Lola's chefs bring the aromas and flavors of creole cuisine to their casual brick-walled space in the heart of downtown. Menus scrawled on chalkboards feature dinner plates such as barbecue shrimp and grits, creole-style chicken breast, traditional jambalaya, and spanakopita-stuffed portobello mushroom. On Saturdays, the kitchen opens for a brunch characterized by inventive takes on traditional dishes such as biscuits and crayfish gravy, savory creole bread pudding, and chicken and waffles with maple butter. The eclectic drink menu features cocktails blended from champagne, flavored vodka, and bourbon, as well as refreshing or hearty craft beers and flights of cognac. On some nights, Lola welcomes DJs and bands onto a small stage set in front of framed posters of famous musicians, which start glowing if they approve of the performers.
Wasabi snares sushi seekers with more than 80 varieties of nigiri, maki, hand rolls, and gunkwan sushi. Begin your chopsticking with the Batman roll, which swoops in to save languishing taste buds with a savory combination of eel, avocado, and street justice ($9). Nighttime noshers can complement the sushi with one of the dinner menu’s mouth-friendly features, such as grilled salmon ($17), whereas day fuelers can avail themselves of the lunch menu’s bento offerings, including the four-part teriyaki beef bento ($9.50).
The idea that you can only get good Cajun food in Louisiana has been challenged. The chefs at J. Gumbo's craft classic creole and Cajun dishes, balancing heat and spice with skill. Homestyle gumbo begins with a deep brown roux and, like viewing The Big Easy both forward and backward, takes about four hours to complete. Crawfish ?touff?e teems with the plump shellfish while jambalaya is made creole style with shredded chicken and sausage. Chefs pile these into bowls atop a bed of rice, and diners who can't decide can opt for two or even three options in one bowl.
The eatery itself is intimate and casual. On the walls hang New Orleans?inspired art, such as a crawfish wearing a chef hat and Mardi Gras masks and beads. Diners are also welcome to scrawl their names in between the art, and they often write messages commemorating their visit or love letters to the chef written in French.
Flannery's Irish Pub re-creates the convivial, neighborly atmosphere of an Irish public house in downtown Saint Louis, with Guinness flowing freely and plates of burgers and fish and chips quelling hunger pangs. Guests watch sports on 16 high-definition TV screens, singing karaoke on Tuesday nights, or hop aboard Flannery's free shuttle to grab seats at the stadium on game days.
All eyes on the stage. The opponents face each other. Lights highlight the tension in their clenched jaws. With a rolling of shoulders and cracking of knuckles, the duel begins. Fingers dance up and down piano keys as notes crash into each other, backdropped by the cheers of the crowd. The fevered scene is filled with skill, sweat, and determination, but it?s all in good fun, and just another night at Lucky's Dueling Piano Bar. Each night, professional piano players from around the country take on the challenge on baby grand pianos. People can use ziplines that travel from the audience to the stage to send written song requests and tips to the musicians. And while the show is underway, guests relax around tables as servers deliver pizzas, wraps, sliders, and libations aplenty.
Every Thursday through Saturday night, two pro piano players sit down at Jive and Wail's two baby grand pianos and proceed to bang out Top 40 hits from a plethora of eras, including time that has not yet come to pass, though these future-songs cannot be heard by present-day ears. Audience participation is not only encouraged but demanded by the dueling pianists—who are not above threatening their audience with atonal jazz if no song requests are forthcoming. Once you've made your request, the bar's high-tech sound system makes sure you won't miss it while refreshing your tipple at the full-service bar.