The Way Out Club could easily win in other, more music-oriented categories, as it did last year, when we deemed it Best Rock & Roll Bar. Indeed, the beloved saloon has live music almost every night, an impressive percentage of which is good to great. But we love the Way Out for other reasons, primarily aesthetic ones. Simply put, it's just so damned pretty, with its high ceilings, its dim green glow, its magnificent oak bar. It's located in a fairly tough neighborhood -- choose your parking spot wisely! -- but that's a minor point, one that in no way detracts from the Way Out's considerable appeal. The vintage booths are attractive and comfortable, the help is amusing and the sound is getting better all the time. Plus, if you get restless, you can always examine the fascinating stuff on the walls, a testament to the wonderfully esoteric, unselfconsciously hip tastes of owners Bob Putnam and Sherri Lucas. Out-of-towners never cease to marvel over how cool, how uniquely beautiful this place is, and discriminating St. Louis natives agree. The Way Out is not just a great local nightspot; it's an American treasure.