5 new Kansas City area venues to check out this season: From a rooftop bar to new BBQ

·5 min read

Texas-based Whataburger drew hours-long lines when its first two area locations opened in November.

But amid all the hype for that notable burger chain, dozens of other new venues have softly opened across the metro recently.

Here are five to check out — from a rooftop lounge with sweeping views of the Kansas City skyline to a moody basement bar that hearkens back to mid-century times to a barbecue offering to-go only in Parkville.

Records and record players are on display inside Nighthawk.
Records and record players are on display inside Nighthawk.

Nighthawk

Hotel Kansas City, 1228 Baltimore Ave.

The basement of the building, circa 1922, had been used for storage and maybe a bowling alley. Now it has a brand new bar with the feel of a mid-century Kansas City watering hole.

“Everyone is welcome. It’s really a bar for the people. Late night, good time vibes,” said Dominic Petrucci, general manager.

Posters and photos from famous Kansas City music venues line one wall — the Mutual Musicians Foundation, the Grand Emporium, the Beaumont Club.

It has a pool table to the left of the low-slung stage, a DJ booth in back with stacks of vinyl records, and cushy leather banquettes.

Executive chef Johnny Leach, formerly with Del Posto and Momofuku in New York, has a short menu inspired by traditional dive bar foods, including snacks (smokey pickled egg, bar nuts, pepper jerky, and vegetables and dip), and baskets (country ham Caesar salad, fried mustard wings, grilled cheese waffles with tomato soup, hot bologna buns with pickled red pepper relish, and pickle fried catfish).

Drinks include Nighthawk-branded light and dark beers by Strange Day Brewing Co., canned hard seltzers made in-house, and wine on tap.

It will seat 150 people — first come, first serve — but a private room to the right of the stage seats eight to 22 people and can be reserved.

Hours: 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays

Some of the menu items at Nighthawk: Funny Onies, Veg N’ Dip, hot bologna buns, bar nuts, pepper jerky, fried mustard wings, and a smokey pickled egg.
Some of the menu items at Nighthawk: Funny Onies, Veg N’ Dip, hot bologna buns, bar nuts, pepper jerky, fried mustard wings, and a smokey pickled egg.

Off the Hook BBQ

115 Main St., Parkville.

With just a to-go window off the main drag of downtown Parkville, it might be easy to miss the new Off the Hook BBQ.

Owner Wardell Hooks is offering ribs, brisket or pulled pork sandwiches, baked potatoes (filled with brisket or pulled pork and layered with four cheese macaroni and cheese), hot dogs with brisket, nacho cheese and jalapeno, and sides such as baked beans with chunks of brisket, cheesy potatoes, and potato salad.

Owner Wardell Hooks serves barbecue from a to-go window at Off the Hook BBQ in Parkville.
Owner Wardell Hooks serves barbecue from a to-go window at Off the Hook BBQ in Parkville.

The brisket and baked potatoes are top-sellers. But Hooks tends to run out of ribs early on Saturdays with his daily special — ribs and two sides for $15.

Hooks took up cooking when he was 10, adding barbecue to his lineup five years later. In 2015, when he was about 50, the UPS manager started catering Kansas City Chiefs tailgate parties. He soon expanded with a food truck and continues to expand his catering operation.

“From where I started, backyard barbecue to the tailgate to the food truck and now this, I feel blessed. It feels great,” he said.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays. He might shorten the hours this winter and then expand the hours in the spring.

A baked potato loaded with pulled pork and topped with mac and cheese is one of the most popular items at Wardell Hooks’ Off the Hook BBQ in Parkville.
A baked potato loaded with pulled pork and topped with mac and cheese is one of the most popular items at Wardell Hooks’ Off the Hook BBQ in Parkville.

9th & State

West Bottoms, 1717 W. Ninth St.

Its tagline is: hangout with history. But expect “booze, art, Ping-Pong and fun times.”

“Everyone feels comfortable. It’s very welcoming,” said Heather Hamilton, co-owner.

Monday nights are “Nostalgic Country” and industry night (with service and arts employees getting 40% off their tabs). Wednesday nights it hosts watch parties for “The Golden Girls,” and customers are encouraged to dress up as their favorite character from the popular sitcom. It has live music on other nights, as well as Ping-Pong tournaments at its two tables.

Customers can order food to be delivered or bring in their own meals. The Lunch Box deli is just down the block.

Hamilton has exposed the original tile floors and still has a 1931 safe by the bar. She’s still researching the building’s history, but she thinks it dates to 1911 and was built by Pabst. A Pabst Milwaukee logo tile motif is in the front stoop.

A 1935 ad in the Kansas City Times for the Antlers Club in the spot said it pumped in cool air from a spring 100 feet underground with boxing shows on Fridays and Saturdays, dining, dancing and delicious sandwiches.

Hours: 3 to 11 p.m. Thursdays; noon to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.

Wayne Moots, from left, Gabi Bailey, Leisha Anderson and 9th & State owner Heather Hamilton, along with bartender Taylor Harlow, gather to watch the “The Golden Girls.” Every Wednesday is Golden Girls Night at the bar.
Wayne Moots, from left, Gabi Bailey, Leisha Anderson and 9th & State owner Heather Hamilton, along with bartender Taylor Harlow, gather to watch the “The Golden Girls.” Every Wednesday is Golden Girls Night at the bar.

The Peacock

301 Westport Road.

The owners of Westport favorite Bistro 303 have opened a new cafe next door.

Chef Brian Mehl, who has nearly 25 years’ experience in the Kansas City area restaurant industry, created The Peacock menu with diversity in mind — so dishes have African, French, Italian, Thai and Middle Eastern influences.

The menu includes pork belly, beet hummus with taro chips or fried sprouts as starters; a spinach salad; and entrees such as Canadian salmon, rib-eye and Peri Peri chicken, with Black Forest chocolate bundt cake as one of the desserts.

Hours: 4 to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, and 4 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Canadian salmon at The Peacock, 301 Westport Road.
Canadian salmon at The Peacock, 301 Westport Road.

Prime Social

46 Penn Centre, 4622 Pennsylvania Ave., 16th floor.

A scene like you’ve never seen. That’s a promise by the new Prime Social rooftop — a cocktail lounge on a hilltop overlooking the Country Club Plaza.

Menu items include sushi (such as the KC roll with roasted pork belly, kimchee, lettuce, sweet pickle and chili sauce), lobster tails, oysters on the half shell topped with with caviar, ginger chicken meatballs with a spicy garlic hoisin sauce, pork belly burnt ends with a smoked chili rub, pizza (including the Braised & Blue with short rib barbecue, Cambozola and caramelized onions), sliders, a 16-ounce prime KC strip, and desserts such as carrot cake and warm chocolate chip cookies.

Cocktails include a peach mule, a smoked Old-Fashioned and The Ma’homes with bourbon, pomegranate, fresh lemon and champagne (after Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes).

Hours: 4 to 11 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays; 4 p.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays; and 4 to 10 p.m. Sundays.

A skyline view from inside Prime Social in Kansas City.
A skyline view from inside Prime Social in Kansas City.
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