Surfboards hang from the ceiling alongside hammock-like netting to create a beachy atmosphere inside the landlocked Shark Bar. Patrons cluster around colorful bench-style seats or high-top tables to sip refreshing island drinks, such as rumrunners and the signature Beach Pail punch. Wait staff dressed as lifeguards mix drinks behind a wood-slatted bar adorned with a giant flip-flop left behind after Paul Bunyan's 21st birthday party. At night, disco balls illuminate and black lights transform the bar into a neon dance floor with a soundtrack set by in-house DJs.
Armed with state-of-the-art sound systems and lighting, The Monaco beckons guests to let loose while shimmying on a dance floor infused with thumping beats and pulsing lights. This extravagant corner of the Martini Corner Entertainment District is jazzed up with low-profile VIP tables, glittering chandeliers, and olives speared upon toothpicks as a warning to rebellious fruits. Guests can indulge in bottle service or boogie down while chatting at the bar. No matter the night or occasion, a DJ is always on-hand to fuel the party spirit with top 40 jams.
Beneath a chandelier made from wineglasses, mixologists concoct drinks with techniques that come close to alchemy. Specialty cocktails include a red-wine martini that marries pinot noir with Chambord and vodka, and edible cocktails—dubbed "drops"—are solidified through a secret molecular process akin to the one that turns cotton into cotton candy. Though spirits abound, beer drinkers aren't forgotten; the bistro imports nearly 100 types of bottled beer from all over the world, with an emphasis on microbrews. Small plates also draw visitors, especially in groups, as the chef's flatbreads and platters of dried fruits, meats, and artisan cheeses are ideal for sharing. Those who prefer individually portioned meals can enjoy entrees such as caramelized sea scallops with a cauliflower purée.
For more than 31 years, the family-owned Anthony's Restaurant & Lounge has welcomed pasta-seeking diners with its hospitable vibe, its vibrant European décor, and its flavorful Italian fare. Anthony's menu features a multitude of pasta, seafood, and carne specialties, from the creamy fettuccini alla carbonara ($14.95) to the pesce ala vito ($16.50), a broiled fish filet topped with mushrooms. Those craving an appetizer can start with Anthony's signature deep-fried artichoke hearts ($14.95), topped with seafood garlic-butter sauce, or nosh lightly breaded shrimp ($12.95). With Italian-inspired murals on the walls next to Roman-style busts, you can spend a romantic evening with your date heatedly debating the cutest Roman emperor.
The soulful pulse of Kansas City beats outward from The Drum Room’s historic dining room inside the Hilton President, where modern track lighting illuminates photos of jazz legends gone by and classic cocktails complement a dinner menu of urban comfort cuisine. Chef Eric Carter bridges the gap between homestyle cooking and cosmopolitan delicacies, drawing on local and seasonal ingredients to evoke a double-sided nostalgia for childhood and the height of the Jazz Age—when the restaurant first opened its doors. Tables whose wood still shivers with the excitement of meeting Frank Sinatra in 1941 host diners as they carve through grilled beef-tenderloin medallions ($30) or succulent cuts of smoked rib eye glazed with red wine ($34). A subtle kick of caffeine comes courtesy of the coffee-rubbed porchetta and caramelized scallops ($22), which keeps bellies alert with a side of red-eye gravy and a garnish of finely ground fire alarms.
Cellar and Loft—which happens to be owned by former Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Eddie Kennison—doesn't just pour its visitors glasses of wine or beer and leave it at that. Instead, it keeps a staff of experts on hand to enlighten sippers on the nuances of their chosen drinks, such as the grapes involved in a citrus-tinged sauvignon blanc or the types of malts that flavor an imperial IPA. Age is a much-respected quality in the world of wine, and Cellar and Loft even infuses that truism into their ambience—it's housed a building that's 140 years old and has enough exposed-brick charm to attract an 18th-century masonry guild. In addition to making visitors feel welcome in the tasting rooms, the staff also invites them to travel on wine trips or join wine, beer, cheese, or scotch clubs. These groups indulge members in monthly bottles of a chosen beverage, a newsletter subscription, and weekend tastings with the California Raisins.