Best Bar/Nightclub

Venice Café

A blow-up doll, floating from the ceiling. Multicolored tiles and lights everywhere. And Missouri vanity license plates that read "TRIPE."

You could spend a year inside the Venice and still not notice everything on the cram-packed walls and ceilings decorated with just about anything the mind can imagine. The beer garden is a real garden, with trees providing canopy and large potted plants adding an exotic, junglelike flair. Happy-hour prices are more than reasonable, with longneck Buds going for $1.50. It's worth that much just to see this place.

One thing the Venice apparently doesn't have is a dishwasher. There's no need. Food -- make sure you try the Jamaican jerk chicken -- is served on paper plates, adding a down-home feel to a place where casual is key. The stage is a bit cramped, but the Venice is also a great place for live music. No single genre dominates. Rather, the management books whomever sounds good. Kind of like the décor: If it makes you feel good, do it.

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Previously in Best of St. Louis