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Riverport's self-proclaimed "largest dining and entertainment extravaganza in Missouri" is like Chuck E. Cheese on growth hormones. On weekends, a tram service takes you from the vast parking lot to a structure so big they give you a map in the lobby. Inside, the place throbs like a hangover after a three-day debauch in Vegas. Dinner in the Grand Dining Room -- a posh enclave richly appointed with Tiffanyesque fixtures, dark wood and white linen -- exceeds expectations: The charbroiled sirloin is good and garlicky, and the barbecued pork ribs are wonderful.
Around 1 p.m. on any given weekday, there are approximately 90 men and two women having lunch at DB's. Since this bar calls a self-effacing little brick building on a stretch of throwaway, near-abandoned street home -- meaning most patrons consider DB's a dining destination -- this ranks as a small phenomenon. But DB's gives its clientele what it wants. A TV set in every corner blares 24-hour sports programming, while waitresses swan around in teeny T's or outfits that require multiple modifiers: itsy-bitsy, neon-pink, strapless, Lycra. Weekend nights find DB's with a boisterous crowd and the ladies clad in naught but lacy underthings—it's as close as you'll get to a skin show on this side of the river. The menu is mostly straight-up bar food -- including DB's Famous, an open-faced sandwich made with melted Provel and ham atop French bread that's actually quite tasty. Surprisingly, there's also a touch of the down-home, thanks to daily, blue-plate-style specials like meat loaf, lasagna or roast beef. What, no breast of chicken?
The Dubliner brings an authentic Irish pub experience to Washington Avenue, with one catch: it's too big and too loft-like to pass for the real thing, but those in the mood for a pint of Guinness and a bit of craic won't mind. The menu offers hearty traditional fare, much of it sourced from local farms: beef short ribs braised in stout, a Guinness stew, lamb, fish and chips - and lots and lots of potatoes. Stop in for brunch and enjoy an authentic Irish breakfast, with homemade blood sausage. If restaurant partner Eddie Neill is on the premises, he will greet you enthusiastically with open arms. And to top it off, a few of Eddie's favorite French wines were recommended to pair with our plate.
With karaoke on Friday and Saturday nights, Dylan's gets so packed, it's almost hard to maneuver around all the elated people in the room. Although throughout the week Dylan's sees a variety of different people, the weekends belong to tipsy twenty-somethings screaming along to N'Sync's "Bye Bye Bye." Even when it's crowded, Dylan's has a friendly, welcoming vibe; the staff seems to enjoy being here people-watching just as much as their patrons. Dylan's offers 22 brands of beer and happy hour on weekdays from 4-7 p.m., with cheap appetizers and buckets of beer for $13.50. Because there is a separate non-smoking section attached to the main room, Dylan's is continuing to allow smoking, even with the county's new ban.
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