With the debut of the impressive new J. Rieger & Co. distillery experience, the East Bottoms looks to reclaim its past glory as a must-visit neighborhood known for being on the cutting edge of KC culture.
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The East Bottoms boomed in the 1800s, and after a period of relative decline is now humming along with thoughtful revitalization that pays homage to the past and present. Nowhere is that more evident than J. Rieger & Co. distillery. Founded in 1887 in the adjacent West Bottoms, the distillery boarded its doors during Prohibition. The “monogram” remained quiet until the namesake’s great-great-great-grandson joined a local bartender and restaurateur to revive the distillery in 2014 in the historic Heim Brewery in the East Bottoms.
In 2019, the company marked the debut of its triumphant new distillery experience in the former Heim Brewery bottling house, which expanded liquor production while offering everything from two distinct cocktail bars and historical exhibits to tastings, tours and more. The visitor's experience marks the beginning of a new chapter in the East Bottoms, also known as the historic Electric Park neighborhood, named for the former theme park that once brought countless visitors to the area. Pay the distiller a visit and soon enough you’ll be echoing their classic slogan, “O! So good.”
Just across the street, another historic building pulses with life. Housed in the site of a former boardinghouse for rail workers, Knuckleheads Saloon is now a destination for musicians and music lovers alike. With indoor and outdoor main stages, a cross-street venue labeled “The Garage” and an intimate lounge for jam sessions, it’s no wonder Knuckleheads received the Blues Foundation’s "Keeping Blues Alive" award for Best Blues Club.