Kansas City Taps

Missouri flag

 Kansas City and its environs today span the border from western Missouri into eastern Kansas. Beer drinkers must pay attention to which state their favorite tap room is in in order to determine which set of primitive alcohol laws they're subjected to. On the Kansas side lie two establishments each named Barley's Brewhouse. Both feature pooltables, silent TVs, Rock & Roll tunes, a dining area and a lounge section that hosts a long wooden bar featuring 99 taps. Local beers are well represented, with four or five each from 75th Street, Boulevard, Flying Monkey, Pony Express and River Market. Also on draught are megas, micros, imports and regionals. The varied selection includes wheats, IPAs, stouts and ciders, along with some well respected bottled imports. Eight slots are reserved for seasonals. Beer line cleanliness seems to vary depending on the efforts of five different distributors, whereas the mouthfeel of all the beers seems to benefit from the 70/30 nitrogen/CO2 gas dispenser mix.

 And now for something completely different, an indoor flea market with craft beer! Fitting in perfectly with this eclectic neighborhood, the Westport Flea Market houses rows of shops that surround a bar and lounge. Exhausted shoppers can build up their strength to continue by sampling from the 23 taps pouring micro and imported beers. West coast micros dominate the lineup but a few locals are also featured. Once energized you can take on the shuffleboard table, fusbol game, dartboards or video arcade games. On Sunday only you can even get bottled beer "to go."

 A great neighborhood bar in the now trendy Brookside district is Charlie Hooper's. The 31 taps join 110 bottled beers in offering an excellent local selection, often being included in special happy hour pricing, a practice illegal in the state a few miles to the west. The long bar fills early with regulars who linger while others come and go, dining at indoor booths and the outdoor patio. The atmosphere is enhanced by posted regulations that read "No minors after 9 PM" and "Cigars, Pipes and Clove Cigarettes not welcome."

 While regarded as an unappreciated "chain" in some cities, Old Chicago is a welcome sight to residents of the "burbs" west of the state line. The 26 taps always offer at least eight quality micros and eight imports. The 114 bottled beers serve as backup for when the 95 degree days cause the glycol-chilled beer lines to freeze solid. The bar staff is very beer-aware and the food and sports atmosphere are both well regarded.

 With a limited, but still above average, selection for KC is Ponak's Mexican Kitchen & Bar. The 16 taps range from Lights to Guinness. Most customers come for the food but along with Dos Equis there are offerings from Fullers, Harp and Tennents. Meager by west coast norms but this is a long way from the Pacific.

 The last few years have seen a flurry of craftbrewing activity in the Kansas City metro area as well as in select cities throughout Kansas and Missouri. The future looks brighter as the brewers guild plans a public beer festival soon and the local AHA homebrew club, the Kansas City Bier Meisters, continue to host nationally respected beer events. Carrie Nation my be dead and gone but her legacy of irrational anti-alcohol sentiment and intolerance still lives on here. Time to bury your hatchet Carrie. Proost!


75th Street Brewery
520 W 75th
Kansas City, MO 64114

Dave's Brewpub
10635 Floyd
Overland Park, KS 66212

McCoy's Public House and Brewkitchen
4057 Pennsylvania
Kansas City, MO 64111

Mill Creek Brewery & Restaurant
4050 Pennsylvania
Kansas City, MO 64111

River Market Brewing Company
500 Walnut
Kansas City, MO 64106

Sports Page Brewery
9083 Metcalf
Overland Park, KS 66212


Barley's Brewhouse
11924 W 119
Overland Park, KS 66213

Barley's Brewhouse
16649 Midland Dr.
Shawnee, KS 66217

Charlie Hooper's Brookside Bar & Grille
12 W 63
Kansas City, MO 64113

Old Chicago
9720 Quiveria Rd.
Lenexa, KS 66215

Ponak's Mexican Kitchen
2856 Southwest Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64108

Westport Flea Market & Bar & Grill
817 Westport Rd.
Kansas City, MO 64111


Boulevard Brewing Company
2501 Southwest Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64108

Flying Monkey Beer
5151 Merriam Dr.
Merriam, KS 66203

Pony Express Brewing Company
311 N Burch
Olathe, KS 66061

Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri - August, 1998

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