Named for its position against the confluence of two rivers, this emerging neighborhood boasts local institutions young and old, and a history unlike any other.
Things to Do
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 restaurateur to revive the distillery in 2014 in the historic Heim Brewery in the East Bottoms. Sign up for a tour to watch—and taste—the making of whiskey, vodka and gin. Soon enough you’ll be saying 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.
Be on the lookout for the East Bottoms Bazaar, a recurring pop-up stop-and-shop event that combines area vendors selling local goods with a festival atmosphere, making for a funky party only the East Bottoms could host.
Where to Shop
There’s more to Kansas City’s world-renowned reputation for barbecue than just tossing sauce on a dish. Fresh meats and skilled butchering make all the difference in the final product, the brisket sandwich that you can’t stop eating. Perhaps nowhere in town better exemplifies this ideal than area butcher The Local Pig, an East Bottoms staple that offers an assortment of beef, chicken, pork, lamb and duck cuts from animals raised humanely in local farms.
Places to Eat
Enticing aromas float into The Local Pig with each swing of the door. Not to worry, it isn’t your imagination running wild. Walk around the corner to find the shop’s accompanying food stand, Pigwich, for fresh-made burgers, sandwiches and a daily special that’s sure to satisfy. Try the Bahn Mi sandwich for a little international flavor, and be sure to get the house-made chips. Take it to go or stay and eat under the tin roof while watching the steady stream of Kansas Citians saunter past for the shop’s fine cuts and locally-sourced artisanal condiments.