Throughout Missouri, classic comfort food of the Midwest and South come together. The genre is nothing revolutionary, but reliably tasty and filling. The big towns of St Louis and Kansas City stand apart for their diversity of cuisine and world-famous barbecue and are the hub of Missouri nightlife. Blues and jazz are highlights of the live music scene, while country and bluegrass dominate the mountainous Ozark region in the south.

Bars and Pubbing in Missouri

In both Kansas City and St. Louis you will find some of America’s best live music, particularly jazz and blues. In St Louis, the Loop, Laclede’s Landing and the Soulard neighborhood are where the nightlife is concentrated in Missouri. Great live performances are on hand every night of the week at institutions like BB’s Jazz, Blues and Soups (700 S. Broadway, St Louis), and the Broadway Oyster Bar (736 S. Broadway, St Louis). The Central West End and downtown Washington Avenue are filled with friendly local bars like Hair of the Dog (1212 Washington Ave, St Louis).

Kansas City is the other hotbed of live music and evening entertainment. Westport and downtown is the place to be, especially the new eight-block Power & Light District where trendy, fun bars and clubs stand shoulder to shoulder. Within this area, you can walk the streets with a plastic to-go cup of alcohol, a rarity in America. Live music is also a highlight of Kansas City. Check out the Blue Room (1600 E. 18th Street, Kansas City) or Blayney’s (415 Westport Rd, Kansas City) for superb nightly performances. There is also riverboat gambling in Kansas City on moored barges like Harrah’s Casino. Most bars close around 1:30 a.m.

Dining and Cuisine in Missouri

Without a doubt the culinary highlight of Missouri is its barbecue. Kansas City is legendary for its ribs and pulled pork brisket. There are more than a few institutions worth seeking out and the best is an ongoing debate, but the lines at Oklahoma Joe’s (3002 W. 47th Avenue, Kansas City) and Florella’s Jack Stack (101 W. 22nd Street, Kansas City) more than back up their reputation. Steaks are also very good in Kansas City, especially at the Plaza III (4749 Pennsylvania St, Kansas City).

St Louis also boasts a solid dining scene that covers everything from amazing Italian in The Hill neighborhood to its own beloved style of barbecue. The Central West End is another great area to eat, with high-end dining at Chez Leon (4580 Laclede Ave, St Louis). The Delmar Loop is home to city staples like Blueberry Hill (6504 Delmar Blvd, St Louis) and tasty brewpubs such as the Schlafly Tap Room (2100 Locust St, St Louis).

Outside Missouri’s big cities, the fare is mainly comfort food. Branson has a good selection of eateries like the Branson Café (120 W. Main St, Branson), a classic diner that's true Americana. In fact, diners are probably your best bet when traveling around the countryside. These are local restaurants, so they have to be good to stay in business. You’ll get great value for your money and filling, hearty plates of food.