Though it sits squarely in St. Louis, Broadway Oyster Bar might as well inhabit New Orleans. Even from the outside, the 150-year-old building exudes the revelry of the French Quarter, as an art-deco neon sign emblazoned with music notes joins colorful string lanterns to form an illuminated invitation for patrons to come in and live a little. Of course, inside is where the Cajun atmosphere is most apparent, especially in whiffs of dishes named the favorite Cajun/creole cuisine of the Sauce Magazine readers? poll every year since 2003. Chef Brad Hagen's acclaimed recipes include marinated alligator with homemade tartar sauce, shucked oysters topped with spinach cream sauce, and fresh-baked Gambino's bread filled with traditional po' boy fixings, such as fried catfish and shrimp. Feasts unfold in a cozy dining room or an open-air patio enclosed and heated in winter. There, local and national musicians grace the stage seven nights a week to play funk and blues tunes, just like Mom used to.
Globe lights hang from Delmar Lounge's red awning, beckoning nighthawks in to enjoy homestyle Cajun fare and live music late into the night. The kitchen churns out house-smoked barbecue ribs, southern-style shrimp and grits, and po boy sandwiches until 2 a.m. every night of the week, fortifying bodies and fueling feet in preparation for live DJ dance parties, jazz sets, and hourly potato sack races that sustain the convivial atmosphere until 3 a.m.
Social House Soulard packs its 4,500 square feet of space with 15 TVs, live entertainment, a dance floor, and a kitchen serving pub fare favorites until 10 p.m. Athletes cavort and endorse baby formula on HDTV screens overhead as breaded pork tenderloin sandwiches and cold domestic brews fill fists. Live bands commanding power chords wash over revelers on the sprawling dance floor, and on some nights, DJs spin top 40 hits.
At each of Drunken Fish's upscale restaurants, chefs create traditional and specialty sushi, along with stir-frys and other Japanese entrees. Fresh tuna nigiri and 10 oz Teriyaki glazed strip steak make for tasty pairings with signature cocktails, such as the Madame Butterfly with raspberry vodka, mango puree, and pineapple juice. Drunken Fish has four convenient locations within St. Louis, each featuring modern decor.
The team at JitterSwing Dance Clubs constantly assures their clients that “JitterSwing is our name ... it is not a Dance.” Thanks to film and music videos, swing dance conjures images of acrobatics and leaping bodies, but JitterSwing’s instructors are popular for their approachable St. Louis Imperial style, which is slower-paced and accessible to students of any age. They lead couples and singles through group and private sessions that cover many other types of swing dance as well as country two-step, the cha-cha, and the river waltz. Partners preparing for a wedding dance can take advantage of private lessons, and youths aged 10–16 are invited to the juniors program. In addition to the multiple locations where instructors conduct their sessions, JitterSwing staff members also come out to private events to instruct guests of all ages.
Al Waha is best known for their Bedouin cuisine, but also serves Afghan food and offers a hookah and full bar. The meal begins with a traditional cup of Bedouin coffee infused with cardamom; this is an important ritual in Bedouin hospitality that involves the host preparing the beans in the presence of guests. As such, the highest compliment of generosity in Bedouin culture is "he makes coffee from morn till night," whereas the most grievous insult is "the best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup." Following this stimulating aperitif, diners can pass around plates of velvety musakaah ($5.50) and hummus ($4.99), both served with bread. From there, let your stomach wander to classic nomadic entrees such as tender butter chicken seasoned with chili pepper and served with creamy tomato sauce over a bed of basmati rice ($10.95). The Al Waha plate provides a sultan's feast of ground beef and pomegranate-tomato sauce piled high on top of raisins, crushed almonds, and dried-apricot-flecked rice ($9.95). In addition to vegetarian options such as kodar bleban (cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, carrots, and green beans simmered in yogurt sauce with rice), many dishes can be prepared sans meat upon request. Cool concoctions such as mango lussy (sweet mango puree blended with cream) and irfa beljoze (cinnamon boiled in water and topped with coconuts and walnuts) wash down the salt and spice at $3.49 each and provide a delightful segue into a dessert of fruit-flavored hookah smoke.