The Shanti: Soulard Neighborhood at Night
There are an astounding number of live music spots in Soulard, but one of the best is The Shanti. This beer bar joint has free live music that competes with what one will find in Chicago or New Orleans. Very informal attire, no cover charge, and full combo bands with excellent vocals and musical talent. I have a little video, but I haven't had much success uploading to VT these iPhone mpegs, so contact me if you want a sample. I saw this country style band that had a stand up bass, two guitars, and a snare drum. Very nice vocals.
- Beer Tasting
Various: Saint Louis Beer Scene
St. Louis has a number of breweries. You can visit most of them, but there are a number of places in town where you can sample each of the breweries comfortably and even get food.
- Bailey's Range (http://www.baileysrange.com/): A burger, beer and shakes (some alcoholic) restaurant. They have roughly 20 taps, almost all of them local. This was the most impressive tap selection I saw in the city. Food is a little expensive but is very good.
- The Bridge (http://www.thebridgestl.com/): Noisy and snobby. They have some local taps, but most are devoted to other world-class beers from Europe and the US. Excellent bottle selection and an impressive wine list. Very, very crowded though.
- International Tap House (http://internationaltaphouse.com/soulard/index.php): Locally known as "I Tap." A suburban and a Soulard location. Soulard is a wonderful neighborhood, so I would encourage going to that one. Focus on local and Missouri beers, including a night where they discount them. A number of other interesting taps though, from Green Flash to La Chouffe. Wonderful patio and a very nice interior. Good place to watch a game if you like good beer. Food consists of pizza from the place next door.
- The Handle Bar (http://www.handlebarstl.com/): My first Russian-run beer bar. It's also bike-themed (hence the name). And in St. Louis' gay district. But they have a very good beer selection with a nightly bartender bottle special (just a whim) and a little bit of mostly Russian food that's actually pretty good. Small number of taps but they're good and they have a good bottle menu.
- Six Row (http://www.sixrowbrewco.com/): The only brewpub I list on here because it's a nice, unpretentious, comfortable place. Their house beer is good and interesting. The food is minimal but good.
- Nick's Pub (http://www.nicksirishpub.com/): A long-standing staple of the traditionally Irish "Dogtown" section of the city. Comfortable and friendly atmosphere. Good food that can be cheap if on special. Draft beer list is mostly local and features at least 20 taps. Smoking inside.
Dress Code: The Bridge is the only place where it's a little more dressy.
- Beer Tasting
Live on the Levee: Free Headliner Concerts Return!
The Live on the Levee concert series returns, as big as ever! I LOVE this series!!! Some of the groups scheduled this 2007 are: The Goo Goo Dolls, Emmy Lou Harris, Bruce Hornsby, Los Lonely Boys, Pete Yorn, Ani DiFranco, and Steel Pulse.
You get to sit outdoors, Under the Arch, overlooking the huge Mississippi and hear two great concerts each night. Then there's a fireworks show right after. The river breezes cool you off on a hot Summer's night and the concerts are fabulous!
Please see the web site for the schedule & what you can and cannot bring onto the grounds. They have many food and drink booths. Be sure to bring padding if you plan to sit on the arch steps, which is where I always sit, UNLESS I AM UP BY THE STAGE DANCING!!!
Dress Code: VERY casual - it is HOT outside, remember...
- Budget Travel
John's Town Hall: A Secret Drinking Spot
John's Town Hall is similar to a pub. It's not loud and crazy like a nightclub, and it has both a bar and restaurant section. It's on the street level of the Dorchester Hotel - which really isn't a Hotel at all - at least these days - it's a high-rise condo overlooking Forest Park.
They server decent beer on tap as well as mixed drinks.
The jukebox is awesome. Mostly classic rock from the 60's - 90's, old standards like Frank Sinatra, plus fun stuff like Squeeze.
Dress Code: Come as you are. Jeans, suit, whatever. You will see it all.
Laclede's Landing: Laclede's Landing
For a concentration of places for entertainment and nightlife then Laclede's Landing is the spot.
Having done some research before coming to St Louis I thought I would have plenty of choice. At least that's what I thought until I got there.
Perhaps, it's my own fault, but I assumed that this would hold true throughout the week...clearly not so. At least not on Sunday evenings.
Having taken the Metrolink to the Landing, I arrived around 8 pm was VERY surprised to find only a couple of places still open.
I took the time to walk around the streets to make sure but, no, not much open.
I don't wish to put anyone off here, just issue a warning...I'm still planning on making a stop here next time I'm in St Louis...just not on a Sunday evening.
Obviously a Friday/Saturday night place.
Dress Code: None, as far as I can tell.
- School Holidays
Beals on Broadway, Broadway Oyster Bar, BB's: The Broadway/Soulard Live Music Scene Rocks!!
