Mike's Tavern (5424 Troost, 816-437-9400) is once again open.
The last time I was in Mike's, for a Wayward Blog conversation with owner Kurt Wirken, the bar was dark and dank and had, you know, that smell. So it was a pleasant surprise to stop into the venue, now that it's been taken over by Ray Dunlea and James O'Brien, and see it completely transformed.Cantina del Ray. With its richly colored walls and wooden seating options, the new version of Mike's resembles those venues. But it's a big improvement over the purple and green paint and janky barstools.
Neither Dunlea nor O'Brien was there, but bartender Brent Winer said
upgrades and additions would come slowly. When I asked about the
absence of a stage, he said they wanted to build the bar's client base
slowly and that they "didn't want to blow anyone's eardrums out."
So, no karaoke or trivia?.
He smiled and explained that basically, things were still
in flux. He was waiting on the rest of the liquor order (No Three
Olives bubble gum vodka or Bacardi Dragonberry rum yet, folks) and
wanted to see who was going to come hang out.
I noticed several of the usual suspects: A
rougher-looking white collar fellow with a sheaf of papers and a scotch
on the rocks; people who worked in the neighborhood and were probably tired of eating at Pizza 51 and Go Chicken Go; and one
soon-to-be-a-regular-again talking about the old owners
and how it "used to be."
there's an obvious absence of beer schwag on the walls; and the Silver
Strike machine hasn't been delivered yet.
I can tell you this though: The late-night drink specials are worth the trip. After 9 p.m. on Fridays, domestic bottles are $2, and on
Thursdays wells are two-for-one.
I also spoke with managing partner Tyler Brook, who asked if I had checked out his favorite part of the bar yet.
"The back patio?" I guessed.
"No, the women's room. It looks great. You don't have to be scared to go in there anymore," he replied.
Amen to safety in breaking the seal.