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River City Casino

As anybody who has been to Vegas has learned, a casino isn't just about gambling. OK, that's a large part of it, but while you gulp down drinks and ogle cocktail waitresses and lose your money, something else is going on. You're being transported to another place and time, to Paris, to Venice, to ancient Egypt! River City Casino is the first gambling hall to bring this concept to our own, uh, river city. And what's the most logical theme for a St. Louis casino? The 1904 World's Fair, of course! Who wouldn't want to pretend they're in St. Louis in the most happening year of its existence? (That question was purely rhetorical, by the way.) River City is full of charming fin de siècle touches: elaborate crystal chandeliers, hostesses in ruffled dresses (though much shorter and lower-cut than would be historically accurate, wethinks) and big, fat, juicy steaks at Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse (some of the best in town!). There are also smoke-filled rooms — and not only to faithfully re-create the way politics was done back in 1904 — but because River City has only been open since March, the eau de ashtray hasn't had a chance to seep into the carpets and furnishings, and the place still looks like it just popped out of a bandbox, much as the city did back in 1904.

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