Jerrys Bait Shop is a comfortable, laid-back neighborhood bar with sloping wooden floors and mismatched bar stools, but its nicer and cleaner than the average dive. The friendly staff serves up daily food and drink specials, including an all-you-can-eat lunchtime pizza buffet during the week. A couple of the specialty drinks have extra-saucy names, such as the Finger Me Good, and a shark hanging above the bar has women's underwear dangling from its teeth. Indeed, when there is live entertainment six nights a week, it can be a rather wild time, especially during Wednesday-night jam sessions. Also, be prepared for the blaring train right across the street -- it can easily scare away a buzz.
The Indie on Main is dark and loungey, its masculine feel enhanced by the backlit honeycomb shelving behind the bar. Attached to the Midland, its a sleek, leather-and-wood bar with happy-hour prices all the time (except when theres a show next door). One would expect the cheap drinks to attract a crowd just after the 4 p.m. opening on Thursdays and Fridays and 8 p.m. opening on Saturdays and Sundays, but there are usually plenty of available seats in this corner bar, making it perfect for downtown people-watching.
Freddy Ts Bar and Grill is ideal for those who love sports. In this laid-back, Chiefs-fan-friendly pub, 15 high-definition TVs line the walls like windows. But the bar also also features a full menu of salads, steaks and tacos, daily drink specials ranging from domestic draws to bloody marys on Sundays, and pool tables in the back, smartly away from high-traffic areas. There are also Texas Hold-em tournaments, karaoke and open mic nights and live music.
One of the few 3 a.m. bars at the south end of Waldo, Flo's Poke-a-Dot Lounge entertains a curious crowd of regulars who begin showing up near the 10 a.m. opening hour to enjoy dirt-cheap drinks and the aroma of barbecue from the Smokestack two doors down. The square-shaped bar in the middle of the room makes it easy to eavesdrop, but if you aren't in the mood for conversation, it's best to shoot a game of pool in the back or blankly stare into one of the fading polka dots on the wall.
J.B. Morris, of local country-rockers Rex Hobart and the Misery Boys, calls this honky-tonk the last great venue in Kansas City. From tough-guy Dale Watson to the sweet and sexy Eleni Mandel, a variety of country and folk stars have been through Daveys Uptown. The owners have let the grime accumulate over the years, giving the bar a working-class feel that makes the rockabilly crowd feel right at home. Retro cowboys who like to accessorize with wallet chains and greasy trucker caps love it here. The bar sells Schlitz in a can for $1.50, and though smokers arent exactly encouraged to throw their cigarette butts on the floor, it sometimes happens anyway. The stage area is partitioned from the barroom, so even when a hyped show has drawn newcomers from all over the area, a crowd of regulars is almost always staked out at the bar.
Tucked away in the Red Bridge Shopping Center, the Daily Limit is something of a south Kansas City institution, a home away from home for an older, Irish-Catholic Red Bridge crowd. Its a straightforward sports bar, with no frills and plenty of regulars. Even the beer specials are simple: domestic pints are cheap every day. The interior decor is mostly Bud Light advertisements and flags bearing the emblems of local universities. On the weekends, a blues or classic rock cover band sets up and blasts off a few sets of old-time rock and roll.
Tucked inside a larger area known as the River Market, the City Market is an expansive outdoor marketplace located north of downtown at Fifth and Walnut Streets, just off the banks of the Missouri River. This renovated historic area offers shopping and dining opportunities -- galleries, boutiques, ethnic shops, unique restaurants and open-air markets.
The Raphael Hotel is the Plaza's only boutique hotel. That makes its ground-level Chaz on the Plaza, a quirky, inimitable lounge. Live music in the small enclave ranges from jazz to easy listening to blues that can distract patrons from the odd murals and uncomfortable florescent light that bounces off of the low ceilings and the hanging glasses surrounding the bar. Chaz is less costly and more inviting than its Ward Parkway neighbor, the InterContinental Hotels Oak Room (though truly better atmosphere can be found across Brush Creek, in the Plaza proper).