Booze

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Presenting your local guide to Black Friday happy hours

Posted By on Wed, Nov 26, 2014 at 1:58 PM

An example of a beverage you may find yourself enjoying on Black Friday. (Thou Mayest) - ZACH BAUMAN
  • Zach Bauman
  • An example of a beverage you may find yourself enjoying on Black Friday. (Thou Mayest)

Look at you. You're a smart person of the world. You're not about to stand in line at Target or camp outside Macy's in the chilly Black Friday air in hopes that you'll nab that premium, limited-edition avocado slicer. No, you - you gorgeous, cultured thing, you - you're going to be relaxing somewhere, drink in hand, happily sheltered from the mobs of mad shoppers clamoring for deals on this most unholy of days. 

But where shall your refuge be? Lo, we have here assembled a list of bars offering happy hours or specials on Black Friday. We've especially considered the havens inside or around shopping centers, in case you have been dragged along by your significant other or a merciless family member. Cheers.

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Bartender's Notebook: Vic Rodriguez makes careful magic at Thou Mayest

Posted By on Wed, Nov 26, 2014 at 8:09 AM

ZACH BAUMAN
  • Zach Bauman

Vic Rodriguez has thought all week about the cocktail he’s going to prepare for me. When I sit down at his bar at Thou Mayest, early on a Friday afternoon, he begins to tell me about the elaborate concoction he has in mind. It makes me feel a little bad.

“That sounds fantastic,” I tell him, “but the idea is to put you on the spot a little bit.”

I also remind Rodriguez that at least one of his creations today must involve coffee. Thou Mayest has the benefit, after all, of having both a terrific coffee program and a fine liquor selection.

He takes my heartless derailing of his plans in stride and says simply, “Do you have a base liquor in mind?”

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Bartender's Notebook: Behind the bar at 715, Katrina Weiss holds nothing back

Posted By on Wed, Nov 12, 2014 at 10:40 AM

Weiss and Corcoran brainstorm - ZACH BAUMAN
  • Zach Bauman
  • Weiss and Corcoran brainstorm

It’s a hazy, gray Monday when Caitlin Corcoran and I arrive at Lawrence’s 715 Restaurant to meet Katrina Weiss, the recently promoted bar manager there. Corcoran throws herself onto a bar stool, eyes bright, smile wide. She has known Weiss since 2008, when the two were both University of Kansas students working a block away at Vermont Street BBQ, but they don’t get together much these days, Corcoran says, separated as they are by a state line and a 40-minute drive.

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Friday, November 7, 2014

With J. Rieger & Co. Whiskey, Ryan Maybee resurrects a KC classic

Posted By on Fri, Nov 7, 2014 at 3:45 PM

rie.jpg

This week, Kansas City's whiskey-loving population has a completely legitimate reason to spend a few hours imbibing after work: the introduction of the much-anticipated J. Rieger & Co. Whiskey. On Monday, Rieger's Kansas City Whiskey hit local shelves and bars. Ryan Maybee, co-owner at the Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange and its sublevel speakeasy, Manifesto, and co-founder of the resurrected J. Rieger & Co. label, says that to date, 58 local bars are carrying the product - and the number keeps rising. 

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Kansas City loved Polynesian cuisine — it still does

Posted By on Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 3:29 PM

Oh, those 1960s prices! You could order almost every single dish on the Bali Hai restaurant menu for the cost of a steak at the Capital Grille today.
  • Oh, those 1960s prices! You could order almost every single dish on the Bali Hai restaurant menu for the cost of a steak at the Capital Grille today.


A friend of mine gave me a gift last month: a vintage menu from the mostly forgotten Bali Hai dining room, a popular Cantonese restaurant on the lower level of Bretton's Restaurant at 1215 Baltimore — don't look for it, the building was torn down years ago. Bretton's Restaurant was a landmark local dining venue from 1945 to 1976, serving both traditional Jewish dishes and classic continental entrees like beef Wellington and baked Alaska. The owner, a former rabbi named Max Bretton, opened the Bali Hai room in 1954, five years after the musical South Pacific opened on Broadway and made the song, "Bali Hai," a big pop hit.

The Bali Hai menu presented to me probably dates from 1960. The prices are very cheap (almost all of the entrees are less than $5; lobster is $6), and although most of these dishes are inspired by Cantonese cuisine, there are nods — like Hawaiian spare ribs and fresh pineapple — to the more tropical "Polynesian" cuisine (influenced by the French, the Fijian and the Hawaiian) that was becoming so popular in the 1950s, when Trader Vic's and the Luau were two of the most popular restaurants in Los Angeles. It didn't take long for the trend to move to the Midwest.

Part of the Eisenhower era allure of the (mostly) sweet Polynesian culinary creations were the sugary but potent cocktails that were served along with them. The Bali Room offered Caribbean Punch, the Voo Doo, the Atomic Bomb, the Tropical Splendor, the Hurricane and the Shipwreck.

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Friday, June 27, 2014

The Pitch's Margarita Wars is August 8 in the parking lot behind the Well

The Pitch's Margarita Wars happens August 8.

Posted By on Fri, Jun 27, 2014 at 11:11 AM

pitch_margarita_wars.jpg

Who makes the best margarita in Kansas City? You'll decide August 8 during The Pitch's Margarita Wars in the parking lot behind the Well (7421 Broadway).

Sample margaritas from Zocalo, El Patron, Sol Cantina and more, and then text your vote for the winner. There will also be food from Slap's BBQ and Grace's Best Cookies. 