Just south of the new Busch Stadium, under the interstates and railroad tracks, is a cluster of jazz bars on Broadway in the Soulard section of St. Louis. Janet took me there one Thursday night for an awesome time amidst light crowds (due to the fact that the Cardinals played a day game). We started at the Broadway Oyster Bar, a New Orleans-themed jumble of barely-standing wood with an outdoor bar and a one-man barefoot blues band from Illinois. The ambiance is that of a college fraternity merged with a 19th-century brothel -- which it was! We enjoyed his Jack Johnson-like riffs and rough takes on Clapton tunes before moving on to Beale's. There, we sat outdoors in the heat, drinking cold beer, mesmerized by St. Louis icon Kim Massie and the Solid Senders. Ms. Massie is 300 pounds of blues and soul, and you feel all of it as she belts out Aretha Franklin or Whitney Houston songs. She may not stand up, but you can't stay sitting down during her performance. If you want to rock, watch out for her version of Led Zepplin's "Whole Lotta Love" -- wow!! Or Proud Mary -- Killer! Just make sure you feed te tip jar with your requests.
Massie and the Senders played for 2.5 hours before breaking, giving us a chance to sneak over to BB's Jazz and Soups, where the Grounders were finishing up 8 hours of music making with Hendrix, Croce and BB King. There were only a few stragglers left there at one in the morning, including a Cindi Lauper look-a-like (ironically, Kim Massie has played with Cindi Lauper), but we had a blast sharing a Pilsner Urquell and swaying to the breezy jazz. The lead guitarist really could solo!
The Grounders closed down at 1:30 just in time to return to Beale's for the last hour of Kim Massie. We were tired and wanted to leave, but the band wouldn't let us, playing one funky song afte another, capturing us in a ecstatic net of sound. We finally broke free when 2:30 arrived and the tip jar crested near he rim, walking under another westbound train back to our car. What a night!!
LaClede's Landing: Riverside Bar District
This is a cool district for the 20s and 30s crowd as it has a lot of places to eat and have an adult beverage where you can either listen to live music, dance, or watch others doing all of the above.
They also have a shuttle that runs from there to the St. Louis Cardinals games if you happen to be in town for a game.
Dress Code: Some places are more upscale than others but its pretty open.
- Food and Dining
- Beer Tasting
- Casino and Gambling
Carsons Sports Bar and Restaurant: Karaoke Bar
We usually grace this bar after we have already done some drinking at another nearby bar. Its a small bar, with a friendly staff. If you want to go and sing you favorite song or it want to laugh and have some good times, its a must do! Its also nice that there is usually not a cover charge.
Dress Code: Whatever... Most people are drunk anyways
- Beer Tasting
- Study Abroad
Roberts Orpheum Theatre: Classic Restored Theatre with Multiple Uses
The Orpheum is one of the classic performance spaces in the St. Louis area. This privately owned facility was originally constructed as a vaudeville theatre in 1917. It was purchased by Warner Brothers and made into a movie palace in the 1930s, and then because a music venue in the 1960s, taking the name of "the American Theatre" and featuring acts ranging from Eartha Kitt to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. In 2003, it was purchased by a Redevelopment Team (the Roberts Brothers) who restored it to its original name and glory.
- Theater Travel
The Fabulous Fox Theatre: No Other Theater Like It
This place is a real palace. I LOVE it!! Check out the website for so many great photos. Your jaw will drop when you walk into the lobby and into the theater itself. They have shows year round, from Broadway to big concerts. All the famous acts and shows come here.
This huge theater was restored to its former glory, starting in 1981. It opened originally in 1929 and if you know your U.S history, you know what that year is famous for - The Stock Market crash, the cause of Great Depression. The web site covers the history of the theater better than I can here.
Allow extra time for parking and getting inside to your seat. The ushers are all skilled volunteers and I know some of them! They will help you well. But the walk throughthe Lobby may take some time...and you may want to stop for a beverage or souvenir.
Dress Code: What ever you want to wear is fine. You can dress up or down.
- Theater Travel
Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre: Radiohead in St. Louis
My favorite band of all-time is now Radiohead, supplanting The Cure in my affections after a good 21-year-long run (sorry, Robert Smith). I've always liked Radiohead, from the start of Jonny Greenwood's wondrous crunchy guitar sound in Creep to OK Computer (Paranoid Android is my fave song of all time) to the fantabulousness of Hail to the Thief. But when their latest CD, IN RAINBOWS, came out I knew they were the greatest band around. LOVE THEM!!
Michael Stipe said of the band "Radiohead are so good, they scare me" (when they opened for R.E.M. for their '95 tour). And Chris Martin of Coldplay said ""Being voted the world's sexiest vegetarian is about as cool as it gets. It's not quite as cool as Brad Pitt, but it'll do. Those have been the two biggest challenges of my life: trying to follow Radiohead, and trying to follow Brad Pitt." Not bad press from some of the best in the music industry, eh?!?
Jonny Greenwood, lead guitarist, recently scored the soundtrack for the film There Will Be Blood (thanks to the inimitable TimDaoust for the info!), garnering himself a Critic's Choice Award. It would've possibly earned a nom for the Academy Awards but was knocked out of that possibility due to use of bits from "Popcorn Superhet Receiver"; they refuse "scores diluted by the use of tracked themes or other pre-existing music." Feh. He's also the BBC's artist in residence!
