Is it possible for a hotel restaurant and bar to be a comfortable, swanky and even sexy place to get a drink? That is just one of the questions Brad Beracha has successfully answered in the affirmative with the opening of his BaiKu Sushi Lounge in the lobby of the Hotel Ignacio in Midtown. BaiKu is a place where you can get a glass of handcrafted sake, a local beer or an excellent glass of wine in an environment that is aptly described by the aforementioned adjectives. In other words, it is far from the sushi joints serving all-you-can-eat rolls and sake bombs to coeds in other parts of town.

The first thing fans of boutique sake will notice is the quality of the selection. Beracha and business partner Steve Smith (of Triumph Grill and Dooley’s Beef N Brew House fame) enlisted the help of Monica Samuels, the first graduate of the Master of Sake program in the U.S., to offer a sake list way beyond the options of “chilled” or “warmed” found in so many sushi restaurants. With names like Wandering Poet, Tears of Dawn and Bride of the Fox, the list is accessible to those who seek great sake with personality.

The beer list is a good mix of micro and macrobrews, with local favorites from Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. and Civil Life Brewing Co., and includes a rarity in Kirin Ichiban available on draft. The wine list shows the same selective care as the sake, with a majority of the choices being domestic, but with just enough foreign options to add some spice. Speaking of spice, the talented kitchen makes sushi, noodles and Pacific Rim-inspired delicacies that are just as comfortable, swanky, and even sexy, as what’s served behind the bar.

BaiKu Sushi Lounge, 3407 Olive St., Midtown, St. Louis, Missouri, 314.896.2500,


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