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Free Thursday

I was bitten by the urge to get out and about last night. At around 2pm I sent out a email to a couple friends, proposing an informal get-together at the Zoo Bar for happy hour(and beyond). By quittin' time, I had received lukewarm commitments from Matt, Brad, and Jeff. That was good enough for me.

Jeff and I left the house at about 5:30pm and met Matt at Cupini's at 12th and Walnut, for some pre-beverage nourishment. Cupini's is wonderful. I have never had a bad experience there. The food is delicious, the hours are reasonable, and the staff is polite and responsive. I got a cheese manicotti, and a couple of breadtangles of cheese bread for the road, before we packed ourselves up and headed over.

The Zoo Bar was packed. They were holding their annual Christmas party, and everyone was in a very festive mood. The only problem for us was that we couldn't find anywhere to sit, and the only place to stand was in everyone's way. We each had one bottle of Pale Ale, said thank-you, and moved on. None of us had ever been to Vinino, the second large theme bar to open over in the nearby Power & Light District, right across from the Sprint Center, so we hobbled on over.

We were met by a seating coordinator/host/maitre d' at the door, which is always an uncomfortable experience for me when all I want to do is have a drink. We bellied up and each ordered various reds, after given generous samples of each. I had a sweetish California zinfandel of which I can't remember the name, while Jeff and Matt helped themselves to some complementary bread, hummus, olive tapenade, and some other item I can't remember. They seemed to enjoy the bread very much. I was still quite full from Cupini's only an hour or so earlier, so I sat back and watched them eat the bread with relish.

Matt had a cup of soup that didn't appear on our check, so we left a generous tip and exited through the back door that opens out onto the huge covered common area for the 30-40 bars and restaurants that are currently under construction, that is lamely named the "Kansas City Live!" block. They couldn't have sited the place better. The skyline view is of buildings that are seemingly right on top of you as you gaze vertically at them. It's going to be spectacular.

We walked in the back door of McFadden's, and received a surreptitious nod from the crowd control giant as we skulked in. We found a table, and padded our number to five people, as Brad and Amanda joined us. We all agreed that we loved the fact that such a big, noisy, clearly popular(probably the most popular in KC) bar should be smoke-free, and remarked that it was, as far as we knew, the first smoke-free 3am bar in Kansas City, possibly in Missouri. That fact certainly didn't appear to hurt business. Even on a Thursday at 8pm there must have been 150 people there.

After enough making fun of the music and $5 beers, we made such haste as we could make to Harry's Country Club. There, as if it was the old days again, we were waited on by Rose, and joined at our table by Fiona, coming off her shift. Ryan joined us there too, and when the beers had lost their appeal for the night, gave us a ride home. It was an expensive but really excellent night in Kansas City.

11:24 AM, Dec 21, 2007

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