The lid is finally lifted off a fresh package of downtown drinking goodness.

Go Nuts 

The lid is finally lifted off a fresh package of downtown drinking goodness.

The Cashew finally opened on May 6, but we have to admit that we were worried about initial reports indicating that it was rich in fratmosphere. "Two words: Granfalloon North," sniffed a friend. (We assumed that First Friday overspill played a big part in this assessment.)

However, we checked it out on its second night of business, and we loved it, especially because it was so mellow. (Plus, we had to give it bonus points for playing Waylon Jennings' "Luckenbach, Texas.") Located at the corner of 20th Street and Grand, it has huge garage-door style windows that open up onto both streets. Behind the bar is an array of liquor bottles arranged by color -- a kick-ass mosaic of blues, ambers and greens. Top-shelf drinks run about six bucks, and after a few of them, it's tempting to venture into the photo booth (festooned with celebrity mug shots) for some possible makeout action. (We're just saying ... )

We made a second visit just a week later on a Saturday night with Research Assistants Cece and Tim, and we were astounded that the place had exploded again since our initial visit. The Cashew drew a steady crowd the entire night -- a couple of party buses pulled up, as well as a white stretch limousine filled with strippers at the end of the night -- and even though it was fairly packed, it wasn't claustrophobic, thanks to the ginormous windows. One complaint: the music -- a mix of Bon Jovi, Britney and Frank Sinatra -- was a bit too loud and not conducive to the high mingle factor the bar had going for it. But the sausage-heavy crowd didn't seem to mind while head-banging to "You Give Love a Bad Name."

Naturally, the people-watching was the best part of the night. In addition to the sausage fest, the Cashew attracted baseball-hat-wearing chickies, some older types ogling the chickies, a couple of hipsters, and not one but two guys who had popped the collars on their polo shirts. (Eww. Why is that '80s look back?) We discussed the crowd with our new heckle buddies and fellow Dewar's-and-water drinkers, Tobias, 26, and Josh, 27 -- both architects who met in Manhattan (New York, that is). They first caught our attention because they were holding sturdy umbrellas and demonstrating the many ways in which they could double as weaponry. (Slo-mo handle-to-crotch moves were made.)

"It keeps duders at bay," Tobias, a Fashion Institute grad, explained. We weren't familiar with that particular term, so we asked him to elaborate.

"A duder is a striped shirt," he said, calling up the image of a spiky-haired, shaved-chest, CK One-drenched guy rocking the cotton, long-sleeved, button-down shirt with V-shaped stripes.

"Then, there's a guy-guy -- a solid guy who delivers. A duder is like [in a faux-cheesy voice], 'Baby, I know what you need.' You can trust a guy-guy, but you can't trust a duder. There are plenty of duders in here."

"The Duder Alert Level is at yellow right now," added Josh, a Rhode Island School of Design grad who vaguely resembled Yves St. Laurent.

(We think we just found our new best friends.)

"So is duder a New York term or what?" the Night Ranger asked. Tobias explained they came up with it in KC. It was inspired in part by a local nightlife figure he didn't want to name. "I don't want to talk shit, but there's a local DJ who rolls with a duder crew, with the starched shirts that are very pressed, hats ... they were part of the Segafredo scene," he said. (Tobias is a DJ, too, but he says his comment wasn't motivated by competition.) Of course, we thought: Will this issue of the Pitch do a Newsweek and incite some DJ-on-DJ rioting around town? We shall see.

We then turned our attention to some boys who had been cheering on a couple of chicks who were making out. One guy in the group was itching to go off on the Pitch for what we've dubbed the Velour Jumpsuit Incident.

Apparently, our Street Team had taken their picture at Union Station's Halloween party, and they were pissed when the picture turned out to be small and blurry. "There were 12 of us dressed in velour jumpsuits. You fucked us on the picture," he said, kind of jokingly. OK, first of all, that's not the NR's department, and second: Um ... wasn't this, like, seven months ago? Isn't it time to move on? We moved on to his friend Nate, 24, who told us his pickup line of choice is [in a faux-sexy voice] "How you doin'?"

"I'm Italian," he said. "It works." It seemed to have worked on Nikki, a lovely blonde in a baseball cap. Nate met her at the Cigar Box, and we documented their first kiss on camera. They said they'd known each other for about eight tension-filled months, so we were pleased to have captured their special moment for all of KC to see, Jumbotron Kiss Cam-style.

We then chatted up a group wearing leis around their necks; they had gotten off a party bus carrying members of their "holiday Christmas work party."(They couldn't explain the peculiar timing of that.) They were definitely pro-Cashew. "There aren't many striped button-down shirts. It's not the new Kona yet," said Melissa. Heh.

We took our leave at last call and ended our night at the VD (Velvet Dog), where, upon last call there, we stumbled on a scene that was just too apropos to our night. A group of at least ten striped shirts was piling into a gray minivan. We laughed our asses off and drunkenly tried to get some pictures, but they turned out too blurry.

Hmm -- maybe Velour Jumpsuit did have a point, we thought, then shuddered at the alignment of stars that brought so many thematic elements together.

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