For years, St. Louisans have recognized Balaban’s as one of the top-tier wine programs around. Last year, the Chesterfield restaurant and wine shop received honors that go far beyond the Gateway City. The British quarterly The World of Fine Wine named Balaban’s one of the World’s Best Wine Lists, an award shared by only 300 other restaurants worldwide. It’s a prestigious honor based on the impressive breadth of the offerings, but don’t let this intimidate you. Balaban’s may have its fair share of rare and expensive bottles, but it also boasts a wide-ranging selection and knowledgeable staff that can guide even the most cost-conscious or inexperienced wine-drinker in the right direction. Even better, Balaban’s sells its wines at retail, not restaurant prices — anything purchased on the retail side can be enjoyed in the dining room for a mere $8 corkage fee. With such an impressive selection and great value, how can you say no to another bottle? Photo by Jennifer Silverberg.