To accompany our weekly Made in America episodes, some of the featured artists spill the beans on where to hang out and what to do in their hometown hoods. This week we went to St. Louis (watch the full ep here) and below is what to do next time you happen to be passing through the most famous city in Missouri.
NICK MENN'S RECOMMENDATIONS
Clockwise from top: Noisey's Kim Taylor Bennett, Nick Menn, director Lance Bangs, Tef Poe.
1. Mai Lee's Vietnamese Restaurant
They got the best Vietnamese in the city, they got the best chicken and rice in the city, my home girl works there and always hooks it up. Look them up—their track records is proven!
2. The Chuck Wagon
Fairview Heights is my hometown, this is place is a staple of my childhood. They got greasy tacos and nachos and bomb cherry Coke, I've been going there since middle school. I'll probably will go there forever.
3. Pappy's Smokehouse
Anytime I want some good BBQ I go to Pappy's. Their sandwiches and sweet potato fries are amazing.
4. The Gramophone
This place is our headquarters, I've done more shows there than I count, it's a perfect place to work on your craft, and it's always a good time.
5. The Pageant
I've only had the opportunity to perform their one time, but it's the best sound system in the city in my opinion, that's why they get the big acts.
6. Old Rock House
Dope split level venue, good place for big shows, seen a lot of dope shows there, been apart of a lot of dope shows there.
7. Vintage Vinyl
Definitely a treasure on The Loop in STL, one of the last good record stores in America.
8. Sunshine Daydream
It's a head shop, I am a pot head, it adds up!
9. Play It Again Sports
I'm an athlete, this place has helped equip me for damn near every sport I take part in. Great place to get new and used stuff, as well as trade ins.
10. Busch Stadium
I am huge St. Louis Cardinals fan, there's really nothing better in STL than going to see a Cardinals Game.
11. Edwards Jones Dome
I've been a St. Louis Rams fan since Kurt Warner won us a Super Bowl—I don't think that's ever gonna go anywhere for me, it's gonna hurt if they move to LA. Until then I'll be catching every home game this year.
12. Scottrade Center
If you haven't guessed by now I am a big St. Louis sports fan. In my opinion our sports teams are one of the things that make this place awesome and hard to leave. Ive become a big hockey and St. Louis Blues fan these past couple years, and home games are loud and rocking, I love being anywhere where there is people, energy, and passion.
TEF POE'S RECOMMENDATIONS
1. Moonrise Hotel (roof top)
In the summer there's no better place to go for a date night. The scenery is great and when the weather is right you don't even feel like you're in St. Louis.
2. Atomic Cowboy
A few of the craziest drunken moments of my life have occurred at this place. It's like the twilight zone of bars, hipsters, gangsters, and weirdos all combined consider this our headquarters. I've seen crazy shows of all genres here and it's always open.
3. The Loft
My favorite club in St. Louis, when you see us in here, you know it's trouble: we're buying bottles all night and standing on the couches. We don't even do the bar when we go here—it's bottle service all night in the VIP section, living the young wild and reckless lifestyle.There are no rules here.
4. Mai Lee
My friend Mai Lee is actually an Asian R&B singer. Her parents came here and started this restaurant. In St. Louis chop suey is just as big as Harold's Chicken is in Chicago.This is the zenith all restaurants in St. Louis in my opinion. I suggest you go here and order the jumbo Saint Paul Sandwich for a truly St. Louis dining experience.
5. Bailey's Range
We're talking burgers and fries with milkshakes. We're also talking ALL natural everything. The Ketchup and the special sauce are made from real fresh ingredients. The milkshakes are the best in town, the fries are all natural, the beef is as well. One of the most unique places in the city.
6. Kitchen Sink
Every single item on their menu is delicious. I love the Central West End. It's absolutely my favorite part of town besides North St. Louis and The Kitchen Sink perfectly embodies the energy and diversity of the CWE. I could eat here everyday without a problem. The menu is cajun and soul food influenced—New Orleans is our sister city and The Kitchen Sink does a great job of combining the two.
