Martini Corner near 31st/Gilham

Discuss items in the urban core outside of Downtown as described above. Everything in the core including the east side (18th & Vine area), Plaza, Westport, Brookside, Valentine, Waldo, 39th street, & the entire midtown area.
earthling
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Martini Corner near 31st/Gilham

Postby earthling » Tue Jul 23, 2013 7:10 pm

Not sure what weekends are like lately but we have been going here a lot for weekday happy hour and most places have been consistently busy.

The Drop maybe my second favorite happy hour after Bluestem - great meat/cheese platter and dirt cheap. The various kinds of bruschetta are quite good.

Haven't been to Sol Cantina for years until lately and major improvement - they have happy hour maggies that for not top shelf and only $3.25, quite good. They have 'proper' SoCal fish tacos with mahi mahi/cabbage/avocado/warm soft corn tortillas, have to ask for cilantro and lime though - 3 for under $10 - that would be $15+ in SoCal and as good as I've had out there. They also have San Diego potato based burritos, haven't tried it. Don't see San Diego style often in KC.

Velvet Dog doesn't appear to have a happy hour and not too busy, seems to be a late night/weekend joint.

Haus, hmm... it tastes like everything is catered in. Good concept but would rather see this as a real BBQ joint with outdoor pit master. The table setup is just right for a BBQ joint. Could also be urban blues joint. BB's for the single professional chick crowd that seems to be in most of Union Hill apts.

Sports Bar, don't recall the name, good layout but just so so eats yet usually partly busy. Could use the touch of McCoy's.

Overall this is a decent happy hour spot that can grow, but The Drop and Sol Cantina carry it. And Velvet Dog late nights. Is Empire Room nightclub still active?

Would like to see that other spot across from Haus (other side of Gilham) developed into another bar. And with Union Hill/Gilham development expanding, it's time to start pursuing retail that serves residents.

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Re: Martini Corner near 31st/Gilham

Postby kboish » Tue Jul 23, 2013 8:01 pm

I've heard some changes are coming to Haus (not sure how soon). Me thinks they will be for the better.

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Re: Martini Corner near 31st/Gilham

Postby atticus23 » Tue Jul 23, 2013 8:09 pm

earthling, if you're speaking about Tower Tavern as being "the sports bar," then I'd say to give it a second chance. The pizzas, salads, and sliders are always good options. The wings are, as my partner's mom says, "throw down." Seriously, I've had wings from Chicago and the source in Buffalo and Tower's can definitely hold their own. Also, the staff there is amazing :D

I'm in total agreement with you, that Martini Corner has a great happy hour on the week days and during the weekends is one of the better places to go for a night out!

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Re: Martini Corner near 31st/Gilham

Postby earthling » Tue Jul 23, 2013 10:33 pm

^don't do hotwings often but don't mind them either. will give it a shot sometime.

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Re: Martini Corner near 31st/Gilham

Postby earthling » Tue Jul 23, 2013 10:38 pm

kboish wrote:I've heard some changes are coming to Haus (not sure how soon). Me thinks they will be for the better.


as in tweaking existing concept or changing to new one? 3 cheers to Local Pig tie-in but it just doesn't quite work. bbq format would be great if no shortcuts, that is, real outdoor pit using grand pit master techniques.

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Re: Martini Corner near 31st/Gilham

Postby kboish » Wed Jul 24, 2013 7:19 am

I don't know what their actual plans are with the place, but i've heard alex pope (local pig owner) is actually taking over the space...im sure whatever it is he decides to do, it will be great. very talented guy.

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Re: Martini Corner near 31st/Gilham

Postby WSPanic » Wed Jul 24, 2013 9:14 am

Tower is one of my favorite regular spots. It's a "sports bar" only in the sense there a lot of TVs - there's no NASCAR hoods or sports jerseys on the walls. Food, patio and staff are all top notch.

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Re: Martini Corner near 31st/Gilham

Postby KCMax » Thu Oct 17, 2013 8:36 am


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Re: Martini Corner near 31st/Gilham

Postby chrizow » Thu Oct 17, 2013 8:47 am

i fear this spells the end of those places, since so many bars/restaurants "close for remodeling" but never open. i was at tower tavern tuesday evening, however, and it looked like there was plastic sheeting draped around velvet dog, so maybe they are literally remodeling.

