Saturday, August 4, 2007
Posted by Bull E. Vard
Out for a night out on the town the wife, Stella Artois, and I decided to go to Martini Corner. We didn't quite know what to expect but we certainly thought it would be a set of jazzy type upscale bars where you're more likely to hear Sinatra, Nat King Cole or at the very least Michael Buble pumping through the speakers. Needless to say we were wrong, it was more like Rush Street in Chicago, which is a good thing as long as they don't have $9 Goose Island Honker Ale bottles (that sucked, thanks Jilly's). Also, we somewhat expected it to draw the kind of crowd martini bars playing Sinatra would draw, you know, old and sparse. Once again, wrong, there were so many single people under 25 I thought an orgy might break out at any time. I believe all of the single people under 25 in Kansas City were at Martini Corner. Still, even with all of the people, parking wasn't really an issue as long as you were prepared to walk.
I enjoy an area in town that isn't heavily subsidized and seems to have sprung up from good old fashioned entrepreneurialism (Google's telling me that's not a word, but I'm going with it anyway, apparently they've never been to Martini Corner). Martini Corner seems to have come about that way, I mean, there was unkempt grass and weeds within a block of the corner. I think that's a good thing. Anyway, we started off our evening at Tower Tavern. Not a real good idea, no martini menu was to be had and the place emoted a college bar essence (which is fine unless you're looking for a classy vodka or gin drink). Stella and I went with our go-to orders, Maker's Manhattan for me and 7-and-7 for Stella (she expressed an interest in a new go-to drink). We were able to pick up a seat near the window and focused our longing gaze on the Velvet Dog across the street.
As we watched the Velvet Dog, it appeared that people kept piling in and no one left. It was quite the site, the Velvet Dog is like a clown car. We finished our drinks and headed across. It turns out the Velvet Dog is huge with a back deck and several floors of bars. The waitress was kind enough to bring us a martini menu (a necessity because you don't know what a bartender is capable of and different places call the same thing something different). I went with the Starburst, sippin' on sunshine. Shouldn't all martinis have a subtitle? Stella had a Dreamsicle, just like you remember. Unfortunately, it either wasn't what she remembered (Harry's in Westport has a really good one) or my Starburst was really good because she immediately coveted my drink.
A quick rule about ordering martinis, don't get a pink one. It's tough when you read the ingredients sometimes to tell if the drink is going to turn out pink. If you think it might, don't order it, people will think you ordered a Cosmopolitan. Stella and I went to the Shanghai Terrace at the Peninsula Hotel (where the recommended attire is smart casual) for dessert and a drink one time. I ordered some martini, I can't remember what it was, and it came out pink. Now, the Shanghai Terrace is someplace that Jessica Alba or Oprah may go for dinner so you always want to appear at your best (no PBR's while shirtless) because you never know if Oprah (or Alba if you prefer) might be on the prowl for a new Steadman. So now here I am in a really nice place wearing glasses and a houndstooth jacket sipping on a pink drink. People stared, it was uncomfortable. I don't order pink drinks, I make my Cosmos at home.
The Starburst was bordering on pink, we can call it a light red, nearing orange. Stella ordered one and I ordered a Guinness to restore any good faith in the room (as if anyone was paying attention to my drink choices, there were guys in togas in the bar).
Martini Corner was a pretty good time, although next time I think I'll just wear shorts or something a little more casual. Also, we may decide to wait in line at Sol Cantina, the line never died down enough to make it worth our while.