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.
The Blue Line celebrates all things sports with a menu of pub grub and a draft-beer lineup worthy of hoisting toward the eatery’s flat-screen televisions, which sit above its namesake—a bar emblazoned with a thick, blue line “that shines like new ice,” according to The Pitch. As build-your-own burgers and zesty wings sate hunger, bartenders pour drafts from craft brewers that include Schlafly, Boulevard, and New Belgium until 3 a.m. every night. The menu also contains—albeit barely—the Hat Trick, a burger composed of 1.5 pounds of Angus beef, a fried egg, three kinds of cheese, bacon, veggies, and an onion ring stacked irresponsibly near the top. Each day, the bar’s TVs stream footage of sports games, which are interrupted from time to time by live bands and anti-sports legislation.
Open late seven days a week?until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and until midnight the rest of the week?Z Strike Bowling plies its patrons with bowling, comfortable couches, and a full sit-down restaurant. Bowlers can scatter pins on lanes reserved in advance, a practice that prevents long waits and frustrated customers rolling balls at piles of street shoes. Between games, visitors can nosh at the onsite eatery, with an upscale menu filled with offerings such as chicken and waffles, fish tacos, quesadillas, and a full bar featuring new craft beers.
As Tommy, one of Howl at the Moon’s piano players, explains on the club’s website, “Every night…we try and throw a party, regardless of whether it’s a Tuesday night or a Saturday night.” The bar’s trademark dueling pianos serve as the epicenter of these nightly celebrations; patrons submit their favorite songs on slips of paper for the pianists and backing musicians to recreate. If the website’s playlist is any indication, the bands can handle popular songs from all genres and eras, from Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” to Kanye West’s “All of the Lights.” The performances are spirited: colorful lights splash upon a stage where servers, guests, and chairs that have somehow developed mobility all dance along to the music.
Fueling the celebration is the bar’s indulgent selection of drinks. Servers stand over patrons to plunge jello injectors into their mouths, and revelers grab colorful straws to help drain 86-ounce booze buckets filled with sangria or other fruity libations. Pomegranate liqueur and honey-infused whiskey sweeten specialty cocktails, and local beers add depth to coolers stocked with Stella Artois and Dos Equis.
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.
Duke's on Grand embraces its location?in the heart of Kansas City and across from the Sprint Center?by serving as a haven for passersby seeking a neighborhood setting that celebrates local sports teams from each side of the state line. As live games play on the flat-screen televisions, the bartenders slake thirsts with potent cocktails as well as a selection of draft beers that includes several locally brewed options.
The food menu also embraces this homespun vibe by featuring a number of classic comfort foods made using locally sourced meats, dairy, and produce whenever possible. Barbecued ribs smoked overnight occupy the flame-heated grill alongside burgers that will eventually be finished with everything from jalape?o-spiced ketchup to Creole-style tartar sauce. Additionally, the selection includes homestyle favorites, such as pulled-pork sandwiches and hearty wings.
The warm ambiance at Duke's on Grand mirrors the pub's neighborhood-style charm. Surrounded by exposed brickwork and jet-black walls, the grill features small tables scattered across its dark wooden floorboards. The glass-paned front walls are even capable of opening during the warmer months, creating an open-air setting that allows diners to pair their meal with breaths of the fresh oxygen that the city imports each spring.