Five liquored-up dishes to satisfy your inner lush in St. Louis

To take on St. Louis' bar scene and keep up with the locals, you need to power up for the night ahead. That means doing some serious carb-loading to soak up all the booze coming at you from every direction.

The best way to prep? Dive in to a mind-blowing meal spiked with your favorite libations, cooked up by culinary geniuses who know comfort food and the hard stuff go hand in hand. So eat up, drink up and raise your glass to some of the best drunken dishes here in the Lou.

The Beer Bread or Beer-Steamed Mussels at The Schlafly Tap Room

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St. Louis' first post-Prohibition brewpub offers up one of my all-time favorite appetizers: pale ale beer bread. Served with a blue cheese spread, this warm, nutty bread smells like a brewery and tastes like heaven. It's the perfect accompaniment to Schlafly's beer-steamed mussels, little nuggets of seaside joy treated to a sauna of Kölsch, bacon and herbs so every slurp is infused with deep flavor.

Lamb Shank Poutine at Square One Brewery and Distillery
Square One goes and gets their fish and beef all boozed up by curing their salmon in gin before loading it on crostini and braising their pot roast in Irish or maple stout. But one standout tipsy dish is their Lamb Shank Poutine. Lamb shanks are braised in beer to create an intoxicated gravy that's poured over hand-cut French fries and locally-produced Marcoot Creamery cheese curds for pure happiness, layer after delicious layer.

Blinchiki at HandleBar
At this neighborhood pub in The Grove, the chefs celebrate the flavors of Russia throughout their eclectic menu. A delicious way to taste a little history is with HandleBar's blinchiki, or Russian pancakes. Two crepes are beer-battered and then wrapped around your choice of filling combination. To capture that subtle ale snap in every bite, go for the pork option, which includes caramelized onions, sauerkraut and apple, and is topped with beer caramel.

Guinness Stew at John D. McGurk's

When you're craving a stick-to-your-ribs stew, no one does it better than this Irish-inspired institution in the heart of Soulard. McGurk's braises beef tips in Guinness stout and slow cooks it with chunks of potatoes and carrots and a smattering of herbs. It's then ladled into a sourdough bread bowl so all that goodness can soak into every nook and cranny. This is meat and potatoes at its finest, especially when accompanied with a pint of its namesake.

Ale-Battered Fish & Chips, Trailhead Brewing Company
Set along the Missouri River in Old Town St. Charles, Trailhead is your outpost for relaxation and inebriation after exploring the grounds where Lewis and Clark themselves downed a jug or two. Grab one of Trailhead's hand-crafted beers and dig in to their blond ale-battered cod, deep fried and served up with French fries and cole slaw. Sandwich lovers can get in the game by asking for the fish on a hoagie roll.

Nicole Plegge is a freelance writer and pop culture aficionado based in St. Louis. While she's busy writing for a variety of websites, magazines and blogs, she still can't get over never being able to attend the Eastland School for Girls.