Like the CGI monster-filled remake of How Green Was My Valley, STL Cinemas combine state-of-the-art technology with classic Hollywood aesthetics. Mainstream blockbusters and independent films happily rub silver-screen shoulders on each theater's marquee, while the retro lounges and concession stands serve enough beer, wine, and classy sweets to keep movie-goers sugar-buzzing—or just plain buzzing—through any double-feature. Voted Readers' Pick Movie Theatre by St. Louis Magazine readers, the Moolah Theatre's single screen is one of the biggest in town, and cinephiles can take their pick of 400 stadium seats, plush leather couches, or balcony seating. Chase Park Plaza Cinemas—nestled inside the Chase Park Plaza Hotel building—boasts five auditoriums with luxury seating. Granite City Cinemas is brand-new with all digital projection. And exposed beams and stage lighting add a vintage touch to Galleria 6's lobby, while its bar provides a lovely backdrop for post-film discussions, screenplay pitches, or outbursts of hard-boiled dialogue and artfully lit cigarette smoke.
When asked about their teaching qualifications, the instructors at Finney's HIT Squad—including Jesse Finney himself—all point to their win records. All of them have a competitive fighting history in their chosen disciplines, and several have earned championships or black belts. As full-time employees of the gyms, they school guests on MMA, kickboxing, boxing, Brazilian jujitsu, and wrestling. They also access their inside knowledge of the industry for fighter-development programs, which strive to transform beginners into professional combatants without stuffing them into hollowed-out punching-bag cocoons for 5 years. For amateurs and experts alike, they assert that "you fight how you train," and aim to simulate official rounds inside their onsite cages, boxing rings, and matted arenas. In 2011, their professional chops helped Finney's HIT Squad take the title of Best MMA Gym in the Riverfront Times Best of St Louis feature.
Despite their investment in competitions, however, the staffers view the two gyms as all-inclusive spaces. Whether they are instilling confidence in children through kids' jujitsu, orienting a new member to the fitness equipment, or leading a women-only martial-arts class, they mentor students of all backgrounds.
During her extensive dance training, K.I.S.S. Fitness Studio owner Kem Smith grooved alongside Zumba and pole fitness pioneers, mastering the steps that she now showcases for her own students. Offering simultaneous classes in three different studios, her staff covers everything from entrancing pole spins and belly dancing to gospel yoga, and strength training in the studio's rhythmic curriculum. Recently added amenities include spa services, such as eyebrow threading and lash extensions, as well as a café area. The studio also hosts private parties that impart empowering moves and help attendees break in high heels without resorting to foxy kickboxing.
At Crest Bowl, pins scatter across the gleaming hardwood of 32 bowling lanes equipped with up-to-date scoring equipment, lending a baritone rumble to a chorus of cheery shouts. Patrons lace up bowling shoes to improve smooth approaches and ward off sandal-model scouts. Mr. Karaoke conducts sing-alongs multiple nights a week, and cosmic bowling nights allow players to work toward a perfect game and experience the thrill of riding a comet amid upbeat music and the glow of laser lights. When three consecutive strikes put turkey on bowlers' minds, Brickhouse Pizza Company sates appetites with pizzas and sandwiches and fuels victory toasts with a full bar.
As they enter the training circuit at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby by trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. Thirty seconds is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
Part of a number of recent club renovations, a tranquil gazebo and 3,000-square-foot deck provide sweeping views of the rolling hills and verdant corridors of The Golf Club of Florissant's 18-hole course. The par 72 labyrinth takes golfers careening across 6,509 yards of dazzling woodland terrain that challenges competitors with fast, undulating greens, narrow fairways, and long blades of grass known for swallowing errant balls. Practice chipping and putting areas prepare clubbers for the fast-starting course, which front-loads its difficulty with the 420-yard, par 4 second, the course's most challenging hole. Recently constructed cart paths provide smooth, continuous passage throughout the course for golfers who opt to ride in a cart or complete the round atop a unicycle. A fully stocked pro shop and staff of professional instructors round out the club's refinements, and a recently refurbished clubhouse with a cozy, onsite restaurant offers a venue for repose and replenishment in moments not dominated by yelling "fore."Course at a Glance: