12.14.2009

Cruisin' Cafes: St. Louis, MO

I suppose I should, in the words of vintage Hilary Duff, simply come clean. While I pride myself on being a lover of all things quaint, cozy, and comfy – locations and attractions with the very same homey welcome as a roaring fire, a well-loved old blanket, or a dependable childhood friend; those are not the qualities which drew me to fall under the spell of St. Louis, Missouri. No, I’m sorry to tell you that the true appeal of this particular locale had more to do with the typical tourist temptations – the downtown entertainment district of Laclede’s Landing, the haunted horrors found at Lemp Mansion, and even the small town sophistication of the Benton Park West Streetscape. Of course, if you ask me, all this combined would be nothing without a trio of darling cafes ripe for popping into for a cocktail hour cappuccino, or daybreak demitasse!

Park Avenue Coffee Wrong state, darlings! While it shares a title with the hoity-toity location of the Big Apple, Park Avenue Coffee is, in all actuality, named for its close proximity to Lafayette Park in the heart of Lafayette Square – a picturesque spot for people watching should you be lucky enough to snag a seat on the patio; but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

If you’re looking for a home-away-from-home aesthetic, your search ends here. Park Avenue Coffee is like your mother’s beloved living room – sans the strict orders to remove your shoes before stepping foot on the carpet, or to keep your feet off the furniture. It retains a minimalist vibe while being powerfully inviting all at once courtesy of hardwood floors, vibrant hues speckling the walls, and overstuffed, chocolate-toned chairs that you could virtually get lost in. And, might I add, you will get lost – at least in the mouthwatering aromas emerging from the kitchen; for while Raspberry Mochas, Hot Chocolates, and Vanilla Lattes are whipped up by the dozen, the true crème de la crème of Park Avenue is the gooey butter cake. Pig out on a piece of Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake on the patio, or curl up in an armchair with a slice of Apple Cinnamon Gooey Butter. Your waistline may whine, but your tastebuds will explode! 1919 Park Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63104.

The Map Room Walking into The Map Room is like entering a different era; and that’s precisely where the charm of this secret treasure lurks. From outside alone, the all-brick construction casts a very old-fashioned noir, reformed firehouse aura upon the place; but even once you’ve made it inside, you can’t help but feel that you are destined to spot Jack Kerouac hunched over his latest masterpiece at a secluded table in the back; or bump into F. Scott Fitzgerald nursing a glass of Merlot upon one of the vintage couches.

The rustic elegance and glamour of The Map Room, while slightly reminiscent of an antique store laden with “Do Not Disturb” signs, is a throwback to simpler times when electricity was not yet in existence, and families would play music around the fireplace until the very last embers burned out. That’s not saying that The Map Room is not modernistic in its design; it simply has held fast to the quaint qualities of yesteryear that many have since long forgotten. But I digress; while free Wi-Fi is offered during business hours, the most enticing aspect of The Map Room is the large bookshelves brimming with the classics, and the abundance of board games available for quiet play. Couple an Austrian Mint Coffee, a Snow Geisha White Tea, or an Apple Tarte with a game of Scrabble for an evening of peaceful fun and solitude. 1901 Withnell Ave., St. Louis, MO 63118.

Coffee Cartel There’s something quite thrilling about prowling the streets late at night, when most people are tucked away safely in their beds; an undercover seductiveness that makes one feel like a cat burglar, and cloaks one in a sheath of mystery even if you’re simply munching on cold fries at the corner diner after a long night of partying, or, even better, sipping a Caramel Frappuccino topped with luscious whipped cream at a twenty-four-hour coffee shop. Coffee Cartel is the shop in question.

