No Other Pub opens Monday in the Power & Light District. Here’s a peek inside

The towering bowling pin at 1370 Grand Boulevard is gone. On a crisp Thursday morning in early February, workers are affixing the sign for No Other Pub, the sports bar and game emporium about to replace the failed Z-Strike. It marks another collaboration among the Sporting Kansas City soccer club, Power & Light developer Cordish Companies, and Entertainment Consulting International.

General manager Andrew Coleman and Sporting’s Jonathan Kaplan and John Moncke watch as workers on a lift lock the sign into place on what will be the biggest — 27,000 square feet — bar and restaurant in the Power & Light District.

“It definitely stands out,” says Kaplan, Sporting’s digital and communications manager, of the sign.

Monday, February 22, the whirring of saws and scent of fresh-cut wood will give way the din of happy-hour chatter, the clattering of bowling pins (four lanes remain from Z-Strike, which replaced original P&L tenant Lucky Strike) and the smell of street tacos.

“We’ve worked with Cordish and ECI over the past several years, and they’ve been a great partner in everything that we’ve done, starting with the World Cup watch parties in 2010 and the rebrand shortly after that,” says Moncke, Sporting’s vice president of brand revenue. “From a Sporting perspective, we were looking to kind of extend our brand beyond just soccer. We wanted to reach more people, and we think this is a really cool way to kind of expose our brand to people who don’t know about us and the people who do know about Sporting.

“Downtown is the epicenter of culture here in Kansas City,” Moncke continues. “If you look at what we did around All Star 2013, I think we threw the best party in Kansas City history on a Monday night down here, with Macklemore kind of at the height of his powers. We wanted to be downtown. Our offices are downtown. Cordish has been doing good work down here — really excellent work — so it just made sense to everyone.”

As Coleman, Kaplan and Moncke start The Pitch’s tour of the space, the three stop inside the front doorway before an unfinished wall, which will pay homage to Kansas City’s sports history.

“We’re going to have a big graphic piece of art that’s got all of the professional sports teams that have been in Kansas City,” Moncke says. “You’re going to see things like the Kings, of course, the Wizards, Sporting, the Royals, Chiefs, Monarchs and Comets. You’re going to see all of the pro teams that have ever been in KC.”

Artwork throughout the bar will also recall great moments in Kansas City sports history.

“You’ll see Bo Jackson breaking a bat over over his head,” Moncke says. “You’ll see some images of Super Bowl I. So it’s not all Sporting-related, but you’re going to see some cool images from the MLS Cup when we won in 2000 and 2013.”

“Even though we have a heavy involvement, this isn’t just a Sporting Kansas City soccer bar,” Kaplan says. “If there’s a big Chiefs game, if there’s a big Royals game, we want everyone here watching it. It’s a sports bar, first and foremost.”

With more than 30 television monitors, including a 10-foot-by-15-foot projection screen, that’s apparent. Expect Wi-Fi and charging stations, too.

“How many times have you been at a bar or restaurant, it’s evening, and your phone is dying?” Moncke says. “I think that attention to detail is really strong.”

And there will be participatory games, too. Lots of them. Besides the four bowling lanes, there are pingpong tables and places to play shuffleboard, foosball and darts. There are a couple of golf simulators. And arcade games.

“We had this concept of ‘every day is gameday’ as kind of a picture in our heads,” Moncke says. “You obviously see what that means as far as the sports bar goes, but we wanted to broaden that so people weren’t just coming in here and spectating. They could also participate. That’s why you see the golf simulators, bowling and all of the games.”

Coleman points to a patch of floor painted light blue.

“This over here is a shuffle-puck rink, kind of like you see on a cruise ship,” Coleman says. “We also have an option where you lay down fake turf and we can have soccer billiards.”

There will be a waiting list for the games. They say some will be pay-to-play while others will be free. And the space will be available for event rentals throughout the day. (The bar is already accepting reservations for the Big 12 Tournament.)

“The space will only be open during the day for events, and then we’ll open to the public basically happy hour on,” Moncke says. “I think we believe that much in the events business in this space that we’re dedicating all day to just event sales.”

Though No Other Pub typically won’t be open to the public until happy hour, Coleman expects the bar to test the waters with early morning European soccer matches.

“There’s really no known place right now to watch the early morning European leagues and things like that,” he says.

In the northwest bar area, a stand will dish out tacos. “People will line up here and just get some street tacos on the go,” Coleman says.

No Other Pub has tabbed chef Jason Wiggin, who had previously worked at the InterContinental Hotel Kansas City, Maker’s Mark and for Sporting, to run the kitchen. (He also won The Pitch’s 2013 Golden Fork Award.)

“I think it’s elevated bar food,” Moncke says of the menu. “We’re still finalizing that.”

No Other Pub will stay open late, with a 3 a.m. license. So there will be plenty of time to grab a drink at the bar in the front lounge, at which all three men marvel.

“We wanted to build this out so you have more of a communal feel,” Moncke says. “We really wanted this to be that local area. The lounge is more of a modern take on a neighborhood bar, whereas that’s the modern take on a sports bar.”

“It’s going to pull not just the Sporting people, not just the sports people, but the everyday person who just wants to get together,” Coleman says.

Speaking of getting together, on Thursday, March 3, Sporting will throw a fan event at No Other Pub.

“Building on a tradition we started several years ago, we will give our fans a chance to see the new team up close and personal,” Moncke says. “It will be an opportunity to see what the No Other Pub experience is all about, too. To add to the excitement, our new secondary jersey goes on sale for the first time as a part of the event.” 

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