Spirited Traveller: Kansas City next big league cocktail town

Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:35am EST
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By Kara Newman

NEW YORK (Reuters) - What do mean, you haven't been to Kansas City? Haven't you heard that it's one of the next great cocktail cities?

It's okay; this New York cocktail snob didn't believe it either at first. Yet here in Missouri there exists a broad range of bartending excellence, delivered sans attitude.

"The drinking culture here is relatively laid back," says Ryan Maybee, owner of craft bar Manifesto (1924, Main), which reopened in March within the Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange (www.theriegerkc.com/),

which Maybee also co-owns. (Technically, Manifesto is housed within the Rieger, but has a separate address and back-alley entrance.)

Although the growing community of bartenders certainly takes pride in, say, brewing up grenadine from scratch for high-end cocktails, they don't look down on anyone ordering a shot of whiskey or a beer either. Indeed, bar-hoppers laud KC for its friendly, approachable vibe.

In addition to his own bar, Maybee also recommends that visitors try out Westport Cafe and Bar (www.westportcafeandbar.com/),

a small bistro with streamlined signatures like the Whiskey Smash (bourbon, peaches and honey-lavender syrup).

Meanwhile at Viennese restaurant Grunhauer (grunauerkc.com/),   Continued...