Best of Kansas City 2021: Oak & Steel is the place to pre-game a Kauffman Center show

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The bar at Oak & Steel. // Photo by Kyle Howard

Like everyone else in the city, we love the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. We long for any excuse to Sharpie over the scuffs in our dress shoes and trek over to Moshe Safdie’s gleaming adjustable barbell for a show.

The only thing we don’t love is pushing through an endless line in the Kauffman Center lobby to spend $11 on a vodka soda. 

That’s why we pre-game at Oak & Steel, the warm and well-lit Crossroads spot just down the street at 17th and Wyandotte. Drinking here feels like using a cheat code: you can order full or half pours from a rock-solid tap list without fighting long lines of concert-goers.

If owner Kyle Howard is behind the bar, you’re in good hands. Howard is that rare beer and spirits nerd who knows the answer to any question you might care to ask but isn’t an insufferable jag about it. 

If beer isn’t your speed, the bar has a globe-trotting whiskey selection, too. You’ve got time to order a few rounds here. After all, what’s the hurry? You can see the silvered curves of the Kauffman Center from the bar. You’ll be able to slip into your seat half-buzzed before those lobby-swilling suckers have finished signing their credit card receipt. 

Categories: Food & Drink