O´connell's was founded in 1962 at Gaslight Square. At that time that part of St Louis was a cultural hotspot but only ten years later it had tuned in to a bad neighborhood. The owner more or less packed up the original interior and moved across town to a new location at Kingshighway and Shaw. The new home used to house an Anheuser Busch tavern, I don't know if that's good or bad? It's not really a very convenient location although this seems to be the story of St Louis- the town where everything is a 20 minutes drive away. I went to O'connell's for lunch and the place was packed. As far as I could see it was a mixed crowd, almost like a cross-section of town. The menue is pretty traditional but of good quality. The beer selection is nothing to jump for but they do have their own brew: O'connell's Amber Ale. It has a nice chestnut color and a flowery smell. Pours with little foam but has a bubbly mouth feel. The taste is a little mystifying, flowery and spicy with a hoppy bite ,in some ways more of a pilsener than an amber ale. Maybe a ghost pils? Worth the drive if you're in town.
One of the standard bearers of St Louis pubs. It's got the dark wood, the high-backed booths, the faded UK signage and portraits of Victorian-era boxers. Nice old backbar, no TV, large whisk(e)y selection, dependable array of regulars. Smoking is certainly allowed but the air never seems to get all that smoky. The staff has been largely the same for decades. In fact, one lovely server named Nora remembers when my best friend (age 28) would be brought in by his parents as an infant. She would bring him pickle chips to suck on. That kind of place.
The food is hearty American pub food--hot sandwiches, barbecue, fish & chips, one of the best hamburgers in town--served no-nonsense on O'Connell's printed paper plates. Does stick to the ribs.
The beer selection is also pub-alicious: small handful of taps and bottles spotlighting English and Irish ales. I usually stick with old reliables like Schlafly Pale, Old Peculier and Guinness. Aficionados might ho-hum--and I can tell ya, we do--but the simple perfection of the place usually trumps the lack of selection.
As can be expected, the service is solid. Friendly, direct, familiar. The clientele is equally comfortable: generally quiet, respectful (even on a weekend at 2 am), spending time with those they came with. Home.