There are two kinds of cool bars: Those that put their coolness on display, and those that nonchalantly do their own thing and let you realize it for yourself. The Westside Local is firmly in the second camp.
Of course, there are a few factors that could tip you off: The location on Kansas City’s oh-so-hip Westside, its exposed brick walls and hardwood floors, and a beer garden that feels like a secret hideaway. But the Westside Local isn’t all aesthetics and attitude—it’s got the chops to back it up, from the creative casual cuisine to the cocktails.
The menu reflects the restaurant’s commitment to supporting local farms and businesses, from the local cheese and charcuterie boards to the selection of sandwiches and burgers served on Farm to Market Bread. For dinner, Kansas Citians from the Westside and beyond journey to the red brick building for comforting dishes like the herb-roasted Buttonwood Farm chicken pie with house-made puff pastry or the customizable mac and cheese, which can be topped with corned beef for a mouth-punch of flavor. The Westside Local even makes the word “blunch” sound reasonable, serving Sriracha maple-glazed chicken and waffles, veggie burritos, and pitchers of orange Valencia mimosas Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
If the food wasn’t reason enough to visit, the spot also boasts a quirky bar program—you can get a boozy to-go bag if you don’t quite make it through a bottle of one of their wine selections, which includes a lengthy list of reds. If vino isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other options, from absinthe to local draft beers and spirits. Further adding to The Westside Local’s appeal as a great place to grab a drink? Happy hour is offered 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, when you can score a $1 off draft beers, $3 glasses of house red or white wine, and $5 Lambrusco.
Inventive cocktail offerings include the Savage Garden, made with Kronan Swedish Punsch, a sugar cane-based liqueur, with house cola bitters, cava, and tart cherry, and the Boho Latino, a combo of Mata Hari absinthe, an herbal liqueur, pistachio horchata, and cardamom bitters, which marry for a drink truly unlike anything else. The spunky menu also features Blueberries for Sal, perfect for sipping on The Westside Local’s pet-friendly patio as Kansas City thaws from a brutal winter and transitions into spring.
“I got the inspiration for this cocktail from two places, my 20-plus years of traveling to Maine with my family and the children’s book Blueberries for Sal, which is one of the only books I remember from my childhood.”
“I got the inspiration for this cocktail from two places,” says bar manager Minnie Dalton, “my 20-plus years of traveling to Maine with my family and the children’s book Blueberries for Sal, which is one of the only books I remember from my childhood.”
The book’s charming story follows two sets of mothers and their little ones—one pair human, the other ursine—as they pick berries in the Pine Tree State. The cocktail’s rum base is also a nod to Maine, which has a long and fraught history with the spirit, while Licor 43 adds vanilla and orange notes.
“The blueberry aspect comes in the form of a syrup made by blending maple syrup, Wyman’s Maine blueberries and fall spices together with a little lemon juice to balance everything out,” Dalton explains.
Blueberries for Sal
- 1½ ounces Plantation Dark Rum
- ¾ ounce Licor 43
- 1 ounce Maine Blueberry Syrup
- 1 ounce lemon juice
Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with lots of ice, shake hard for about ten seconds, strain into a chilled coupe. Drink it.