Eine Kleine Nightcap: Encores you can sip

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Curtain call doesn’t mean the night is over just yet. Thanks to a plethora of drinking establishments near the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, a post-concert cocktail is an easy grace note to an evening of inspiring music and performance. Here’s a list of our favorite local spots that are perfect for talking over the show while enjoying a tasty drink or three.
 
Grünauer
Located in the Freight House District, this Austrian restaurant serves up a variety of late-night drinks in Wunderbar, its romantic, dimly-lit bar area. With its round brass light fixtures, white tiles and mirrored wall panels framed by carved dark-wood paneling, the bar evokes turn-of-the-century Vienna (if 1900s Vienna had Beck playing over the speakers). On mild nights, check out the patio, a greenery-filled space that’s a charming oasis in the middle of the city.
 
Grünauer prides itself on its handcrafted drink list, with juices and syrups made from scratch. Don’t know what you feel like having? The bartenders are always up for a challenge; just tell them your spirit of choice and see what they concoct. For an smooth way to ease into the evening, sip on the light and refreshing Radler ($8), a shandy-esque mix of Spiegl beer, lime juice, soda water and simple syrup. It’s Eine Kleine fantastic. 
 
The beer selection is superb, as befits an Austrian/Germanic restaurant. A good time to sample local and European drafts is during Happy “Auer,” which goes from 3 to 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Friday (except for First Fridays and holidays). Specials include $3 Boulevard drafts, $4 select import drafts, and $5 select wines and premium wells, along with a variety of sausage plates.
101 W. 22nd St., 816-283-3234, gruanuerkc.com
 
Westside Local
True to its name, Westside Local showcases the best of local and regional food — and an impressive array of drinks. Located in a building that dates to the early 1900s (it housed, at various points, an apothecary and a pool hall), this low-key neighborhood joint offers a seasonal cocktail menu in a hip setting. Rotating art pieces dot the exposed brick walls, and the hardwood floors and tall ceilings add a loft-like feel to the long rectangular room. Off to the side is the cozy bar space (a former tattoo parlor), and beyond that the beer garden, a secluded spot furnished with picnic tables and overhead wood beams.
 
The 17th Street Mojito ($10) is a crowd favorite. Made with 10 Cane Rum, lime juice and mint from the bar’s garden, it’s a perfect mix of minty, sweet and alcohol-y. Another signature is the Manhattan, garnished with house-made brandied cherries. The bar also has an extensive beer list, with Boulevard Pilsner the lightest beer on the menu. 
1663 Summit St., 816-997-9089, thewestsidelocal.com
 
La Bodega
Warm peach-colored walls, a Gaudi-inspired mosaic bar and Miro-like figures painted on the ceiling set the tone for this festive Spanish restaurant that’s known for its tapas. Outside, giant plant-filled urns line the patio, a long space that runs the length of the building and provides a great people-watching spot.
 
Start the night off with the red or white sangria ($6.50 a glass or $28 for a pitcher). Made with wine, brandy, orange liqueur and fruit juices, and garnished with orange and apple slices, it’s summer in a glass. If you need a caffeine kick, we recommend the Spanish Coffee ($8.50), the preparation of which is a tableside show that’s worthy of the stage. The server lights a match to Bacardi 151, cinnamon and sugar, then after a burst of flame, adds coffee, Kahlua and cream. Enjoy while the air is redolent with cinnamon and the amazement of your fellow drinkers.
 
La Bodega offers daily drink specials; check the website for happy hour and late-night food and drink deals.
703 Southwest Blvd., 816-472-8272, labodegakc.com
 
The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange
To experience old Kansas City, step into The Rieger. Opened as The Rieger Hotel in 1915, the building still has its original tile floor and bathroom fixtures. However, it’s the handcrafted drink menu — and Manifesto, the speakeasy-style basement bar — that really bring back the heady days before Prohibition.
 
Sidle up to the black-granite-topped bar and order the Pendergast ($9), a potent combination of bourbon, Dolin sweet vermouth, Benedictine and Angostura bitters. Or try the bar’s signature: The Rieger’s G&T ($9) — noteworthy because the bar makes its own tonic (along with its own fresh-squeezed juice, syrup, bitters, liqueurs, cola and ginger beer). The Rieger offers nightly drink specials, such as wines by the glass or new cocktails the bartenders are testing out. For more of that 1920s feel, venture down to Manifesto, which features its own separate drink menu. (Reservations highly recommended for Manifesto).  
1924 Main, 816-471-2177, theriegerkc.com

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