Find Summer Refreshment at These 8 RiverNorth District Bars (Part 2)

Published by Pete Dulin on

Summer is in full swing. It’s time to chill. Whether you prefer a cold beer, craft cocktail, or refreshing kombucha, these businesses in North Kansas City’s RiverNorth District of Armour Road, 18th & Clay, and Swift Street have just the drink to keep you cool. 

The Brewkery produces and sells handcrafted Lucky Elixir kombucha – non-alcoholic fermented black and green tea – in various flavors at their taproom. Pop in for seasonal flavors like Hop’d Peach, Ginger Lime, Spearmint Lemongrass, and Cucumber Hibiscus. Try a flight of four flavors for $6. Pick up bottled kombucha or a growler to go . The Brewkery also offers kombucha cocktails made with wine from Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery. Need a quick healthy lunch? The taproom has sandwiches, wraps, and soups available.

Based on Burlington Road in North Kansas City, family-friendly Chicken N Pickle brought the fun sport of pickleball to Greater Kansas City. After a round or two on the courts or competing in outdoor games like bag toss and giant Battleship, relax in the restaurant, patio, or upper deck with a cold one. In the mood for cocktails? Try a Muddy Mary made with local S.D. Strong vodka, fresh lime juice, house-made BBQ sauce, and other savory ingredients for a different spin on a Bloody Mary. Knotty Cherry recreates the cherry limeade of our youth. Its sweet-citrus profile is bolstered by Smirnoff cherry vodka, house-made sweet and sour simple syrup, grenadine, and a Mist Twist. The bar has numerous local, regional, and national craft beers on tap. Of course, Chicken N Pickle has healthy, delicious wood-fired rotisserie chicken, sandwiches, and salads to satisfy appetites.

Pat's Pub
Grab a cold beer and $1 tacos on Thursdays at Pat’s Pub.

Billed as “the friendliest bar north of the river,” Pat’s Pub AKA The Bad Habit Saloon has operated for more than 25 years. This classic neighborhood bar is Northtown’s quintessential happy hour hangout, and the place to go for affordable food ranging from crunchy tacos and burritos to burgers and hotdogs. Tacos run a mere buck on Thursdays with specials on Coronas and margaritas, too. Shoot a little pool, strike up a conversation about local happenings, and make some new friends.

Owned and operated by chef Ron Bredemeier, Helen’s Just Another Dive (J.A.D.) Bar and Grill draws regulars from throughout the Northland. Helen’s is a happy hour destination frequented by guests from nearby Cerner, North Kansas City Hospital, and NKC neighborhoods. Be sure to belly up to the antique wood bar, one of the oldest in the Midwest, built by Brunswick in 1895. The pub offers 30 beers on tap, top-notch wings, upscale pizza, sandwiches and burgers that rise above standard bar grub. Pass the time playing pool and darts, or relax with friends on the outdoor patio. The bar and grill’s food truck, Helen’s on Wheels, also serves its specialties on the go around Greater Kansas City.

Chappell’s Restaurant and Sports Museum boasts one of the nation’s most extensive collections of sports memorabilia. The collection includes more than 1,000 high school and college football helmets, signed jerseys and balls, historic photos, and much more. Established in 1986 by Jim Chappell and now under new ownership, the restaurant and sports bar has been recognized as a top 10 sports bar in America by Sports Illustrated and USA Today. Open seven days a week, Chappell’s is a sports fan’s dream destination to watch games, sip on a cold beer, and grab a bite. Happy hour runs Monday through Friday, 3-6 PM, and features two dollars off bottles, drafts, call and top-shelf drinks, plus half-priced starters on the menu. Food offerings are diverse, including short rib tacos, patty melt, southern fried chicken sandwich, salads, cauliflower tempura, and baked spinach and crab dip.  

Christine’s Firehouse Bar and Grill is perhaps best known for serving one of the area’s biggest and best made-from-scratch pork tenderloin sandwiches. Named after owner Christine Seymour, the bar and grill has developed a reputation for a sandwich that’s big enough to feed two people. Tip: Order an extra bun and toppings for a modest upcharge and split the sammie. The Firehouse portion of the name is a nod to the firefighters that often frequent this no-frills neighborhood hangout. Grab a cold beer, listen to live music, and strike up a conversation with friendly locals.

Established in 1948, Paul & Jack’s Tavern is yet another mainstay for local food, drink, and entertainment in North Kansas City. Paul and Jack Dunbar founded the tavern and ownership has changed hands over the decades. A bar expansion and back patio and party deck only adds to the appeal as a place to kick back with drinks, listen to live music by acts such as Cherry Bomb, Allied Saints, and Funk Syndicate, and catch up over a bite to eat. North Kansas City High School graduates will want to check out The Hornets Nest, part of the original Paul and Jack’s Tavern showcasing school memorabilia. The tavern is known for its chili and Wanda’s open-faced pot roast, but don’t overlook its selection of wraps, sandwiches, burgers, and entrees like the KC strip or hot spicy shrimp. 

It’s easy to work up a thirst at Smokin’ Guns BBQ, founded by locals Phil and Linda Hopkins. The Hopkins have competed in more than 350 contests in 15 states, accumulating nearly 500 awards. They’ve brought home 23 state championships and the prestigious Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue Grand Champion title. As if that weren’t enough to make your mouth water, Smokin’ Guns BBQ was featured in July 2010 on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives when Guy Fieri toured Kansas City barbeque joints. Pop in for award-winning barbecue and wash it down with a selection of craft and macro beers or well drinks from the taproom. The selection ranges from KC Bier Company’s Dunkel to Martin City Brewing’s Hard Way IPA to classic lagers on tap. Smokin’ Guns BBQ also regularly hosts craft beer dinners, pairing their creative ‘cue with local craft brews. 

Prefer some higher gravity craft beers? Check out Part 1, where we visit the 8 craft beer havens of North Kansas City!


Pete Dulin

Pete Dulin is a Kansas City-based writer who covers food, craft beer, wine, and business. His work has appeared in Zócalo Public Square, NPR, Feast, The Kansas City Star, River Front Times, Visit KC, Flatland, The Boston Globe, Thinking Bigger, and many other publications. He is the author of Expedition of Thirst: Exploring Breweries, Wineries, and Distilleries Across the Heart of Kansas and Missouri, Kansas City Beer: A History of Brewing in the Heartland, and KC Ale Trail.

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