The Blue Bull is a new spot that serves up savory American fare and cocktails in a lively atmosphere. Lavish taste buds with signature burgers like the Blue Bull Burger, its fresh hand-pattied ground beef draped in blue cheese and topped off with crispy smoked bacon and onion tanglers ($8.99). Or take on the Kansas City strip steak, served with Texas Toast and a half-pound of fries ($7.99). Their martini list bursts with tasty concoctions like Bubblegum and Jungle Boogie for sipping at their comfy outdoor patio, or while various foreign and domestic beers act as thoughtful gifts to recently undammed mouths.
Freezing Missouri winter winds howl outside Tropical Liqueurs' fogged-up windows, but inside, the atmosphere is decidedly beach-like. Palm trees and nautical knickknacks decorate the lively interior, but the true stars of this tropically themed watering hole are the frozen-drink dispensers, which churn with colorful, fruity potations. Bartenders load large styrofoam cups with potent slushies made from creative combinations of juices, liqueurs, and fruit purées. They rotate drink selections regularly, spotlighting a toasted-almond concoction one week—packed with coffee liquor, amaretto, and vanilla ice cream—and a daiquiri with fresh strawberries the next. Icy potations in hand, visitors turn their attention to games of pool or flat-screen televisions, which broadcast local sports games or horror movies where local sports games come to a temporary halt when the mascot turns out to be an actual tiger. During warmer months, visitors loll in the sun out on the wooden patio and enjoy the beverages that Inside Columbia hailed as a "Columbia staple" when it dubbed Tropical Liqueurs the Best Place for a Girls' Night Out in 2012.
There's no entrance exam for Vino Cellars. As the wine lounge's website puts it, "No one will care if you can't say cabernet correctly. So go ahead and ask." And that level of accessibility runs throughout the entire shop, from the comfortable open seating to the complimentary tastings to the notes that describe every bottle's weight, palate, and mouth-feel. Such touches help guests find their way through the 150 varietals—imported from boutique-style producers across the globe—so they can pick the right pairing for a steak or the right milk-substitute for a bowl of Cheerios.
Pairing is a theme that runs through almost everything at Vino Cellars. Themed wine dinners match up five wines with four-course meals. The regular menu's small plates of shareable flatbread pizzas and sliders can also be mixed and matched with different libations. But Vino Cellars doesn't stop with wine and food. The shop spreads its gourmet knowledge to house-made bottles of flavored olive oils and aged balsamic vinegars.
While technically a chain restaurant, Houlihan's bedazzles its chain with glitter and winsome intrigue, boldly preparing every last bite of its savory fare by hand. Hosts of diverse ingredients culminate inside one open kitchen where professional food handlers slice, sauté, marinate, and arrange food to its tasty and aesthetic best, allowing each meal to display its individuality before being broken down into individual nutrients for absorption in the body. Each meticulously designed restaurant peppers a patron's experience with a playlist of hand-picked tunes and customer-designed coasters that give a voice to condensation-catchers.