A Midweek Escape into the Downtown Scene
Sometimes you just need to get out of the house. And away from the kids. And put your sequins and heels on and fancy yourself an elevated evening. One can opt for the expected weekend night when socializing comes as a natural accompaniment. But, what about an escape in the middle of the week where the reservations are more plentiful, the crowds are less populous, and you can even stumble upon a Happy Hour Deal or two that make for a more robust experience?
From a one-night stay in one of Kansas City's most boho chic and culturally satisfying boutique hotels, to tapping into 5 star fusion flavors followed by the city's poshest cocktail lounge, to diving in and out of some of downtown's hidden bar and cafe gems, our Date Night in the Crossroads is below for you to try out for yourselves.
No Vacancy: Crossroads Boutique Hotel
There's nothing even remotely close to similarity in Kansas City at this 8-guest-room destination in the heart of the Crossroads Arts District.
With an eye-capturing and color-popping Inner Courtyard and Lounge, these spaces are so inviting, so warm, so perfectly decorated with the addition of vintage finds, locally made goods, and modern touches amongst exposed brick and sun-ravishing windows.
Each room carries its own unique aesthetic, but one glimpse into each tells you they are in sync with their soft lines and charming vibes. Owner Spencer has a knack for turning an ignored urban space and transforming it into an oasis that elicits all the escapism feels we are craving in life right about now.
Based on the 2nd floor on the corner of 18th and Wyandotte, the hotel comes sans a front desk or concierge, and is intended to feel more like a home away from home, with your own unique code to enter, and a selection of rooms come equipped with kitchenettes. Come and stay, or come and explore so many options all within walking distance.
Extra Virgin: James Beard Chef-led Tapas Restaurant + Bar
Known for some of the city's most incredible shared plates, wines and cocktail selections, AND Happy Hour, Extra Virgin is a staple in the hip Crossroads foodie scene. Dine inside the red-hued and open kitchen aesthetic, or al fresco amongst the bustling urban sound waves.
And, enjoy EV Happy Hour Mon-Fri from 4-6pm with half price tapas, and $2 off cocktails and wines by the glass.
Some of the favorite "Bites" include Raw Oysters, Deviled Eggs, and Extra Virgin Chips. Starter standouts include Grilled Oyster Mushrooms, Papas Bravas, Spanish Meatballs, and Grilled Rosemary Bread & Ricotta Cheese. Charcuterie fans will love the Cured Meats & Cheese selections, and heartier feasting hearts will enjoy diving into Poblano Mac & Cheese, Pork Belly Steamed Buns, Sea Urchin Squid Ink Spaghetti, and Crab & Chorizo Fried Rice.
There's really no going wrong when your experience is at the hands of James Beard award winning chef, Michael Smith, whose name in Kansas City is synonymous with the first and greatest.
The Mercury Room: East Crossroads Cocktail Bar & Lounge
It’s a sensational example of the elevation in posh lifestyle we are so favorably experiencing in this unassuming Midwest market. It’s like stepping out of the US and into an Eastern world metropolis with the most fashionable and luxurious of experiences; it’s @The.Mercury.Room, founded by the incredible visionaries and architectural mavens behind @verdigris.bar and @themonarchbarkc, and it will ABSOLUTELY take your breath away!
After being greeted upon entry in the lobby, you’ll be sent onward to the 14th floor and into an intimate space of floor-to-ceiling windows met with mirrored walls, taking your line of sight north of the Reverb Apartments to the downtown lights.
The experience literally cues starry eyes, as the black ceiling lit with thousands of twinkling lights is clearly a nod to the planetary name, and UNBELIEVABLY astounding, especially in conjunction with the bar that is glowing amongst the dark and neutral aesthetic.
Reservations are required to experience any one of the $30 cocktails that are preceded by an aperitif, and then followed by an ‘amuse bouche' prepared by KC’s James Beard multi-nominee, Michael Corvino. Or, if you’re looking for the highest end experience, opt for the $52 18yr Japanese Whiskey concoction, Lux Perpetua. All drink prices include tax and gratuity and span a wealth of spirits and elixirs that will sure to have you feeling far out in your expansion of knowledge of the ultimate craft cocktail ingredients.
Zoo Bar: Downtown Neighborhood Dive Bar
Who says you can't get wild on a Wednesday night? A long-time dive bar devotee, I was prepared for the cash only, billiards furnished, vintage cigarette vending machine-supplying, and write-your-name-on-the-wall experience, as we saddled right up to the cozy long bar and immediately asked the bartender for the house special.
The tiniest cocktail around; the Licor 43 Mini Beer...the cream-topped, chilled shooter that goes down too deliciously fast.
Order from the selection of beers, and your courteous bartender will saunter on over to the accessible 'ol fridge, open the door, and return with your bottle or can of choice; i.e. don't expect beers on tap. Zoo Bar is cheap, casual, lively, and the perfect spot to just chillax amongst the downtown skyline. And don't forget a competitive game of billiards while you're at it! Please do not feed the animals, or stand on the bar, but DO get wild.
Banksia: Downtown Restaurant, Cafe & Bakehouse
I don't think I've ever seen a more gorgeous Avocado Toast in my life! The end of our stay was greeted with breakfast at Banksia's original downtown Bakehouse, concluding our DELICIOUS “escape” with the most laid-back cafe encounter.
That's right, I'm talkin' about 9th and Baltimore, where the Aussie flags fly and the globally fused flavors flow.
And, the Pain Levain Avocado Toast is layered with smeared White Miso, Arugula, Pan Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Szechuan Pepper and Avocado w. Ponzu Roasted Black Sesame Seeds, all topped with a Fried Egg.
Don't miss the house-baked goods, like the Lamington we got to go: "An Australian favorite: vanilla sponge cake, with a layer of raspberry jam inside, then dipped in chocolate syrup and coated in coconut."
Verdant: West Crossroads Botanical Gift Shop
Translating to "Deep, Lush Greenery," this adorable shop is an offshoot of KC's original West Bottoms-based Convivial Production, and has a focus on 4 main components: Flowers, Ceramics, Gifts, and plants.
Verdant is BLOOMING with one of a kind finds to BRIGHTEN someone's day!
From designer flower arrangements sourced from local growers (purchase bouquets ready for the taking, or assemble your own) to handmade planters, vases, candles, cards botanical literature, and even a window perch encouraging you to write a hand written note with stamps provided (drop in the antique letterbox on the exterior!), Verdant is blooming with one of a kind finds to brighten someone's day!
"Mercury is the smallest and innermost planet in our Solar System."
Sounds a bit like Kansas City being the innermost metropolis in the US; never tire of the amazing experiences you can have as you explore our local lifestyle from top to bottom!