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The Copa Cabana Lounge

North St. Louis bars that don't scare the soup out of Caucasian folks are often described as "diamonds in the rough." Unintended or otherwise, this label is somewhat condescending. To the black folk who live in the north side's Fairground Park neighborhood, their bars are shimmering jewels -- sans the long grass -- and none is as alluring as the Copa Cabana on Lee Avenue. First of all, the bar's moniker ensures a measure of class. If Barry Manilow were black, this is where he'd play between arena gigs. Hell, in light of the accommodating nature of the regulars, Manilow the honky might feel just as welcome. More important, the bartenders here don't diddle around. The drinks are stiff, and the patrons dwell easy. If buttery nipples and amateurs are what you seek, get thee to the Landing, and leave the Copa to the pros.

 
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