Seven Is for Sins

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On a recent visit to Seven, we learned an important lesson about bars that feel like wedding receptions. We can indulge in our evil people-watching ways — without feeling guilty about mocking someone’s beloved cousin once-removed.

Seven is a new restaurant-slash-nightclub at Seventh Street and Walnut. It serves cocktails named after the seven deadly sins and boasts a swankish HipUrbanDowntown décor. Its random mix of music and wide age range of drinkers give it that wedding-reception feel, but, luckily, “wedding receptionish” isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

When we arrived close to 11 p.m. with Research Assistants Erik and Laura, our way was lit by a large, color-changing marquee over the front door. With no cover to pay, we made a beeline for the raised bar. A cramped aisle separated the bar from a row of tables, so we wedged in behind a blond glamazon in a backless halter top. Being nose-to-bare-back was not our idea of a fun time, so we decided to head to the upstairs bar.

The upstairs bar was more of a large server station. We could only order the basic cocktails there, so we went with a screwdriver. Nearby, the loftlike VIP area offered bottle service and consisted of a couple of brown sofas with cushions and a small assortment of tables and chairs. Once we got our drinks, we headed back to the more exciting downstairs level. That’s when we encountered El Staircase of Death. The steps were covered in a brown carpet with lengthwise stripes, so it was impossible to discern where the next step began. Even sober, our descent was hairy. But, hey, the place just opened, so we’re hoping that they’ll work out these spatial kinks.

Once safely on flat ground, we miraculously snagged a table by the bar. The place is done up in chocolate-brown and white tones. White curtains cover walls that light up and change colors. The bar and a long table running down the middle of the restaurant are topped with a faux brown-and-white marble surface that’s lit from underneath. Behind the bar, three small plasma screens show a shot of flickering candles, which, while lame, is still better than the creepy woman on the TVs at Blonde.

Below us on the dance floor was the most varied parade of Kansas Citians. Not long after our arrival, MILFs with fake blond hair and pneumatic boobs rocked out to disco. Two women suggestively danced with each other during Kool & the Gang’s “Celebrate” while their husbands sat nearby and cackled appreciatively. We also couldn’t help but watch a guy with thinning, spiky, salt-and-pepper hair who was clad in a blue T-shirt, khaki cargo shorts and leather flip-flops (and had a phone clipped to his waistband). He chomped his gum like Britney Spears, even as he was doing the “Cha Cha Slide.”

When our server came by, we ordered a $9 Envy, which is made with Hangar One kaffir-lime vodka, Midori, and orange and pineapple juices. It had a slight greenish tint. We weren’t crazy about the taste, which was a bit banana-y. Unfortunately, we’re allergic to mango, which kept us away from the $17 Greed.

As the night went on, the people in mom jeans left and the crowd grew younger and glossier. The music also changed, and “Margaritaville” eventually gave way to Snoop Dogg and Tupac. The cigarette-smoking DJ played an array of cheesy favorites, such as “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” which caused everyone to go “woooo!” During “Jesse’s Girl,” we witnessed some great ironic dancing from a guy in a powder-blue soccer jersey, who high-kicked and air-guitared rock-star style. Then, we saw a Steve Perry doppelganger in khaki shorts who drunkenly danced while doubled over. He was teasingly chasing a woman in a blue halter top and white tiered skirt, which eerily resembled the skirt that the chick wore in the “Oh Sherrie” video. Steve periodically took off one flip-flop and put it on again.

While we drank, a guy in a brown shirt and puka-shell necklace came by and dropped his business card. One side featured a guy in a sultry pose, and the other showed a woman in an equally provocative shot. It turned out that 41-year-old Drew supplies strippers for private parties. He emphasized that his nine guys and eight women are never fully nude. “It’s the classiest of classy. There’s nothing illegal,” he said.

Speaking of which, we also wanted to hear stories about indulging in any of the seven deadly sins, so we approached 34-year-old Keri, a pretty blonde. Her sin was one of overindulgence. While she was in another city, the guys who she and her friends were with kept telling them that it was almost last call so they had to drink up. “We did this for two hours,” she said.

On that note, we headed back to the bar. That’s where we met Joel, a former ElimiDate contestant who was profiled by the Pitch last spring (Land of the Real People). Joel was constantly in motion. He maniacally danced around in place and, at one point, put his friend in a headlock. We talked to his girlfriend, 21-year-old Felisha. She told us that they met at Brio two months ago, and “it was all downhill from there.”

“He’s awesome. There’s always something new,” she said, even as she shook her head at some of his antics. Said antics also included us taking a closer look at his Moosehead Beer T-shirt, which read “To hell with your Busch. Give me head.” Our scrutiny inspired him to partially lift up his shirt and come after the Night Ranger, who made a frantic trapped noise and backed away. The NR doesn’t do well with strange bare chests closing in on her.

Lustful it was not, but Seven has the power to inspire some other sinful emotions. Like pride that maybe downtown is coming back, one wedding reception at a time.

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