Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Clarette Club

I had no idea what to expect from the Clarette Club in Mission. I've been passing by there for months now on my way home from Batson's. Judging by the name, I could imagine the Clarette Club was some sort of wine or jazz bar. From the demographics of Mission, I thought it might be some sort of dive bar like The Stables. The point is, I thought it could have been anything, I've never heard anyone speak of it and I've never heard anyone actually going there.

The Clarette Club is on the back side of the Mission Mart, across Martway from the Mission Bowl. I made my way over after I picked up some vino from Batson's. The first thing I noticed on my way in were signs proclaiming the Clarette Club a smoking establishment. I'll bet that scares away the do-gooders. I walked in and was greeted by the Clarette's most loyal customer, smoke, the sweet smell of freedom. Once again I was going to be in a bar where I was the only one not smoking.

Amazingly for 4:45 in the afternoon, the bar area was full. I had to sit on the back side of the horseshoe shaped bar in an area that could be called "no man's land". I was amazed at the size of the place. Eleven or so pool tables, several video games and 5 or so dartboards made up the back end of the bar. Of all the things I've imagined the Clarette Club, a pool hall was not one of them.

I know one thing the Clarette Club is not, a beer paradise. I had the wonderful selection of 4 beers on tap; Bud Light, Miller Lite, Boulevard Wheat and something atrocious. I asked the bartender when he finally got to no man's land what the special of the day was. Boulevard bottles for $2.75 was the answer. Not much of a special in my book, but I went with a Boulevard Pale Ale. He grabbed the bottle and placed it in front of me sans glass. I asked for a glass and got a quizzical stare for a split second and voila he just appeased the snob and grabbed me a glass. I had to pour my beer myself, but what he hell, I can do some pouring.

The crowd was a pretty average one overall. I would say, the average person in the bar was a little over 40. It's tough for me to tell age with smokers. For a room full of 40 year olds, I would expect a little better bar talk than problems with lawn mowing and lawn services, but that is what I was treated to.

I was not really into the place and drank my beer pretty quickly so I could leave. I understand from the number of pool tables and such that the Clarette is probably big for pool leagues and dart leagues. I've never been a schedule type of person so I've never been in any kind of dart league or anything. I'm not really into playing games in bars, though I love darts, I prefer to just sit and discuss the topics of the day. I saw several signs for the karaoke night on Saturdays. I would say the Clarette is the Mission equivalent to Boomer's in the Northland.

They have better shirts at the Clarette. My bartender was wearing a shirt that said "Have a sleazy good time". They also have a shirt that says "We're so politically incorrect, we stink". I appreciate a bar that will goes out on a limb and advertises they don't want the do-gooders spending money in their establishment. I imagine that if Mission ever passes a smoking ban then the Clarette's days are numbered. But for now, they should advertise a little more about their proximity to the cities of Kansas City and Overland Park and reap the benefits of freedom.


  1. You sir, are a douche.

    Walking up to the bar and asking "what's on special?": Well, there aren't many ways for you to better advertise to the bartender that not only are you not a regular, but you are also cheap (probably a crappy tipper), and not a good drinker (willing to drink anything cheap).

    $2.75 Boulevards is not a good special? What planet are you from? That's a great price. Boulevard beer typically retails at $3.50 to $4.50 a bottle.

    Complaining about the fact that you had to ask for a glass and (heaven forbid!) pour your own? Listen, you already advertised to the bartender that you are a douche with your "drink special" inquiry. Asking for a glass when the beer is already served in a glass (bottle) shows you are also high-maintenance. Because of these facts, I would NEVER attempt to pour your precious $2.75 Boulevard into your precious glass because I know there's no way that I'm qualified to do it correctly. You obviously know much much more about drinking than I, your bartender, do.

    Let me tell you, if you came into my joint with exactly this same interaction, my next move would have been to snatch up your bottle, your glass, hand you your money back, and tell you to get the fuck out.

    Consider yourself lucky you got served at all. Next time, why don't you just focus your efforts on the Plaza, P&L District and Zona Rosa, where you came from and where you belong.

  2. First off, I don't think that I was very critical of the Clarette Club. It just wasn't my type of place and I said so.

    Second, I would think the bar would want me to know what the specials are, so I don't think it's inappropriate to ask if I don't see it advertised.

    Third, I like my beer in a glass because drinking from a bottle makes you flatulent. If you want to fart all night that's fine, but I prefer not to.

    Fourth, I was in Mission, beer should be $3 or $3.50. Some places actually like to use a special to draw people in.

    You know what, though, if they didn't want to put up with my demanding attitude, maybe they should have snatched my glass away. It would have been better for both parties. I knew fairly quickly that I probably wouldn't be making a second visit. I would have preferred to save my $4 for someplace else.

    That being said, there was nothing wrong with the Clarette Club if you're looking for a Budweiser, a game of pool and some Keno. I was looking for a place for a good beer, which I got, but can get any number of places on draft for a similar price.

    I think my post makes that position pretty clear.

  3. You mess with the Clarette Club, the Clarette Club messes with you. The special wasn't so special, but still cheaper than normal. I like a glass too. But I wouldn't want them to pour it for me.

    The best is when some guy orders a Bud bottle (with draft right in front of him) and then pours it in a glass.

  4. This is normally a good natured comments section. Anonymous needs to go get angry in another blog's comments section.

  5. Anonymous came from Tony's, where they are preparing my lynching. http://www.tonyskansascity.com/2008/08/shangri-la-for-kansas-city-area-smokers.html

  6. The TKC comments are full of douches and self-appointed experts. Anon's post is representative of the type.

  7. Nobody is a douche just for asking what's on special and demanding a glass. In advertising I was taught you do not make money on a one-time customer but on the ones who continually come back.

    By not recognizing/caring about a new patron the bar, the bar is risking future profit. Since Boul-E-Vard is a non-smoker that is probably hypothetical profit but when the Mission smoking does go into effect, the bar may rethink twice about its service to non-regulars.

  8. Owen, you are obviously a genius for remembering your advertising lessons, but have you thought out the logic of your comment?

    Based on Boul-E-Vard's report, there were PLENTY of regular customers in The Clarette club. Why would the staff waste a bunch of time on him, catering to his bitchy little needs, when he was so obviously a one-time-only tourist? What is so shocking for most self-righteous bloggers and their commenters is that most bars are neighborhood establishments, opened by some guy (or gal) to sell booze to his buddys and other sympathetic "regulars". These types of bars don't give a crap about your blog or your stuck-up tourist friends or your $2.75 business. They've got plenty of $100 a week regulars who go there because everybody knows them and they are treated well.

    The danger that Bull E. Vard runs against with his quaint little blog here is that he fundamentally does not know how to drink in bars. Oh sure, he may be able to walk into 75th Street Brewery or Paddy O'Fuglys or whatever and order beer and take a couple of bad photos and post it up on blogger.com, but when it comes to knowing how to behave when he's in someone elses' house, he's proven with this post that he doesn't have a clue.

    So maybe instead of pretending to be all pretentiously self-important just because you have a "blog", the owner here ought to find a little neighborhood joint he likes and stay there.

    This "I can't believe they don't treat me like a king my first time at The Clarette Club" mentality demonstrated by the author, commenters here and barroom tourists in general contributes almost as much to the destruction of local mom-and-pop taverns as the smoking ban.

    As for lynching? Well, I don't really think that's what's on the plan. I just don't like the smug self-righteous attitude displayed in this post.

  9. Ok Mr. Bull E. Vard. Where on earth did you get the picture of our group from? Creepy.