For example, there was the NR's b-day, which fell on the Saturday before Halloween and led to excessive hangage-outage the entire weekend. On the actual b-day, after some carousing in Westport, we ended up at Kelly's, our closer bar -- when you're heavily lit, sometimes you just want to be immersed in the cheese. A few Jell-O shots later, the mocker became the mockee, and we went into full birthday ass mode after a friend approached a balloon guy wandering around the bar and bought us a blue balloon hat in the shape of a bear with a giant, uh, member. Not only did NR think nothing of wearing it; she also roared, to anyone who looked questioningly at the hat, "I have a cock on my head! Do you want to touch it?" At the time, this birthday lush thought she was funny. Now, not so much.
After the festivities ended with Halloween, we were tired. It seemed like a general malaise was in the air; most of the Research Assistants were all drinked out, still hungover or sick that weekend. But it was a Saturday night, and duty called; we were going to make the All Saints' Day trek out in the fog, but we wanted something mellow, someplace laid-back, where we could indulge in some cautious recovery drinking. Someplace where we could get back to bar basics and enjoy the company of friends without stressing about what to wear or whether we should order some sort of trendoid drink, such as a kiwi-lychee martini with Almond Joy crumbles on top and a lime twist.
That's how we ended up at the 75th Street Brewery. If this brew pub were a football player, it would be Tim Rattay of the 49ers: solid, dependable, not flashy -- a good backup who can rise and perform in a starting role. Like Tim, 75th Street did not disappoint.
We sat at the bar and savored a pale ale, which had a pleasantly sharp taste. Manager Emily Palma told us that the 75h Street brewers cook up ten to fifteen different beers on the premises five days a week. The flagship restaurant of the KC Hopps company (which also includes the Blue Moose, O'Dowd's, Fenton's and all the Barley's Brewhauses), this south KC institution just celebrated its own birthday -- it's ten years old. We didn't realize the place had been around that long, but with its yellow walls and tile floor, it's been a warm, neighborhoody space ever since we can remember.
The bar area was filled with people in their late twenties to late thirties, and they kept within their social groups. Clusters of people were obviously there for the band; they were the ones intently watching three guys playing covers, which was pretty much all anyone could do, because it was loud as fuck in there. Then again, we were sitting at the end of the bar that was near the low-ceilinged space where the band was playing, and we were therefore trapped by the deluge of mid-'90s folky sound. "I'm glad there's a band," RA Laura yelled. "It's kind of more festive." This became apparent when the Dave Shoal Trio's rendition of the Dave Matthews Band's "Typical Situation" drew an especially enthusiastic response from one curly haired chick, who clapped frantically and went "Wooo!" during the sax solos. She stood up and shimmied in place, almost breaking into a hippie twirl. That would have been patchouli-rific, but sadly, she did not.
One party, though, was so not doing the hippie twirl. They were the ones obviously ready for a night of clubbing: The women were sleek, and the guys were all spiky-haired and Structured out. They appeared to be band groupies, but when we approached them to ask, one guy said, "Wait. What's your name?" When we told him, his reply was, "Uhhhh. No. Thanks, though." Alas! Shot down by a guy wearing a thumb ring!
We finally found someone willing to talk to us. David was a regular, and he recommended coming back on Sundays for Brew Jam, a band that plays early-'70s covers (e.g., "Brown Eyed Girl") and has its own lively set of groupies. What also sounded cool were the daily specials -- usually either $1 off or $2 draws.
In any event, congratulations, 75th Street Brewery. Many happy returns. If we could, we'd buy you an obscene balloon hat, too. -- Jen Chen