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Re: Martini Corner near 31st/Gilham

Postby Gretz » Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:05 pm

The rumor that I've heard is that they are done, though I don't know source of the rumor and so can't comment on its veracity. Empire Room is no big loss; have never really seen anyone go into or out of it before 1am on a Saturday night and, extrapolating from times and addresses of neighborhood crime reports, may drive much of the very few crimes that still happen in the neighborhood. Loss of the Velvet Dog would be a bit of a blow to the corner, however. The Dog was the first business to open there in the early 90s when all else was blight and the partner mentioned in the article, Chris, is really more or less responsible for building Martini corner from scratch. I believe that he is still a partner on all or most of the 4 remaining restaurant/bars there. The Dog did seem to have the most feast or famine crowds of any place at the corner, often completely empty on a Fri or Sat night and yet occasionally packed on weeknights. Could well be that he has/is looking for another partner and will reopen it at some point or sell it. With a couple of hundred mostly young new residents moving into the neighborhood in the spring should be plenty of opportunities for the space to thrive as a reincarnated dog or reinvented something else. The empire room would actually be a great space for a restaurant as it is well finished inside though the boom-boom room basement might be a little awkward to find a use for.

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Re: Martini Corner near 31st/Gilham

Postby Gretz » Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:56 pm

Looks like the "closed for renovations" notice on the Velvet dog was actually true. They are painting the exterior of the building and a few of the plastic sheets covering the windows have slipped down to reveal some sort of major renovation work going on inside. Will be interesting to see what it re-emerges as. No idea about the Empire Room, however.

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Re: Martini Corner near 31st/Gilham

Postby earthling » Mon Dec 09, 2013 8:08 pm

Yeah, saw that going by yesterday. Looks like a major overhaul, not a shoddy revamp.

With the existing and upcoming higher rent apts coming soon down Gilham, wonder if it will cater to the young pro crowd. The Dog used to be more 90s existential self-deprecating art institute/midtown crowd - I bought some Eastern Euro darkswank theatre posters at a show back then, deep down the rabbit hole kind of stuff. Union Hill/Gilham is seemingly changing more to perky young professionals from larger markets for better or worse. A real estate person told me a couple years ago that Gilham strip is a lot of young female professionals from Chicago, DC, SoCal and such. Is this really the case?

Unfortunately something happened to The Drop. I gave it good reviews in OP but something happened, some things not at all good except for the bruschettas, which is still worth going there for.

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Re: Martini Corner near 31st/Gilham

Postby taxi » Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:26 pm

earthling wrote: The Dog used to be more 90s existential self-deprecating art institute/midtown crowd

Funny and accurate description. I got picked up by a couple lesbians there, back then, before that was cool.

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Re: Martini Corner near 31st/Gilham

Postby Gretz » Tue Dec 10, 2013 10:39 am

By the time I got to the Dog in the very late 90s or early aughts it had turned into an under-age friendly bar populated largely by Rockhurst College kids at least on the few occasions that I was in town from Columbia, visiting friends. I suppose that could have been the result of a particular drink special night or something, and not really have been representative of the bar's overall vibe. College crowds seem to operate in a flash-mob kind of way, raining business upon a bar one night and then forsaking it for days or weeks until some other word-of-social-media type forces re-align in its favor.

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Re: Martini Corner near 31st/Gilham

Postby chingon » Tue Dec 10, 2013 10:45 am

taxi wrote:
earthling wrote: The Dog used to be more 90s existential self-deprecating art institute/midtown crowd

before that was cool.


In the 1600's or something?

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Re: Martini Corner near 31st/Gilham

Postby KCDowntown » Wed Jan 22, 2014 5:41 pm

Some permits came through yesterday for the Velvet Dog space. Looks like the new place will be called "Barrel 31".

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Re: Martini Corner near 31st/Gilham

Postby kcjak » Wed Jan 22, 2014 5:59 pm

KCDowntown wrote:Some permits came through yesterday for the Velvet Dog space. Looks like the new place will be called "Barrel 31".

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Sounds like a name they come up with on Bar Rescue.

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Re: Martini Corner near 31st/Gilham

Postby chaglang » Wed Jan 22, 2014 6:39 pm

KCDowntown wrote:Some permits came through yesterday for the Velvet Dog space. Looks like the new place will be called "Barrel 31".

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Is KIVA the best place to track things like this?

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Re: Martini Corner near 31st/Gilham

Postby KCDowntown » Wed Jan 22, 2014 11:37 pm

chaglang wrote:
KCDowntown wrote:Some permits came through yesterday for the Velvet Dog space. Looks like the new place will be called "Barrel 31".

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Is KIVA the best place to track things like this?


I've used it for years - but it is slow, and kind of a pain. Its a good way of getting info on projects that may have been announced, but haven't begun construction. There are generally a variety of permits that have to be filed before anything visible happens. It's just scanning addresses for something interesting. The Kiva permits for Velvet Dog just happened to have a project name on them that I passed on to the forum.

Since I've been maintaining the development map in my footer, I've been scanning it once a day to see if any projects are moving closer to fruition or being done. For instance, Kiva shows that the Folger's Lofts look to be getting started, Lucas Lofts are almost done, and absolutely nothing on One Light Tower yet.

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Re: Martini Corner near 31st/Gilham

Postby Demosthenes » Thu Jan 23, 2014 6:05 pm

:( I'm going to miss the Velvet Dog. Many good times had there, even though it was a little "fratty."


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