About Us

The Libertine is a place dedicated to the honest experience of a great meal.

When you come to The Libertine we hope you can spend some time with us and experience what’s inspiring us that day as we deliver the things we’re most passionate about. We hope you come with a curious spirit ready to experience what our version of a neighborhood eatery is all about.


Helmed by proprietors Nick & Audra Luedde The Libertine is a re-imagined neighborhood eatery that serves accesible yet ingredient driven food to the surrounding community and beyond. Chef Matt Bessler backed by an All-Star culinary team displays his culinary acumen with offerings dedicated to the bounty available to him throughout the Midwest  — Bread is baked daily, desserts are homemade and there are always new and rousing creations on the menu. 

The wine list features a diverse selection of small production & boutique wines with an emphasis on sustainable & bio-dynamic farming practices. With creativity, quality and affordability as hallmarks, the ever changing wine list is a proverbial playground for the novice and the expert alike.

At The Libertine beer receives its respect due. The team at the Libertine have selected a myriad of seasonally changing unique craft ales and brews representing different brewing styles from St. Louis and the globe over. At The Libertine, a brew isn’t just a brew, it’s an experience.

The cocktail menu at The Libertine returns one back to the very roots of what it once meant to enjoy a truly great drink. With an extensive & meticulously stocked bar, The Libertine’s offerings are anything but typical. Barkeep extraordinaire Ben Bauer has crafted a menu comprised of modernized parlor cocktails prepared completely from scratch. Taking pride in the creation of a cocktail menu filled with fresh ingredients sourced from local farmers, housemade cordials, bitters, and tinctures, and freshly squeezed nectars all prepared with the whimsy and precision required to hearken one back to those times of yesteryear when merrymaking was more than just a drink, it was an art form.


In essence, The Libertine exists as a union of all that one loves about their favorite watering hole: ease, warmth & simplicity; with a focus on the reasons one loves to eat in great restaurants – creativity, quality & flavor. 

Evoking a way of life centered on seasonality and the grand traditions of St. Louis life —The Libertine is a neighborhood gathering place for family, friends, and friends-to-be. The Libertine’s inventive yet approachable dining menu, the from scratch cocktails, craft ales & extensive wine selection all exist as a beautiful expression of The Libertine Team’s vast experience practiced throughout Chicago, New York & St. Louis in delivering the guest a comfortable, yet unforgettable dining experience.


Nick LueddeNICK LUEDDE  | PROPRIETOR Nick Luedde is a native of St. Louis, Missouri (He went to Kirkwood High School if you were wondering) and is a veteran Sommelier, Beverage Director, General Manager and Director of Operations of award winning restaurants and bars throughout Chicago, St. Louis and New York City for over 20 years. Luedde, a published author and poet, found a second calling as a restaurateur establishing his one-of-a-kind way at some of  the nations most exclusive restaurants and bars, becoming a fixture in Chicago and the national culinary & bar scene at large. Luedde’s passion, creativity and commitment continue today. Nick is back home in St. Louis, Missouri with his best friend, partner and loving wife Audra, his son Miles (with another little one on the way) at the helm of The Libertine.

Audra LueddeAUDRA LUEDDE  PROPRIETOR Hailing from farm country in Central Illinois, Audra grew up in a large family where the culture of food and drink was a staple in and of itself. It was because of this large family, and the characters and appetites that come with it, that Audra first fell in love with the lush simplicity that is great cooking, with of course a little help from her grandmother’s Lola and Anne along the way. Audra, upon attending Illinois State University, found her way to Chicago, where she began her career first as a bartender and later sommelier in some of the Windy City’s most prestigious wine bars and lounges—still as much as Audra loved wine she still found herself longing nostalgic about those days back home in her Grandmother’s kitchen, watching her large family devour those home cooked meals.

This longing soon got the best of her and before too long Audra found herself graduating as a Master Chef from the nationally acclaimed Kendall College for the culinary arts, working alongside her husband at the award winning The Tasting Room in Chicago. Today, after traveling the world and several restaurants later, Audra’s culinary adventure has brought her to the helm of The Libertine in St. Louis, Missouri. It’s here that Audra enjoys the opportunity to share with her guests that same lush simple food that she fell in love with as a girl, and maybe just one or two of those tricks she learned from her grandmother’s along the way

RFT_GutCheck__MattBessler_20150628_ByMabelSuen_001MATT BESSLER   |  EXECUTIVE CHEF

The Libertine’s Executive Chef Matt Bessler is a St. Louisan through and through. As early as Matt can remember while growing up in Kirkwood, MO. watching and learning what cooking great food really is from his Mother Matt has known feeding his fellow St. Louisans was what he was going to do. He began his culinary career in, of all places, a test kitchen for Darden Restaurant Group. It was while there Matt for the first time found himself working with wood burning ovens, handmade pastas and from scratch sauces. From this point forward Matt was hooked – If you were looking for Matt, all you had to do was peek your head into his kitchen or sneak out back into his garden and there you’d find him. In 2000 Chef Bessler’s culinary career truly began to take shape when over a stout at Schlafly’s tap room he decided to take a shot that they might need some help in the kitchen. It turned out they did.  Matt worked his way up quickly from his first job there as a Prep Cook to Sous Chef and before long Matt found himself sitting as the Executive Chef of Schlafly Bottleworks. It was while there that Matt was able to bring his unique talents of Farm to Table cooking to St. Louis. While with Schlafly, Matt was instrumental in the creation one of the nation’s first Green dining alliances, the implementation of St. Louis’s largest recycling and composting program and oversaw production at Schlafly’s massive urban garden all the while managing to make hundreds of irreplaceable relationships with some of the nation’s best farmers both local and abroad. Today, if you’re looking, you can still find Chef Matt Bessler cooking for St. Louisans…. only now it’s in The Libertine’s critically acclaimed kitchen where Matt expresses his own unique vision of Midwestern Cuisine.



The Libertine resident Beverage Guru & Mad Scientist, Ben Bauer was born, raised and resides  in the Midwest but he finds himself at home anywhere there is an open seat  and a shot of Fernet. For Ben the restaurant & bar industry is not a job – it’s a lifestyle and in what little free time he chooses to spend outside of The Libertine, Ben likes to research new drink ideas, perfect his bar techniques, or go explore what other bars & restaurants have to offer. Ben originally found himself at the Libertine with its opening in May 2013 and is excited to now hold the  position of Beverage Director. Ben’s likes: Mezcal, Bow Ties, Ramen, Greywolfe, Jeffery Morganthaler & The Royal Tennenbaums.  Ben’s dislikes: Drinking Straight from the carton, Wearing grey with navy &  That rustling sound his cat makes when it licks plastic bags.



 Ocean Alexander has a passion for connecting with people by creating environments that allow friends,  family and industry do what they do best – engage each other through great food and drink. A 20 year veteran  of the Hospitality industry, Ocean is also the founder and Curator of the Vanguard Cocktail Arts Festival, as  well as developing events that mingle the Culinary, Cocktail and Fine Arts worlds in Saint Louis.



Media Contacts

NICK LUEDDE nick@libertinestl.com