December 29th, 2007 5:16 PM by AJ Gentry
Never tell me there's nothing to do in Kansas City. Just get a room. Here's a description of seven rooms to try out when you need to break routine.
LAVA ROOM --3810 BroadwayOnly in the Midwest could you have a bar so swanky and earthy at the same time. Sure, this bar aims to capture the pretentious splendor of martini bars in their day. And yes, that does mean that they concoct a pretty mean vermouth-based beverage. Yep, there's a good chance something from the Rat Pack will be humming through the speakers. It meets most of the criteria. Except it fails to provide that arrogance that usually comes packed in its kitsch. Disappointed? Don't be. Head in the for the relaxing, friendly atmosphere, the good drinks and the entertaining crowd. You might figure out that your martini tastes just as good when it's served by someone who doesn't seem to disdain you. On the other hand, if you are looking for a bar to peruse the young local talent, this may not be the place. A wide range of ages and personalities love the lava. -- Michael Humphrey (Photo: Brett Hacker)
VELVET ROOM – 7222 W. 119th St. Shawnee Mission KSRaoul's Velvet Room calls itself ''the classic cocktail lounge... with a twist.'' The twist must be the binge drinking and unabashed flirtation that makes this sleek suburban club one of the area's most combustive singles spots. Filled at night with the shiniest of shirts and the shortest of skirts, Raoul's demonstrates its late-night acumen with attractive, black-clad bartenders that pour deftly mixed martinis. Visiting near closing time, one might be surprised to learn that Raoul's also serves some serious food from a menu that features fresh fish, pastas, gourmet pizzas and appetizers. But if you're looking for a quiet dinner, come early, for it doesn't take long for the place to fill, the volume to increase, and the lights to dim to such a point that you wouldn't know whether you were about to enjoy the last forkful of your sea bass or about to make-out with a 21-year-old junior college student who goes by the name ''T-Money.'' But don't worry about T-Money. If you don't make-out with him, someone else probably will. -- Jeff Akin
BLUE ROOM – 1616 E. 18th St. If you are looking to see Kansas City back in the day when Charlie Parker roamed the streets looking for a jazz fix, stop by the Blue Room. Although the original Blue Room, where the Bird blew saxophone is long gone, this jazz joint is a fine replica of a 1930s club. Located in the historic 18th and Vine district, it is a bit of a museum, with pictures of greats covering the walls and relics of Kansas City's jazz era adorning the tables. Live music still gets the place swinging four nights a week. No food is available and smoking is not allowed, but a full bar is available.
EMPIRE ROOM – 334 E. 31st St.Looking for tips on hip? The Empire Room is it. This Union Hill bar has all the style points you'll need to be a metrosexual in KC. This is not a bump-and-grind club. It likens itself to a European DJ Club -- that means the music adds an international and jazzy flavor to its house vibe. It means the drink of choice is probably shaken or stirred. It means the clothes are probably more tailored than tattered. And it means that attitude reigns supreme. But don't let all that NYC window-dressing fool you. These are still Kansas Citians, and the point is to have fun. Check out the Screening Room downstairs.The Screening Room runs movies while you sip your premium beverage or munch on upper crust finger foods, such as Jerk Chicken Satay and pizzas with roasted garlic or spicy Thai shrimp. Hang out near the swanky bar or sit back on the communal couch to check out the crowd. Make yourself a regular if you want to graduate to VIP level. But be sure to come with a penchant for cool. -- Michael Humphrey (Photo: Kate Cagley)
COPA ROOM – 3421 BroadwayIn spite of the name, don't expect to hear Barry Manilow belting out tales of showgirls named Lola at this plush cocktail lounge. The music in the Copa Room is strictly Rat Pack -- as are the decor, drinks menu and all-around vibe. It's the kind of place that Barry would get bounced out of faster than you can say ''the hottest spot north of Havana.''Dimly lit and divided into various compartments of high booths and leather banquettes, the Copa Room is an unabashed shrine to Frank Sinatra and his cronies. Homage to the old blue eyes is everywhere. His music pipes in through the sound system. His name graces many menu items. And in the lower-level ''memorabilia room'' you can marvel at photos, ticket stubs and other hallowed items related to the Chairman of the Board (some of it even signed by him, allegedly). Martinis and cigars are among the specialties, and a full menu of Italian food (cooked by the owner's mom and aunt) ensures that you get snockered on an empty gut. Frank wouldn't have it any other way. -- Seth Sherwood (Photo: Seth Sherwood
CADILLAC ROOM – 1936 McGeeBored with white walls and hardwood floors? Cadillac Catering offers a creative alternative to the tired banquet hall scene. We now offer TWO dramatic rooms for your wedding ceremony and reception, rehearsal dinner, corporate party, or other special occasion. We’re centrally located downtown near the Crossroads Arts District and our exceptional in-house catering will make your event over-the-top. In business since 1996, we have the experience to deliver a flawless event and exceptional value.
HOLLYWOOD ROOM – 2 E 20th St.This room is available to rent for private parties. It’s located just east of The Hereford House