Saturday, October 11, 2008

87th Street Bar and Bike

So I'd been toying with this idea to ride my bike to do quick hit reviews of some bars. As I was driving near my neighborhood a couple of months ago, I noticed 3 or 4 bars within a mile of each other so I began to formulate a route. Once I had a rough idea of the route I mentioned the idea to Wes and Weston while we were doing the Boulevard tour. They were on board as well, in fact Wes was more than on board, he wanted to have sex with the idea.

I spent a Saturday driving along the route and figuring out which bars were there and still open. I made a map and sent out a Twitter call and email call for participants. We had a couple of bar casualties in the time between formulation of the idea and go time so I added a Duds N' Suds and Side Pockets. The final map had us starting at Maloney's in downtown Overland Park, hitting The Other Place and then riding about a mile and a half to Jocks just off 87th. From Jocks we were going to go west down 87th hitting every bar along the way until we got to Callahans. From Callahans we were going down Rosehill Rd. to go to Bar, An Eating and Drinking Establishment and down to Old Town Lenexa to hit Jerry's, then back through the neighborhood (Pflumm has a graveyard and gigantic hill that we didn't want to attempt after 10 beers) to 87th Street to go to Side Pockets and back east to Tanner's. In all a 6.5 mile ride with 11 stops along the way.

After we found out who was coming and transportation issues, we flipped the route to start at Tanner's and end at Maloney's leaving a short bike ride back to the Bull E. Vard mansion.

Let's meet the participants:
Bull E. Vard
Wes Port
- known from such adventures as the Boulevard Tour, 13th Street Bar and Grill, Howl at the Moon and Ernie Biggs Piano Bar
Chambord - Boulevard Tour, 13th Street Bar and Grill, Howl at the Moon, Ernie Biggs Piano Bar, Bar Natasha, Chambord's List and Caddy Shack
Owen Morris - From the Pitch's Fat City blog
Chimpotle - From Hot Blog on a Stick

The route:

View Larger Map

After we got all the bikes and participants at Maloney's and everyone introducing themselves around, we piled the bikes into Wes' vehicle and drove to Tanner's.

Maloney's We used Maloney's as a reflection point and reflected on all the bars we went to during the day.
The Other Place
A great place to grab dinner while drinking, we didn't really interact with anybody while drinkin here.
When we first walked here I spied a dude without his shirt on and hair down to mid-waist. I'm not sure what Wes ordered but we received a 32 oz. beer. We sat down at a table with a girl who reminded me of Debra Winger and her friend who looked like Beer Girl. Debra Winger was fully regaled in New England Patriots gear so I felt comfortable telling about my man crush on Tom Brady. For the rest of our time there Wes and I were playing on mancrushes on Patriots or Red Sox and playing darts. Chambord and Weston paid for a game of 301 in darts (which is the worst darts game) and I dominated, actually throwing underhanded to dart out. We had a great time at Jocks hanging out with the locals. One of the locals took quite the liking to me and told everyone that I would be worth 4 cartons of cigarettes and a porno mag in prison. I made him my bitch. It was also pretty packed for a Sunday midafternoon.
Arizonas Sports Bar and Grill
Kind of a nondescript Johnson County bar. It was doing good business but didn't really have a great bar vibe. Chimpo, Chambord and Weston played some kind of porn video game while we were finishing up our beers (Bob's 47, $3/bottle) but even the nudity couldn't hold our attention.
JJ's Cool Change Bar This was the bar where Wes and I started to feel the effects of an afternoon of drinking. After parking and locking the bikes we made our way in and sidled up to the bar. All along the bar were little trays full of popcorn which I gladly ate even though I couldn't find a popcorn popper. Wes was a little concerned after he ate some and asked where I got it from and I said that it was just sitting on the bar. I noticed from a sign behind the bar that it was Joyce's birthday so I asked the bartender if she was Joyce. She was, so I wished her happy birthday. Don, who was sitting next to me at the bar, took an interest in me when I stopped to write something down. He mentioned that they had deep fried hot dogs (hot dogs from Fritz's) and they were the best hot dogs in town. Well, Wes and I couldn't pass that up so we had some dogs. They were fabulous! Seriously, get to the Cool Change and get a deep fried hot dog. Sure, you'll prolly die from the experience, but you'll die happy. Also, there were at least 3 different dogs that made an appearance inside the bar while we were there. I'm not taking a side on this one (whethere dogs should be allowed in bars), but the one pictured above was an incredibly nice dog.
Spivey's Bar and Grill A dead bar. Besides Wes, Owen and I there was only one other guy. But they did have a bar pool where they picked NFL games, so there's that.
Callahan's Bar and Grill The greatest thing about Callahan's was the tap handle that showed Great Divide's Titan IPA. Owen and I shared the sweet nectar from that tap. If Owen learned anything from this day it was that Great Divide makes a wonderful IPA.
Bar an Eating & Drinking Establishment $1 PBR draws is the main thing to know about this bar which reminded us all of a modular home. While Owen, Wes and I were talking a couple of times, this girl turned to check me out. One time when she turned, I was in mid sentence and I stopped my thought and threw out a Joey Tribbiani "How you doin'" which elicited a smile and a quick turnaway. Of all the places we went on the day, I felt the most comfortable that I would be able to hook up at this place. Another fun thing about Bar was that the customers were in control of the DirectTV during the football games. It seemed like the type of place that the customers were in charge. In fact, while we were unlocking our bikes to travel, one patron took offense that we locked them up, "No one here's going to take your bikes". It seems like a fine place to spend an afternoon.
Jerry's Bait Shop One of my personal favorite places to grab a beer. Owen had an American Ale and we discussed the merits and demerits of the beer. Mostly we agreed that it was like drinking a substandard Fat Tire.
Tanners Bar & Grill A great place with 20oz draws. We sat out on the new smoking deck so we could watch our bikes. Sadly we were the only ones using the deck to drink instead of to smoke down heaters.

