St. Joseph, Missouri

The Whole Craft Scene

A walk through St. Joseph’s craft cocktails, beer, wine lists and locally made goods

If your vacations are anything like mine and my wife’s, you understand the uncontrollable urge to search out the most local, true-to-place cuisine, libations and goods every city has to offer. The truth we’ve come to find out on our adventures is that the cuisine side of that equation often takes the spotlight. It’s the Cacio e Peppe and not the Aperol Spritz, the picture and not the one-of-a-kind journal you tape it in, the New York Strip and not the Manhattan that takes center stage. Don’t get me wrong, it was tempting for our trip through St. Joseph, Missouri, to follow the same blocking cues. But, as is often true in cinema and theater, the supporting cast can make a piece a true masterpiece.

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First Things First…Coffee

The only reason breakfast is the most important meal of the day is because it’s the one served with coffee. Can I get an “amen”? I cannot imagine starting any day (let alone a day filled with adventure) without a cup of coffee. Fortunately, The Reverie Coffeehouse doesn’t just serve coffee; they serve a wide selection of flavored mochas and lattes. The non-coffee drinker is also welcome, thanks to an impressive variety of smoothies and shakes ranging from the healthy to the indulgent. Whatever your St. Jo day holds, be it a bike ride or a tour through the historic sites, Pony Espresso is a must first stop, or a refreshing second stop. 

For those, like myself, who enjoy a coffee served in its purest, most unadulterated form, Mokaska may become your go-to spot during your time in St. Jo. Mokaska is cut from the same third-wave coffee attire that cities like Portland and Austin have clothed themselves in, but they serve up their life-giving, expertly executed drinks with the warm midwest smile such cities could only hope for. Chances are good that you’ll want to bring Mokaska home with you, and with their selection of bagged coffee beans, you’ll be able to.

Nesting Goods
The Unique Unicorn

Craft and Decor Galore

I travel for food, my wife Maggie travels for little treasures she can implement into our decor back home that will remind her of our adventures throughout our daily lives. Needless to say, she could have gotten carried away with all of the tastefully curated shops around St. Joseph. Nesting Goods and Bee and Thistle pulled her in, and threatened to never let her go. She was in heaven with all of the locally made pieces, jewelry, textiles and home decor elements she found at both spaces.

Along with home decor, Maggie loves buying house plants, so we were fortunate to be in St. Jo on a Saturday when The Unique Unicorn plant shop was open. Their plants looked happy and well taken care of compared to the rows of beaten and battered offerings at big box store gardening centers. 

While our drawers are filled with blank Thank You and general Happy Birthday cards from Trader Joe’s in case we need a last-minute card, we always love finding beautifully designed cards for specific occasions we know we’ll want to mark with something special. Manic Snail had unique greeting cards and so much more. You could, and we did, get lost looking through their journals, fun oddities, books and paper goods.

Note to self…bring a larger bag the next time we travel to St. Joseph.

Storied Libations

The Angry Swede is well worth the trip alone, with its stunning location inside a historic building, a far departure from the normal warehouse district or shipping container breweries that have become so commonplace, but the fact that they have a speakeasy located down a spiral staircase in the basement is just icing on the cake. 

The Angry Swede
Tiger's Den
Felix Street Gourmet

The familiar tinny clatter of a cocktail shaker being strained into a coup, the flash of expressed citrus oil being lit over top, the hushed excitement of a patron being slid their drink…we knew The Tiger’s Den was our kind of place before the bartender ever passed us a menu. The Tiger’s Den feels more like a small bookshop than a mixology bar; a fact that became even more apparent when we purveyed the menu to find an entire section filled with book-themed cocktails. Maggie and I found two drinks that aligned with our taste in literature, sat back, and enjoyed them in giddy excitement as we discussed how amusing it was that our taste in books matched our taste in cocktails. 

People say that a book can take you around the world and back. It’s true, but so can wine, and St. Jo is ready to stamp your passport with Felix Street Gourmet. Best of all, Felix Street Gourmet doesn’t just serve up states of their own local wine, but a full menu of tasting options from classic wine regions the world around, alongside meat and cheese boards that would feel right at place in any big-city wine bar. Their section is astounding, and very well laid out for those who may not be knocking on the door of the Courts of Master Sommeliers but still enjoy the world of wine.

Refocus To Appreciate More

There are plenty of reasons you’ll enjoy a trip to or through St. Joseph, but let this be your friendly reminder to slow down and enjoy the experiences that sit at the top right (or left) of your breakfast, lunch, or dinner plate. Take an extra moment to stop in a small shop and appreciate just how much talent and artistry you can find in every corner of this country. There are treasures all around you.