Monday, August 3, 2009

Downtown Sports Bars

Downtown has had a noticeable lack of sports bars* in the area south of I-70 and KC Beer Blog favorite Willie's. With the departure of Tanner's and Fred P. Ott's in the past couple of years the trend has been towards less sports bars. McFadden's bills itself as a sports bar, but I (and I don't think I'm in the minority here) view McFadden's as a douche delivery system (if you're looking for a douchebag, McFadden's is the place to go to get your fill).

*Sports bar - (n) An establishment that serves alcoholic beverages, has more than 2 TV's in sight and has at least one item of flair of or relating to sports.
The trend is now moving in the other direction. On Wednesday, Johnny's Tavern will be opening up on the corner of 13th and Grand, probably the prime location for a Power and Light bar that caters to sports fans. Actually, since there isn't an anchor sports tenant in the Sprint Center, it seems that this location probably won't give Johnny's any great advantage.

Johnny's has 2 nights of soft openings by invitation only (I didn't get one, so it must be exclusive, I'm sure Tony got one) tonight and tomorrow. Then on Wednesday, August 5, they're open for realz.

In some less known news, the spot formerly known as Vivace and Redhead Lounge in the River Market is going to its 3rd concept since they hung the Vivace signs. It is now called the River Market Sports Bar. I don't think the owners have too much hope for it because they still haven't taken down the Vivace signs, which are nice, but since the place isn't actually called Vivace anymore, the signs can only add confusion.

I don't know if the River Market Sports Bar is open yet or not, it kinda looks like they are since they have the beer signs hung up with the new name (yet not covering the Vivace signs). I'd better quit writing about it because I'm just getting more and more angry that the Vivace signs are still up and the place has been closed for 6 months.

All this Vivace talk reminds me of the show Check, Please! that was on KCPT last fall (and still shows reruns sometimes). On each episode, they would have 3 people choose one of their favorite spots and the other 2 would eat there. They would then sit around a table with the host and talk about the restaurant. On one episode they featured Harry's Country Club, one of my favorite bars and the Classic Cookie, a place that Stella and I like. When they started talking about Harry's Country Club, 2 of the people raved about it (of course it was the one guy's choice so of course he loved it) and the other person (a lovely young lady) didn't like it and complained about it. She also didn't like the Classic Cookie either. This girl pissed me off so I was really interested to know which place she chose because I was sure it was going to be a real douchey craphole. It turned out we never got to find out, because in the time it took to get the show to air, her place had closed. I don't remember now how I know this, but I do know it. The place she had chosen was was Vivace.

I don't know if I'll ever go to the River Market Sports Bar, but I know I won't go until they take the damn Vivace signs down.


  1. I don't know if this is where you heard about Vivace's closing, but I wrote about it here:

    I remember that broad who didn't like Harry's, and I thought the same thing. The only valid complaint about Harry's is that it can get uncomfortably crowded. That's it. Food = very good, Beer = very good, Service = very good.

    One point I made in the comments was that I could tell really quickly how much I was going to value someone's opinion.

  2. I remember reading your post about that but I know I confirmed it was Vivace because I was going to write about it and didn't for some reason. Probably because you did you tall good looking SOB.

  3. This is good news. Every so often, I find myself thinking, "if there's one thing we need more of in Kansas City, it's sports bars... "

  4. Any idea if Check, Please is coming back? I was a fan of that show and also got really annoyed with the girl that didn't like Harry's.

  5. Ok, I'm laughing about the woman who didn't like Harry's Country Club. I remember being really angry at her -- because if you don't like Harry's, you're too damned hard to please. And remember being ticked that I couldn't make fun of her favorite place. The only person who annoyed me more than that woman was the woman who didn't like Cafe Trio and then chose Max's Auto Diner (a perfectly fine establishment) as her restaurant of choice...

  6. BTW, i concur with your statement about the obvious lack of sports bars that cater to downtown. Outside of the 810 Zone on the plaza, and a case could be made for Tower Tavern (a great place to watch a game, but without sports memorabilia everywhere), and Willies, there really aren't a lot of options....

  7. @Bull - Are you trying to seduce me?

    @Brent - I don't think I've heard more drastically varied opinions about any restaurant in town than those for Cafe Trio. People passionately love or hate it. I've been there only once - thought the food was good, but the service was atrocious for that level of restaurant.

  8. Great article. Pat - in answer to your question - Check Please will be back on this fall! Starts Sept. 10.

  9. Hello,

    I run a college football blog (, shameless plug) where during the season I go around to area sports bars and rate them in terms of football watching.

    I've been to a couple of places downtown and I can say that downtown sports watching really needs help. Hopefully Johnny's will bring more life into it because McFadden's needs to be torched. I wasn't a fan of The Quaf and I still miss Tanner's.

    Also, if you're in the River Market, check out Minksy's pizza. They have a huge 3 story high wall of big screen tv's. It's very nice and somewhat unorthodox.