For the kidlets, they can hear 2 Radiohead members, Greenwood & Phil Selway (drummer), in The Weird Sisters band on the soundtrack to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; the full version of the Yule Ball segment is included in an extended scene on the 2-disc DVD.
Dress Code: Concert attire
- Road Trip
Verizon Wireless Amphitheater: Opening Band - The Liars
The opening band for Radiohead was an American band called The Liars. They definitely sounded post-punk to me reminiscent of early Joy Division.
Some of the people around me thought they sucked but when I asked what type of bands they liked, if they liked punk or knew of Joy Division a blank look stole over their eyes. I tried to make it easier for them by mentioning New Order (because they are the remnants of what became of Joy Division after post-punk icon Ian Curtis took his own life). I remember reading an early interview with Robert Smith of The Cure where he discussed how profoundly affected he was by the death of Curtis. And I must admit to naming my son after him (and Ian Astbury of The Cult & Ian McCulloch of Echo & the Bunnymen).
Anywho, those of us in the crowd who were paying attention absolutely LOVED this band. We thought they were a Brit band because we'd mistaken the lead singer's Australian accent with that of a English one. Oh well, still a great band!! Go see them. NOW! Or buy the CD - your choice (see how kind I am? I've given you a choice in the matter)!
Dress Code: Concert wear - you can wear suits like this guy for a retro punk look or t-shirts & jeans as many of the concert goers themselves were wearing.
Photos: May 14, 2008
- Road Trip
- Theater Travel
Verizon Wireless Amphitheater: Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
My favorite band ever, Radiohead, was in St. Louis at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre so I took the Megabus from Cincinnati to Chicago and from Chicago to St. Louis.
I was really happy with the results. In fact, it turned out to be one of the most perfect days I've ever had (you know the kind)!
Those fans who had Verizon Wireless phones had a special line to themselves that allowed early entrance into the concert venue. I didn't need to do this as I had a numbered seat but if you've lawn seats this would be an excellent way to go! One phone allows 4 people in early - sweet!!
Also, you could text messages to VZWN to put up stuff on their message board (see 4th photo).
Also, fans were vigorously encouraged to recycle all over the concert venue.
I read the venue's website and was a little concerned about the descriptors for what kinds of cameras to bring in. It said digital was ok but not professional cameras with attached zoom lenses. Mine is new, has an 18X zoom lens and you can ADD zoom lenses but I didn't. I called to confirm if mine was okay, but Amy at the box office was of nil help.
Also, if you have lawn seats, be advised to bring a water repellent covering to lay on the ground as it soaks up tons of water. Many people were walking around with water stains on their bottoms!
Dress Code: It's CONCERT ATTIRE so wear whatever you like although a great many people showed up band t-shirts of other bands (i.e. The Ramones) and jeans, capris or shorts.
T-shirts at the concert are $40 apiece and carry no band logo (sort of an anti-art/dadaistic statement on the usual practice of band names on the tee). Instead, song lyrics are emblazoned on the shirt (these from the song 15 Step from the new BRILLIANT album/CD):
You used to be alright
Band posters were going for $10, a much cheaper alternative to the t-shirts.
Also, there's printing on the inside of the shirt stating how polyester material is made versus post-consumer polyester (shirts are 50% cotton/50% polyester and soft as h311!). On the back of the tee the words are emblazoned backwards. You could turn the shirt inside out to show the band's political/environmental views and the lyrics would then show backwards on the front and correctly on the back.
Lots of concert-goers were complaining about the t-shirt prices but they fell directly in line with what I've been paying at other concerts (Coldplay 3 yrs ago, Chris Brown for my daughter 2 yrs ago).
As Chris Martin of Coldplay said, every other band follows what Radiohead does, so I'm sure this will soon become common practice.
Photos: May 14, 2008
- Road Trip
BB's Jazz Blues and Soups: Live Blues and Jazz
Where the musicians go when their gigs are over for the night. I think that says it all. This place is a music lovers dream - if a bit smoky. Great live music, relatively cheap drinks, and they are supposed to have really good fried chicken, although I have never had it myself.
Hyatt Regency Grand Hall Bar: Grand Old Setting for Drinks!
I took mjccafe's advice and had drinks at the lovely, historic bar area of the Hyatt Regency which is part of Union Station. They also have a menu of appetizers, sandwiches & desserts, but I wasn't hungry that late at night so forewent the pleasure of dining there.
This place is so gorgeous with its barrel-vaulted ceiling and French accoutrements, it strongly reminded me of Le Train Bleu in Paris!
Martinis run between $8.50 & 9.50; I had a Captain Morgan's rum & diet with a twist of lime while sitting at a small table with deep, comfy leather seats. I was surprised to find out one could smoke in such an opulent setting so I took advantage and smoked while I enjoyed my drink. A perfect ending to a perfect day!
I closed the place down at midnight; others came in past that hoping for a drink with their cigar but had no such luck. The place was snug as a bug by that time!
Dress Code: Doesn't hurt to dress well in an environment like this, but I was just coming back from a concert and they didn't blink an eye at me!
Photos: May 14, 2008
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Women's Travel
- Historical Travel
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