Kansas City Nightlife: Best Cocktail Bars in Town

By: Lysa Allman-Baldwin

January 14, 2014


In many major U.S. cities you’ll find a multitude of expensive, splashy cocktail foreplay in hip, swanky, A-List lounges. Yet Kansas City cuts right to the chase by focusing on what’s inside these sexy concoctions.

This exciting cocktail scene has been around for sometime via a resurgence of Prohibition-era, 1920s and “˜30s Speakeasy heydays, resulting in what one writer described as an “explosive cross-pollination among bartenders, brewers, roasters and soda makers [that] has cultivated a drinks scene that belies Kansas City’s modest Midwestern demeanour.”


Yep. KC’s got a decidedly sophisticated yet unpretentious sippin’ persona that’s found in its bevy of fresh, outside-of-the-box bars and bartenders that are more than willing to help you discover the best cocktails in Kansas City.


A Little Taste of the EU

No foreign translation app is needed to enjoy the German and Austrian-inspired,handcrafted cocktails created at the Wunderbar at the Grunauer. The Klarer Glühwein is made with Grüner Veltliner, cucumber liqueur, sparkling water, lemon and cucumber wheels, while the Piratentrunk features Appleton Silver rum, lemon, pineapple, Potion No. 9, a float of Stroh overproof Austrian rum and a mint garnish.


Pink Martini | Sippin' in the Heartland | Discovering Kansas City's Bars

Fuschia-pink Martini with Lemon © vladans

Want one you can pronounce? Try the Pear Cognac Shrub – Camus VS cognac, homemade pear shrub syrup with pear nectar, raw sugar, champagne and cider vinegars, Angostura bitters and sparkling water. Complex yet clever, their cocktails are sure to both mystify and delight.


Let it Snow – All Year

Cocktails | Sippin' in the Heartland | Discovering Kansas City's Bars

Rainbow cocktails © Sam Ryley

Anytime is the right time for a made-from-scratch frozen or warm cocktail, or melted martini, from Snow & Company. Artfully balancing premium spirits with delightful handmade syrups and freshly squeezed juices, Snow offers, for example, The Rockefeller – Overholt rye whiskey infused with real cherries, Cinzano sweet vermouth and Angostura bitters. And Prince would no doubt go crazy over the Purple Rain, highlighted by Chambord, blueberry-infused Midnight Moon moonshine and fresh milk.


Choose between a single or double, or opt for a 3-, 5- or 10-flavour Arctic Flight. Skip the Weather Channel – everything’s fiery and frosty in here!


A Kansas City State of Mind


No place in KC sets the mood better than the clandestine subterranean hot spot Manifesto. Here, timeless cocktails from the bygone Prohibition era come to life with unexpected ingredientslike Serrano peppers, Alvear Fino Sherry, roasted butternut squash, green Tabasco and Peychaud’s bitters to fashion some of the most unique and sophisticated cocktails on the planet.


What’s Your Remedy?


Why wait “˜till you’re hurtin’ for a cure? That’s the premise behind the concept at Remedy Food + Drink.


Try a morning eye-opener like the Cinnamon Toast Brunch combining Rumchata, Smirnoff vanilla, Goldschlager and milk. Or perhaps the Whiskey Dickle with Dickle rye and lemon and lime juices will tickle your fancy. Then there’s the Malaysian Mule, a unique fusion of house Thai chilli, basil infused vodka, Velvet Falernum, lime juice and ginger beer.


And these are just the tip of the ice cube!


Sippin’ is Believing

Spirits writers, craft cocktail gurus, bartenders and major cocktail publications have taken notice of sultry KC, flocking here for from all over the country for the annual Paris of the Plains Cocktail Festival (aka PoPFestKC).

This multi-day celebration of cocktails, spirits, food, history and culture in the Midwest showcases the city’s best bartenders, distilleries, bars, microbreweries and more through a series of stylish soirees, spirits tastings, cocktail parties and educational workshops, all culminating in the annual Greater Kansas City Bartending Competition.


The “proof” is in the experience. And once you savour your last delicious drop, you’ll know why Kansas City has been called “America’s Next Great Cocktail City.”

Visiting Kansas City has never been easier with our partnership with Delta with daily flights across the Atlantic.

Where do you go for great cocktails in Kansas City? Share your favourite bars with us in the comments below.

Written by Lysa Allman-Baldwin



Lysa Allman-Baldwin

For almost 20 years, Lysa has fed her wanderlust for "everything the world has to offer" by writing passionately about travel, cuisine, historic sites and attractions, cultural events, spas, festivals and other subjects for numerous print and online publications. She is also the Publisher and Editor of Amazing Escapades: Adventures for the mind, bod and belly (, designed to offer a wide array of domestic and international feature destinations, articles, themed travel ideas, travel resources, photo galleries, ways to give back through travel and more.

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