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COOL SPACES AND PLACES

SCOTT SMITH // Times Record

If one can’t find anything fun and inspiring to do in Fort Smith, then the blame, in a not-so-roundabout-way, is on him or her. Local go-to venues such as 21 West End, Temple Live, Fort Smith Brewing Co. and StoneHouse continue to offer a variety of entertainment via food, live music, special events and more.

These venues and many more within the Fort Smith area have been called ideal places by many who are wishing to relax, forget about stress for a bit, meet friends and create new friendships.

Located at 21 N. Second St., Suite 102, 21 West End offers a lengthy menu of entrees, small plates, shared appetizers, soups, salads, drinks and more for patrons. The bar-and-restaurant establishment also is one of numerous venues that include performances by area groups and visiting musicians and singers.

Fort Smith Brewing Co., 7500 Fort Chaffee Blvd., is a Fort Smith brewery that prides itself on bringing localized beverages to the community and includes a tasting room with 62 taps. Among the special events the site has hosted in the past were tasting sessions, a 1980s-style party, gaming and cornhole tournaments and a scholarship fundraiser, as well as the ongoing Fort Smith Beer & Hymns event.

Described as an outgrowth of the North Carolina-based Wild Goose Festival, the Fort Smith Beer & Hymns gathering takes place at 6 p.m. on the last Sunday of each month. Organizers and attendees sing traditional hymns and other material, with the aim to attract literally everyone of every belief and every lifestyle, according to the Fort Smith Beer and Hymns Facebook page.

StoneHouse, 8801 Wells Lake Road, is a place where various cocktails are named after historic events and people in the Chaffee Crossing area. Two of these creatively named drinks on the menu are the Maness, which is named after the building that houses StoneHouse, and the Barrack 803, which is named after what is now the Chaffee Barbershop Museum; Rock and roll “king” Elvis Presley famously had his first military haircut at Barrack 803.

Standing at Garrison Avenue and Second Street, the Park at West End has been a long-running favorite of area residents and visitors, thanks to its large, fast-moving Ferris wheel. The park also is home to a carousel and an area that is called ideal by many for birthdays, weddings, family reunions and other special events.

Temple Live, which can be found at 200 N. 11th St., continues to be known for its host of genre-hopping concerts and a downstairs restaurant area, whose evolving menu tackles multiple food tastes. Special screenings of the movies “Frozen,” “Casablanca,” “Blazing Saddles,” “Citizen Kane,” “Elf,” “Step Brothers” and others recent drew crowds inside the renovated Masonic Temple, and the plan calls for Temple Live to host more movie-related events for all ages, said Mike Brown of Temple Live.

Individuals who travel to 900 Garrison Ave. will find the park known as Garrison Commons, which is the site for various activities for the community. Street artists, musicians and special movie showings have been known to be common at Garrison Commons.

Fans of live music, food and friendship also can find congregating at the Sound Room, Neumeier’s Rib Room & Beer Garden, Harry’s Downtown, Gus’s Bar & Grill, Hero’s, the Blue Lion at UAFS Downtown, the new 906 Cocktail and Cigar Lounge and the 801 Media Center, to name a few. A variety of Fort Smith-based bands, regional acts and national-touring artists commonly are found inside these locations, dishing up original material and cover songs that dip into blues, rock, country, soul, Americana and other musical genres.

At Hero’s, $1 tacos, music and various drinks are favorites of customers, while American food, pool tables and TV screens inside Gus’s Bar & Grill are cherished by patrons. Neumeier’s Rib Room & Beer Garden, founded and operated by the late Bill Neumeier, will resume its live-music schedule in mid- to late-April, officials said.

The 801 Media Center houses the annual Artist Audience Community Live! concert series, which will present intimate, low-key gigs by Gaye Adegbalola (Feb. 7) and Gretchen Peters (March 6). The 2019-20 season schedule soon will be announced, according to organizers.

No stranger to scheduled concerts and other community friendly events, the ArcBest Performing Arts Center in the Fort Smith Convention Center acts as the performance site for the Fort Smith Symphony, as well as for other activities like the Western Arkansas Ballet’s annual “Nutcracker” production, local fundraisers and numerous statewide and national dance competitions.