Treat yourself at J. Rieger & Co.’s Electric Park Garden Bar this summer
Electric Park Garden Bar at J. Rieger & Co. Distillery is a destination for nostalgic treats in a well-maintained setting. The outdoor bar space in East Bottoms is now open for the season, offering cocktails, non-alcoholic beverages, and food truck classics. The patio space features both turf and live plants to cultivate a comfortable outdoor space complete with heat lamps, fire pits, swings, yard games, and more.
Electric Park Garden Bar draws inspiration from the “Electric Park” amusement park located in the East Bottoms neighborhood from 1899-1906. The current menu is inspired by nostalgic entertainment and soda parlors—including sodas, sno-cones, burgers, and fries from a truck, and even a root beer float with J. Rieger & Co.’s KC Whiskey.
A standout drink is the Frozen Caffé Colada ($12). This dessert-like drink is frozen and creamy but not quite as thick as a milkshake. The slight coffee taste from J. Rieger & Co.’s Caffè Amaro blends well with pineapple and coconut flavors. J. Rieger & Co. KC Whiskey comes through to make this an obviously boozy drink, but the flavors intertwine so well that even a non-whiskey fan will delight in this. I happened to delight in two of them. Topped with a cherry and fruit slices, this frozen concoction is served in their signature aluminum cups with a straw and a spoon. This drink is a must-try.
A house seltzer ($7) is a lighter and more refreshing drink option. Made with J. Rieger & Co. Vodka, melon aperitif, and fizz, this is a simple take on a simple drink. It is easy to drink but does not stand out. The carbonation, melon, and vodka are all barely perceptible. However, on a hot day, this is an easy choice that will go down smoothly.
A third featured cocktail this year is the Gardenia ($12). This draft cocktail is made with J. Rieger & Co. Gin, elderflower, mint, lemon, and fizz. The fresh mint garnish does the heavy lifting for a robust herbal nose. The sweetness level is less than that of a soda but more than a seltzer. Served over ice, the Gardenia is another refreshing cocktail choice and a happy medium between the flair of the Caffé Colada and the simplicity of the seltzer.
The best way to make the most of a visit to J. Rieger & Co. Distillery is to view it as a destination. From the trains whizzing by just feet from the outdoor patio and the rich history of the East Bottoms area, you may feel like you’re visiting another era. Once inside, there is a distillery museum, tours and tastings, a gift shop, The Monogram Lounge, The Hey! Hey! Club, Electric Park Garden Bar, and the iconic slide from the second floor to the first floor. With so much to do, it’s worth the drive or rideshare, but reservations are recommended for everything but Electric Park Garden Bar.
Rieger & Co. Distillery’s Electric Park Garden Bar is open afternoons and evenings, Wednesday through Sunday. The distillery is located at 2700 Guinotte Ave, Kansas City, MO 64120.