Drinking Made Easy

Drinking Made Easy: Kansas City

January 11, 2011 1

Episode Guide for the Kansas City episode of “Drinking Made Easy” • Recipes • Locations • Fun Facts •

Kansas City, Missouri or “KC” and “KCMO” as it’s often informally referred to, is the largest city in the state. With over 200 fountains (the second most in the world only behind Rome) and more boulevards than any other city except for Paris, it’s also been nicknamed the “City of Fountains” and “Paris of the Plains.” Officially incorporated in 1853, it was an important stop for pioneers in the 1830s and grew rapidly after the Civil War. Today the city is well known for its contributions to music (jazz and blues), food (Kansas City-style barbeque, Russell Stover Chocolates) and adult beverages (Boulevard Brewing Co, Bergen Malt). With over 240 neighborhoods, many which are centers of activity for Kansas City’s flourishing nightlife scene, KCMO was easily made for drinking.


KellysHistoricJust south of downtown Kansas City you’ll find Westport, a historic district that is known for its restaurants, shops and bars. An original frontier village, dating back to the 1830s, pioneers who were traveling along the historic trails of the National Trail system (California, Lewis & Clark, Oregon and Santa Fe) would stock up on food, wagons, animals and other provisions that they needed for the journey West.  After the Civil War, Westport declined as a major thoroughfare when Kansas City became the dominant community. Today, as a part of Kansas City, Westport still retains its own identity. Having become a premier destination for Kansas City nightlife, it’s filled with renovated and new buildings housing trendy shops, restaurants, and nightspots.

Kellys_Westport_Inn_Kansas_City_MOIn Westport, the bar with the most historic significance is undoubtedly Kelly’s Westport Inn. Occupying the oldest building in Kansas City, it was built in 1850 and has housed a wide range of businesses over the years, including a grocery run by Daniel Boone’s grandson Albert. In 1947, it was an establishment called Westport Inn and Randal Kelly, an Irish immigrant, was a bartender there. His popularity over the years led patrons to start calling it “Kelly’s” and eventually he became a partner in the business. In 1977 it was officially named “Kelly’s Westport Inn” and has been a family run business ever since. Often called one of the best Irish pubs in KC, they recently opened a 1,125 square foot rooftop deck that overlooks Pennsylvania Avenue.

Beer Pong crop

Beer Pong Rules

The objective is to throw your ball into your opponent’s cup.  On each successful toss, your opponent has to drink the corresponding beer.  In pairs, it is customary to alternate drinkers.

In KC-Style:

  • You may bounce your ball into your opponent’s cup.  If you are successful, your opponent must consume two of the beers in front of them.  If the ball bounces twice it is out of play. Your opponent can swat the ball on a bounce play, eliminating its chances of making into the cup.
  • You may have the other team re-rack your cups three times during a game.
  • If both members of your team make their balls into a cup, on the same turn, they get the balls back and another turn.
  • Once a ball hits the rim of a cup, you may blow it away.
  • Once one team eliminates all of their cups, the other team must consume the rest of the beeron the table.

Bloody Mary RaceKelly’s Good Bloody Mary
Tomato Juice
Worcestershire Sauce
Tabasco Sauce
Lemon Juice
Celery Salt
Topped with 3 oz of Guinness

Kelly’s Westport Inn | 500 Westport Rd, Kansas City, MO 64111 | (816) 561-5800

Harrys-bar-and-tablesJust across the street is Harry’s Bar & Tables. With 50 plus brands of scotch, 30 types of cigars, and numerous cocktails, this upscale cigar and martini bar serves excellent food, and is one of the coziest spots in Westport for people-watching.

Rosie PalmerRosie Palmer (beer cocktail)
Boulevard Wheat Beer
Absolut Citron

Harry’s Bar & Tables | 501 Westport Rd, Kansas City, MO 64111 | (816) 561-3950

Another watering hole in the Westport area is Buzzard Beach. Self-proclaimed as “Kansas City’s Only 5 Star Dive,” this bar features beer, shots and a colorful crowd. One of KC’s locally created drinks, which you can order here, is the Bergen Malt. Created in 1994 by Kansas Citian Mike Bergen, it’s a shot of Jagermeister dropped into a half pint of light beer, topped with Baileys Irish Cream and chugged.

