Local rock scenester and longtime bartender Megan Hamilton is seeing positive results with the recent opening of the Union, a hip drinking hole on Westport Road that occupies the space of the former Blayney's. The beauty of the spot lies in the downstairs: a cavelike space with video games, three pool tables, a long bar, lots of tables and stools, and a doorway to the outside space with its own bar and stage. The lower level often doesn't open until later in the evening, but the upstairs bar, while not as roomy, still offers respite, ample TV viewing and Mickey's Fine Malt Liquor Grenades.
A shining example of architect John Eberson's renowned "atmospheric" style, (wherein domed, sky-painted ceilings and elegant interiors are meant to invoke a an outdoor, garden-like setting), the Uptown first opened its stately doors in 1928. Its meticulous restoration began in 1995, and a parade of different events, including concerts, weddings, graduations and galas have taken place since. When bigger (but not neccessarily mainstream) acts such as the Pixies or Slayer play Kansas City, it's usually going to be at the Uptown. The venue allows smoking, but only in the Nowhere Lounge, a space inside the building that acts as bar and welcome retreat from extra-packed, extra-loud shows.
The Riot Room rose from the ashes of the Hurricane. Booking some of the hottest names in local music, the scaled-down, cleaned-up spot at 4048 Broadway has quickly re-earned its cred as Westports rock-and-roll institution. Dimly lit and loud, the Riot Room can be intimidating or a godsend for those who are comfortable with the debauchery of the midtown scene. Claiming that its bringing wasted back in style, the Riot Room has a reverse happy hour at midnight. But early in the evening is when some of the areas most ubiquitous drinking musicians can be found at the circular bar.
Steve Tulipana and Shawn Sherrill have found great success with their Westport music venue and restaurant. RecordBar has been known to host singer-songwriter dinner shows, nationally touring experimental post-punk bands, local hip-hop artists, trivia nights, charity pub crawls, a rock band geared for 5-year-olds, DJs, an occasional karaoke throwdown, and one of midtown's best Sunday brunches. Yes, there is a full menu served until midnight of thoughtfully crafted and creatively presented dishes, such as the Hip to Be Square Burger and the Bat Out of Hell meatloaf sandwich. But mostly, folks show up for the music. Accessible to all demographics, all ages (depending on the show), and all hair and beard lengths, RecordBar is the place to catch emerging acts before they make it to larger stages.