Pagan Wine Bar: Classic Libations in a Mysterious Setting

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.

Pagan Wine Bar: Classic Libations in a Mysterious Setting

Image courtesy of HCDeharder.

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.

Like Never Before

Panoramic gallery view, Art St. Louis XXXIV, The Exhibition. Photo by Robin Hirsch-Steinhoff.St. Louis is rich with visual art talent. The proof is in for 2018, and nowhere is it more evident than in the work of Art Saint Louis. We could not be more proud of the 342 outstanding artworks selected from over 1,000 entries for presentation in our gallery. These highly competitive, juried group exhibits were admired by thousands of visitors this year, not only at lively opening receptions but daily as we opened our doors to a diverse audience of locals and travelers alike.

Pavement Portals premiere, Venture Cafe, @4240 Duncan. Photos by Tyler Small.Anamorphic pavement art and augmented reality software were combined this year with three innovative, large-scale art installations showcased at the St. Louis Science Center and Venture Café in the Cortex district. Pavement Portals, the latest in our collaboration with the artists of Chalk Riot, was jointly presented by Art Saint Louis and PNC Arts Alive, and was well received by viewers of all ages.

This fall we designed and released an entirely new and improved version of the ArtLoupe mobile app, our national publishing, discovery and sales tool for visual art. Over 6,000 artworks are now featured on the app. The platform is growing daily and now serves as the point of sale for our region’s newest and most extensive outlet for locally-made art, the Angad Arts Hotel.

Art Saint Louis’s work as fine art curator for the Angad Arts Hotel began over a year ago, selecting, commissioning and purchasing works by local artists for placement throughout the 13-story facility. The hotel opened in the Grand Center Arts District on November 1, 2018, to national acclaim, offering an utterly unique aesthetic experience for the 35,000 guests expected to stay at the hotel annually.

Angad Arts Hotel, 3550 Samuel Sheppard Drive, St. Louis.It is no exaggeration to say that Art Saint Louis is elevating the work of local artists like never before. In addition to sharing our community’s creative work with thousands of viewers, Art Saint Louis directly disbursed over $30,000 to artists in the form of commissions, honorariums and awards, in the last 12 months alone.

This is vital work! It is moving our region forward in palpable ways. And support from our community remains critical to its success. Your friends at Art Saint Louis take pride in the work we’re able to do through your support, and we believe that it is making a difference. So we enthusiastically invite your continued help. Tax deductible contributions play an important and irreplaceable role in moving our mission forward, and can be made online via PayPal by clicking here. We hope you’ll join in filling that role as far as circumstances allow.

Thank you for your consideration, and all best wishes for a safe and joyful holiday season!



Chandler Branch

Executive Director

  Robin Hirsch-Steinhoff

Artistic Director


Freezer Fresh

Those are two words I don’t expect to see together. If you buy frozen salmon at the supermarket, is it fresh?
This is from the current indoor exhibit at Laumeier Sculpture Park. It is about the restored old neon signs and neon sculpture of David Hutson. I suppose the big sign is about ice cream, although it’s hard to be sure. It’s certainly not acceptable by today’s standards.The small sign in the back is part of Hutson’s expression of Claes Oldenburg’s artistic philosophy.        

The Romanesque Revival Church, The Grove

I could have sworn I photographed this church back in the summer of 2014, when I passed by on Taylor Avenue. Apparently I did not, but I was impressed with the giant arches of this Romanesque Revival edifice at the corner of Gibson.

The Romanesque style features rounded arches with heavy walls and simple decoration in St. Louis, and this church is much more restrained in ornamentation compared to industrial magnates’ houses such as the Cupples House.

7 Places to Spice Up Your Kitchen Skills with Cooking Classes

Options for cooking classes in the St. Louis area range from grocery stores and specialty food shops to culinary schools. There are a wide variety of courses for any level of expertise (and, thinking ahead to the holidays, many offer gift certificates!). Here are seven options to get you started.

• 7 Places to Spice Up Your Kitchen Skills With Cooking Classes

Image courtesy of Kitchen Conservatory.

1. Kitchen Conservatory

Kitchen Conservatory offers a wide variety of themed cooking classes every day of the week. Choose from either: demonstration, where guests snack on foods while the chef demonstrates meal preparation, or hands-on, where each guest follows along on their own and makes a meal themselves. Classes range from date night and girl’s night to holiday themed and the basics of cooking. The instructors hail from all over town with experience in numerous St. Louis restaurants.

