What to do near the Maplewood Metro stop

| Copy Chief

For many students who don’t have cars, finding things to do off campus can be challenging, and ordering a taxi cab can be expensive. But thanks to the local transit system and Wash. U.’s U-Pass program, many otherwise out-of-reach attractions are much easier to access. Students may know the suburb of Maplewood for its Wal-Mart and Maplewood Commons shopping area, but a ride on the MetroLink from the University City-Big Bend stop adjacent to campus to the Maplewood-Manchester stop will bring you to within walking distance of several other restaurants and attractions. Here’s a sampling of them.

The Maya Cafe, 2726 Sutton Blvd.

The Maya Cafe offers fresh margaritas and a variety of Pan-Latin specialties. Located in the Maplewood Arts District, the Maya Cafe features a dining room and bar designed by Bill Christman, a St. Louis artist. With the weather warming up, its deck bar is definitely worth checking out. http://www.mayacafestl.com/

Maplewood Arts District

Art lovers, rejoice: Maplewood is home to a number of small art galleries and venues, which are clustered in an area less than a mile east of the Maplewood-Manchester station. Hoffman LaChance Contemporary art gallery, at 2713 Sutton Blvd., will have an opening reception at 6 p.m. Friday for “Gates and Ways,” an exhibit by Illinois abstract artist Michael Wille featuring paintings and prints that incorporate architectural elements from several different cities. The Focal Point, located at 2720 Sutton Blvd., features live folk and bluegrass music every weekend. Saturday’s show will feature folk artist Jamie Kindleyside, and April 9’s performance will feature Craver, Watson, Hicks & Newberry, who have made many appearances on Garrison Keillor’s weekly entertainment show “A Prairie Home Companion.” Black Cat Theatre, at 2810 Sutton Blvd., offers live music, cabaret and theatrical performances for a variety of age groups. This 180-seat venue looks unassuming on the outside, but it has an impressive track record of shows by both local and internationally known writers; in February 2009, Black Cat Theatre featured Noel Coward’s romantic comedy “Private Lives,” which has been featured on Broadway several times. Black Cat often has student discounts.

For a full list of galleries and venues in this area, visit http://www.cityofmaplewood.com/index.aspx?nid=186. Access this area by walking east or taking the 57 MetroBus from the Maplewood-Manchester MetroLink stop.

Tiffany’s Original Diner, 7402 Manchester Rd.

Right across from Monarch Restaurant is Tiffany’s, which is in a prime location in Maplewood for grabbing late-night grub. This place, which has the look and feel of a traditional American diner, is especially known for its breakfast items, such as omelets and pancakes.

The Jive & Wail, 7376 Manchester Rd.

Does a night of dueling pianos, dancing, drinks and food sound like fun? If so, then this restaurant and entertainment venue is for you. Its Web site bills it as “a sing-along, clap-along, drink-along, have-one-helluva-good-time-along entertainment venue” where you can enjoy listening to two dueling pianists playing a range of popular hits by artists ranging from “Elvis to Eminem, Abba to ZZ Top, Neil Diamond to AC/DC.” Thursday is Ladies’ Night, which features half-priced martinis for those of you who are of age. It’s open only on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, and it has a reputation for getting crowded. You can access the Jive & Wail by walking east on Manchester from the MetroLink stop or by taking the 57 MetroBus for a few minutes. http://www.jiveandwail.com

Saratoga Bowling Lanes, 2725 Sutton Blvd.

Tropicana Lanes in Richmond Heights may be the closest bowling alley to campus, but for those who seek a slightly more retro feel, seek out Saratoga Lanes. The inside appearance and features hearken back to the old days; for instance, there are no flashing lights and no automatic scoring, meaning a more traditional bowling experience. In addition to having eight bowling lanes, Saratoga also has darts and pool tables, as well as a bar with drinks on the cheap. Saratoga has racked up a number of Riverfront Times Best of Awards in recent years, including Best Bowling Lanes (2004, 2008) and Best Place to Play Pool (2005). From the Maplewood-Manchester stop, walk east on Manchester or take the 57 MetroBus until Sutton Boulevard, then turn right and walk a short distance. http://www.saratogalanes.com/index.php

Schlafly Bottleworks, 7260 Southwest Ave.

If you’re 21, you can take a behind-the-scenes tour of the brewery that makes the locally known Schlafly line of beers. Complimentary samples of several varieties of Schlafly beers are offered along the way. Tours are offered hourly from noon to 5 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Or you can eat at the Schlafly Bottleworks restaurant, which offers burgers, sandwiches, pizza, pasta, ribs and appetizers. The restaurant is open seven days per week and has no age restrictions.

Monarch Restaurant, 7401 Manchester Rd.

For those of you who are willing to spend a little extra, Monarch provides an intimate fine-dining experience, with both a main dining menu and a tasting menu that has smaller food items and wines. The food is of an international flavor, incorporating French, Asian and American cuisine. The restaurant also carries dozens of wines, ranging from affordable to pricey. Get there by walking a little bit west of the Maplewood-Manchester MetroLink stop. http://monarchrestaurant.com

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