Bergen MaltBergen Malt
½ glass of Bud Light (or light beer)
Jagermeister shot dropped in
Topped with Baileys Irish Cream and chug

Buzzard Beach | 4110 Pennsylvania Ave, Kansas City, MO 64111 | (816) 753-4455

Westport-cafe-and-barThe upscale Paris-style Bistro, Westport Café and Bar, offers a unique American menu inspired by classic French preparation and specializes in prohibition-style cocktails like the Westport Fizz, Whiskey Smash, and Rhubarb Cocktail. One of their popular cocktails is The Pendergast, named after Kansas City political boss, Thomas Joseph Pendergast. During the Great Depression “Boss Tom” Pendergast helped elect politicians, becoming wealthy in the process.

PendergastThe Pendergast
¾ oz Sweet Vermouth
½ oz Benedictine
1 ½ oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon Whiskey
Dash of Angostura Bitters
Fill with ice, stir and strain
Add lemon zest

Westport Café & Bar | 419 Westport Rd, Kansas City, MO 64111 | (816) 931-4740

Other Bars popular bars in Westport include the Dark Horse Tavern and Ernie Biggs Dueling Piano Bar.


The Kansas City area is renowned for barbeque. With more than 100 different BBQ restaurants, it’s often considered to be “the world’s barbeque capital.”  Kansas City style-BBQ refers to the specific style of meat (including pork, sausage, beef and chicken) that is slow smoked over a variety of woods and then covered with a thick tomato and molasses based sauce. The creation of Kansas City BBQ is attributed to Henry Perry, who served slow cooked ribs on pages of newsprint for 25 cents a slab in the early 1900s.

BBQ Sundae 1-1If you’re looking for some KC BBQ and great music, look no further than B.B.’s Lawn Side Bar BQ, where barbeque meets the blues. For nearly 20 years, B.B.’s has been serving slow cooked meats from its 60 year-old pit. Make sure you come hungry and try the BBQ Sundae, which weighs over 1 lb, is served in a mason jar, and consists of 6 oz pork, 5 oz coleslaw and 6.5 oz beans.  In addition to barbeque, B.B.’s also serves signature Louisiana dishes like gumbo, jumbalaya, red beans, rice and goulash.

B.B.’s Lawn Side Bar B-Q | 1205 East 85th St, Kansas City, MO 64105 | (816) 822-7427

ArthurbryantbbqArthur Bryant’s is a local BBQ restaurant with some real Kansas City history. Known as the “master of barbeque” or the “King of Ribs” Bryant created a sauce that has attracted US presidents and celebrities to enjoy KC style barbeque that’s slow-smoked with a combination of hickory and oaks woods. Arthur’s brother Charlie worked for Henry Perry, the man who Kansas City-style BBQ is attributed to and Arthur used to work for him. After Charlie died, Arthur took over and opened his restaurant on 18th and Brooklyn and it’s since become legendary. Today there are 2 other locations in KCMO as well.

Another local favorite KC BAR B-Q joint is LC’s Barbeque. Their burnt ends “sandwich” is an impossibly large pile of meat chunks doused with celery seed accented barbecue sauce and garnished with white bread.


Blvd logoThere’s no beer more famous in Kansas City than those made by Boulevard Brewing Company. Founded in 1989 by John McDonald, Boulevard has grown to become the largest specialty brewer in the Midwest and their beers are currently available throughout Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma,Boulevard_uwbArkansas, Indiana, North Dakota and South Dakota with limited distribution in several other states. Their flagship brew, The Unfiltered Wheat Beer won the Gold Medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 2008, and is the best-selling craft beer in the Midwest. All of their beers are bottle conditioned, meaning that a secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle. With eight year-round brews, five seasonals and their Smokestack Series, a special collection of bigger, bolder, more complex beers that generally possess a higher content than their core brands, they are the 8th largest craft brewery and the 16th largest active brewery in the US. The brewery offers free tours from Wednesday to Sunday, but reservations are required.

Boulevard Brewing Company | 2501 Southwest Boulevard,
Kansas City, MO 64108

While Boulevard is the premier craft brewery in Kansas City, there are a number of brewpubs around town that make and sell their own beer. Among those are75th Street Brewery, which offers several brews on tap like the Cow Town Wheat, Muddy ‘Mo Stout, and Good Hope IPA. Patrons can also take home fresh beer in a ½ gallon growler or 32 oz Siphon.

