A mural of the St. Louis waterfront circa A Long Time Ago surrounds the bar of Al's Restaurant, located at First and Biddle streets, just north of Laclede's Landing. This room was designed to look like the deck of an old-time riverboat or a scene from the musical Show Boat
: The ceiling and columns are all Steamboat Captain Gingerbread; the chairs, Riverboat Gambler Victorian; the lighting is a dim, underlit blue, as if reflected off water; and there's a wooden plank connecting the bar to the restaurant when you decide to "go ashore." After a few cocktails here, you'll start hearing "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man," as if you were indeed docked aboard the Cotton Blossom
on our Muddy Mississip. Nothing's inexpensive at Al's, which requires "business casual" dress and suggests a jacket for men, so bring a thick wad of cash. Trust us: The stagey time-travel buzz is worth splurging a few extra bucks on your old-fashioned.