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Even though Hamburger Mary’s is small franchise of 12 U.S locations, the unique personalities in each restaurant give it the feel of your favorite local haunt with a twist. From the kitschy over-the-top décor (featuring tables epoxied with playbills from Broadway musicals and the border of fabulous high heels that flank the ceiling of the dining room) to the drinks and food, this is a place for all to feel free to be themselves and have fun. Join the gang at Mary’s for everything from Sunday Drag Brunch to Showtune Tuesdays. With generous portions and deals like 69-cent wing night, you will not have any problem getting enough fuel for your night out. Open-minded and welcoming to all, Hamburger Mary’s is never a drag!
3037 Olive Street St Louis, MO 63103
Founded by St. Louis native and lead guitarist Gary “Dee Dee” James, Dirty Muggs could arguably be the hardest working local band around. Their high energy shows have been thrilling audiences at diverse events and venues such as Twilight Tuesday, Syberg’s, Patrick’s at Westport, and Helen Fitzgerald’s. They perform everything from 70s soul to today’s Top 40 hits with their own signature brand of funk, leaving a packed dance floor of sweaty, happy revelers in their wake.
Since opening in 2003, Third Degree Glass Factory has established itself as one of the most unique venues in St. Louis. It is the only artisan glass-making studio in town that is open to the public, where you can get up close and personal with the artists at work or try your hand at making your own creations through the many classes that are offered. Every third Friday of the month, Third Degree opens their doors for all ages to enjoy an evening of fun. Food trucks, artist demos, live music, and libations turn the factory into a hot place to be (and not just because of the live glass blowing). You can sign up for a guided activity during the event or simply shop the ready-made creations from the artists. A visit to the restrooms leads to more artistic discoveries - really! 5200 Delmar Blvd St. Louis, MO 63108
Featuring one of the best views in St. Louis, 360 (perched atop the 26th floor Ballpark Hilton) has garnered attention and rave reviews both locally and nationally. Open at 4 pm each day (and earlier for Cardinals game day), patrons enjoy a menu by Executive Chef Rex Hale, which features his sophisticated take on classic bar food and an eye toward innovation. While the food certainly takes center stage, the ambiance brings you in. On a packed weekend night, beautiful people of all sorts enjoy a DJ spin that starts at 9 and indoor and outdoor bars. There is never a bad view here and as soon as you walk in, you feel like a VIP. One South Broadway St. Louis, MO 63102
The old-fashioned Speakeasy is alive in well in downtown St. Louis! Enter through the back alley (which is the only respectable way to enter a speakeasy, in my opinion), find “Mad Dog” (who is actually a pretty nice fella) give him the secret password (found on the Thaxton Speakeasy website), and step back in time. Inside, you will find a beautifully restored art-deco building with renderings of lovely pin-up girls from a bygone era. Treasures are to be found both upstairs and downstairs from the main lobby—a balcony overlooks the action and a trip down the stairs reveals a bar and lounge area with many interesting painted details. This is a private event space and is only open to the public when there isn’t an event going on. That’s why one should keep a close eye on its events calendar. There is a weekly Prohibition night that provides “prohibition era pricing” on drinks, the nifty and swell sounds of Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers and a few dancers around to show you how to shake your shimmy or do your best Charleston. Other nights feature modern DJ spins and other events for all walks of life.
If you are looking for a more sophisticated take on happy hour, Scape American Bistro provides the perfect experience. Tuesdays-Thursdays from 5pm-7pm, enjoy $5 specialty drinks and wine by the glass. From 9pm until close, enjoy a “reverse happy hour” with half-price flatbreads, wine, well drinks, and beers. When the weather permits, commiserate with your co-workers (or meet up with friends) at one of the prettiest patios in the Central West End. Nestled behind the restaurant in an ivy covered stone courtyard, the BackBar @scape (with attractive outdoor furniture) will make you feel instantly transported by the first sip. The inside is just as lovely, with a backdrop that is fitting for every occasion from date night to a special celebration.
I recently had the pleasure of attending a happy hour with the Central West End Neighborhood Association at the newly opened Gamlin Whiskey House. The restaurant (which opened for business October 21st and is owned by brothers Lucas and Derek Gamlin, who also run Sub Zero Vodka Bar just up the street) is the first of its kind in the St. Louis area. It features over 270 hand-selected whiskeys, most of which are handsomely displayed at the bar. Helpful bartenders will help you find exactly what you are looking for or—if you are undecided like me—help you discover something new. Most impressive was the list of bourbon cocktails on tap (which were unavailable during my visit) and the inventive specialty cocktails. My favorite was The Bee’s Knees—a concoction of Knob Creek Rye, ginger ale, and honey-infused ice that sweetens the drink as it melts. I also had the chance to nibble on the bourbon fried chicken drummies in bourbon sauce—yum! I cannot wait to come back for dinner to try one of the hand-selected steaks and other menu items. The crowd was lively in the bar area on the Friday night I visited and diners looked happy all around. A great addition to an already stellar dining destination!
If you find yourself dining out at one of the many great restaurants in the Central West End and are looking for some good post-dinner entertainment on a Friday or Saturday evening look no further than The Chase Park Plaza. Café Eau and Chasers Lounge are great places within the hotel/condo/restaurant and movie theater complex with two different vibes. At night, Café Eau transforms from being the more casual version of its sister restaurant Eau Bistro into a hot spot that hosts many of St. Louis’ best party and cover bands. With great people watching opportunities (especially in the spring and summer when the action spreads out to the poolside patio), delish drinks and appetizers, and the chance to get your groove on. If you are in the mood for a more chilled out scene, Chasers Lounge is in the lobby across from the movie theater. There, you will find a piano player or a jazz trio providing a gentle backdrop to conversation with your friends. Plus, those very comfy seats were made for lingering over a classic cocktail.
Speed dating has been popular for many years, but now there is a new, local speed dating service that gives it a curvy twist! PlushDating.com is the brainchild of Mariana Sanchez, who (after going to traditional speed dating events and finding a lack of options for plus-size women) decided to start this unique service for women who love their curves and the men who admire them. Interested fellas can be of any size, but only ladies sizes 12 and above can sign up for speed dating events. Starting in December, there will be opportunities for the daters to mingle outside of the confines of speed dates in fun events like pub crawls, costume parties, and the like. In the coming weeks, look for members of Sanchez’s “Thick Girls Squad” at local bars and clubs to recruit members and spread the gospel of love at any size. Visit the website for more information, because love could just be a speed date away!