Unlike so many cafes that shut their doors long before the midnight hour, Coffee Cartel is that happening spot that keeps on brewing way into the wee hours of the morning, providing a primo spot for late-night gossip, early-morning study sessions, mid-afternoon dates with cute boys, and everything in between! While somewhat smoky at times, the proffered pool tables (and people lining up to challenge you to a game) in addition to the opportunities for watching an abundance of personalities come and go more than makes up for it. Plus, if you’re an insomniatic blogger looking for a place to fill up on ice cream while catching up on comments, the free Wi-Fi will most definitely keep you satiated. Just don’t forget to try the Raspberry Italian Soda – a fabulously fruity way to cap off an evening! 2 Maryland Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63108.

Which of these St. Louis cafes would you like to cruise?


Fashionably yours!


Thanks to We ♥ It for the pictures.


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46 comments

Jacqueline said...

Coffee Cartel sounds great. I am definitely interested in that raspberry italian soda they carry! Sounds yummy. I love that first photo with the heart =) xoxo

www.FashionSnag.com

Leah said...

The Map Room for me. I have this thing about old-fashioned and rustic places. I love the old world charm.

Erika, you have to write a guide book on cafes. You are an expert.

Jamie Jenson said...

This post made me want to visit St. Louie!

Froso said...

loved your post!

Couture Carrie said...

Oh I just adore St. Louis! I will definitely check out the map room next time I visit!

Fab post darling E ~ maybe you should turn these into a little travel volume one day?

xoxox,
CC

Fifi Flowers said...

Cruising cafes sounds FAB to moi... might have to switch to decaf after a few stops!

All Women Stalker said...

Coffee Cartel seems like the perfect place for me, too. I want a cafe that is open at 2am. :)

-meream

Couture Cookie said...

Screw Park Avenue NYC.... the St Louis coffee shop seems to be right up my alley! Those little cups look like they could belong in a dollhouse, and the cookies malmost ake me salivate a little (I know, ew!) - that kind of cookie is the only one I ever eat, despite my moniker! :)

Rachel Scarlet said...

This is a lovely post Erika!The Park Avenue Coffee seems like a place of my liking. The teaspoon is so vintage and cute! XOXO :)

The Haute-Shopper said...

I'll take the Map Room! I've always loved the idea of a library meets coffee place. It's just seems like the perfect setting to browse through old books while sipping a hot drink! I adore that first photo of the little teacups by the way!

Closet Cravings said...

Why is that I love that hilary duff song and cups of coffee with hearts? Both are addictive. =)

bananas. said...

st. louis, huh? well i have to admit, i've never before said i'd like to go to st. louis for some coffee. lol. you've enlightened me :)

ediot said...

nice pictures. i love coffee- but most of all when its a latte.. you just made me have to go make some now..hope youre having a great day dear. xxx

Jessica said...

I wish I had read this before I went to St. Louis last summer for a weekend! Maybe another trip is in order.

English Rose ♥ said...

*Sigh* Meet me in St Louis darling? Someone super fabulous once told me they have great coffee there...


Stay safe and chic
English Rose x
http://iamanenglishrose.blogspot.com

Keith said...

They all sound great. It would definitely be The Map Room for me. I really love this series on your blog. I hope your week has started off well. Take care.

Tights Lover said...

Great reviews! The Coffee Cartell sounds great, but I'd really like to visit The Map Room!

clarewbrown said...

Wow this sounds like so much fun! I would love to visit Coffee Cartel! Happy Monday, lovely!

Kristin said...

Dude, you make me wan to travel the country on a java joint tour!!

Fashion Court said...

park avenue coffee sounds AMAZING! i want to goooo! haha ;P

Jen said...

I love the images you pick out for these posts. They make it so much easier for me to gaze into middle distance and imagine myself sitting on the sidewalk with a steaming hot chocolate (coffee is not my thing) and watching passers by.

Stephanie said...

Oh, lovely pics. :) And I think i would love the Coffee Cartel because you never know when you need a hot cup of Joe. Really, I am an avid coffee drinker. Everyday, but I try to make it at home to save cash, but I do enjoy it out occasionally.

Mimi said...

