A longtime tennis player, Mark Platt began teaching the sport as soon as he graduated from high school. However, after a brief period of instructing at local country clubs, he realized that his heart wasn’t in the work. The country clubs catered to intermediate and advanced players, and Mark wanted to teach beginners. In the absence of a satisfactory beginning tennis program in the area, he founded Mark Platt’s Beginner’s World Tennis in 1984.
As a tennis instructor, Mark has won numerous awards from such prestigious publications as Tennis Pro and Tennis Industry, according to the St. Louis Business Journal. Specifically geared toward beginners, his program combines lessons with special events including camps, leagues, and parties designed to encourage socializing—so far, his program has spawned 53 marriages. He and his small staff have big plans for the beginning tennis world; this year alone, they expect to introduce 10,000 adults, children, and marionettes to the sport.
When Lindsey Schaefer moved back to St. Louis, she noticed that something had changed. Microbreweries were popping up everywhere, and she pleasantly found more and more craft beers inside local stores. So, Lindsey created the STL Brewery Hop as a celebration of the city's best brews.
On weekends, a tour bus takes up to 20 passengers to local breweries, where guides speak to the history and operations of each business. They hand out samples, too, of course. A typical hop might sample the Cast Iron Oatmeal Brown of the 4 Hands Brewing Company or Urban Chestnut beer.
Happy shouts from climbers to their belay partners. The cool scent of pool water. Center of Clayton bustles with activities of all sorts, all fueled by the equipment and athletic facilities filling the 149,000-square-foot complex. At the Center's aquatic center, swimmers freestyle along the 25-yard lanes of the competition pool, plunge down a curvy water slide at the leisure pool, or let back-massaging jets knead muscles in the hot tub. A 31-foot climbing wall awaits grappling hands and probing feet to ascend the colorful holds, and the safety offered by top-rope style harnesses encourages climbers to try out particularly challenging routes or overly familiar nicknames for boulders.
Before sweating through fitness classes or pickup basketball games, parents can drop youngsters ages 6–13 off at the youth activity center. There, kids stay active with Nintendo Wii fitness games and equipment, and supervisors arbitrate disputes about whose father can actually beat up Batman. To further streamline the process of working out, locker rooms, towel service, and a food court with a Subway and a café allow patrons to stop in while running errands or on lunch.
The artists at Wine and Canvas awaken their students’ inner Rembrandts and Van Goghs with classes that pair a featured painting with specialty cocktails and wines. The mobile studio’s monthly calendar includes themed classes in which instructors expound on the nuances of painting Parisian street lamps, Japanese flowers, or Venetian cityscapes. The master painters—many of them local artists—provide step-by-step instructions while students mimic each stroke and periodically dip their brushes into glasses filled with crimson cabernet. Each of the studio’s various drink-friendly venues boasts a specialty libation selected to incite creativity or conversations with fellow painters. When the artistic frenzy concludes, students return home with a finished masterpiece large enough to conceal any wall safe or mirror portal.
At The Crow’s Nest, visitors relax with glasses of frosty craft beers as they tuck into comforting dishes of peach cobbler, fish po’ boys, and juicy burgers. Like a blank-verse love poem carved into a slice of bologna, the menu blends familiar cuisine with touches of elegance, dressing up tasty dishes of meatloaf with a green peppercorn and black cherry crust, or serving barbecue pulled pork shoulder on fluffy loaves of brioche. Vintage band posters line the walls of the tavern-like confines, with diners perched upon blacktopped barstools. The youthful rock ‘n’ roll atmosphere further shines during hearty Heavy Metal Sunday brunches of burgers and omelets, weekly Taco Tuesday celebrations, and Thursday night trivia competitions.