‘KC hidden gem’ loved for its cocktails, brunch and view closes after six years

When Mockingbird Lounge opened in 2017, it was singing a different song than its Strawberry Hill neighbors.

In an area filled with dark-and-dusty dive bars patronized mostly by the beer-and-a-shot crowd, Mockingbird was bright and airy, with brunch dishes and craft cocktails in coupe glasses on the menu. It hosted comedy showcases and performances for events like the music festival Manor Fest.

Six years later, Strawberry Hill is trending toward a more artsy, uptown vibe. But Mockingbird won’t be around to see it through. Owner Dan Castillo announced Monday that the bar, located at 204 Orchard St. in Kansas City, Kansas, has closed permanently.

“It’s been a hell of a run but after six and a half years, The Bird is closing its doors,” Castillo wrote. “I’d like to thank everyone who has made the Mockingbird what it is, past and present. I couldn’t have done it alone and I deeply appreciate the time my employees, friends, family and customers have spent here. If you’re in need of great bartenders and kitchen staff, I know a few. Please reach out!”

Castillo did not respond to a request for comment Monday night. A sign posted to the door said the property has been “seized for nonpayment of taxes and is now in the possession of the State of Kansas.” A representative from the Kansas Department of Revenue told The Star the seizure was the result of unpaid “Retailers’ Sales, Withholding, Liquor Drink and Income tax totaling $40,519.91.”

Customers took to Facebook and Instagram to register their disappointment and wish the staff well.

“Thank you for the wonderful memories … the chorizo waffle, comedy nights, drag performers, and amazing cocktails,” one wrote. “I will remember this place so fondly.”

“A true KC hidden gem,” another said. “So many great memories and delicious brunches had.”

“I’m devastated,” said an Instagram commenter. “Nowhere can compete with the view of the KC skyline. I am going to miss this place so much!”

Before Mockingbird Lounge, 204 Orchard St. was home to The View, a gay bar that quietly operated from 1983 to 2014.