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Westport 11:35 p.m.
Artie Scholes, a longtime door guy in KC, is working the patio of the Riot Room, the new bar in the old Hurricane space. "This is almost like the old Hurricane used to be," Scholes says. "It fucking kicks ass!"
The outdoor section has been taken over by an '80s panty-party dancefest. DJ Metal Mark has a pair of pink underwear on his head. All around us, the punk crowd dances as the DJ flings more panties into the air. An XXL-XXG pair of Hanes briefs lands on my shoulder.
I ask Scholes how the Riot Room resembles the old Hurricane. "No guys in tight silky shirts, hip-hop DJs ... I love that!" he replies.
Inside the bar, local band National Fire Theory is about to play its last show. We pay the $8 cover to go in and check out the place. The bar is crowded with sinewy, tattooed guys and people wearing baggy and ripped clothing, which isn't allowed under the P&L dress code.
We make our way to the round bar, where 24-ounce cans of PBR and small rum and Cokes run $2.50 each.
Standing near the bar is Ricardo Mejia. He's the guy who dresses in short shorts or kilts and dances energetically at live music shows. The 51-year-old was a staple at the Hurricane for about 10 years. When it closed, he moved on to the Record Bar. Mejia visits the Riot Room about twice a week, depending on the band. "There's more metal and punk rock here. And some progressive alternative bands, too," he says.
Back outside on the patio, the panty party is still going strong. As the Steve Miller Band's "Swingtown" plays, a guy in a NOFX hoodie and camouflage shorts dances ironically with a guy in a dark T-shirt. Nearby, two women face each other and joyously wave their tattooed-sleeved arms in the air.
"Since the smoking ban, the patio's been off the hook," Scholes says. "That's evidence that the Power & Light District has no fucking effect on us whatsoever."
Power & Light 12:08 a.m.
Back at the Living Room, there's a grill at the foot of the main stairs. Flames rise as we approach, and my friend Kenton Schuster plunks down $5 for a big, fat hunk of meat dropped onto a hamburger bun.
"This should not taste as good as it does," he says with the first bite.
At this point, Schuster is at least as tipsy as the average P&L patron — the guy in the Royals shirt who does the "YMCA" dance at us as he walks by, the giggly young woman behind us who's being interviewed by the dude who usually talks to people between innings on the big screen at Kauffman Stadium, the chick who's about to spill a drink all over that guy's sister.
Westport 12:45 a.m.
We're leaving a quiet Harry's Bar and Tables when we run into Naga Jyadev and Ashley Coppick. The 25-year-old Coppick, a petite brunette, is clad in a Royals jersey and a Santa hat with the cursive Royals logo on the brim. She and the 32-year-old Jyadev say they've just met, though he's a friend of a friend. They teeter and sway on the sidewalk. When they hear why we're in Westport, they immediately launch into a tirade about how much they hate the Power & Light District.