Side Project Cellar – Maplewood, MO

It’s been a while since my last post and this one is not your typical restaurant review.  This one is all about beer!  After my visit to Side Project Cellar, I couldn’t wait to talk about it.  Side Project Cellar is located in Maplewood, tucked away on Marietta Avenue.  I was very excited when I saw that it opened but for some reason I just never had a chance to visit them… until recently.

outside

Long gone are my youthful college days where my favorite beer was “free” and my second favorite was “cold”.  I have since found a great appreciation for well-crafted beer.  Side Project Cellar has a great selection of both draft and bottled beer.  It should be noted that their selection of whiskey is also very impressive.

So what made me so anxious to spread the word about this place?  It was the experience.  Let’s face it, in St. Louis you have tons of options when it comes to places to throw back some cold ones (or in this case not so cold ones).  Side Project is special not only because of the well managed beer list, but the people that are there to help you.

When I see a massive beer list, it’s sometimes tempting to just order an old favorite.  The staff at Side Project is very excited to help you select new beers that fit what you like.  For all draft beers except the casks, you can also order half pours.  It’s a great way to explore more beers in one visit to help discover a new favorite.

Two Side Project Half Pours

Two Side Project Half Pours

Side Project Cellar is one of my new favorite spots in St. Louis.  Typically I won’t make a bold statement like that after one visit, but I have thought about it every day since I have been there.  Are you curious what beer I still dream about from that visit?  It’s the Side Project Foedre.  I love sour beers and this is one of the best I have ever tried.

Dive 2 Five Scale: 3.  So what’s up with Maplewood?  With all the great stuff opening there lately, it makes me think I need to relocate.  Side Project Cellar is a lively bar with a great staff.  It’s a no frills place that is great for hanging out with friends and creating new memories.  So get your babysitter, set up your designated driver, and get over there!  Hopefully you will see me sitting at the bar.

Cousin Hugo’s, Maplewood, MO – A Local Bar Burger

Every neighborhood has one.  It’s that local watering hole that practically has assigned seating for the regulars. Cousin Hugo’s in Maplewood is that kind of place.  I had picked this place out based on their rating on Urbanspoon when I was doing a search to satisfy a burger craving.

We arrived just after opening on a Saturday.  The bar was empty as the waitresses and bartender were still getting set up.  We chose one of the over-sized booths in the bar area.     Looking around you notice beer signs and college football on the TV.  Many of the walls are the older style wood paneling   Some of the regulars walk in shortly after and are teased for “being late”.  It welcomes you in as your typical local bar.

They have laminated menus on all the tables.  One of the best ways to judge a bar’s food (and to satisfy my quota) is to try their burger.  The standard burger at Cousin Hugo’s is 5 oz.  I am known to eat a little more than the average person so I ordered the double.

Double cheeseburger. Also known as the “open wide”

They serve their burgers medium well.  I typically order them medium rare but went with the flow.  The burger comes with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and caramelized onions.  I can see why they call it the “open wide”.  It was a large burger.  It was still juicy for being well done.  All the toppings were fresh.  I opted for the onion rings on the side.  They were the thicker style beer battered type.  Overall it was a filling meal with no complaints.

Dive 2 Five Scale – 2.  Very friendly bar with lots of locals.  Old style captains chairs, beer signs, and wood paneling make it a blast from the past.  Although they were kid friendly early on a Saturday morning, I’m curious if it would be much later.  Great local bar full of character that every neighborhood would be lucky to call their own.

Cousin Hugo's on Urbanspoon