OK, Paul... here's a place in St Louis touting itself as an absinthe bar.
http://www.absinthe-places.com/places/a ... ar-at-lola
They have several brands, most of which are crap... hopefully their bartenders are more informed about absinthe than the guy who buys their inventory.
Infused flavors. Avoid like the plague.
NV Absinthe. This is a liquer flavored with anis. Not even real stuff.
Mata Hari. Comes in a screw-top bottle rather than corked. 'Nuff said. Likely to make you swear off the stuff after one sip.
Le Torment Vert. Seriously nasty stuff. Seriously.
Absente. At least this is real absinthe, but it's artificially colored and weak.
Pernod. Some bars mistakenly serve regular Pernod instead of Pernod absinthe. The bottles are almost identical. Considering the crap lineup of brands on this list so far, I wouldn't trust them.
La Fee. Another artificially colored one, this one is neon green. I will admit that I rather like this one, though. Good "starter" absinthe.
Lucid. Another good starter. Nothing wrong with it, but nothing spectacular, either.
Grande Absente. This was my first brand. Artificially colored and STRONG. I liked it then, but since my palate has matured, I can't drink the stuff now.
All of the above is rather depressing for a bar that touts itself as an "absinthe bar." However, they completely redeem themselves with their last one:
St George Verte. This is my favorite absinthe out of the 17 brands I've tried so far. It's complex, potent, and a bit eccentric. I would suggest starting with Lucid to give you a good sense of what a "normal" absinthe tastes like and then have a St George to see where it can go in the hands of a skilled distiller with a good imagination.