Which is why we embraced the chance to get out of midtown one Saturday night to check out Bobby Baker's Lounge. We had gotten a tip from savvy reader Jeff LeRiche, who described it as "fantastic, getting very hipster." We had also heard rumblings that perhaps Waldo could be the new Westport -- there are multiple bars within stumbling distance of one another -- and that concept excited us. "It's kind of like what Westport used to be," said Tom, a bar regular we met that night.
Located at 74th Street and Wornall Road, the joint is long and narrow and, indeed, fantastic, with wood-paneled walls and the requisite good jukebox. "It has this great 'we had some space, so we'll put a bar here' feel to it," said Research Assistant John as we took in the quirky décor: the Viagra clock, the comfortable swivel bar chairs with high backs, the minilamps with fringed shades. We also liked the relaxed atmosphere and lack of pretension among the all-ages clientele. And the drinks were really quite good. We dived into BBL's martini list by trying Pat's Vanilla Sex (Stoli Vanil, Frangelico, Kahlua and cream). After also sampling Becky's Bomb Pop (vodka, DeKuyper Island blue and sweet and sour, topped with a layer of grenadine) and other froofy, girly drinks, the Vanilla Sex (the drink, that is) remained our favorite.
During our taste test, a flock of tube tops walked in, but what really caught our eye was the blowup doll they toted. It happened to be the same model we'd seen at our friend K-Funk's bachelorette party the previous month. K-Funk's mascot, which we named Raoul, was horribly manhandled and dry-humped by random lushes, thus leading to his deflation at the end of the night. Jeannette, the lovely bride-to-be at Bobby Baker's, had named hers Howie. ("You can spell that however you want," she said.) Howie was enjoying a relatively assault-free night so far. So was Jeannette, who told us that because their bachelorette party was in Waldo, they hadn't gotten a lot of rabid, drunken attention.
"So why here and not Westport?" we asked her.
"Well, we were just dropped off in the area and are going from bar to bar," she said. "This is our second stop."
"How did you meet your fiancé?" we pressed on.
"We worked at Enterprise Rent-a-Car together. We worked together for a year, then we dated for a year, and he proposed on our one-year anniversary," she said, smiling at the memory. "He's a good guy. I knew it when I saw him interact with customers. You get a lot of different customers -- kids, adults, some who are not in the best mood -- and [through that] you see the qualities in someone that you want to be with." Awww. After getting more details (wedding on August 7 in Olathe; they already had a honeymoon when they attended the wedding of his best friend in New Zealand, but on their one-year wedding anniversary, they're planning to go to Ireland), we wished her well, and she, Howie and the girls vanished, off to their next stop.
After hearing so much talk about luv, we decided to interview what looked like a date couple. Kelly, clad in a silky, black camisole top, was lip-glossed out, and her hair was artfully tousled. Jeff was tan and neatly dressed in a short-sleeve, button-down shirt. Turns out they were Just Friends; they met 10 years ago at Mizzou, and because his best friend married her best friend, they have a godson in common named Riley.
"So have you guys ever thought about dating each other?" we asked.
"We've talked about it. It could be," Kelly said. "Our friends want us to hook up!"
"But only if she has a dowry," Jeff quipped.
"Of, like, eight cows?" we asked.
"Yeah, eight," he replied. "She's from Marshall, so that's pretty close." Just like the bar itself -- close enough to midtown yet far enough to potentially escape the specters from our past. And that's no joke.