Take it outside: Best places to imbibe on hot summer nights
Summer patio season is upon us, and Kansas Citians love to eat, drink and laugh under an open sky, ideally with an attentive server close at hand. The following locales are among the metro’s best places to bask in the sun or chill under the moonlight with a sweating glass at your elbow on most any day of the week.
The bohemian neighborhood near KU Med Center along West 39th Street boasts KC’s best Asian cuisine, a handful of local watering holes and a smattering of vintage clothing stores. It also is the home of one of Midtown’s best patios. At Thomas Restaurant, folks flock to the rooftop deck for the bird’s-eye view of the busy sidewalks and, on Wednesday nights in particular, for the $6 martinis. The Big Apple and the 39th Street Cosmo are favorites, but don’t dare leave without trying the Banana Nut Bread (banana rum, kahlua hazelnut and cream). Thomas is open until 1:30 a.m.
Thomas Restaurant, 1815 W. 39th St., Kansas City, Mo., 816.561.3663, thomaskc.com
Harry’s Country Club
There is a place I like to go, down in the River Market on a patio/Relax and unwind with the one that you love, at Harry’s Country Club. That’s right. The street-level patio at Harry’s is so stellar that a regular band on Harry’s stage, The Phantoms of the Opry, penned it into a country song. Owner Harry Smith stresses customer service from his friendly and capable staff, and loaded the menu with affordable nibbles for happy hour and stick-to-the-ribs entrees like the City Fried Chicken. The cocktail menu is weighed down with a mind-boggling selection of craft beers, yard beers, wines, and small-batch whiskeys, bourbons and tequilas. But the very best thing about this patio is all the friendly faces it attracts.
Harry’s Country Club, 112 Missouri Ave., Kansas City, Mo., 816.421.3505
If your group of friends tends to be the loudest in any given establishment, it’s time to test that volume on the deck of The Well in Waldo. Relaxation isn’t on the menu here. This tiki-torch-lit deck looms over 74th and Broadway like a cruise ship, and the party is audible from the street. The Lewellen brothers, who also own Lew’s Grill & Bar down the street, keep a stable of rotating DJs for Saturday night rooftop dancing, and employ bartenders with fast hands. The Well’s burger is a past winner of a Best-Of award in The Pitch. This is a T-shirt and jeans crowd after dark and a loosen-your-tie kind of joint after work. And on weekend afternoons, you could even call it family friendly.
The Well, 7421 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo., 816.361.1700
Maija Diethelm-Floyd is a dog lover — so much so that she opened the patio of her European-style bistro and wine bar to her customers’ canine companions. The petite, candlelit porch features hooks for tethering leashes, and her friendly staff is more than happy to bring out a generously sized bowl of water — with ice, even — on hot summer nights. Strangers bond over their pooches, and Diethelm-Floyd is known to emerge from behind the bar for a cuddle with the furry friends.
Boozefish, 1511 Westport Road, Kansas City, Mo., 816.561.5995, boozefish.com
McCormick & Schmick’s
The upper-level patio at McCormick & Schmick’s on the Country Club Plaza got a major face-lift just in time for summer. There now are two main seating areas, tables under oversized white umbrellas, and a collection of patio chairs organized around a central fire pit. But perhaps most importantly, the patio has a dedicated outdoor serving staff. McCormick & Schmick’s has rolled out a series of new specials and entertainment options. The “Sunday Night Relax” has $1 oysters, half-priced bottles of wine and live acoustic music, and the “Wednesday Goose & Jazz Patio Party” has live music and Grey Goose cocktail specials. The regular happy hour is from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and a new late-night happy hour is from 9 p.m. to close Sunday through Thursday.
McCormick & Schmick’s, 448 W. 47th St., Kansas City, Mo., 816.531.6800