The 12th & Park Recreation Center is a great facility in a great location. An indoor swimming pool, gymnasium, weight room and boxing gym accompany outdoor basketball courts and sports fields just south of downtown - all free of charge. All it takes is a basic registration and you can play basketball on courts that won RFT’s “Best of St. Louis” award in 2009, or spar in 2008’s best boxing gym. You can pump iron day and night if that’s your thing, or take a water aerobics class in the morning. Since the '70s, this versatile facility has kept innumerable children and adults entertained. Currently, a local charter school holds recess at the center, and various after-school programs keep children busy in the afternoon. Adult class offerings vary by season, but the weight room is available as long as the center is open.
In the heart of Soulard, 1860 Saloon serves up traditional bar food for Mardi Gras revelers and everyday visitors alike. Expect oysters, wings and fries for apps, while meals consist of catfish po' boys, pizzas and burgers. Like many Soulard-area restaurants, 1860 offers a shuttle to Rams, Cardinals and Blues games. You can enjoy live music every night in the front room, bar games like foosball and pool in the rec room, and all the way at the end of the house, there's a third room, replete with a full bar, ample seating, and a happily glowing fish tank.
A charming deli on the corner of Soulard's lovely, peaceful Pontiac Park. While there are a few "standard" sandwiches -- a meatball sub with Provel and marinara sauce, the "St. Louisan" (mortadella, capocolla, salami, ham and Provel) -- most are a step above basic deli fare. The "Cajun B.L.T." features very thick, smoky bacon, while the baked mortadella sandwich is a surprisingly happy marriage of mortadella, capocolla, Provel and a relish of artichoke, black olive and tomato. Co-owner Mike Risk (a veteran of Trattoria Marcella) researched cheesesteaks on a trip to Philadelphia, and his delightful rendition is as close to the real thing as you can find in St. Louis.
Located right at Gravois Avenue, just south of Russell Boulevard, near I-55, A-1 Wok is a stand-alone Chinese takeout spot in south St. Louis. Diners place their to-go orders, or pick up their carryout, at the counter. A-1 has a few chairs and benches for waiting but no real dining area. Menu options include St. Paul sandwiches, chop suey, chow mein and numerous combination plates. Specialties include Mongolian beef, hot braised chicken and shrimp with lobster sauce. A-1 does have a parking lot adjacent to the building, and a small surcharge on credit cards.
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