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In a town with as many blues enthusiasts as St. Louis, the question of which blues club is best can be a topic of spirited discussion. BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups inhabits a historic brick buildings that oozes atmosphere, and it offers a first-rate selection of local and touring performers. BB's features a varied schedule of musical acts, a large year-round seating capacity and full-service kitchen specializing in Cajun and Creole food, in addition to a selection of American bar food.
The Hideaway lives up to its name. Tucked away just off the corner of Hampton and Arsenal in south city, the low-lit piano bar is brimming with a nostalgic glow and anonymous charm. Patrons young and old alike can enjoy a chest warming cocktail on a brisk winter evening and soak in the ambiance as lounge singers croon melodramatic melodies while twinkling the ivories.
For an experience like any other, keep your eyes peeled for concerts that pop up at Joe's Cafe. Only open occasionally for special events, the unique space features an amalgam of vintage signage, trinkets and an small intimate stage surrounded by small tables. Climb up a ladder to find yourself watching the show from a birdseye balcony view, and retreat to the corner bar for a drink. Before and after the event, wander the backyard to find sculptures and a maze of welded amazements to explore.
The Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center on the UMSL campus in north county hosts some of the best theater, performing arts events, live music and much more in St. Louis.
Built by Adolphus Busch around 1914, this magnificent example of the beer-baron-bravado style of architecture now features competent lighter, updated versions of classic German cooking mixed in with basic steaks and seafood, along with a quintessential apple strudel for dessert.
Late-night dining destination Uncle Bill's (open 24/7) provides night owls with perennial breakfast/diner favorites, including omelets, biscuits and gravy, and, of course, plenty of pancakes. Specials include the 2 x 2 x 2 x 2, which fills a plate with two eggs, two pancakes, two bacon strips and two sausage links. If that won't fill you up, go for the Supreme 2 x 2 x 2 x 2, which adds hash browns to the mix. Always crowded on weekend nights.
"Eat Rite or Don't Eat At All." So it says on the coffee cups (and the souvenir T-shirts) at this no-frills 24-hour greasy spoon amid the industrial wasteland between downtown and Soulard. Folks come from miles around to fill up on the breakfast-and-burgers menu: bar-hoppers and club kids finally coming down from their late-night-into-early-morning highs; factory workers and blue-collars getting off graveyard shifts; curious newcomers who've heard about the bizarro vibe that pervades these cramped counter-only environs. To call the food at Eat-Rite cheap is an understatement -- six burgers (real-size, not White Castle-size) run $4.50. And many swear by the Eat-Rite's redoubtable slinger (for the uninitiated, that'd be fried eggs, hash browns and a burger patty, avec chili).
You wouldn't expect an unassuming, squat building on the commercial Hampton strip to be the flashiest bar in St. Louis, but it is. With dozens of sparkling disco balls, mirrored walls and a glitter-inlaid bar top, it's like the lovechild of a strip club and a disco roller rink, but one where karaoke is king. There's a feeling that what happens in this sparkling paradise stays here. The drinks aren't cheap, but the mixed ones are so strong that just one or two will have you crooning "I Want to Know What Love Is" in no time.
If there isn't a shrine to the deep fryer, there ought to be - and Porter's is the ideal location. The fried chicken might not receive as much buzz as other St. Louis institutions', but that's only because people are too busy eating it to talk about it. The breading is crisp, the meat is tender, and both are flavorful. The spicy breading packs a definite punch - but allow an extra ten to fifteen minutes for the kitchen to prepare it. The menu also includes seafood (cod, catfish, shrimp), burgers and a slew of sides.
Gianino's on South Lindbergh Boulevard, near Watson Road, offers traditional St. Louis Italian food well south of the Hill. Known for their toasted ravioli, Gianino's large menu includes several other appetizers, entrées, pastas and pizzas. Dinners can start with toasted cannelloni or melanzane fritte (fried eggplant). Entrées include chicken Marsala, Parmigiano and Gianino, a charbroiled breast served under a white-wine, lemon, garlic-and-butter sauce, with Provel, broccoli and mushrooms. Pastas, with red or white sauces, such as baked lasagna, tortellini and linguine with clams, are also available. Gianino's also offers familiar, St. Louis-style pizzas. Patrons can choose their own toppings or select from a list of specialties, such as the Cajun shrimp, chicken fajita or "Joyce's hot and spicy," a pie covered with beef, jalapeños, onions, lettuce and tomatoes. Gianino's has ample dining-room seating and an outdoor patio.
Home of the original chicken sandwich--not to mention nuggets, strips, and those illustrious waffle fries, plus lemonade made from actual lemons--Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A found itself mired in controversy in early 2012 when company president Dan Cathy publicly shared his views against gay marriage. LGBT groups revolted and the media had a field day, with activists staging same-sex kissing demonstrations inside the restaurant and thousands of customers vowing to boycott the chicken chain. But ultimately the brouhaha doesn't seem to have hurt business; loyal fans are still packing the St. Louis drive-thru daily to be served by the most polite employees in the fast food world, who without fail refill drinks with a simple "My pleasure." Chick-fil-A's just a click away on Voice Places.
Henry Shaw gave the citizens of St. Louis the grand pleasure park, known as Tower Grove Park, in 1868. The park is home to softball, soccer, tennis, corkball and frisbee games, as well as to the strollers, joggers and picnickers who revel in the fanciful Victorian pavilions and sculptures Shaw commissioned -- and in the more than 8,000 trees and shrubs he imported from around the world.
Tapas has been all the rage for a while now, and that's fine by us, just as long as Joyia keeps serving small plates of Mediterranean-inspired cuisine -- Middle Eastern and Northern African as well as southern European. The sprawling menu includes familiar dishes (hummus, gyros, meat and seafood kebabs), as well as more ambitious fare, like the lamb tagine, with the meat, apricot and orange rind in a broth perfumed with saffron, or try the chorizo rollos: miniature burritos with sausage, bean, onion and more wrapped in phyllo. Tapas implies small plates, but many of the dishes are large enough to share...yeah, that's crazy. We wouldn't share, either.
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