With more than 175 locations nationwide and more than 35 years in the business, Car-X Tire & Auto has earned a prime spot in the parking garage of quality car care and customer service. Started in 1971 by a team of seasoned muffler-shop owners, the service centers have blossomed from their beginnings as specialty exhaust shops to providers of nearly any repair or maintenance service imaginable, from installing performance-enhancing accessories to treating cars to therapeutic trust falls. In addition to promoting safety and long, healthy engine life with brake services and speedy oil changes, Car-X reaches out to the surrounding community with regular philanthropic activities, such as recycling drives and participation in the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk.
Unique home-decor items can be an extension of one’s personality. At Rambles, a mix of new and used housewares and gifts allows decorators to find the final touches for any room. While upholstered couches and area rugs can contribute to a home’s overall look, it is Rambles’ more unusual accessories—bottle-cap magnets, framed comic-book memorabilia, and vintage LIFE magazines—that spark up conversations and cover up your pet squid’s ink splatters.
An authentic trolley with brass rails and bells and outfitted with modern padded seats and air conditioning glides through St. Louis’s historic neighborhoods as knowledgeable tour guides wax poetic about the city’s past and present. Guests gaze out of the trolley’s charming arched windows during the 23-mile ride, catching sight of a much larger arch standing sentry over downtown sites such as St. Louis Union Station and the Mississippi River. Tour guides fling droplets of wisdom like handfuls of rice at famished newlyweds, sharing anecdotes about historic Laclede’s Landing and Forest Park, the site of the 1904 World’s Fair, the first summer Olympic games held in the U.S., and the first forest.
The fully narrated tour departs and returns from Lumiere Place Casino on the riverfront. Tuesday and Thursday evenings, fearless tour goers can follow along a haunted walking tour that highlights some of the city's macabre past, including the St. Louis fire and the Bloody Island.
Established in 1876, Charles P. Stanley Cigar Company and Lounge caters to tobacco enthusiasts with a variety of rolled cigars, which can be paired with libations from their full bar. Mosey through Stanley’s shelved humidor stocked with more than 1,000 cigars from such brands as Arturo Fuente, Rocky Patel, Ashton, and Romeo and Julieta, a company known for combining tobacco leaves grown by feuding families ($6.75+ each). After selecting a cigar, stroll to Charles’s full bar and order a mug of Guinness ($6), a glass of Crown Royal ($9), or a Jack Daniels and soda-pop mixture ($8). As guests puff and sip, they can admire the lounge’s 42’x12’ Cuban mural and the 21-foot ceiling equipped with an exhaust system before settling into an Italian leather couch to catch a game on one of the lounge's flat-screen TVs or to try lighting stogies with nothing but an imaginative spark.
The modern flourishes on Copia's menu are grounded in the kind of American culinary tradition that chef Dave Rook knows best: raised in a family that ran a drive-in burgers-and-root-beer stand in Alton, Illinois, an appreciation for the comfortable side of dining runs in his blood. Globally inspired dashes of red chilies and champagne-goat-cheese cream take off from Midwestern classics, such as slow-roasted rotisserie chicken, house-smoked trout, and pork-rib chops.
Aided by a wine market whose bottles pour into the dining room at retail price, the downtown eatery aims to shuttle city dwellers directly into wine country with 18,000 square feet of exposed brick walls, wood-beam ceilings, and white tablecloths. Elsewhere within the rambling complex, natural light pours into an atrium garden, a glass waterfall neatly partitions off the bar to prevent diners from impulsively ordering every dish and drink they see, and stainless-steel vats age several of Copia's own wines. Much missed after a fire shuttered its initial incarnation, Copia was roundly welcomed back onto the St. Louis scene in 2010: among other praise, St. Louis Magazine called its calamari "as crispy-crunchy delectable as any seafood you’ll find in a New England clam shack" and its smoked ribs "the best upscale version of barbecue in the area."