In her early 20s, Heather Redman worked in a swanky Omaha eatery, where she served countless bottles of high-end wine. There, she developed a passion about learning about fine wines, amassing a wealth of knowledge that she now shares at Swirl Wine Bar and Shoppe. Heather reduces her carbon footprint maintains freshness by keeping all her reds and whites—as well as select craft beers—on tap. The tap system prevents the wines from being exposed to oxygen, maintaining flavor quality from the first glass to the last. Each beverage can be complemented by a concise selection of shareable bites, including assorted chocolate truffles and house-made pita paired with roasted red pepper hummus.
While Swirl's roomy lounge complete with comfy leather seats and couches invites visitors to stay and relax, the shoppe also caters to patrons on the go. Bottles of wine and craft beer line retail shelves throughout the lounge, and Swirl's wine and beer clubs reward members with monthly packages of hand-selected libations instead of just pictures of hands selecting libations.
It’s hard to make new friends in a park; but, thanks to KC Crew, friendships have been blossoming all over Roanoke Park, One Park Place, and Penn Valley Park. The secret to their success is rec leagues, in which players compete in softball, tennis, and sand volleyball, a beachy sport far preferable to speed eating shells. The organization provides umpires, a game schedule, and a $100 credit at a local bar awarded to the winning team. And after the sun goes down, the organization offers more in-depth studies of the area nightlife through bar crawls, themed to celebrate holidays such as St. Patrick’s Day or simulate a zombie apocalypse.
The disparate sounds of softly clinking wineglasses, cheering sports fans, and rhythmic dance beats simultaneously emanate from Kansas City’s eclectic entertainment district, Martini Corner. With six locally owned hot spots ranging from Velvet Dog, an upscale martini bar and DJ lounge, to Haus, a German sausage joint with European beers on tap, Martini Corner offers something for revelers of all kinds. Free parking keeps this thriving neighborhood hub accessible.
One autumn day, 13-year-old Shanita McAfee wandered through her local apple orchard, plucking the ripest, plumpest apples. She had done this for years with her dad and siblings, but this year was different. Instead of giving the apples to her mom for apple pies, Shanita decided to take on the challenge herself. She loved her mom's pies, but didn't understand why her mom would use a store-bought crust if she was going to put in the effort to make everything else from scratch. So, Shanita started experimenting with various homemade-crust recipes, and her passion for cooking was born.
Though Shanita’s repertoire has expanded to include savory dishes, such as New Orleans–style shrimp and pan-seared seafood, her cooking philosophy remains the same: fresh, seasonal ingredients prepared with love. Magnolia’s chef has also made it her mission to challenge people to "experience traditional Southern ingredients and food in a different way." That's why she creates things such as braised oxtail lasagna and Grown Up grilled cheese—toasted farm-to-market challah bread with smoked gouda and Tillamook cheddar served with bacon horseradish dip and a 401K pamphlet.
Each of the wines on the shelf in Cellar Rat has been vetted by the staff—nothing is sold to the public unless the staff would drink it or use it as a substitute for milk in cereal. The resulting more than 800 wines, 70% of which are less than $20, make for tasty everyday and special-occasion beverages, as do the number of premium spirits and handcrafted brews stocked alongside the wine.
Cellar Rat’s vino experts do more than just discern the difference between good and bad wine; they also teach others how to do so during wine classes that delve into the intricacies of tasting. They even make pairing suggestions for the artisan cheeses, gourmet cured meats, and pate also sold in the boutique shop.
The Waldo district's 75th Street Brewery concocts unique beers best enjoyed while listening to the sounds of the local musicians who frequent its stage. As brewmasters labor to perfect the flavor of each keg, chefs craft an ever-growing menu of famous American eats, including burgers, ribs, pasta, and fresh vegetable salads. They call out daily specials on colorful, handwritten chalkboard menus suspended next to the high, exposed wooden rafters. For those who appreciate alfresco dining, a sunny beer garden lets in air and light through its slotted roof, while four solid walls block unpleasant noises, such as the squalls of wandering avant-garde jazzmen.