ST. LOUIS — Even if there wasn't a sign out front that said Budweiser Brew House, you'd know it by the many clues inside the Ballpark Village restaurant: Look up from the circular main bar at the entrance and you'll see a mammoth wagon wheel on the ceiling. Crushed glass from beer bottles covers a mosaic bar wall. Iconic gold crowns dot the ceiling in the VIP lounge on the second floor. Tall curved booths by the DJ stand upstairs look like giant beer barrels when pushed together.
And you know that thirsty stone fox holding a stein that perches on an Anheuser-Busch Brewery building at Broadway and Arsenal? His gilded cousin has found a home at the 26,000-square-foot, multilevel restaurant in Ballpark Village.
On a non-game day, lunchtime hometowners and tourists seemed just as fascinated by the menu as they were by the chance to revel in baseball and Bud.
"I mean, really, who'd have thought we'd finally get this here," said St. Louisan Bill Wojnick of the complex that houses everything from live broadcasting by Fox Sports to rooftop game-watching.
The businessman who works nearby was on his way out the door after having lunch with co-workers. "I'd tried the brisket (sandwich) before and it was excellent. This time, it was the reuben with turkey."
Did he tap into the tap wall, where adults can sample a variety of A-B products?
"Nope. Gotta go back to work, so no beer today," he said. "There will be all summer for that!"
The 21-foot-long Wall of Beer lets customers swipe a prepaid card and choose from a variety of A-B brews, said A-B marketing manager Amy Holthaus. Altogether, there are 11 bars within the Brew House and 239 taps that will pour everything from Bud Light ($2.25 and up) to Stella Artois Cidre ($2.75 and up).
"We also have ambassadors who can help people choose the right beer, or what beer to order with what food," Amy said.
Among 62 menu items is the Slow-Roasted Brisket sandwich ($11.95), which comes with grilled onions and barbecue sauce on a hoagie. It's served with au jus and burnt-end baked beans. The Turkey Reuben ($9.95) is shaved turkey with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing on marbled rye, served with German potato salad.
Other choices include St. Louis Ribs ($19.95), Spicy Lobster Street Tacos ($9.50), seven kinds of burgers, five pastas, five big salads, at least six seafood dishes and desserts like gooey butter cake ($5.95).
On the main level is a stage area, with live entertainment expected in the near future. The rooftop deck has a view of Busch Stadium and offers lounge and bar seating to watch the game. Access on game days is with non-reserved tickes ($5 and up) available through the St. Louis Cardinals. A limited menu is available on the rooftop. On non-game days, visiting the rooftop is free. (It also is available for rental.)
Michelle and Ted Finas, of Wheaton, were in town to visit family in Kirkwood, Mo.
"We got here before my brother," said Michelle of seeing Ballpark Village and eating at the Brew House. "We're going to bring them all here on Saturday to watch the Cubs (away) game and eat lunch. I hate to admit it, but there's nothing like this in Chicago."
Budweiser Brew House
What: Restaurant on three floors, as well as an outdoor beer garden and a rooftop deck with a view into Busch Stadium.
Where: 601 Clark Ave., St. Louis. Inside Ballpark Village next to Busch Stadium.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. daily
Information: 314-241-5575. Brew House Deck tickets for Cardinal games go on sale one month before game. Purchase through the St. Louis Cardinals.
Other food and drink establishments in Ballpark Village (stlballparkvillage.com for hours, which vary on game days):
Tengo Hambre and Tengo Sed: These two walk-up stands (each with limited seating) are located in opposite corners of the larger Fox Sports Midwest Live! venue. Tengo Hambre ("I'm hungry") offers a brief selection of Mexican and Tex-Mex favorites, while Tengo Sed ("I'm thirsty") slings margaritas.
Cardinals Nation in Ballpark Village: Includes a two-story restaurant, the Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum, and the AT&T Rooftop.
Drunken Fish: The fourth St. Louis location of this sushi restaurant stands at Ballpark Village's northeast corner.
Howl at the Moon Dueling Piano Bar: Party anthems and dance hits performed on guitars, drums, and more. Entertainers take the stage two to five at a time nightly. The 5,000-square-foot venue features modern saloon style decor, high-top tables and a center bar with TVs and 8 Draft taps.
PBR St. Louis/The Barn: Features a large dance floor, a lounge area, private outdoor balconies, multiple bars and a mechanical bull. The Barn is a live music venue inside the country bar.
The Lounge at FOX Sports Midwest Live!: A private rental space for cocktail parties or to watch a game. The space has lounge seating, personal hostesses and private bar areas.
The Skybox: Located on the second floor, will offer panoramic views of all the action at FOX Sports Midwest Live! Features a 75-foot bar and lounge seating.