Booze

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Pitch's Margarita Wars is August 8 in the parking lot behind the Well

The Pitch's Margarita Wars happens August 8.

Posted By on Fri, Jun 27, 2014 at 11:11 AM

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Who makes the best margarita in Kansas City? You'll decide August 8 during The Pitch's Margarita Wars in the parking lot behind the Well (7421 Broadway).

Sample margaritas from Zocalo, El Patron, Sol Cantina and more, and then text your vote for the winner. There will also be food from Slap's BBQ and Grace's Best Cookies. 

Tickets are on sale now. General-admission tickets cost $25. (Half-price tickets are on sale now; get them here.)

VIP tickets, which get you early entry, are $35. They're available here

  • The Pitch's Margarita Wars happens August 8.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Willie Grandison closes out his 40-year tab

Posted By on Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 9:00 AM

A beloved fixture at the American Restaurant, head bartender Willie Grandison, knew his way around a Brandy Alexander or a Grasshopper. Grandison retires after his shift on Friday night. - CHRIS MULLINS
  • Chris Mullins
  • A beloved fixture at the American Restaurant, head bartender Willie Grandison, knew his way around a Brandy Alexander or a Grasshopper. Grandison retires after his shift on Friday night.



Willie Grandison went to bartending school in the late 1950s, but what has made him the most iconic working bartender in Kansas City isn't something he could have learned in class.

"If you want to be a bartender, you've got to start by working in a bar," says Grandison, the 76-year-old master barkeep who has been a fixture at the upstairs bar of the American Restaurant for the past four decades.

"When I started out, I was called a bar porter. They're called barbacks now. You're there to assist the bartenders. And if the bar gets really busy, you jump in and help."

Grandison has come a long, long way from that first porter position - at the long-razed Famous Bar, on 12th Street - to head bartender at the American. But after a half-century in the cocktail-making business, he says he's ready to throw in the bar towel.

"I have been working all of my life, since I started sacking groceries at age 15. I've never been without a job, never collected unemployment. I raised five kids and almost always worked two jobs. It's time for me to rest. I just wanted to quit. The bar business ain't what it used to be."

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Pitch's Bacon & Bourbon Festival celebrates the spirits and the sow

Posted By on Thu, Apr 10, 2014 at 6:30 AM

The first Pitch Bacon & Bourbon Festival will be held on Thursday, April 10, at the Guild, 1621 Locust. - ANGELA C. BOND
  • Angela C. Bond
  • The first Pitch Bacon & Bourbon Festival will be held on Thursday, April 10, at the Guild, 1621 Locust.

It is, of course, Homer Simpson who has defined our culture's love of bacon. His declaration that he could be a vegetarian only if bacon grew on trees pretty much sums up our endless hunger for the stuff.

Bourbon doesn't grow on trees, either, but the corn-based, fermented whiskey is both vegetarian-friendly and a fine complement to all things fried, smoked or both.

Put them together and you get The Pitch's Bacon & Bourbon Festival, a drinky porkathon with something for every Homer Simpson. From 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, April 10, eight Kansas City restaurants - including Accurso's, Anton's Taproom, Barrel 31, Blue Bird Café, EBT restaurant, and the Rock & Run Brewery and Pub - join more than 25 whiskeys to fry and pour their wares at the Guild (1621 Locust). The event is sold out.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Bridger's Bottle Shop is now open in Westport

Posted By on Wed, Apr 2, 2014 at 2:47 PM

New blood at 510 Westport.
  • New blood at 510 Westport.
The headline up there kinda tells you all you need to know, but, yeah - Bridger's officially opened for business this afternoon, at 510 Westport Road. Not quite all of the bottle shop's 600 beers are in stock quite yet, co-owner Eric Flanagan told us when we popped in earlier today, but a good chunk of them are, plus eight taps.

Bridger's also serves food, via the Preservation Market, a new venture from East Bottoms butcher shop Local Pig. The lunch menu includes six salads and six sandwiches. We tried the No. 6 salad (marinated tofu, warm mushrooms, feta, arugula, almond spice crumble and red wine vinaigrette) and the No. 8 sandwich (citrus-herb pork roast, pulled pork, Swiss, spicy pickles, cilantro, raisin relish, cumin aioli). Sides include barley salad, cornbread and chips. Come dinnertime, the menu switches over to mostly cheese-and-charcuterie small plates. Beers can be consumed inside or taken to go. (They're cheaper to-go.)

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Oldest gay bar in Kansas City has closed

Posted By on Wed, Mar 5, 2014 at 2:29 PM

It was livable for decades, but the spectacular view at the View wasn't enough to save this legendary gay-friendly saloon. - GAY AND LESBIAN ARCHIVES OF MID-AMERICA
  • Gay and Lesbian Archives of Mid-America
  • It was livable for decades, but the spectacular view at the View wasn't enough to save this legendary gay-friendly saloon.


Add one more death to a list that already includes the Arabian Nights, the Back Door Bar, the Cabaret, the Dixie Belle, and the Fox: the former View on the Hill (also called the View in later years) at 204 Orchard in the Strawberry Hill neighborhood of Kansas City, Kansas. The original owners of the neighborhood bar opened the venue in 1983 almost as a speakeasy. Patrons were buzzed in by the bartender for most of the run of the place.

Danny Wheat, the irascible bar owner who operated Danny's on Broadway, at 3611 Broadway (now the Arts Bar), until it closed and then purchased the 30-year-old View on the Hill, posted the following announcement on the venue's Facebook page on March 3. Wheat, who immediately changed the bar's name to Danny's Point of View, operated the bar for only eight months.