2. Dierbergs

Dierbergs releases a new cooking class schedule every two months, with new guest instructors and class themes at the five cooking school locations within the St. Louis area. Guests can learn to cook with the fresh produce of the season, to pair food and drinks, to cook healthier, to sharpen specific skills, to set a beautiful table and much more. Holiday classes and visiting chefs and authors are always on the schedule. Sign up online (or by phone to redeem a gift certificate).

3. Schnucks

The Schnucks Cooking School, located on the mezzanine level of the Des Peres grocery store, offers a variety of cooking classes for every age and expertise level. The classes are geared towards kids, families or couples (with wine served at most adult-oriented events). The school also offers a popular, hour-long “Learn At Lunch” demonstration class for those who like to make the most of their mid-day breaks. 

4. L’École Culinaire

Although L’École Culinaire is a professional culinary school in the Frontenac neighborhood of the St. Louis, it also offers food and beverage classes to the public for a fun learning experience. Both demonstration and hands-on classes are taught by chef instructors. Visit the school’s website for course descriptions and to sign up.


7 Places to Spice Up Your Kitchen Skills With Cooking Classes Image courtesy of Bolyard’s Meat & Provisions.

5. Bolyard’s Meat & Provisions

Bolyard’s Meat & Provisions is a family-owned butcher shop selling fresh, local, pasture-raised meat with no hormones or antibiotics. The Maplewood shop hosts a handful of butchering classes every season where butcher and owner Chris Bolyard teaches guests how to break down a half hog by hand. During these two-hour classes, guests can enjoy beer and soda and snack on homemade charcuterie. They will also take home two fresh cuts of meat and a pound of house-made sausage. Call the shop at 314.647.2567 to reserve a spot.

7 Places to Spice Up Your Kitchen Skills With Cooking Classes

Image courtesy of Niche Food Group.

6. Niche Food Group

Sarah Osborn Blue is the pastry chef of Sardella, Pastaria and Taste of Niche Food Group, the hospitality group owned by James Beard Award-winning chef Gerard Craft. Her pastry class series, titled “Baking with Chef Blue,” is held at the Niche Food Group Commissary Kitchen in the Hi-Pointe neighborhood. Her two-hour, themed classes showcase the most popular desserts served at Niche restaurants as well as seasonal treats (gingerbread houses are on the calendar for December). Buy tickets online here and check the Niche Food Group Facebook page for updates.

7 Places to Spice Up Your Kitchen Skills With Cooking ClassesImage courtesy of Larder & Cupboard.

7. Larder & Cupboard

Larder & Cupboard is a specialty foods store on Manchester Road, the main drag in Maplewood, offering unique food products from the St. Louis area and around the world. The owners buy directly from producers instead of working with big distributors to find items that are truly one of a kind. Food and beverage classes range from seasonally focused fun to introductory dives into topics like like fermentation to series-based events. The demonstration-format classes last about two hours. Guests leave with a list of new recipes-and usually a few purchases from the shop as well.

Featured image courtesy of L’Ecole Culinaire.

St. Louis Football Club Welcomes Fans to Tailgate for a Cause

Saint Louis Football Club (STLFC) has been in full swing since March, welcoming soccer fans from across the region to cheer on players as they play against other professional clubs from Texas to Oregon to Minnesota. Similar to other sports (especially football, for those still missing the Rams), close to 200 fans gather in the stadium’s parking lot prior to each STLFC game for tailgating to enjoy food and beverages and spread their love of the game in a multicultural setting.

This season, one group of soccer enthusiasts in particular, the St. Louligans, have been tailgating for a cause.

Throughout the season, the St. Louligans have offered free food and beverages to fellow tailgaters and asked only for a donation which goes to a local charity. Already they have raised more than $20,000 for the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network and are hoping to bring in even more as they approach STLFC’s final two games.

St. Louis Football Club Welcomes Fans to Tailgate for a Cause

STLFC will close out its season against Tulsa Roughnecks Football Club and OKC Energy Football Club on Oct. 10 and Oct. 15, respectively, at the Toyota Stadium. The parking lots for tailgating will open at 5:30 p.m. and kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. Details can be found on the team’s website.

Photos courtesy of Maeve Bradfield.

What’s going on with Art Saint Louis

Chandler Branch, Executive Director

Art Saint Louis is serving our region in meaningful ways, thanks to the support and participation of so many in our community. More is happening in this organization’s work than I will attempt to cram into this message. However, as I try to do at this time each year, I’m reaching out to update you on the good that you’ve helped accomplish, and relay my thanks.

