STL Cinemas' quartet of movie houses mingles the vibrant pageantry of the early film industry with the technological sophistication of modern studio projects. Chase Park Plaza exudes the essence of this retro-contempo coupling, earning it the Riverfront Times 2010 Best Movie Theater award. With five intimate auditoriums, an all-digital sound system, and state-of-the-art projection, Chase Park Plaza coaxes movie-goers deep into the film's plot lines, characters, and 3-D effects easier than an underseat package containing a plaid dress, a little dog, and a magical Kansas twister. Before one of Chase’s shows, bask in the sights of the lifelike trompe l'eoil murals, and soak in the sounds of a live organist who serenades the crowds with show-tune favorites such as "Phantom of the Opera," "Goldfinger," and "I’m a Little Tea Pot (The Remix)."
Sweating is a great way to meet new people, and Sports Monster has proved that since it started its first adult league in 1994. With year-round offerings that include volleyball, kickball, soccer, bowling, and other sports, interested kickers, hitters, and dribblers can sign up solo or with a fully formed team of friends or coworkers. Games take place all around the St. Louis area. With many nights available, participants can choose a time and location that best suits them. Annual members of Sports Monster leagues get an additional perk: free online dating opportunities with other league members, the only facet of the experience that doesn’t offer any season-end trophies.
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.
St. Louis County Parks and Recreation awakens the active side in community members with a bevy of sites and facilities dedicated to sports, outdoor exploration, and kid-friendly fun. Families splash away the summer heat with trips to the pool at the Kennedy Recreation Complex or the St. Vincent Community Center water park, where adults can swim laps in two 25-yard lanes while tykes descend an open water slide and practice their manners at underwater tea parties. The six recreation complexes serve as hubs for everything from fitness classes to ice-skating, and offer a diverse blend of indoor and outdoor activities. For more relaxing amusement, the stewards of the parks and recreation department maintain multiple museums and historic sites as well as outdoor trails, where voyagers can get in touch with nature and add to their collection of acorns that resemble former presidents.
The Vino Gallery—located in a renovated police substation in the Central West End—houses an impressive selection of small-production and artisan wines, beers, and other libations amid an ever-evolving collection of local art. The staff guides visitors to the tasting bar or the outdoor patio, allowing guests to sample selections and avoid pouring wines they don’t like into a roommate’s humidifier. Rachael Buehrer, wine enthusiast and educator, and coowner Alex Head, promote informed wine consumption with complimentary tastings after 5 p.m., Monday–Friday, and all day on Saturday. One-hour wine classes lend imbibers further wine expertise, and the wine-of-the-month club helps customers branch out from go-to varietals.