6300 Clayton Road, St. Louis, MO 63105
Tucked into an entryway wall of the venerable Cheshire Inn, the Fox & Hounds tavern has been everything an English hunting club should be for over 40 years: dark, opulent, smoky, and practically built out of leather. Flickering gaslights highlight stuffed game birds, gilt-framed portraits of Labradors and Setters, and Dick, the veteran pianist who plays four nights a week.
A thick oak bar covered with scenes from Dickens holds top-shelf scotches; beer is served by the half- or full-yard on request. The place is open Monday through Saturday, from 4 pm to 1:30 am and Dick plays till close Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Although it lacks a full service kitchen, bartenders can put together a meat and cheese platter.
Because it’s a hotel bar, the Fox & Hounds gets a decent amount of transient traffic; Cheshire guests can ruin the place coming downstairs for a nightcap in their sweats and t-shirts. Generally, though, it’s a pleasant scene: dim, quiet and relaxing. A pair of overstuffed armchairs sits by the fieldstone hearth (there’s always a fire during the winter) and the rest of the décor is similarly rustic English country manor: scarred oak end tables, faded carpets on the pitted wood floors, tall brass ashtrays (the Fox & Hounds always smells like a cigar, even when nobody’s smoking. The bar sells a small selection of cigars).
Julie Schwartz of AOL and DigitalCity.com wrote of the tavern:
“On cold, winter nights, the old tavern is especially cozy, with a roaring fire crackling in the fireplace that sends light flickering across the paintings of Bloodhounds and English Setters gracing the wood-beamed walls. No matter the season, however, the cozy English pub is always a friendly place to drink a pint and shoot the breeze with good friends and perfect strangers. It’s no wonder, then, that the Fox and Hounds has become a favorite stomping grounds and a romantic getaway for generations of St. Louisans.”