Although Kansas City has long been celebrated for its vibrant jazz culture, the city’s nightlife has evolved to offer an eclectic mixture of bars, clubs, and live-music venues featuring all kinds of music. Kansas City’s thriving local music scene means that you can find performances on most nights of the week, and the city now has several upscale clubs and lounges where long lines are common and pricey bottle service is the way to drink.
Yet laid-back bars still welcome regulars and visitors alike, offering nightly drink specials, trivia contests, and an easygoing atmosphere conducive to conversation, whether you’re making new friends or connecting with old ones.
Just as the city’s culinary empire is expanding to offer sophisticated flavors and cooking techniques, the city’s nightlife scene has embraced speakeasy-type establishments that channel the art of mixology, where cocktails are meant to be sipped, savored, and enjoyed rather than chugged or tossed back in a shot glass. Fresh herbs, fruit, and even locally produced milk have found their way behind the bar and are popping up in unexpected combinations that leave you craving more.
Whether you’re seeking the modern surroundings of a wine bar or prefer to experience Kansas City’s gay and lesbian clubs, the city has a nightlife venue that will entice you to stay out until the wee hours as you find your own rhythm on the city streets.
Casual dress is accepted at most establish-ments, although the majority of the city’s nightclubs enforce various dress codes, typically of the “dress to impress” variety.
- Most Inventive Cocktails: The Drop
- Best Historic Bar: Kelly’s Westport Inn
- Best Irish Bar: O’Dowd’s Little Dublin
- Best Lounge: The Mint Ultra Lounge
- Best-Dressed Crowd: Bistro 303
- Best Bar in a Museum: The Blue Room
- Best Live-Music Venue: Crosstown Station
- Best Live Jazz: Jardine’s
- Most Iconic Nightlife Venue: The Mutual Musicians Foundation
- Best Cocktails: Manifesto
- Best Wine List: JP Wine Bar & Coffee House
© Katy Ryan from Moon Kansas City, 1st Edition