I love the first picture. How cute! I'm not really big on coffee, although I'm always drawn to Starbucks every time I see it, but these cafes all sound lovely!

Joanne Faith said...

I always love the photos you find for these posts! I feel for the poor baristas who have to work aftermidnight but there really is something wonderful about extra late night coffee. xx

S.Elisabeth said...

They both sound so lovely, but I'm going to have to go with the first one. It just sounds so calm and delightful!

Marz said...

Coffee Cartel seems like my kind of place. I'm up at all sorts of hours in the night, so this would be a nice place to just relax with some friends. And free WiFi? I'm sold.
-Marz

FASHIONconfectionairy said...

Oh I love them all, they sounds so cheerey and lovely! Thanks for visiting my blog again!
XOXOX
Libby
http://fashionconfectionairy.weebly.com

LML said...

i really loved st. louis when i went for college visit there in high school. i love all the quaint sections :)

The Blonde Duck said...

I love the little rose cups!

Jennifer Fabulous said...

Now this is a little more closer to home for me. ;)
In fact, I might be going to St. Louis next weekend, so I will definitely have to hit up one of these coffee shops. Yay!!

Emily said...

coffee cartel sounds magnificent - I love how they stay open late :)

michelle_ said...

i love coffee cartel !
we have it in indo, and its of my fave coffee stalls !

the first picture is soooo cute !
i love coffee pictures so much :D

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Midtown Girl said...

Ohh Coffee Cartel has to be my fav since it's 24 hrs!! I've never been to St. Louis but you are sure tempting me!!

Love that you list all these great places for a future visit!

XOXO
Amy

Dylana said...

These places sound fab!

colormenana.blogspot.com

CAROLINE said...

yes i made them (: im working on my first collection, coming out in the middle of march. im very excited and i have to sew a lot!

thank you (:

Macaron Treats ♥♥ said...

You post the most wonderful cafes! Im so jealous you have checked them out! I would love to go to Park Avenue Coffee

xxx

Inspiration in Italy said...

Hello Love! The Map Room sounds fantastic... I love old-fashioned, vintage sound to this cafe. Thanks for another great post! xoxoxo

miriam (Björn Borg) said...

i love the first photo. a heart shaped coffee is to die for : )

nicole said...

I like the sounds of the Map Room. very cozy and old-fashioned. the kind of place that would have oversized vintage couches that have been worn in with love :)

thank for all your comments erika, I really appreciate them. Sorry for getting back to you so late, I'm still playing catch up!

I have to say though, I really admire you as a blogger. It's not easy to maintain a blog but yet you do it with such effortless flair! And your writing is intelligent, clever, not to mention entertaining. Keep up the good work dear! xo

beckyxoxo said...

Hi Erika ! Wow another list of cafes ! I'm not sure about these , because honestly I rarely go to cafes , but I think I'm going to choose Coffee Cartel . It's the only one I know ! Haha .

Melissa Blake said...

Argh, why couldn't I have seen this post years ago? I've been to St. Louis soooo many times and have never tried these places!

Thanks for giving me something to add to my to-do list on my next trip. xoxo

Rachel said...

You know, you really do make me want to visit all of these cafes! If only I had the time and money to do so...
The Map Room sounds like an absolutely wonderful place. Plus, the idea of drinking coffee and playing Scrabble is just too perfect! :)

Children of the 90s said...

The Map Room sounds amazing, I think that would be my favorite!

Miss Caitlin S. said...

Thanks for the glimpse into your world... I love it. It does look so pretty and oh yummy, coffee!

http://candyflosspersie.blogspot.com/

David Godbout said...

Two more incredible places in the neighborhood..... The Mud House on Cherokee and Foam on Jefferson.

The incredible thing about these three coffee shops (all within 5 blocks of each other) is that each one has its own personality and ethos. We go to all of them, depending on our mood.

teenfashionista said...

Ahhh St. Louis, so close to me! Do you visit often?

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