxes and garage-sale furniture. Challenge the stereotype—instead of falling victim to it. Just because you’re on your own doesn’t mean you can’t have a first-class solo space. Follow these house bylaws, courtesy of Niche [8], for a respectable bachelor pad even your frat brothers will be envious of. 300 N. Broadway, 314.621.8131.

  1. Still reclining in that easy chair you rescued from your folks’ basement? Watch the game in something comfy and classy, like this Gus Modern Jane bi-sectional.
  2. Get rid of the milk crates and opt for a coffee table that exudes style, like this Gus Modern Drake table.
  3. We know you have a special connection to that vintage Star Wars lamp you scored on eBay. But this Mulholland table lamp is every bit as bright and ensures that guests realize they’re in the presence of a grown-up.

It ain’t easy being a guy sometimes. Stick with this manly read from Left Bank Books to keep you on task. Multiple locations,

Get a vintage vibe with superior sound with this Jensen Wood Turntable [9] from Urban Outfitters. Saint Louis Galleria, 314.727.6262.

When it comes to bikes, bigger is better. The hot trend, according to the experts at Big Shark, is mountain bikes, like this ride from Scott Bike [10], complete with mighty 29-inch wheels for a softer ride and more rotation for faster speeds. Now that’s something to flex your muscles about. 6133 Delmar Blvd., 314.862.1188.

The SkyCaddie SGX [11] from ProAm Golf comes with preloaded course maps so you have the lowdown on distances, hazards and angles of approach. Let’s just say it’ll do everything but carry your clubs. 3000 S. Hanley Rd, 314.647.8054.

Spruce up your “me” space with a few statement pieces. Nothing says class and sophistication better than a custom bar. Try one of the many set-ups from Amini’s for a classy home bar that beats the corner pub by a mile and offers plenty of space to show off your taste in fine spirits. 17377 Chesterfield Airport Rd., 636.537.9200.



2001_710.jpgBreitling Montbrilliant Legende Limited


2003_710.jpgBreitling Montbrilliant Legende Limited

2004_710.jpgTumi T-Pass Carlton Briefcase

2005_710.jpgLeonard Vladimirov of Leonard’s Tailoring

2006_710.jpgFisker Karma


2010_710.jpgJensen Wood Turntable from Urban Outfitters

2013_710.jpgMountain Bike from Scott Bike

2014_710.jpgSkyCaddie SGX from ProAm Golf


Photo credit: Photos by David Ayres

Recent Posts