The outer courtyard of Bar K.
Featuring three bars and nearly 100,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor dog parks, Bar K (4565 McRee Avenue, 314-530-9990) became the top dog park in St. Louis when it opened last fall. Bar K offers a draft beer menu (for humans) and a healthy food menu (for humans and pets). The dog park and bar, first developed in Kansas City, arrived in St. Louis in November at a renovated warehouse in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood. In addition to the off-leash areas, there are daily events like trivia and “doga” or dog-friendly yoga sessions. All dogs over 12 weeks old with up-to-date vaccinations are welcome. Bar K offers several membership options, but visitors can try it out as a guest by paying an admission fee of $10 for a dog and $5 for each additional pooch. Would you like to visit us but don’t have a dog friend? That’s okay too. Admission for non-doll visitors is free. – Monika Obradovic
Local comedian Kathleen Madigan once described St. Louis as “a city that drinks beer, smokes cigarettes, and eats meat. We’re so unhealthy that my youngest sister moved to Seattle and when she got there she saw everyone on bikes and she just assumed they were all drunk driving.” OK, we’re not known for being the healthiest city of the country, but we are passionate about our outdoor activities. How else do you explain all the parks, miles of bike trails, and remote recreation areas that people visit every summer? We’re also a city that loves our sport. The Cardinals and the Blues are part of the beating heart of the city, and we’ll be adding the returning Battlehawks (or whatever our XFL team name ends up being) and St. Louis City SC to the mix. And while some of us enjoy the outdoors more than others, you can still unwind indoors, with options ranging from bowling to pinball to darts. So for those of you who ride bikes even if you don’t have a DUI, this list is for you. – Rosalind early
Scott Rovak/Getty Images/Courtesy St Louis Blues
Hockey is often a blue and white smudge on the ice at the Enterprise Center, but if you see skates flashing as the puck sinks into the net, they’re probably Robert Thomas’s. Thomas, who was a breakthrough star last year, scored a rousing 20 goals during his time on the ice, cementing his place as the Blues’ best hope for the future. The Canadian-born forward, who has just signed an eight-year contract, boasts a great shot on goal and an eye on the puck, which is proving to be an integral part of both defense and offense. General manager Doug Armstrong compared the signing of a long-term deal to previous signings he’d received from Alex Pietrangelo and Vladimir Tarasenko. We hope that Thomas will also lead the team to the Stanley Cup. – Jenna Jones
This one was difficult to choose. I mean, where can we find a new stadium in St. Louis? How a new stadium that could potentially transform St. Louis, revitalize an overlooked part of downtown and house a world-class sports team? We had to dig, but in the end we settled on the $457.8 million, 22,500-seat stadium being built in Downtown West that is already transforming the neighborhood. You know, the one that will be home to St. Louis’ newest professional sports team – St. Louis City SC. Centene Stadium (2100 Market Street), slated to open in 2023, will house the 28th Major League Soccer franchise and the first in St. Louis in America’s top flight. It will also be a hard-hitting stadium where no fan will be more than 120 feet from the field. Local artist Muhammad “Mvstermind” Austin is responsible for the matchday music and will put together a fan-curated playlist. All of these things point to one of the most intimate, loudest and funniest football experiences in the country. Centene Stadium will be loud, it will be all ours – and we can’t wait. -Benjamin Simon
Christopher Mikal’s Photography/STLSurge Marketing
St. Louis shock.
St. Louisans who crave the sweet rush of the net or the heart-pounding tap of fast dribbling should tune out the NBA and take their bearings from the St. Louis Surge – St. Louis’ only professional basketball team. Founded in 2011, the highly victorious Surge has won two national and six regional championships in just over a decade. The team recently transitioned to the Global Women’s Basketball Association after dominating the Women’s Blue-Chip Basketball League for seven seasons. The Surge is owned by Khalia Collier, who also happens to be the Vice President of Community Relations for St. Louis City SC. As with SC, Collier wants to bring more sport to the city and also increase interest in women’s ball. – Jessica Roe
Courtesy of Ben Munson/St. Louis Cardinals
It’s no secret that this baseball season will be the last time three great Cardinals players take the field. Yadier Molina, Albert Pujols and Adam Wainwright have been baseball’s Holy Trinity of Cardinals for years. Though Pujols left to play for the Los Angeles Angels and the Dodgers, the three have become synonymous with baseball in St. Louis. (Some fans have never seen a Cardinals team without Molina or Wainwright.) Now that’s coming to an end, as all three will retire at the end of the season. It was certainly a bittersweet farewell, but this year offered many highlights, seeing von Molina and Pujols pitch for the first time, watching Pujols consistently lap bases and even giving Nelly double-high-fives. It’s St. Louis magic at its finest, played out in the shadow of the Arch at Busch Stadium. – Jenna Jones
Courtesy Washington University
Coach Roger Follmer.
