There are many beloved dive bars in this great state of ours, but it's unlikely any of them inspire more devotion than this odd little wooden building, situated on a strange corner, which somehow feels way out on the edge of the dismal part of town despite being damn near at the dead center of the city. It's a refuge, where the wayward hobo, the weary drywall guy and the wounded vegetarian poet alike find cheap beer by the pitcher full and live music that tends toward the roots-rock side of things. Squat red canoes hang from the ceiling and the walls are strewn with art, craft and debris. In the men's room, the missives covering the walls are by turns accusatory, sinister, vague, hilarious or lifted from half-remembered punk rock and country tunes.
It's rare to find a restaurant any more unpretentious — or consistently tasty — than The Oyster Bar. From the red checkered tablecloths to the wood paneling to the great food and the laid-back vibe, this is the type of neighborhood joint that feels perfectly broken-in and comfy and so just-right that often, nothing else will do. Not surprisingly, the menu is heavy on the seafood, with lots of southern Louisiana standards thrown in — red beans and rice with Andouille any day of the week, shrimp gumbo and dependable po' boys. As far as appetizers, the fried asparagus is always a hit, but for the hungry yet bargain-minded diner, it's hard to avoid the Cat-touffee — a big, crispy fried catfish fillet atop a generous helping of creamy shrimp etouffee for $11. Of course the oysters — fried or fresh — are delectable.
How many places are there in Little Rock that can rightly be described as an institution? Who knows, probably no more than a dozen, but regardless, Pizza D' is unquestionably one of them. The first thing you need to know is: Never call Pizza D'Action by its full name, unless you want to immediately out yourself as a noob. Nobody calls it "Pizza D'Action." It's Pizza D' or just The D. OK, now that we've got that down, here's the next thing you need to know: Pizza D's got a funk, and if you go there, it is gonna be on you for a while — and not just your clothes. It's gonna be on you. "But what is this 'funk?'" you ask. Well, basically, it's the accumulated smell of years of partying. It's booze and smoke and grease and smoke and nascent hangovers and smoke and yelling over the music and the other people yelling and smoke, all combined into a powerful, enduring sensory force — the Voltron of smells. Once you realize that and know what you're in for, it's all good.
This Works Progress Administration ballpark was where Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson — widely regarded as the best third baseman of all time — got his start. In 1990, it was put on the National Register of Historic Places, though it's still in use today. The field's namesake was the son of Q.L. Porter, and was killed in 1934 in an auto accident in Virginia, where he was attending Washington and Lee University. The elder Porter had donated the land for the field and named it after his son. Initially, the field was used by the Boys Club, but other leagues soon began playing there. The 1983 film "A Soldier's Story" was filmed largely in Arkansas, and Lamar Porter was featured prominently in the Academy Award-nominated picture.
The State Capitol is fairly hard to miss if you're anywhere in the vicinity of downtown or, of course, Capitol View. Ground was broken at the site in 1899, and the giant limestone structure took 16 years to complete, using stone quarried in Batesville. It is the second state Capitol, and replaced the Old State House starting in 1915. The 230-foot-tall building is a replica of the U.S. Capitol and was convincing enough to be used in some films. The 1986 TV movie "Under Siege" used the Capitol as a stand-in for the one in Washington, and its dome actually bore burn marks for several years as a result of the pyrotechnics used in the film.