MccoysMcCoy’s Public House in Westport also makes their own beer. Brews like their Peach Wheat, Maibock andGinger Shandy are available on draft and also to take home in kegs and growlers.

Kansas City is also home to many specialty beer bars including The Foundry and The Beer Kitchen. With a beer list  too complex to explain, The Foundry is a beer lover’s paradise. From local brews to rotating taps, bottles, flights and reserves, even the pickiest beer drinker is bound to find something here that they like. Located in Westport, The Beer Kitchen has a number of Belgian draft beers and an extensive bottle list. They also serve gourmet burgers, offer a build-your-own macaroni and cheese, and other delicious gastropub fare.


Martini-cornerA unique combination of five local owner operated bars and restaurants that cater to just about every need and style, Martini Corner is Kansas City’s premier place to play. From martinis, to sports, to wine and outdoor patios, Martini Corner has it all within feet of each other. 

Famous nationwide for its martinis and hand-crafted cocktails, the flagship bar of Martini Corner is The Velvet Dog. With daily entertainment and drink specials, this is a great place to go for a night out on the town.

Sea CucumberSea Cucumber
Muddle cucumber
Add 4 count of Gin
Top with Tonic and Lemon Lime Soda
Add a splash of Sour

The Dragon Berry CocktailDragon Berry Cocktail
Strawberry Rum (Bacardi Dragon Berry)
Pearl Pomegranate Vodka
Black Raspberry Liqueur
Splash of Lemonade
Splash of Lemon-Lime Soda
Shake over ice and serve

Velvet Dog | 400 East 31st Street, Kansas City, MO 64108 | (816) 753-9990

DropJust across the street from the Velvet Dog is The Drop: Bar and Bistro, the home of one-of-kind martinis and edible cocktails. Owner Eddie Crane creates these edible cocktails, a type of “molecular mixology” and The Drop features flavors like the Lemon Drop, Mojito, Godiva/Grand Marnier, Port Wine and Hazelnut, Amaretto and Baileys Irish Cream and Coffee, all whose recipes are top secret. In addition to unique libations, this upscale neighborhood bistro also serves artisanal cuisine. The Drop has received titles like “Best Bar” and was named one of Kansas City’s Top 5 Best Restaurants.


The Drop: Bar and Bistro | 409 East 31st Street, Kansas City, MO | (816) 756-3767


  • The Kansas City Barbecue Society reports that KC has more barbecue restaurants per capita than any other city in the nation.
  • Interstate Bakeries, which makes Twinkies and Wonder Bread, is based in KC.
  • Kelly’s Westport Inn inspired the main set of Malcolm & Eddie, a TV sitcom starring Eddie Griffin and Malcolm-Jamal Warner.
  • KC ignored Prohibition during the 1920s, leading to an abundance of jazz clubs, brothels and gambling halls. This earned KC the moniker “The Paris of the Plains” after one journalist wrote “If you want to see some sin, forget Paris and head to Kansas City.”
  • Dueling pianos started about 50 years ago in New Orleans at Pat O’Brien’s bar on Bourbon Street. 
  • The American South is big on BBQ, and the main regional styles come from Texas, Kansas City, Memphis, and the Carolinas. 
  • Thought to be native to Central America and Mexico, “pitaya” is the Spanish name for this Dragon Berry fruit. 
  • Boulevard Brewing created their Pilsner to introduce unadventurous beer drinkers to craft beer. The brew is a nod to the full-bodied pilsners of Kansas City’s historic breweries of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. 
  • Buzzard Beach is also the name of a Bar in Tavares, FL. 
  • The Drop Bar sells approximately 4,000 edible shots per year.

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One Comment »

  1. Waldoman October 12, 2011 at 10:51 pm - Reply

    Hey Zane,

    Would love to host you and the gang at our bars in Kansas City the next time your are in town. We have two bars 1 block apart in a neighborhood restaurant and bar area called Waldo that you missed when you came to town last. Check out Lew’s Grill & Bar and The Well Bar Grill & Rooftop.


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