The Place: Jack Gage American Tavern, 5301 Main Street, 816-531-4243.
The Hours: Monday to Friday, 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, 10 p.m. to midnight.
The Vibe: The Double Dragon is long gone, knocked out cold by the pugilistic stylings of Jack Gage. The room has been split between the bar area with hi-top tables and a line of comfortable booths to the left of the front door. With exposed brick and black ducts and a lot of warm wood, Jack Gage is like an informal steakhouse.
On a Wednesday it was easy to get a table, although I made the mistake of sitting in the dining room before my server politely told our party that happy hour was only available in the bar area. Even though he was happy to reseat us, it's best to tell the host you're there for happy hour.
A few younger couples were mixed in among a crowd that looked to be primarily Boomer-age. Servers were attentive and engaged -- ours offered us an impromptu Spanish lesson. When one of our party knocked over a glass, three staffers sprang into action and our server brought us a new beer free of charge. Even better, she informed the table next to ours, who sat down at 5:30 p.m., that happy hour would be ending in half an hour.
The Food: Seven starters from the regular menu are half price. I recommend the trio of Angus sliders ($4): mini angus burgers with cheddar, carmelized onions and a half-slice of bacon, well-cooked and filling. A good side: tobacco onion straws with the Come Back dressing -- "southern pink sauce," as described by chefreview; the light, salty breading gives way to the slightly sweet onions. I'll skip the char-grilled pesto bruschetta next time; it was a bit too charred.
Bud Light pint drafts ($2), Boulevard Wheat, Pale Ale, and Seasonal
(currently Boss Tom's, $3.50), house Cabernet and Chardonay ($4), and
well cocktails ($3.25).
The Plan: Two Boulevards and three appetizers ran $15.94 with tax. The server suggested that Thursdays and Fridays can get crowded, but there's usually always a seat at the bar that runs the length of the right wall. Bring your book or iPad, order a Bud Light and some Angus sliders, and walk out the door for right around $10.