Three Stop Hop: West Bottoms
Three Stop Hop is a series from Recommended Daily and Visit KC that lets you experience a neighborhood or corner of the city in three unique stops. For this last edition, we head down to Kansas City's West Bottoms for a unique, delicious experience.
Stop 1: Genessee Royale Bistro
The slow cascade of a runny yolk, the slight sear on a burger hidden under a bed of melted cheddar: all the best parts of the barnyard come calling at the Genessee Royale Bistro. The GRB sits inside a former gas station and is part of the vanguard redefining the West Bottoms. The décor is farmhouse chic, a style that draws in French and Midwest influences not unlike the menu. Both the design and dishes are refined, a reflection of the tastes of co-owners Todd Schulte and Tracy Zinn– the husband and wife duo that have owned and operated GRB since 2010.
A steady stream of bright red Bloody Mary’s (which get their kick from a heap of horseradish) leave the well-appointed bar during lunch and are often accompanied by plate after plate of the crunchy curried chicken salad. The Genessee Royale serves lunch until 4 p.m. from Tuesday to Saturday, meaning you can leave work a little early and settle in on the patio. Find your own sunset in a glass with the pink-hued Campari and grapefruit.
Stop 2: Stockyards Brewing Co.
A little over a block away, the Stockyards Brewing Co. has resurrected the former Golden Ox space. The brewery, which opened in 2016, has kept the Western-themed interior homage to the Stockyards District. Cowboy murals line the walls, boot spurs are at the bottom of the ceiling fixtures, and the familiar twisting bar that evokes a horseshoe, sit in front of the glass windows that frame out the brewery in back. Stockyards has a host of different beer styles across 12 taps (which also dispense wine and cold brew coffee), meaning a flight of four brews is a good option. The Golden Alt has a light pop of yeast in contrast to the robust malt and rich body of the Black IPA. Gluten-free folks can opt for cocktails (the Ginger Strong is a buzzy concoction of gin, lemon juice, ginger syrup and soda water) or Stockyards often has a guest brewery’s cider on tap.
There are a few small bites – a spiced nut blend with a pop of curry (prepared by the Genessee Royale Bistro), a vegan-friendly cashew queso, or meat and cheese board – but the food menu will expand dramatically when the team behind Voltaire (across the street) opens a steakhouse in the other half of the Golden Ox building. Give yourself over to the warm wood and sink into the long-backed booths. Ask the barkeep for a seasonal beer recommendation and rest your feet after a long hard day on the trail.
Stop 3: Lucky Boys
Lucky Boys is the dive bar that Clint Eastwood would design if he had a sense of humor. It’s a bit Western, a bit vintage, and the kind of effortless cool that comes from self-assuredness. It’s also across the street from Stockyards.
Before opening as a bar in 2016, Lucky Boys started as a motorcycle club that occasionally threw parties over on Union Avenue. The music is everything from yacht to country rock, a curated playlist that benefits from co-owner Keenan Nichols’ deft hand.
You can opt for a craft beer or even a proper Old Fashioned, but odds are you’re getting a pint of Pabst to go with your game of pool. As you shoot stick, the mural with everything from skulls to a jet ski will distract you. You’ll also be drawn to the black velvet paintings that depict a tiger, Elvis, and even Willie Nelson with seemingly two noses. This is a bar with intentional conversation pieces and a television that only gets turned on during local sports action. Come ready to make new friends and with a bit of an appetite. The kitchen kicks out classics from other parts of the country (and Canada) with a mushroom gravy poutine (oh those cheese curds) and a Louisville-style hot chicken that is peppery and crunchy.
With a basket of fries and a cold beer, you can sit and swivel in the mustard-colored bar stools or trace your way through history with the old five-digit phone numbers that line back wall by the cigarette machine in this West Bottoms clubhouse.
Photography by Chris Mullins.