Kansas City Bar Guide for Every Age Group
Tom's Town Distilling Co.
This Crossroads distillery-meets-lounge is everything a 20-something could want: Founders David Epstein and Steve Revare pulled inspiration from Kansas City’s rich history, naming their joint after Tom Pendergast, the political boss who personally saw to it that his hometown did not experience any dry years during Prohibition.
Tom’s Town is fittingly decked out in 20s-era decor, with furniture upholstered in absinthe-green velvet and coffee-colored leather — the perfect place, in other words, to enjoy a cocktail featuring Tom’s Town’s own line of craft spirits: McElroy’s Corruption Gin, Eli’s Strongarm Vodka and Pendergast’s Royal Gold Bourbon.
The drink list features Prohibition classics that every burgeoning cocktail enthusiast should be familiar with, and they’re all priced between $9-12.
1701 Main St., Kansas City, Mo., toms-town.com
Wine: Ça Va
That moment in your 20s when you graduate from Two-Buck Chuck to the $15 bottle is a proud one. The good people at Ça Va understand that. In fact, they will be happy to share their deep expertise on the subject – and you can tap into your inner Francophile and dream about the day when you’ll be popping Moet in Paris.
4149 Pennsylvania Ave., Kansas City, Mo., cavakc.com
Sure, that six-pack of Bud Light was good enough when your older brother was your main supplier, but it’s not too long after your 21st birthday that you start wanting a little more diversity when it comes to your beer. Enter HopCat: This Westport tavern features 100 rotating taps — 30 of them local — so that you’re never bored.
401 Westport Road, Kansas City, Mo., hopcat.com
The Monarch Bar
The Monarch on Country Club Plaza opened in August, and everything about it suggests that it’s a bar for grown-ups — from the glistening white marble bar to the delicate crystal butterfly chandelier to the expansive list of 35 signature cocktails (and 15 more craft classics) that are inspired by the flavors found on the migration pattern of a monarch butterfly.
For those extra-chic 30-somethings with a burning desire to celebrate successfully making it to adulthood, there’s the Monarch Parlour — a reservation-only 15-seat room with its own cocktail menu featuring exclusive and rare spirits.
4808 Roanoke Pkwy., Kansas City, Mo., themonarchbar.com
Wine: Amigoni Urban Winery
For the savvy 30-something, Amigoni Urban Winery offers something the standard wine bar generally doesn’t: local Missouri wines. The Amigoni family has been growing vinifera varietals on Missouri soil since 1995, so if you’re ready to learn a thing or two about just how worthy of your time local wine can be, head down to their West Bottoms tasting room. Bonus: The winery is frequently rented out for wedding receptions and other gatherings, so it’s worth investigating.
1505 Genessee St., Kansas City, Mo., amigoni.com
Beer: Boulevard Beer Hall
Boulevard Beer Hall is the perfect place for the 30-something beer aficionado because the daily tours make for good, wholesome family fun. You can swing through with the kids at 10 a.m. on a Saturday, feed them some pretzel bites and enjoy Boulevard’s seasonal offerings without committing to a whole case at the liquor store.
2501 Southwest Blvd., Kansas City. Mo., boulevard.com
This Union Station mainstay has enjoyed a hearty reputation as one of Kansas City’s most beloved seafood and steak houses since it opened in 1996. Fittingly, it takes its name from the railroad baron John Pierpont Morgan, and the architectural design of the space echoes the original features the building had when it first opening in 1914 (when Pierpont’s was originally a ladies-only waiting room). There’s a lot of history in those walls, and you can enjoy a busy scene as you lean against the bar, sipping your Manhattan…KS — an upgrade on the classic featuring a fig balsamic syrup — with all the class and restraint a couple decades’ worth of imbibing has instilled in you.
30 W. Pershing Rd., Kansas City, Mo., pierponts.com
Wine: Tannin Wine Bar
At a certain point, you may find yourself selecting a restaurant based not on its food menu, but on its wine list. In that case, we recommend Tannin Wine Bar in the Crossroads. Wine director Barry Tunnel meticulously selects the vintages on his comprehensive binder, so no matter who you’re with or what you like, you can confidently select a bottle that suits your preferences — down to the year and the region.
1526 Walnut St., Kansas City, Mo., tanninwinebar.com
Beer: Brewery Emperial
By the time you’re in your 40s, you don’t need a billion taps to choose from. All you need is, say, one good pilsner. For that — and also for a very good amber ale, milk stout and IPA — there’s Brewery Emperial, a Crossroads microbrewery guided by Keith Thompson, the former lead brewer at McCoy’s. Chef Ted Habiger of Room 39 is a co-owner, so make sure you take advantage of the food menu, too.
1829 Oak St., Kansas City, Mo., breweryemperial.com
With age comes wisdom. When it comes to a bar, you want a nice place where you can order an unfussy, delicious cocktail and have an unhurried good time. That’s exactly the kind of evening that Jill Cockson had in mind when she dreamed up Swordfish Tom’s, a sub-street-level, speakeasy-style craft cocktail bar in the Crossroads.
Cockson’s vision for her 30-seat bar was to create a space that emphasized old-fashioned conversation and connection: Phone usage is politely banned, “inside voices” are encouraged and the music is kept at a level that no one could call distracting. There is one bartender — usually Cockson herself -— and her list features cocktails both new and old, but guests are also encouraged to ask for a favorite drink even if it’s not on the menu.
210 W. 19th Terrace, Kansas City, Mo., www.loc8nearme.com/
Wine: JJ’s Wine Bar
JJ’s Wine Bar on the Country Club Plaza specializes in the kind of wine that takes decades to learn to how to appreciate. If you’ve developed a palate for the finest Cabernets, big-hearted Barolos or sophisticated Gewürztraminers, this place will feel like home to you.
900 W. 48th Pl., Kansas City, Mo., jjsrestaurantkc.com
Beer: Martin City Brewing & Taproom
Forget about all the trendy beers, you just need it to be cold and poured into a clean glass from someone who doesn’t feel the need to tell you about the exact hops it was brewed with. Martin City Brewing & Taproom offers just this experience, where you can get a full education on the Martin City beers — or you can just sit quietly and enjoy your Pinkies Up, a Berliner Weisse-style sour beer, in peace.
500 E. 135th St., Kansas City, Mo., martincitybrewingcompany.com