To the sounds of rollicking live piano music, Ragin Cajun Piano Bar celebrates the cuisine and culture of Louisiana with a tempting menu of crayfish, bourbon-glazed steaks, juicy burgers, and spicy andouille. Bowls of crayfish étouffée in a creamy roux and chicken wings slathered in a piquant voodoo sauce evoke images of the sunny South, and an open-air balcony and a second-story patio frame stunning views of a river town that shares the Mississippi with New Orleans. On weekends, live piano players bang out popular rock and pop tunes as patrons sing and dance along, contrasting with somber weekday lectures on the differences between English common law and Napoleonic code.
Located near Lindenwood University, University Diner serves up homestyle cuisine classics alongside hookahs packed with fragrant shisha. In the morning, cooks griddle loaded omelets and sirloin steak breakfast skillets. Later in the day, they grill burgers and prepare hearty entrees such as grilled pork chops with mashed potatoes and carrots. As an added convenience, the eatery stays open 24 hours a day Thursday–Saturday.
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.