The green fairy charms St. Louis
And did I mention they serve absinthe? If you’re looking for a change of pace after a semester of shotgunning beers or sipping boring cosmos, Lola serves up this nefarious spirit in all its glory—and in creative ways. While absinthe’s historically-rumored hallucinatory properties have been debunked (drinking it will not actually make you see the green fairy), it does have a very high proof and often a distinctly different effect than other alcohols.
The bar’s absinthe cocktails and martinis all play off of the spirit’s natural flavors of fennel and anise. Some of the more creative drinks include flavors of black cherry, honey or even lavender. Of course, you can also get absinthe served the traditional way. In Europe and the Czech Republic, where absinthe gained popularity in the 19th century, it was served in a special absinthe glass with a slotted spoon, a sugar cube and a touch of fire.
At Lola, your server will pour you one shot of lucid green absinthe and rest a slotted spoon on top of the glass. The server then places a cube of sugar on the spoon that is doused in more absinthe, lights it on fire and lets the sugar bubble before pouring water over it, so that the sugar dissolves as the water runs through the spoon, diluting the alcohol and turning it a murky white before you drink it.
Lola’s drink menu is a regular mixology masterpiece, offering, in addition to absinthe, various wines, beers and St. Louis-themed martinis, mojitos, margaritas, Bloody Marys and signature creations.
It’s also a great place to grab a light bite to eat before hitting the bar. The food is always creatively and skillfully prepared. For a crowd-pleasing option, the house-made pommes frites ($6) come with various dipping sauces like aioli of roasted garlic or tarragon and house-made red pepper ketchup. Lola’s duet ($8) is another great option for late-night dining—the plate consists of a mini bacon and bleu cheese burger and a mini mushroom, onion and Swiss burger, both served on fresh baked slider buns.
Lola is divided into two very different sections—a larger, classy restaurant fills the front space, with floor-to-ceiling windows, dim red lighting and a full bar. Toward the back is the smaller bar/lounge area, featuring nightly performances and absinthe-themed wall murals of green fairies, large eyes and abstract designs of muted blues and greens.
The bar can get loud and crowded on a Saturday night, so get there early to enjoy the live jazz and funk music. Settle into a comfy leather couch and claim your spot for the evening. If you like a rowdier club-like atmosphere, arrive around 11 p.m., grab some drinks and hit the dance floor.
After opening this summer, Lola has already created quite the buzz in the downtown scene. With its eclectic crowd and neighborhood jazz bar vibe, Lola has shot to the top of our list of must-visit late-night spots in St. Louis.