Washington University men’s tennis coach Roger Follmer is probably the most successful Division III college coach you’ve never heard of. Let’s run down the list — a career record 361-125, 51 All-American players, a two-time National Coach of the Year, and the 2008 NCAA DIII National Champions. He has reached the NCAA tournament 20 times in 21 seasons. The one year he missed? COVID-19 has canceled this season. It’s fair to say that Follmer built a tennis dynasty at Washington University. That year, his team, ranked seventh in the nation, achieved the University Athletic Association championship and won two games in the NCAA tournament. For many coaches, that would be the best achievement on their resume. It was just a normal season for Follmer. -Benjamin Simon
Health Cajandig Via Flickr
Ha Ha Tonka State Park
An abandoned castle, sparkling blue water, acres of trees – these are things that require traveling thousands of miles for, right? nope Instead, take an easy day trip to Ha Ha Tonka State Park (1491 Missouri D, Camdenton; 573-346-2986). Just a three hour drive and you are among the park’s trees, ruins, sinkholes, caves and sheer cliffs. Kayak, swim, fish or boat on the lake, cross the giant natural bridge, hike the trails and look out over the Lake of the Ozarks from any high place in the park. Yes, there are castle ruins here too, the remains of the lavish retreat that wealthy Kansas businessman Robert M. Snyder began building in 1905. Snyder died in a car accident, but his son completed the property in 1922 and it eventually became a hotel. It caught fire in 1942 and today only ruins remain. Proceed with caution: in 2016, some of the ruins were deemed unsafe and closed to the public. – Jenna Jones
Actor and St. Louis all-rounder Jon Hamm has made no secret of his love for St. Louis Blues hockey. And the blues seem to love him right back. That spring, the team was trailing 2-0 to the Anaheim Ducks at the end of the first period. Then Hamm, who has previously done color commentary for Bally Sports Midwest, joined announcers John Kelly and Darren Pang – and the Blues scored. “Am I lucky or what?” the Mad Men star asked, laughing. The last time he entered the dressing room, Ivan Barbashev scored, so Hamm thought he had struck gold twice. But the blues were just getting started. Within about five minutes, the team scored two more goals. Barbashev met when Hamm complimented him. “You can’t write that,” Hamm said. “If you wrote it, people would be like, ‘No, that doesn’t make sense.'” The Hollywood heartthrob’s time in the dressing room ended with another Justin Faulk goal and a 6-3 win. Blues fans have clamored for Hamm to call more games, but we’d advise caution: Jon Hamm is magic, and we must use this secret weapon wisely and with care. – Rosalind early
Courtesy of Billy Hurst/St. Louis Cardinals
Baseball these days is all about home runs. But Nolan Gorman doesn’t just hit home runs — he smashes them. Destroy them. Send screaming baseballs to the stands. When Gorman hits the ball, he flies off his racquet and flies through the air, no doubt where he’s going. At just 22, Gorman is still learning. He struggles to make constant contact and could use some fine tuning on the field. But there’s a thrill every time he enters the batter’s box. Our eyes are glued knowing that with just one pitch he could very well put the ball over the left field wall and send the entire crowd to their feet. The Cardinals can’t shake mediocrity, but Gorman, Baseball’s 58th best prospect, offers hope for the future and a boost of energy in the meantime. He’s young, he’s talented, and he’s the prototypical version of the new, homerun-centric MLB — the guy who can wake the whole stadium with the roar of his bat. -Benjamin Simon
Depending on who you ask, Jayson Tatum might have been the best basketball player alive this past NBA season. He became a first-team All-NBA, averaged nearly 27 points per game, and led the Boston Celtics to the Finals. Despite the success, Tatum never let people forget where he came from. No, he’s not from Boston. He is from St Louis, Missouri. He loves Imos and represents the Cardinals. He has a tattoo that reads “St. Louis, until the world explodes.” At his childhood recreation center, Sherman Park’s Wohl Recreation Center, he paid for a new hardwood basketball floor and computer lab and gave out free book bags. St. Louis hasn’t had an NBA team in nearly 60 years, but this year’s NBA Playoffs felt a little different when Jayson Tatum took to the world’s biggest basketball stage and carried this city with him. -Benjamin Simon