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Two guys nearby, 27-year-old Steve Smith and 30-year-old John Epstein, have driven in from Columbia. They were headed to Blonde before friends told them the new place was Power & Light.
Epstein and Smith beg a bartender to let them sit down. Bouncer Tom Finholm explains that the tables are all reserved for patrons who have agreed to a two-bottle minimum. Bottles start at $200. "For a while, they were booked three weeks in advance," he says. "Usually people get here at like 10:30 or 11 or so and stay all night."
Mosaic may not be hopping, but back outside, the Living Room is. That's the bar in the center of the Kansas City Live! area. Bands play on the big stage sometimes, but tonight the music is prerecorded and a movie-screen-sized TV shows highlights from the earlier Royals game. Most people are yelling over the music, smoking or dancing; some canoodle on couches or lean down over the wraparound balconies. As middle-aged couples dance to '90s novelty rock, a few bemused cops look on from one edge of the scene. A pretty blond officer turns to me: "How do people not know how to Cotton-Eyed Joe?"
Westport 11:08 p.m.
The loungey One80 isn't too crowded, there's no cover, and the big windows provide a decent view of the swirl of people in sleek outfits navigating the heart of Westport. By this time, the streets have been blocked off, though there's no $1 cover to get into the area. The district gave up charging last fall. For about $20, we order three beers, a vodka cranberry and a 360 martini.
Inside One80, DJ Paul DeMatteo spins electronica, and a lone woman wearing a silver sequined top dances in front of the DJ platform. Nearby is Ashly Simon, a tall, thin blonde in a skimpy denim miniskirt and a tight white shirt that ends just under her breasts. With Simon is her boyfriend, Matt Tribel, and another male friend. The guys have spiky hair, and both wear T-shirts emblazoned with abstract graphic patterns. They're leaning against a back railing by the DJ booth, right next to one of the booming speakers.
The 24-year-olds are fans of the DJ. "We follow the music," Simon says. "We don't care if it's in someone's backyard. We go all over the city."
Power & Light 11:10 p.m.
We've been in line for 40 minutes at Angel's Rock Bar, mainly because I said no to some guy who offered to let me cut in line if I'd just lift my skirt.
Inside, the smallish, packed room feels like it should be smoke-filled. It also feels like a rock band should be playing. Mohawks and faux band T-shirts abound. Rock-and-roll iconography, such as oversized Rolling Stones lips, decorates the walls. A recording of a Stooges concert plays on huge TVs; Korn blasts through the loudspeakers. Long chains hang from the ceiling on the opposite side of the room, where people grind and scan the rest of the bar.
It takes 15 minutes to get our $4.75 vodka cranberries from a bartender with a big, winged tattoo across her breasts. By then, it's time to head to the next bar on our schedule, so we pick our way through the sweaty human moat encircling the bar.
It's wall-to-wall people in McFaddens, too. But the place is cavernous, so there's no line at the bar. Miraculously, we manage to snag three stools. Songs that everybody knows — "Kiss," "Brown-Eyed Girl" — pump through the room, but the music doesn't entirely prohibit conversation. This is a hook-up bar. Women park on the seats around the perimeter of the room, and men cruise around making eye contact. "We always have good luck here," says 33-year-old Aimee Cardozo, minutes before the first of several dudes pulls over to make small talk.