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Best All-Ages Venue 

The Stray Cat

The Stray Cat ranks high on a list of things that feel unsafe but aren't, right up there with wooden roller coasters and walking over sidewalk grates. Derek Moore, Chris Manley and Dafe Hughes call the Stray Cat both their home and their office. The kids who come to the club's events just call it fuckin' rad. The 1300 block of Grand is supposed to be in the blighted, grimy part of downtown Kansas City, Missouri, populated by wild-eyed streetwalkers and pigeons. But there, outside the all-ages club, with its subtle signage and odd displays in the glassed-front windows, something draws families from the suburbs. Parents help their teenage sons and daughters unload guitars and equipment from Mercedes SUVs and smile proudly as their kids head off to headline their first shows or watch their friends' bands play. Inside, you might see shirtless boys running headlong into one another as a hardcore group's amplifiers shake grout from the bricks. Any minute, something could give way -- but it doesn't. And according to landlord Darrin Siegal, as long as the impending Sprint Arena's northern border remains as it's currently blueprinted -- only about 75 feet away from the three-story Stray Cat's lair -- there it will stay. Fitting for a place where the party always feels like it's on the verge of being broken up and every minute feels like a bonus.

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