The field has narrowed over the past year, what with the closings of Frederick's Music Lounge and the Hi-Pointe. But even in a crowded field, the Way Out Club stood out as a beacon of rock and revelry. The venue books many of this town's finest rock bands and the occasional touring act, and its tall-ceilinged music room is acoustically friendly. The dcor of vintage erotica, horror-movie posters and one big-ass velvet painting of Kenny Rogers helps maintain a fun-house atmosphere, but club owners Bob Putnam and Sherri Lucas are the heart of the Way Out. Dispensing drinks and good cheer in equal measure, the couple has been fostering St. Louis' musical community for nearly a decade. Their dedication to local music and propagation of joie de vivre makes the venue the premier spot for hot rock action.