Tickets are on sale now. General-admission tickets cost $25. (Half-price tickets are on sale now; get them here.)

VIP tickets, which get you early entry, are $35. They're available here

  • The Pitch's Margarita Wars happens August 8.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Willie Grandison closes out his 40-year tab

Posted By on Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 9:00 AM

A beloved fixture at the American Restaurant, head bartender Willie Grandison, knew his way around a Brandy Alexander or a Grasshopper. Grandison retires after his shift on Friday night. - CHRIS MULLINS
  • Chris Mullins
  • A beloved fixture at the American Restaurant, head bartender Willie Grandison, knew his way around a Brandy Alexander or a Grasshopper. Grandison retires after his shift on Friday night.



Willie Grandison went to bartending school in the late 1950s, but what has made him the most iconic working bartender in Kansas City isn't something he could have learned in class.

"If you want to be a bartender, you've got to start by working in a bar," says Grandison, the 76-year-old master barkeep who has been a fixture at the upstairs bar of the American Restaurant for the past four decades.

"When I started out, I was called a bar porter. They're called barbacks now. You're there to assist the bartenders. And if the bar gets really busy, you jump in and help."

Grandison has come a long, long way from that first porter position - at the long-razed Famous Bar, on 12th Street - to head bartender at the American. But after a half-century in the cocktail-making business, he says he's ready to throw in the bar towel.

"I have been working all of my life, since I started sacking groceries at age 15. I've never been without a job, never collected unemployment. I raised five kids and almost always worked two jobs. It's time for me to rest. I just wanted to quit. The bar business ain't what it used to be."

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Pitch's Bacon & Bourbon Festival celebrates the spirits and the sow

Posted By on Thu, Apr 10, 2014 at 6:30 AM

The first Pitch Bacon & Bourbon Festival will be held on Thursday, April 10, at the Guild, 1621 Locust. - ANGELA C. BOND
  • Angela C. Bond
  • The first Pitch Bacon & Bourbon Festival will be held on Thursday, April 10, at the Guild, 1621 Locust.

It is, of course, Homer Simpson who has defined our culture's love of bacon. His declaration that he could be a vegetarian only if bacon grew on trees pretty much sums up our endless hunger for the stuff.

Bourbon doesn't grow on trees, either, but the corn-based, fermented whiskey is both vegetarian-friendly and a fine complement to all things fried, smoked or both.

Put them together and you get The Pitch's Bacon & Bourbon Festival, a drinky porkathon with something for every Homer Simpson. From 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, April 10, eight Kansas City restaurants - including Accurso's, Anton's Taproom, Barrel 31, Blue Bird Café, EBT restaurant, and the Rock & Run Brewery and Pub - join more than 25 whiskeys to fry and pour their wares at the Guild (1621 Locust). The event is sold out.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Bridger's Bottle Shop is now open in Westport

Posted By on Wed, Apr 2, 2014 at 2:47 PM

New blood at 510 Westport.
  • New blood at 510 Westport.
The headline up there kinda tells you all you need to know, but, yeah - Bridger's officially opened for business this afternoon, at 510 Westport Road. Not quite all of the bottle shop's 600 beers are in stock quite yet, co-owner Eric Flanagan told us when we popped in earlier today, but a good chunk of them are, plus eight taps.

Bridger's also serves food, via the Preservation Market, a new venture from East Bottoms butcher shop Local Pig. The lunch menu includes six salads and six sandwiches. We tried the No. 6 salad (marinated tofu, warm mushrooms, feta, arugula, almond spice crumble and red wine vinaigrette) and the No. 8 sandwich (citrus-herb pork roast, pulled pork, Swiss, spicy pickles, cilantro, raisin relish, cumin aioli). Sides include barley salad, cornbread and chips. Come dinnertime, the menu switches over to mostly cheese-and-charcuterie small plates. Beers can be consumed inside or taken to go. (They're cheaper to-go.)

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Oldest gay bar in Kansas City has closed

Posted By on Wed, Mar 5, 2014 at 2:29 PM

It was livable for decades, but the spectacular view at the View wasn't enough to save this legendary gay-friendly saloon. - GAY AND LESBIAN ARCHIVES OF MID-AMERICA
  • Gay and Lesbian Archives of Mid-America
  • It was livable for decades, but the spectacular view at the View wasn't enough to save this legendary gay-friendly saloon.


Add one more death to a list that already includes the Arabian Nights, the Back Door Bar, the Cabaret, the Dixie Belle, and the Fox: the former View on the Hill (also called the View in later years) at 204 Orchard in the Strawberry Hill neighborhood of Kansas City, Kansas. The original owners of the neighborhood bar opened the venue in 1983 almost as a speakeasy. Patrons were buzzed in by the bartender for most of the run of the place.

Danny Wheat, the irascible bar owner who operated Danny's on Broadway, at 3611 Broadway (now the Arts Bar), until it closed and then purchased the 30-year-old View on the Hill, posted the following announcement on the venue's Facebook page on March 3. Wheat, who immediately changed the bar's name to Danny's Point of View, operated the bar for only eight months.

"Friends, it's to my disappointment that I must tell you we are closing the bar we will have many bar items for sale...we tried to sell borrow or raise the funds necessary to stay open and the weather time and it just didn't happen so we will be selling off all the assets of the bar if your interested we have bar supplies furniture art etc please let me know if you're interested."

The red-brick building that housed both the bar and a second-floor apartment has reportedly been sold.

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