When camped out at a picturesque St. Louis spot—from an old barn to the iconic Arch—Brian K. Owens sees more than just the opportunity to take a pretty picture. The fine-art photographer and owner of STLPhotoArt grasps for stories in each of his photos, stories that he seeks to bring to his clients through commercial shoots and instill in his students during photography classes. The shutterbug guides beginning shooters through Forest Park and the St. Louis Zoo, dispensing photography know-how along the way. Owens also lends his talented eye to elegantly capture moments at weddings, engagements, and knight-christening ceremonies.
In 1999, Jimbo Sinovic opened the first Big Daddy's in the historic Soulard district, less than a half mile from the iconic Anheuser-Busch Brewery. The eatery's drink specials and tasty pub staples, served for lunch, dinner, and late-night owl watching, established the bar as a neighborhood favorite, and inspired its owner to declare it "The Best Bar in the Whole Wide World." Jimbo has since expanded Big Daddy's to four locations in the St. Louis metro area, including two in Illinois.
Sculpted into the rolling hills of western Illinois, Clinton Hill Golf Course’s undulating fairways flow into large, challenging greens across two distinct, nine-hole layouts. Mature arbors pepper the landscape, threatening the autonomy of airborne balls while providing scenic, shady plots in which golfers can pause to gawk at the layout’s lush greenery and herbivorous golf carts grazing on native grasses. A longer layout and a higher concentration of bunkers supply the bulk of the difficulty on the front nine, and water hazards await at seven holes on the course’s back nine, placing a high demand on confident swings and deft club selection. Those looking for new gear can peruse Clinton Hill’s pro shop, which peddles golfletic apparel and accessories from the game’s top brands. After a round of aggressive pin-hunting, players can retreat to Big Mama’s BBQ & Casual Dining, where guests can enjoy live sporting events on one of several TVs or revive sleepy golf bags with an icy beverage.
With a combined 82 lanes, the St. Clair and Bel-Air Bowling Centers send pins toppling through open bowling, leagues, and other events. St. Clair's pro shop, first opened in 1977, doles out high-quality equipment, service, and enforced timeouts for rebellious pins, and the Beer Frame Lounge allows bowlers to stop for a pint while gazing down at the lanes. Pizzas, adorned with unlimited toppings, sail from the oven onto the plates of waiting guests of St. Clair Bowl, and a homestyle soup bar fills bowls and bellies in Bel Air Bowl's restaurant.
Studio M's knowledgeable instructors impart picture-snapping basics and tips in informational photography workshops and send students to practice their newly acquired skills in studio photo sessions. Aspiring aperture aficionados can learn sundry picture-taking techniques in workshops such as the two- to three-hour Studio Lighting workshop, during which students learn classic lighting patterns and how to best manipulate lighting to add depth to images and to create flattering shadow puppets. Hands-on sessions, all of which vary by theme, free students to shoot subject models for 60–90 minutes as instructors guide them through a complete photo session from start to finish.
Lotus Arts Studio's classes are a medley of swinging hips, frolicking feet, and flittering fingers. Owner Lauren Haas, a professional belly dancer, shares her Egyptian-style training with students who are interested in belly dancing and possess their own bellies. Highly skilled yoga instructors help yogis and neophyte benders pose, stretch, and sweat while Zumba, the Latin-inspired cardio dance class, spicies up stale workout routines and Bollywood classes fuse classical Indian dance styles with popular Western styles. At Lotus, wallflowers learn to gleefully waltz, tango, cha-cha, and bunny hop onto dance floors, as classes are ideal for individuals with no dance experience or more than one left foot. Registration is required and classes convene once a week. Check out the class schedule for a full list of classes and times.