Its glass door between a Thai eatery and a hookah lounge often goes unnoticed, which is a shame, considering what’s inside. Pagan Wine Bar occupies the building that once was Big Sleep Books, a bookstore founded by Chris King in 1988.
In the past three years, King’s son, Ed, has transformed the small space into a dark, mysterious wine bar filled with French art, statues, antique light fixtures that give off a warm blue light and leather chairs, creating the sort of bar where he would want to spend his own time. The bar is similar to a neighborhood watering hole you might find on any given street corner Paris, making it one of the most unique places to get a drink in St. Louis.
Shelves stacked with dusty books line the walls and small candles illuminate each table as the old-school sound system plays King’s choice of music for the night. King typically shakes up the drinks from a simple yet elegant menu, with a modest list of choice wines, classic cocktails and beer. Arrive in the evening and saddle up to the bar with the diverse mix of patrons or sink into the red leather couch by the window with a tasty glass of wine and watch all of the people pass by this little French haven in the Central West End.