Overall, the bike ride was pretty strenuous but not so much so that we were unable to have a good time. For having a beer at each location, we ended up in pretty good shape. To which I attribute burning off a beer or two while riding. We had a great time at JJ's and Jocks mostly because we were pretty lit up, but I like to think that the crowd we interacted with contributed to our good time.

We, at the KC Beer Blog, like to contribute to more self propelled drinking and biking and riding does that just great. We think that this was a great course to get some exercise and get some good drinking in too. If you know of some other locale in town with 10 bars in a 5 mile radius let us know and we may spend a day riding it. We had a fabulous time riding this course and hope to ride many more.

Update: I wrote most of this after we got home from the ride so there were numerous fallacies, misspellings and bad grammar. Hopefully it's cleaned up now.


  1. Chimpo only went to 3 or 4 bars with us and rest assured he drove to them.

  2. you do know that drinking and driving (laws against and the reasons for them) apply to bicycles the same as motorized vehicles.

  3. Great adventure. I suggest a mid-town bike adventure:

    Start at the Jayhawker on 39th street just inside KCK; then head to Gilhouly's on 39th; continue on to Westport for Kelly's and then a pint on the deck at the Foundry; head across main to Gilham and ride to Martini Corner and hit Tower Tavern; head over to Broadway for a beer at Outabounds before returning via 39th street to the Jayhawker.

    6 places, a few hole in the walls, a few nice beer bars and a gay bar. All in all a great trip.

    Let me know and I'm in.

  4. Pronk, part of the reason of the route we took was to go to places we would ordinarily not go. But your course would take us through some good areas, I think we would be interested in Jimmy's Jigger, DB Coopers, Dave's Stagecoach and maybe Buddies (if that's not too far away). There seems to be plenty of there there so that may be an interesting route to explore.

    Applecart brings up a good point that I didn't explore in the post because we stuck to sidewalks and trails. We did a risk assessment and felt that we were pretty safe overall. But riding along 39th St. seems decidedly a little more difficult to avoid traffic (both pedestrian and vehicular).

    That being said, this seems like a good place to start looking for another route. We're looking to discover the next great place with a great tap like Callahan's or a unique food item like the deep fried hot dog at JJ's.

    I think, while 6.5 miles was quite a ride, we might be benefited from a longer ride between bars, so we may be looking for an 8 or 9 mile route with 6 or 7 bars.

  5. sounds like fun, but I would have died after the first mile. Thanks for the JJ's report, I'll be over for a deep fried hot dog sometime soon.

  6. Maybe I do have friends that look like Debra Winger?

  7. Beer Girl, I wrote in my notes about your Doppelganger and Debra Winger, "good looking girls questioning their choices in life". I'm going to have to scan my notes from that afternoon because they are more hilarious than anything I wrote in this post.

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