Whether you’re into pork-fat-washed whiskey cocktails, fine wine, or local beer, Downtown St. Louis has drinks to satisfy any taste. You may know the names of these hotspots: Schlafly Tap Room, Cinder House, Thaxton Speakeasy, and The Midwestern. But what about the faces behind the bar, the people mixing the drinks and ultimately defining our local entertainment scene?
Well, you’re about to meet them. These are four of the busiest bartenders in Downtown St. Louis.
Tony Saputo, The Midwestern
The founders of The Midwestern had ambitious plans for their upscale barbeque restaurant, so they tapped an ambitious bartender to match: Tony Saputo. Dubbed “the drink czar,” Saputo pours pork-fat-washed cocktails, Busch drafts, and everything in between. With more than 200 bottles of whiskey in his arsenal at the Midwestern, Saputo mixes cocktails that double as barbeque’s best friend.
“I want [the drinks] to be approachable and easily understood…I don’t want someone to have to look at a menu for 10 to 15 minutes.” Saputo told Feast Magazine in January.
To supplement his cocktail menu, Saputo pays homage to The Gateway City with scores of local draft and canned beer, including WellBeing, the non-alcoholic brew that’s taking the city by storm.
“We have bartenders in St. Louis who can easily stand up to people who work in New York [City] and Chicago, and I’m hoping to really capture that essence, but also make it approachable, easily understandable, comforting and welcoming at the same time.”
Paul Jensen, Schlafly Tap Room
Schlafly has been a St. Louis staple for almost two decades, and Paul Jensen has been tending bar at the Schlafly Tap Room since it first opened in 1991. Some estimate that Jensen has poured nearly a quarter of a million Schlafly beers and clocked more than 50,000 hours at the bar.
Between the building’s history and Jensen’s expertise, no hop head’s St. Louis experience is complete without having a glass (or three) at the Tap Room
Ryan Oakley, Thaxton Speakeasy
While some bars rely on a modern flair to get people in the door, the Thaxton Speakeasy takes patrons back in time…way back to the 1920s. Tucked away at the corner of Olive and 10th streets, this underground, Prohibition-themed hangout requires a password for entry. Once you make your way in, you’ll find Ryan Oakley, the Thaxton’s veteran bartender.
In fitting with The Thaxton’s prohibition theme, Oakley’s favorite drink is an Old Fashioned. “No matter how many people try to create their take on it, myself included, this is one of the few drinks that tastes better by keeping it traditional.”
If there’s one thing Oakley enjoys more than mixing drinks at the Thaxton, it’s his patrons. “I have people from all different walks of life coming in and I get to hear a lot of amazing stories,” he says. “It’s really cool to hear how life is on the other side of the country or in different countries.”
Jordaryl Logan, Cinder House
After graduating with a degree in finance, Jordaryl quickly realized that he wasn’t content to hunker down and analyze spreadsheets. He was, however, a big fan of tequila and bourbon.
Fast forward a few years and Jordaryl is at the helm of the bar at Cinder House, Gerard Craft’s highly-anticipated South American restaurant atop the Four Seasons Hotel. While the wood-fired fare is worth drooling over, Cinder House’s innovative cocktails, extensive wine list, and hand-picked selection of local and craft beers tie the experience together.
Oh, and the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Arch are pretty cool too.
“Every day is a good vibe,” says Logan. “I love the happiness that comes with my job here.”
After you wrap up a long week of work, swing by Cinder House—Jordaryl is happy to put a creative twist on your favorite cocktail, especially if it involves tequila or bourbon.
Got a favorite bartender of your own? Tag us on social media (@downtownstlouis) and let us know. You can also find our favorite Downtown dive bars here and a full list of Downtown bars and breweries here.