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.
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.
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 three convenient locations within St. Louis, each featuring modern decor.
“While far too many menus babble with details, Three Sixty’s undersells,” a reporter for St. Louis Magazine wrote after a visit. “’Smoked salmon chips’ in no way covers what arrives: a couple of tablespoons’ worth of rough-ground, fragrantly smoked salmon atop a big crispy, salty potato chip, topped with tiny capers and nibbles of sweet red onions.” Even the name, 360 St. Louis, merely hints gently at the bejeweled panorama of downtown St. Louis and birds' eye view into Busch Stadium that sprawl before the eatery. The 6,000-square foot rooftop bar, part of the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark, also surrounds diners with a dramatic wine wall, flat-screen TVs, and toasty fire pits.
From behind an expansive outdoor bar and several indoor bars, mixologists craft shaken and infused cocktails, drawing on inventive ingredients including pumpkin puree, house-made ginger liquor, and local apple cider. Bartenders also supply an extensive selection of wines and beers, which guests can nurse while grooving on the dance floor to DJs spinning four nights a week.
While barkeeps tend to libations, Executive Chef Rex Hale draws upon more than 25 years of culinary experience that has taken him everywhere from South Africa to the British Virgin Isles. In 360 St. Louis' open kitchen, he uses locally sourced ingredients to create globally inspired, upscale bar food such as short rib sliders and handmade fish tacos. St. Louis Magazine considers his wild mushroom and goat cheese pizza a "must-try," while his lobster risotto is "realized extravagantly."