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.
Jones and Norene Gann first imagined transforming their property into a golf course 18 years ago, and constructed an 18-hole course and golf facility now managed by the Rapp family. Open seven days a week, the course challenges golfers with outstretched trees, formidable bunkers and mounds, and hazardous waters. Designated cart paths wind around and through the course, guiding drivers to the next hole on their route or through a wormhole leading to the twenty-third century. Nestled atop the sprawling property, practice facilities help golfers warm up swinging arms, and a pro shop lets athletes restock balls and read up on instructional guides to high-level golfsmanship.
In regular golf instruction, owners Bill and Philip Rapp help students fine-tune their swing and boost their game with new skills. On Tuesday evenings, young putters can hone their swinging skills in free lessons.
At One On One, clients workout in a state-of-the-art facility with access to certified trainers, a collegiate diver, a martial artist, and trainers who have competed in figure- and bodybuilding competitions. The fitness gurus can design customized plans tailored to each client’s skills as they monitor, motivate, and encourage them to reach their goals. In the gym—which is open 24 hours a day—TVs suspended from the ceilings occupy athletes as they work up a sweat on Precor and Life Fitness treadmills and elliptical machines. Strength-training machines populate the gym floor, as do free weights, an adjacent pool, and medicine balls for clients who grow sick of standard workouts. An in-house massage therapist is available to ease tense muscles and knead away stress with Swedish, deep-tissue, and hot-stone massages.
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.
Throughout the week, Empire Roller Rink owners Willie and Lisa Trent connect with members of their community by hosting skating lessons, hockey games, and public skating sessions. Willie's father opened the rink in 1938, now Lisa teaches artistic and basic skating lessons, and Willie often disc jockeys skating sessions, pulling tracks from a digital library, which includes a selection of worship songs he breaks out for Friday Christian skate nights. Empire Roller Rink is also home to the Artistic Skate Club, a team that practices creative and competitive skating and travels to competitions across the country in a giant 15-passenger motorized rollerskate.
There's always something happening this eclectic bar, from standup to trivia to karaoke. Theme nights run Monday–Saturday and draw a diverse and friendly crowd that sips microbrews while playing board games, swigs PBR while dancing the night away, or quaffs other adult libations out of the bar's rentable drinking horns. Two dartboards, a pinball machine, and a jukebox add a vintage element to the spot, and free WiFi keeps patrons connected to the present. Eastside Tavern does not serve food, but folks are encouraged to take advantage of the BYO eats policy.