However, JoCo also has its pockets of coolness, such as downtown Overland Park, and on a recent Thursday night, we headed thataway with Research Assistant Cece to check out Maloney's. Located just west of 79th Street and Metcalf in a building that previously housed an Einstein Bros. Bagels and a bar called Jerry's Bait Shop, Maloney's is a decent-sized place with a concrete patio. On that chilly night, the patio's sole purpose was to provide a quiet space for cell-phone talkers. Which made sense once we walked in and discovered that the blaring music from the jukebox made even normal conversation a bit hard. Maybe that was because we sat at a booth under some speakers.
After checking out the Thursday-night drink specials $2.25 wells, $3.25 calls we ordered a gin and tonic and a vodka cranberry. We were surprised to find so many drinkers out that night. The majority of the crowd seemed to consist of the contingent personified by a guy standing near us who was clad in a backward Royals cap and a T-shirt commemorating a toga party. The young, frattish presence made sense, considering that Maloney's bills itself as a sports bar, complete with multiple flat-screen TVs, hardwood floors, a pool table and dartboards. A small sprinkling of the tattooed-and-pierced showed up as well, such as the small group that got all into Golden Tee. We fear for Western civilization if Golden Tee is the thing that unites us all.
We soon met 27-year-olds Katie, Meredith and Vivian, who were all very friendly and cool. They've known each other since their days at Indian Woods Middle School, and they now all work together at the Board of Trade. "It's horrible. We can't get away from each other," Katie said. "Just kidding. We love each other."
Maloney's is close to home for them, and Katie deemed it "the only bar in Overland Park that doesn't totally suck." So, naturally, we asked for stories of suckitude from other JoCo joints.
Katie, a pretty brunette, told us that some guy at an Irish-themed pub actually came up and said, "I would totally bend you." Oh, that's classy with a K! Vivian, a striking Asian chick, said that guys at one trendy hot spot have made comments about mail-order brides. We were offended on her behalf.
Vivian added that even though they trash-talk OP, it's not that bad. Except for a few places. Spoken like a true KC native, we thought.
We heard about another nonsucky place from 25-year-old Renee and 26-year-old Lindsey. Their day jobs are at a marketing agency, but they also work one night a week at a golf-themed Overland Park bar called Birdies at 75th Street and Antioch. Renee was awesome, a lively, cute blonde who, upon hearing an REO Speedwagon ballad come over the loudspeakers, asked, "Is this Air Supply? What the fuck! I'm about to couple-skate." She pointed to Lindsey. "Not with her. I like straight guys."
How can you not love a random Air Supply reference? She animatedly told us about the weirdest thing that's happened to her at Birdies. She was waiting on two tables a group of six regulars and a new group of five people when a woman got into a fight with her boyfriend at the bar. The woman yelled, "Whatever. Plenty of guys want me." Then she flashed the tables. Renee was eating a salad while on break and went to see what was going on. The woman then slapped her boyfriend, and when all the tables cheered, she announced, "These guys like me," and flashed them again.
"Hey, for that kind of stuff, we need beads," someone called out.
Renee added: "Then what does she do? She reaches in her purse and pulls out anal beads." She threw them toward the table, and they landed in Renee's salad, which Renee took back to the kitchen.
"What's that?" the cooks asked.
"Pearls," she replied.
"Those aren't no pearls," they said.
This is the point in the column where you insert your own joke about anal beads and tossed salads.
We noticed that a nearby table was looking over curiously when we interviewed Renee and Lindsey, so we went over and met 28-year-old Shayne and his lovely girlfriend, 29-year-old Tianna. We asked how they met, and both started laughing.
"I'm shameless. We had a one-night stand," Shayne said. Then they high-fived each other. He said they initially met at a barbecue at his house. A couple of months later, he was at XO when she came over and felt him up.
"Whatever," Tianna interjected. "I was rubbing his stomach."
"Bullshit!" Shayne said. Shayne finished the story by saying that he asked if she wanted to smoke some pot. Then they went home. "Yeah, it's that easy, girls," he said with a grin to the Night Ranger and RA Cece. "And two and a half years later ..."
If there were ever a one-night-stand urban legend that came to life, this would be it. However, Tianna seemed to disagree with his telling of the story, so we asked for her version.
She said it wasn't a barbecue where they first met but at the Pub on Santa Fe. She said he slung a "blond whore" over his shoulder and "fucked her in her parents' bedroom." Two months later, she saw him on the dance floor at XO. "He was doing the running man at XO. Me and my sister were making fun of him," she said. Why did she go home with him? "I wanted to see what the big deal was," she said. There's a story for the grandkids.
What have we learned from our JoCo jaunt? Bad pickup lines, anal beads and flashing, and one-night stands make up the zeitgeist of love today. We're sure Air Supply would agree.