7520 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Overland Park
A half-century ago, when it was much more dangerous to lead a homosexual life, gay-friendly bars and nightclubs (often owned by the mob) were frequently back-alley places devoid of flashy signs — or any signs. You had to know where the joint was, and to get in, someone there had to know you. The Fox is a little like that. It's located in an unassuming Johnson County storefront in a 1960s strip center on Shawnee Mission Parkway. There's a neon sign, but it's discreet. Inside, the venue is thoroughly modern, and it's lively enough to attract an eclectic mix of suburban queers, gay Latinos, gay softball players and the occasional pool shark. Middle-aged straights sometimes wander in, and why shouldn't they — the small bar known to some as "the queer Cheers" boasts a quietly inclusive ambience. The current owners (you can call them Bernardo and Tim) purchased the bar two years ago and gave it a makeover last year. Maybe no one at the Fox knows your name, but go more than twice and the bartenders will remember what you drink.