Kansas City NightlifeKansas City is well-known for its jazz scene—that’s a given. But there’s also some good rockin’ to be found, and not just at midnight. One of the city’s premier entertainment districts is downtown’s Kansas City Power & Light District (bordered by Grand Boulevard, Baltimore Street, 12th Street and Truman Road). The “P & L,” as it’s locally known, is an eight-block area of bars, nightclubs, shops and places to eat. The focal point is KC Live Block, where crowds gather in a covered outdoor courtyard for free summer shows by national rock and country acts.
More than a dozen nightclubs surround the Live Block, which has an open liquor permit and heaters for cooler nights. The Power & Light District is also a great place to hang out for some wining and dining before or after shows at the nearby Sprint Center arena.
P & L perennials include the Shark Bar (1340 Grand Blvd.) and the Mosaic Ultra Lounge (1331 Walnut St.); both draw a crowd of mostly twenty-somethings with thumping DJ music. Mosaic has a swanky lounge vibe with comfy seating and a balcony view of downtown's glimmering lights, while Shark Bar’s beachy décor and surf music is summed up by the motto “retro surf…retro dance…retro cool.” Phone (816) 442-8140 for the Shark Bar or (816) 679-5454 for the Mosaic Ultra Lounge.
Things often get a little rowdy at Angels Rock Bar (1323 Walnut St.), where you can order a beer, a mixed drink or a glass of fine champagne at the 130-foot-long bar and get your groove on to live or DJ music, depending on the night; phone (816) 379-9813. Or sashay into PBR Big Sky (111 E. 13th St.), where country and western reigns and there's a mechanical bull by the name of Norman; phone (816) 442-8145.
P & L pubs have that traditional warm walnut wood décor as well as a wide selection of international brews (there's also whiskey or wine if you want it). Keep your thirst at bay at the Flying Saucer Draught Emporium (101 E. 13th St.) and McFadden's Sports Saloon (1330 Grand Blvd.). Boisterous barkeeps and patrons hoisting frosty mugs contribute to the homey neighborhood bar atmosphere. Phone (816) 221-1900 or (816) 471-1330, respectively.
The Westport District, centered around the intersection of Westport Road and Pennsylvania Avenue, has a diverse assortment of local restaurants and bars ensconced in 100-year-old brick buildings. It attracts locals as well as out-of-towners in search of a friendly neighborhood joint. Kellys Westport Inn (500 Westport Rd.) has walls festooned with sports memorabilia and neon beer signs. U2 singer Bono once stopped in for a pint and gave the place his seal of approval. Throw your extra quarters in the jukebox, toss back a few and stay awhile. There's even a quick-serve pizza window in the back. Phone (816) 561-5800.
A large rooftop patio is great for people watching at HopCat (401 Westport Rd.), where you'll find 100 craft beers. Head down to the basement for a hidden tiki bar called TikiCat (reservations required). Phone (816) 656-3439.
Harry's Bar & Tables (501 Westport Rd.) is a chic martini bar that also serves up delicious steak and seafood; the kitchen stays open until 2 a.m. so you can satisfy those midnight munchies. More than 50 brands of scotch are also on the menu. Phone (816) 561-3950.
Local bands and the occasional touring act play at recordBar (1520 Grand Blvd.). The venue moved to a downtown location in early 2016 and is currently open only on the days shows take place; tickets can be purchased online or in person on show nights. Phone (816) 753-5207 for the latest updates on an expanded opening schedule.
The beat goes on at the 18th & Vine Jazz District, which is home to some smokin’ nightclubs. If you love le jazz hot, this is your territory. Rated among the top jazz venues on the planet by Downbeat magazine, by day The Blue Room (1616 E. 18th St.), with memorabilia tucked under glass-topped tables, is a part of the American Jazz Museum, but at night the jazz is so hot it burns. Phone (816) 474-6262.
After midnight, swing by the Mutual Musicians Foundation (1823 Highland Ave.), where jazz and blues players burn the midnight oil during intense all-night jam sessions. Alcoholic beverages are served until 6 a.m. Elsewhere in town, The Phoenix (302 W. 8th St.) has live performances Tuesday through Sunday; the cozy brick-walled club attracts a crowd of sophisticated ladies and gentlemen. Phone (816) 471-5212 for the Mutual Musicians Foundation or (816) 221-5299 for The Phoenix.
It’s almost a requirement for big cities to have a monthly art walk, and Kansas City is no exception. First Friday happens at the Crossroads Art District (20th Street and Baltimore Avenue), about a mile south of the Power & Light District and one of KC’s fun places to go. Kick off your evening with a stroll through art galleries and boutiques from 7-9 p.m., then grab a meal or a glass of wine at one of the district’s casually elegant bistros and lounges. Street performers and live music add to the fun atmosphere. Two nearby restaurants worth mentioning: Grunauer (101 W. 22nd St.), for German-inspired food in a classy atmosphere, and Mission Taco Joint (409 E. 18th St.), for great street tacos, craft cocktails and large tables perfect for groups.
Kansas City, KS
AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.
The sales tax rate in the city of Kansas City is 7.99 percent. The city's lodging tax is 11.98 percent and there is a rental car tax of $4 per day.
Research Medical Center, (816) 276-4000; St. Joseph Medical Center, (816) 942-4400; Saint Luke's Hospital, (816) 932-2000; Saint Luke's North Hospital, (816) 891-6000; Truman Medical Center Hospital Hill, (816) 404-1000.
1321 Baltimore Ave. Kansas City, MO 64105. Phone:(816)221-5242 or (800)767-7700
Kansas City International Airport
Hertz, at the airport, offers discounts to AAA members; phone (816) 243-5765 or (800) 654-3080.
The Amtrak station, (816) 421-3622 or (800) 872-7245, is at W. Pershing Road and Main Street.
Greyhound Lines Inc., (800) 231-2222, is at 1101 Troost Ave. Jefferson Lines also serves Kansas City.
Yellow Cab, (816) 471-5000, is the city's major taxi service. Cabs are deregulated, so fares vary widely. Rates are posted on each cab, and you are not required to take the first cab in a line. Up to five people can share a ride for a single fare.
Ride KC, the metro bus system, serves all of Greater Kansas City except Johnson County. The exact-change fare minimum is $1.50 ($3 for an all-day pass) and varies by distance. For more details and for route information regarding construction, phone (816) 221-0660.