7. The Gramophone
If this place didn't exist I probably wouldn't have a career. We've probably done over a thousand shows here. It's arguably the most legendary hip-hop performance venue in St. Louis. Everyone's goal at some point is to do a show here as a stamp of approval. This is home base for me, you haven't witnessed a real Tef Poe show until you've seen me in front of a sold out crowd at The Gramophone.
We brought the legendary hip-hop duo Mobb Deep to this place. There's an upstairs art gallery and downstairs is the main performance area. We touched the stage here with the likes of Action Bronson, Mobb Deep, Alchemist, Caskey from Young Money, and countless other big names. The scenery of this place simply makes you feel liberated, it's weird, eclectic and artistic all in one breathe.
The St. Louis Underground Music Festival was here this year. The stage is wonderful and people really enjoy coming here because of the balcony. If you can singlehandedly pack out this venue then you have some serious fan support as a local artist.
This spot is all about staying true to youth culture. This is the meeting point for skaters and hip-hop heads. They play local music all day everyday and this is one of the most important stores in the U-City Loop. I've known the owners for a very long time and I'm proud to see their business expand and leave a permanent mark on the city.
11. Carries Corner Market
This is our equivalent to a Brooklyn bodega. I go here every single day of my life. It's located in North Saint Louis which is the center of the universe in my opinion. You can order a good wholesome home cooked meal here as well. Carrie and his beautiful wife will chef it up for you in 15 minutes or less. You can also snatch snacks and whatever else you need to get you through the course of the day. Order the catfish nuggets and deluxe fries for the win.
12. PX Liquor Store
This liquor store is on the border between North and West St. Louis. A few of my friends have died right outside the building, but that doesn't deter us from going here. It's located in the heart of the gun-zone, but it's the best liquor store we have. PX is legendary in St. Louis, theres more than one location but the North Side location on Kings Highway is the portal to my reality.
13. Forest Park
Without question this is one of the largest parks in the nation. We played Lou Fest in this park with the likes of The Killers, Icona Pop, and a few more bands with world renown notoriety. This year OutKast will be there performing. It's larger than Central Park in New York City. The scenery is breathe taking and its the best place to be in the summer time. The park is massive and gorgeous—I love it.
After a late night show at home we often end up here. By the time you walk in these doors you need to know that everyone is drunk and there are no rules.
15. Coffee Cartel
If you're bored and looking for a random adventure then this is the place to be. The owner was rude to me once or twice but that doesn't deter the fact that I love the patrons of this place. Looking for a random conversation with a homeless woman that used to be one of Tina Turners back up singers? Coffee Cartel is the place to be. They never close and the most interesting people in the world walk through these doors.
If you’re boutique style or more unique, eclectic style, The Loop is always dope. They got some great shops down there or you could just hit the mall. We’ve got about 14 of them, damn. St. Louis got a lot of damn malls! Man.
Vintage Vinyl (see Nick Menn's number 7)
I think the only record store still standing is Vintage Vinyl. Probably in the whole world. Vintage Vinyl is an historical music landmark not just for U City, but for St. Louis as a whole. Lunatics, we all used to gather there. We all used to run up there and get records. I bought my first N.W.A tape out of Vintage Vinyl. I don’t tell my mom that. I was Eazy-E’d out. Had a curl and everything.
2. London and Sons
This is a very good spot, very historic—it’s a hood wing spot. You want a six piece wing, fries, hot sauce, cheese, and ketchup. Ketchup on errythang.
3. Belle Fountaine Park
Kickball is really, really taking off: these girls, most of them are girls and you go to Bell Fountaine Park on a Sunday, you might see 3,000 people out there and these girls out there playing kickball and it’s serious. What we're doing now is we’re forming a national kickball association as we speak. Yeah, we’ve been part of that. You know what I’m saying. We got it coming, so wherever you be in cities, we’ve got the National Kickball Tournament coming soon!