What could be more refined, then, than sipping at one of the numerous
wine bars that have bubbled forth in several configurations in
the last few years—from snazzy restaurants to counters inside liquor
stores to entire spaces devoted to tasting? From Parkville all
the way to 135th and State Line—with varied prototypes—it’s certainly
all very civilized.
by Jennifer has become a full-service wine bar with hundreds
of bottles, books, artwork (there’s a gallery on the first floor)
and wine paraphernalia in a renovated home on Main Street in Parkville.
People can buy a flight or bottle to drink in her beautiful garden
or on one of the decks, attend classes or formal tastings, or even
have an event, like the elegant small weddings catered there. Owner
Jennifer Stanton says she loves everything about her 6-year-old
business, but especially likes seeing people from all backgrounds
create lasting relationships.
The Cellar Rat in the Crossroads offers so much more than a wine
market—fabulous Italian meats sliced razor thin, specialty cheeses,
classes, a wine club, special events. It is not only a great place
to buy wine (co-owner Ryan Sciari’s recommendations have never
led me astray) but check out their website for their many tastings
in a wine bar setting.
JP Wine Bar and Coffee House on Walnut, also in the Crossroads,
opened in 2006 when Ryan Maybee added to his successful Lee’s Summit
coffee concept. Downtowners go for the substantial wine and cheese
flights, where attentive staff explain the wines and what pairs
best with them. Do try the lamb chops!) He loves introducing neophytes
to wines they’ve not experienced but is also impressed by Kansas
City’s core community of sophisticated and knowledgeable oenophiles.
The Wine Bar at Lukas Liquors at 135th and State Line manages
to be an elegant oasis within a huge liquor store. It has wood
floors, a stone fireplace, black topped tables and lots and lots
of wine, about 95 different wines (and scotches and whiskeys) in
two ounce pours. The wine pours vary from $2 to $18, with most
in the more modest price ranges. They serve sandwiches and salads
and small to large plates when they are open Wednesday through
Saturday. The nice thing is, with those automated small pours,
you can sample several different wines in an evening, or heck,
an almost full day of civilized drinking.
Boozefish Wine Bar on Westport Road offers Wednesday tastings,
has live blues on Tuesdays, and always serves good food.
A true labor of love and the quirkiest of all is Inland Sea, Kansas
City’s urban winery in the Livestock Exchange Building, whose main
vineyard is owned by Kerry and Michael Amigoni (with European grape
stock rather than Missouri). Open only Friday nights or by appointment,
owner John Poston hosts tastings of typically a couple of whites
and one red, and then people seem to hang around. Poston says that
wine is “a passion overtaking reason” as he bustles about serving
the up to 20 people who fill the room.
succinct summary only scratched the surface. Robert Mondavi
(granted, not exactly objective) is more effusive in his
autobiography when he writes, “Wine to me is passion. It’s
family and friends. It’s warmth of heart and generosity of
is art. It’s culture. It’s the essence of civilization
and the art of living.” A great wine (bar) can make you feel