Explore the Grove like a local with these 5 unmissable experiences.
As central St. Louis continues its trend of steady development and population growth, formerly quiet neighborhoods throughout the area are experiencing an unprecedented revitalization. Known for its eclectic vibe and rich history, The Grove is no exception.
The vibrant young neighborhood has undergone a renaissance in the past decade as young millennials have poured in, accelerating the development of a shopping and entertainment scene fit to rival even the hippest Brooklyn neighborhoods. Now, the once empty streets on the southern rim of the Central Corridor are bustling with people, dogs, and…naked bicyclists (more on that later). Whether you’re new to town or a born-and-bred St. Louisan, don’t miss these five Grove-tastic attractions.
The Photo Op
Kick off your stroll through this photogenic St. Louis neighborhood with a stop at the iconic “Grove” sign. Straddling Manchester at Sarah Street, the brightly colored sign makes for an unbeatable photo opportunity. The electric marker is the first of its kind in the St. Louis region, costing $60,000 and taking over two years to complete.
Brunch at Atomic Cowboy
An anchor of the Grove community, Atomic Cowboy first opened its doors in 2005. Owner Chip Schloss set out to create a space that would serve as the Grove’s own version of the Loop’s Blueberry Hill; a must-see restaurant, bar, and concert venue all in one. Over the past 10 years, that vision has become a reality, as Atomic Cowboy has become the place to stop in on Manchester Avenue. Today, Atomic Cowboy serves one of the most celebrated brunch menus in the city and has tapped into St. Louis’ emerging craft beer scene.
After recently expanding into a larger space next door to its original digs, Rise Coffee is back with its same low cost menu, array of coffee choices, and now — breakfast. Over the past four years, the cafe has been celebrated by its loyal patrons for an extensive menu of locally roasted beans and cozy reading nooks. With the recent addition of celebrated St. Louis chef, Scott Davis, to the team, the cafe’s previously light fare has expanded to include a variety of more substantial offerings. If you’re looking for a tasty and healthy breakfast option, try the Farro Porridge, which is already a favorite in regional culinary circles.
Urban Chestnut Brewing Co.
As St. Louisans continue to embrace the craft beer scene, Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. has made a name for itself with an expansive tasting menu and a fresh asthetic spin on the classic German beer hall. Having just recently opened its newest, LEED-certified location in the Grove, Urban Chestnut has drastically increased its brewery’s capabilities. And with over 24 custom draught beers on tap, there’s something for everyone. The food menu doesn’t veer far from traditional german fare, with standouts like spatzle, currywurst, and liege waffles. In addition to its celebrated menu, Urban Chestnut has also developed a monthly speaker series focusing on brewing practices and serving techniques. We’d recommend stopping by on Dog Day Fridays, when you can enjoy a pint and a pug (or dozens of other furry, friendly breeds).
Despite being only three years old this month, the Ready Room is already one of the most prominent concert venues in the city. Attracting mostly hip-hop, R&B, and neo-punk rock groups passing through St. Louis, this 800-person-capacity space has gained a lot of attention from big name artists like Ghostface Killah, Earl Sweatshirt, Kehlani, Vince Staples, and Run the Jewels. But Ready Room isn’t just a concert venue, it has also become well-known in the local queer community for its weekly burlesque shows.
World Naked Bike Ride
Among the Grove’s most famed events is St. Louis’ iteration of the World Naked Bike Ride. Taking place in over 70 cities across 20 countries, this wild event has become increasingly popular — especially in St. Louis. Each year over 3,000 St. Louisans grab their bikes, drop their pants, and ride a 10 mile loop from the Grove to Downtown and back. Replete with a costume contest — and categories ranging from Most Creative to Most Hairy — the event has become a major contributor to the queer and subaltern identity for which the neighborhood is becoming known. This year the event takes place on July 15, and as the event’s slogan suggests: “Bare as you dare.”