When a school of music also contains a live-performance venue, it’s an indicator that the lessons stick. Such is the case with the Columbia Academy of Music, where private practice rooms sit just steps from The Bridge, a club accustomed to welcoming musical talent from down the street and around the country. A stage within range of instruction can inspire even the most stage-frightened students to step into the spotlight, where they’ll get the hands-on, feet-on stage experience that renders books worthless.
The academy’s tuneful staffers are no strangers to this kind of public performance—some instructors have shared the stage with the likes of Chuck Berry, Sting, and Hank Williams III—but many also are experts in what goes on behind the music. In lessons tailored for all ages, skill sets, and music-making manners, the school strengthens the confidence of budding musicians in once-a-week sessions. Instrument instruction infuses students with techniques across a range of musical genres; audio-production and engineering courses teach students how to make solid records and tolerate most singers’ misguided requests for more Steak-Umms in the monitor.
From its perch atop the Bridge Hotel, Carmen's pairs wide-open oceanfront views and city vistas with fresh seasonal cuisine conceived by chef Dudley Rich, who has cooked privately for U.S. presidents. Starters from the dinner menu make apt preludes or small plates, with options such as the eggplant-and-goat-cheese ravioli swirled in a thyme cream sauce ($12). Sizzling with meats sourced from Harris Ranch, veal chops arrive drizzled in truffle butter ($45), and charbroiled filet mignon ($40) fairly accuses its port-wine-and-shallot reduction of smothering it. The entree menu also sates seafood yens with selections such as the peppercorn-crusted swordfish, sauced in a morel-mushroom dressing ($28).
From June to November each year, a cast of actors, directors, and designers descends upon Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre to produce eight celebrated shows, many along the lines of To Kill A Mockingbird and The Music Man. The cozy, unassuming theater has been welcoming performers for more than 50 years, staging renowned productions and Broadway plays to the delight of theater fans and comforters that aspire to be stage curtains.
Something happens at Nash Vegas during the weekend. People start to tap their toes, as new bands take the stage and fill the bar with sounds of country music. At some point, patrons can no longer resist the urge to hit the dance floor and boogie like Johnny Cash used to when no one was looking. Events like these unfold at 9 p.m. each and every weekend, though that's not the only time the sounds of honky tonk fill the bar. Nash Vegas has been known to host weekday events as well, such as a Tuesday Night Tequila Jam complete with specials on beer and shots. The bar also serves pizza, and patrons can play pool when not cheering on live bands.
The hard-rocking sextet of Drive-By Truckers blasts out of the dirty South to take the stage at Missouri Theatre, pumping up crowds with their alternative blend of country, rock, and soul music in the latest chapter of the University of Missouri Concert Series. Touring on the heels of its latest album, the backwoods noir Go-Go Boots, the band peppers its Southern gothic tales with shredding licks from three guitarists and vocal harmonies honed in recent gigs backing up musical legends Bettye LaVette and Booker T. Jones. Publications such as Spin have praised the new material for its “late-night soul vibe,” citing frontman Patterson Hood’s ability to stir a cauldron with his microphone while lyrically summoning forth “a rogues’ gallery of ex-cops, misunderstood stalkers, and disgraced preachers willing to keep their secrets hidden.”
Cuisine Type: Gourmet to country, depending on the theme
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Number of Tables: 1–5
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: Chicken cordon bleu
Delivery/Takeout Available: No
For years, Barbara Spencer had dreams of opening a combination bed and breakfast and photo studio. Now she's the proprietor of her own Victorian Country Inn, a quaint B&B with everything from a Victorian tea room to an Old Tyme photo studio, where patrons dress in costumes for Western, Civil War, and Roaring '20s photos.
The photo shoots aren't the only reason for guests to get into character. Patrons also dress in costumes to play characters for the famed mystery dinners without needing to memorize any lines. The events embody a slew of themes, such as Public Enemy #1 with 1930s Historical Criminals, Roaring '20s in the Sarsparilla Speakeasy, and Clue Mystery, where folks try to work out if the butler did it in the conservatory with a bottle of shoe polish. Meanwhile, wardrobed guests dine on similarly-themed BYOB gourmet meals, made with local produce whenever possible.
After the night's activities, patrons with a reservation may head up to bed in the Garden Spa suite to cozy up next to the fireplace. They might also explore the Starlight Theater suite, a special vintage room that allows folks to go full Sherlock Holmes with a hidden passage to the inn's theater room, where folks enjoy old movies.