"Friends, it's to my disappointment that I must tell you we are closing the bar we will have many bar items for sale...we tried to sell borrow or raise the funds necessary to stay open and the weather time and it just didn't happen so we will be selling off all the assets of the bar if your interested we have bar supplies furniture art etc please let me know if you're interested."

The red-brick building that housed both the bar and a second-floor apartment has reportedly been sold.

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Friday, February 21, 2014

The Pitch's Bacon & Bourbon Festival is April 10

Posted By on Fri, Feb 21, 2014 at 11:41 AM

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Last night, we gave you a Sugar Rush. In April, we're going to feed you bacon and bourbon. Our next event - The Pitch's Bacon & Bourbon Festival - is scheduled for April 10 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Guild (1621 Locust).

What is Bacon & Bourbon? A night of local restaurants cook up sizzling pork mixed with bourbon tastings, cold beer and live bluegrass music. What does your ticket get you? Ten bourbon or whiskey samples and a whole lot of bacon. 

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Friday is National Brandy Alexander Day

Posted By on Thu, Jan 30, 2014 at 3:41 PM

The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange makes two versions of the classic Brandy Alexander -- the original cocktail, Alexander #1 made with gin -- and the later brandy version.
  • The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange makes two versions of the classic Brandy Alexander -- the original cocktail, Alexander #1 made with gin -- and the later brandy version.


Longtime readers of The Pitch know that a very famous 1922 cocktail, the Brandy Alexander, launched my own sordid route to intemperance and dissipation. While still in grade school, I was watching a movie on the "Late, Late Show," the 1958 drama Too Much, Too Soon about the tragic life of movie star Diana Barrymore - Drew Barrymore's aunt who died of an alcohol and drug overdose at age 38 in 1960.

There's a scene in the movie where young, naive Diana (portrayed by Dorothy Malone) - still a schoolgirl - is taken to a nightclub by her alcoholic father, John Barrymore (played by the heavy-drinking Errol Flynn), who orders the teenager her first cocktail, a Brandy Alexander. "It tastes just like a milkshake," he tells her.

Because my father was a liquor salesman, our home was conveniently outfitted with all the necessary components to make such a cocktail: a bartender's guide, brandy, cream, creme de cacao, and crushed ice. I mixed together the ingredients, shook it up, and - surprise, surprise! - it did taste like a milkshake. A very delicious, head-spinning milkshake.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Dubliner goes down a different road

Posted By on Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 6:43 AM

Jeff Wiltfang, general manager of The Dubliner, has big plans for the big venue in the Power & Light District.
  • Jeff Wiltfang, general manager of The Dubliner, has big plans for the big venue in the Power & Light District.


"This was an Irish pub that didn't have any lamb on the menu," says Jeff Wiltfang, the KC restaurant veteran heading up the new staff at the Dubliner. He's telling me just how challenging his job has been so far.

Wiltfang, a former Gilbert-Robinson manager, was working at the National Golf Club of Kansas City last year when he applied for a position at another upscale private club. He didn't get that job, but one of the movers and shakers who sat in on the interviews was impressed enough to call Wiltfang and offer him a gig at a different venue.

"The gentleman who called me was a major investor in the Dubliner, the Irish restaurant and nightspot in the Power & Light District," Wiltfang says. "I met with him, looked at the property and told him he was crazy."

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Swagger Fine Spirits & Food closing on January 19

Posted By on Sun, Jan 12, 2014 at 3:38 PM

SWAGGER.jpg





Next Sunday will be the last call for the five-year-old Swagger Fine Spirits & Food at 8431 Wornall, according to the employees working in the popular south Kansas City saloon. The bar and grill was opened by brothers Derek Boone and Dustin Craighead in 2008, although it has been operated, primarily, by Boone.

Bartender Jerry LaForce tells The Pitch that Swagger will continue to serve food and liquor for another week: "But we've been told it won't stay open past next Sunday."

The bar was featured on the Guy Fieri TV series, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives in the summer of 2010. 


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Monday, January 6, 2014

Boulevard's Rye-on-Rye is on tap today and on shelves Tuesday

Posted By on Mon, Jan 6, 2014 at 2:08 PM

Rye-on-Rye on tap - BOULEVARD
  • Boulevard
  • Rye-on-Rye on tap
Boulevard's  latest limited-release, barrel-aged beer Rye-on-Rye is on tap in Kansas City today, according to the beer maker's Twitter feed.

Boulevard made the beer in whiskey barrels purchased from Iowa's Templeton Rye four years ago. Here's why Boulevard describes its rye beer from whiskey barrels: "Why not brew a rich, tawny rye ale, then mellow it in the warmth of charred oak rye whiskey casks? Two kinds of malted rye provide spicy sweetness, giving way to notes of caramelized wood and the citrusy tang of Citra and Ahtanum hops before easing into a dry, lingering finish."

So, yeah, you can start drinking this at watering holes around town. And on Tuesday, you can take it home.

Boulevard brewmaster Steven Pauwels explained the Rye-on-Rye brew in Boulevard's latest "Beer Bulletin" video (watch it after the jump).

Boulevard also noted on its Twitter feed that Irish Ale would be "out soon as well," and Chocolate Ale would return in "early February." 

Where are you guys ordering Rye-on-Rye on tap today?

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