Charlie Hooper's

[MO Flag]

In the quiet Brookside neighborhood of Kansas City lies Charlie Hooper's. The nice long oak bar offers up 110 bottled beers and 31 taps. Local pronunciation of "draught" is "draw" and there are quite a few local specialties on hand. A few street-side windows light up the front end of the slightly smoky bar and lounge area, where the front door usually remains open. Large round wooden tables with pedestal bases stand on the dark wood floor with booths along the right wall. Neon beer signs, beer posters and beer bottles decorate the walls as the ceiling changes from low over the bar to high above the tables. Another well-lit dining area lies behind the bar and a small patio is out back, past the kitchen and games that include electronic darts, pinball and videogames. The secluded patio features a dozen tables with shade umbrellas.

From the bar's brass eight-tap tower flows beers from local Kansas and Missouri breweries. The Pony Express Tornado Ale is a clear dark amber color with a perfumy aroma, mellow hops and nice, smooth malty flavor rarely found outside of England. The Boulevard Dry Stout has a stiff head, medium body, full mouthfeel and a flavor balance toward the "dry" side. Their Unfiltered Wheat is a hazy gold with a "tangy" flavor that includes a nice clean combination of hops, wheat and "carbonation." Overall, it's almost "citrusy" in nature. Their Pale Ale is a clear amber with a pronounced hop aroma and flavor. This medium-bodied ale has an underlying crystal malt sweetness. Usually six Boulevard draughts are available, along with one from Pony Express and one from 75th Street Brewing in town. Imported bottled beers include Tennents Scottish Lager, Chimay and Shepards Neame Bishops Finger.

The food menu covers all the basics at a reasonable price. A variety of Cheeseburgers are $5.50, Salads $3.25 to $6.25, Hotdogs $2 to $3.25, Appetizers $1.95 to $6.25, Soups $2.75 to $3.75, and Sandwiches $3.95 to $5.95. Specials revolve around the beer menu and are listed on the wall: Sunday-$2.25 Boulevard "draws" and $2 "Mexi" beers, Monday - Happy Hour 5 PM 'til closing on all "draws", Tuesday - 3 PM 'til closing $1 domestic "draws", Wednesday - 5 PM 'til closing Imports $2 or $3, Thursday - 5 PM 'til closing $2.50 import "draws", Friday - 3 to 9 PM Happy Hour, and Saturday - 5 PM 'til closing $1.50 domestic longnecks. This is all in addition to the standard happy hour every day from 3 to 7 PM. Most quality "draws" run $3 to $3.50 while 12 ounce bottles hover around $3.25. the Chimay red does come in at $10 for the 26 ounce bottle.

The friendly crowd and relaxed atmosphere make it easy to stop in and unwind. Light Rock & Roll music helps calm the nerves and the great beer selection makes it easy to soothe the palate. No minors are allowed after 9 PM and signs are posted to announce that cigars, pipes and clove cigarettes are not welcome. Hours begin at 11 AM Monday through Saturday and Sundays at Noon. Take the time to hunt for parking in Brookside then take the time to enjoy the brews at Charlie Hooper's.

Charlie Hooper's Brookside Bar & Grille
12 W 63rd Street
Kansas City, Missouri

Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri - April, 1998

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