Ever since Sam Wolfinbarger opened up his downstairs bar in the early '40s, Sam's Cellar has been a favorite watering hole among happy hour crowds, strangers passing through, and neighborhood regulars alike. Guests sip frosty draft glasses and bottles of beer as they dine on wood-fired pizzas, oven-baked penne pastas, and light chicken wraps.
Freezing Missouri winter winds howl outside Tropical Liqueurs' fogged-up windows, but inside, the atmosphere is decidedly beach-like. Palm trees and nautical knickknacks decorate the lively interior, but the true stars of this tropically themed watering hole are the frozen-drink dispensers, which churn with colorful, fruity potations. Bartenders load large styrofoam cups with potent slushies made from creative combinations of juices, liqueurs, and fruit purées. They rotate drink selections regularly, spotlighting a toasted-almond concoction one week—packed with coffee liquor, amaretto, and vanilla ice cream—and a daiquiri with fresh strawberries the next. Icy potations in hand, visitors turn their attention to games of pool or flat-screen televisions, which broadcast local sports games or horror movies where local sports games come to a temporary halt when the mascot turns out to be an actual tiger. During warmer months, visitors loll in the sun out on the wooden patio and enjoy the beverages that Inside Columbia hailed as a "Columbia staple" when it dubbed Tropical Liqueurs the Best Place for a Girls' Night Out in 2012.
The chefs at Houlihan's refuse to follow the trend of restaurants using premade dishes and preservative-laden foods. Instead, they elevate their cooking to a higher standard, handcrafting each meal from scratch with local produce in open kitchens that overlook modern, welcoming dining rooms. The dishes fuse familiar comfort fare (think down-home pot roast and bacon-studded mac 'n' cheese) with adventuresome flavors, from goat cheese and asparagus poppers to a spicy burger lavished with fritos. The spacious bar's mixologists concoct a slew of long island iced teas, specialty cocktails, and martinis that chase bites or stand on their own merit. Flights of three mini martinis allow the comparing and contrasting of a trio of flavors or refresh each of the mouths of a single guest’s head.
The casual Irish pub, Finnegan's Wake, alongside its restaurant and lounge area, Finnegan's Revival, fuels stomachs with its 17 draft beers, 10 whiskeys on tap, and Irish and American pub fare. Diners can pull apart gooey Guinness cheese fries, sink forks into a gravy-covered shepherd's pie, or bite into beer-battered fish 'n' chips before flinging pucks down the pub's shuffleboard table or participating in Wednesday-night trivia. On the Revival side, which is decorated to look like a cozy Irish cottage with its mantel-topped fireplace, old-fashioned photos, and leprechaun traps, patrons can snuggle into leather couches while devouring specialty pizzas.
Parlor 88 Lounge & Eatery's culinary team crafts upscale bar food to complement its liquid bounty of 88 martinis, 88 beers, and 88 wines. They slather baked boneless wings in your choice of five sauces, fill sliders with turkey doused in chipotle sauce, and top nachos with candied jalapeños and grilled chicken. After meals, a variety of chocolate sweets charm taste buds.
Parlor 88 Eastside hosts live music each Saturday, while Parlor 88 Southside entertains soirees in The Olive Room, a private space equipped with its own bar, full-service catering, and plush couches, which when sat upon, kindly giggle at all your jokes.