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.
With its sleek decor of black leather seats, graphic black prints on white walls, gilded mirrors, and a wall of wine illuminated by cobalt lighting, it’s easy to think The Cosmopolitan Bistro is a chic lounge in the city, not an intimate bistro in the Ozarks. That’s exactly the type of feeling founder Liezl Stevenson-Perme was going for when she opened eatery in April 2011, and it has been so successful that it counts music producer and singer Tony Orlando as one if its patrons.
But the decor isn’t the only appealing thing about The Cosmopolitan Bistro. Oversize white plates arrive at tables topped with artfully arranged entrees of upscale American cuisine, such as new york strip steaks, grilled salmon smothered in rosemary-butter-cream sauce, and seared ahi tuna. On certain nights of the week, the bistro comes to life with the sounds of live jazz music, DJ-spun tracks, or auto-tuned baby laughs.
Andy Williams designed his Moon River Theater to echo the beauty of the surrounding Ozark Mountains. The façade sits amid 16 acres of foliage, rock formations, and waterfalls to not only enhance live performances with a sense of natural discovery, but also to speak to conservation. In 1992, the state of Missouri recognized the venue's environmental efforts by granting it the Conservation Award for Developed Land Use. And that sense of conservation seeps into the theater's three lobbies as well. Koi swim through ponds, flora creeps toward the ceiling, art and performance pictures from Andy's private collection grace the walls, and wild rams hold head-butting matches in the restroom.
A lengthy lineup of traditional game-day fare and a sports atmosphere captivate fans at Fox and Hound - Bailey's, where the kitchen remains open as late as its neighboring fully stocked bar. Chefs cook until the wee hours of the morning and always until the bar closes, baking Bavarian pretzel starters, crafting towers of onion rings, and preparing hand-battered chicken tenders that are cooked until they are golden brown. They blend their own seasonings to sprinkle over grilled-to-order burgers, and draw from a diverse roster of cheeses and toppings to crown their wood-oven-inspired flatbreads.
While manning the bars, bartenders tap into a stash of libations, such as UV Whipped vodka and Patron Silver tequila, to mix their specialty cocktails. To further foster a sporting ambiance, high-definition TVs glow with sports games and custom music-video playlists, and guests partake in pastimes of ump bashing, billiards, or competitive people watching.
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.