First, a few stats:

  •    30,000+ PEOPLE were reached by ASL programs in 2017, and twice as many reached already in 2018.
  •    2,700+ ARTWORKS have been submitted for ASL gallery exhibits since 2015.
  •    $130,000+ has been paid directly to artists in commissions, awards and honorariums through ASL programs since 2015.
  •    8,668 ARTWORKS are now hosted on the ASL mobile app, ArtLoupe, and the app has been downloaded over 10,000 times.

St. Louis Community College Florissant Valley Professor Christine Giancola with artist Alexander Hollingsworth and his artwork featured in Varsity Art XXII. Photo courtesy of Christine Giancola.

Of course, numbers only go so far in relaying the big picture. More importantly, ASL is bringing people together. As one artist put it, “The heart of Art Saint Louis lies in the local community and that is what matters.”

Two recent exhibits were a perfect example of this, beginning with Varsity Art, our 22nd annual graduate/undergraduate student art show, which brought together students and faculty from 21 area colleges and universities, along with broad network of family and friends, to celebrate some of the region’s rising artistic talents. As you can imagine, the gallery was packed to the gills on opening night! As in years past, we took the opportunity to produce “Meet the Artist” video interviews for the students. ASL has published over 100 artist video interviews on our YouTube channel in the last several seasons.
Artist Chad Hayward with his ceramic sculpture featured in Varsity Art XXII. Photo by Robin Hirsch-Steinhoff.

Eastern Illinois University graduate student Chad Haward went out of his way to relay his enthusiasm for the experience:

It means a lot to have a platform and opportunity as a young emerging artist to share my work. I was really impressed with the turnout as well. It was great to see so many people who came out to see the show.

April 21 reception for “Maturity and Its Muse: Celebrating Artistic Experience.” Photo by Robin Hirsch-Steinhoff.

On the heels of such youthful energy another remarkable exhibit followed. Maturity and Its Muse: Celebrating Artistic Experience, a competition-based exhibit, featured 51 artworks in a variety of media by artists informed by time, ages 70+. What a privilege it was to welcome such a gorgeous collection of artworks! 31 artists from Missouri and Illinois were featured in the show, some of whom are seasoned professionals and others the very definition of an emerging artist.

May 24 Venture Cafe event attendees check out augmented reality-enabled pavement murals. Photo by R.J. Hartbeck.

Other recent highlights included collaboration with Chalk Riot, CA-based Heavy Projects and PNC Arts Alive, producing three large-scale, augmented reality pavement murals, and sharing these with over 50,000 viewers at the Saint Louis Science Center and at Venture Café in the Cortex District. Viewers interacted with the artworks in person and on smartphones and tablets where the artworks came to life with 3D graphic animations through the Chalk Riot mobile app. For a snapshot of the art and technology in action, check out Fox 2’s TV feature on the project.

Lastly, ASL is partnering with the new Angad Arts Hotel – located in the Grand Center Arts District – to cultivate extensive, year-round contemporary art programming beginning this fall.  Under the direction of ASL, the vibrant 146-guest room Angad Arts Hotel will feature a rotating series of exhibitions and events spotlighting the work of numerous St. Louis regional visual artists in the hotel’s public spaces, as well as extensive collections of original artworks and reproductions in the hotel’s room and suites..

I hope you share my sense that this kind of cultural activity is important to our community, to our region, whether or not it ever makes headline news. What will never make the news are the ripple effects, the stories of individuals quietly impacted by our work to support local art and make it a part of everyday life for people across the socio-economic spectrum–especially through our activity downtown. I was touched by one such story brought to my attention recently by a friend with 13 years’ experience working with individuals living with severe mental illness, substance abuse disorders and homelessness, who wrote:

One of my good friends, I’ll call him Jay, was a frequent visitor to Art Saint Louis and shared with me that he always felt welcome there. Jay told me he was initially drawn to the space for his love of art but stayed in the space because he was not “chased out,” which frequently happens to him when other places of business realize he is homeless. Jay struggles with Paranoid Schizophrenia and because of the nature of his illness, vacillates between wellness and delusional. The gateway to reality, for Jay, is finding a path back to good mental health through art. He was drawn to Art Saint Louis because of the beautiful art displayed in the space; he stayed because he was treated with respect and dignity.

Make no mistake about it; ASL is making a difference in our community!

Thank you for helping us move our city and our region forward in creative ways. Thank you especially to our artists, donors and volunteers. It’s a joy to partner with you all.


Chandler Branch

Executive Director


Menagerie August 4-September 13, 2018. FREE opening reception Saturday, August 4, 5-7 p.m.

Please join Art Saint Louis for our new juried exhibit, Menagerie, featuring new artworks by 54 St. Louis regional artists from Missouri and Illinois.