Drink This Now: Negroni at Hillsiders
Flair, clever names, kitchy glassware… I love a themed bar as much as (okay, more than) anyone, but sometimes a classic neighborhood bar hits the spot. Strip away the trendy finishes and you’re left with the studs: your drink, your company, and hopefully a comfortable spot to sit. Hillsiders has the relaxed aura of a dive bar, sans the smoke-stained walls and cracked-leather stools that scratch your thighs.
Here’s your sign to stroll into the dimly-lit bar, order a Negroni and snack mix, play a game of pool, and only have spent $10.
The Negroni is batched in-house using Brokers Gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth. A fresh orange peel is added to each glass as a brightening garnish. It is smooth and easy, bitter with a pleasant level of sweetness. This may be one of the best in KC for those who prefer a more mild Negroni blend of citrus, juniper, and licorice root.
Add a $1 snack mix of cheese balls and nuts, or Turkey Sando on ciabatta for $8, and you’ve got yourself on a sweet and salty cycle that is comfortable and cool.
The Negroni happens to be the most popular cocktail, but by thin margins. “Our idea behind the menu is rooted in the neighborhood. We are not specifically focused on cocktails, so we wanted to be able to provide staple cocktails and centennial recipes, all priced under $10 to keep the wallet in mind,” says owner Logan Smith.
Batching is one element that helps keep prices low. A batched cocktail offers a more consistent taste from visit to visit, and saves the bartender time. With a quick pour and garnish, they’re handing off your drink and moving on to the next patron.
Hillsiders plans to introduce a Ben Holladay version of the batched Old Fashioned and Boulevardier. The Ben Holladay One Barrel Bourbon was hand selected by and bottled just for Strawberry Hill establishments, and distilled in Weston, Missouri.
Classic cocktails and effortlessly-cool vibes aren’t all that Hillsiders has to offer. From Marsh Mellow Mondays with $2 smores kits and the Sunday Special of a hot dog and Hamms for $4, to pop ups with burgers, live music, or comedians, there’s always something happening… but you know, in a laid-back way. They don’t need the extras to be a good neighborhood bar or draw in visitors from across the metro, but they do like to keep it interesting.
Hillsiders is located at 403 N 5th St, Kansas City, KS 66101. It is open seven days a week from 5 p.m. – 1:30 a.m.