There's no entrance exam for Vino Cellars. As the wine lounge's website puts it, "No one will care if you can't say cabernet correctly. So go ahead and ask." And that level of accessibility runs throughout the entire shop, from the comfortable open seating to the complimentary tastings to the notes that describe every bottle's weight, palate, and mouth-feel. Such touches help guests find their way through the 150 varietals—imported from boutique-style producers across the globe—so they can pick the right pairing for a steak or the right milk-substitute for a bowl of Cheerios.
Pairing is a theme that runs through almost everything at Vino Cellars. Themed wine dinners match up five wines with four-course meals. The regular menu's small plates of shareable flatbread pizzas and sliders can also be mixed and matched with different libations. But Vino Cellars doesn't stop with wine and food. The shop spreads its gourmet knowledge to house-made bottles of flavored olive oils and aged balsamic vinegars.
While technically a chain restaurant, Houlihan's bedazzles its chain with glitter and winsome intrigue, boldly preparing every last bite of its savory fare by hand. Hosts of diverse ingredients culminate inside one open kitchen where professional food handlers slice, sauté, marinate, and arrange food to its tasty and aesthetic best, allowing each meal to display its individuality before being broken down into individual nutrients for absorption in the body. Each meticulously designed restaurant peppers a patron's experience with a playlist of hand-picked tunes and customer-designed coasters that give a voice to condensation-catchers.
At Battlefield Lanes, parties of up to four can pulverize pins with mighty balls while enjoying nibbles from the full-service snack bar. Bowling buddies can stroll into the alley wearing nothing but a pair of clean socks or invisible clogs, as they are each equipped with their own pair of bowling shoes during their visit. Vie for glory by toppling the most pins at a TV-equipped lane before flexing hand muscles around cups of soda and clumps of fresh popcorn. Ball bombardiers may also congregate at select times for glow bowling, where blacklights bring lanes to fluorescent fruition, making it an excellent occasion for donning white jumpsuits or old wedding dresses.
With an 8,400-square-foot space, a celebrated dance troupe, and nurturing, professional instructors, Sonshine Performing Arts Academy skillfully coaches foot-owners of all ages in myriad dance styles. Tote along your significant other, or shimmy solo in a one-hour private lesson in ballroom, swing, country or Latin dance. Couples and singles will receive individual attention during the personal tutorial to improve upon hip-shaking skills and give formerly wallflowerish shoes the confidence needed to ask the floor to dance. Hit up the two-hour group dance lesson for some interactive jitterbug revelry as you practice swing, ballroom, and more alongside other burgeoning hoofers, then conclude the happening sock hop with a party filled with music, more dancing, and a cutthroat game of musical chairs.
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.