Published April 18th, 2022 at 11:53 AM
What’s better than sipping on something fancy, picking at chips and salsa or taking in the views from a rooftop patio?
Just in time for the return of warm weather, one curiousKC reader is calling for a rundown of the rooftop patio scene here in Kansas City. If you’re looking for boujee, bumping or morning bliss — here’s a list of the best (and legal) rooftop experiences in town.
There’s just something about elevated surfaces.
Affordable drinks, the game on TV, occasional groups of young people wearing Greek letters
A Waldo staple, The Well frequently lands at the top of local listmaker’s best patios in the area. The large neighborhood sports bar has a ground-level patio and rooftop bar for all-seasons terrace dining, offering plenty of seating year-round. The Well has MLB Network, so there’s a chance your favorite ball club will be on the tube.
It’s in the name, really. John’s Big Deck in the Central Business District is three floors of fun, each offering a different feel. From the ground up, John’s Big Deck starts with a sports bar featuring plenty of TVs and live music on the weekends. Floor two brings the tunes, you bring the dance moves. Up top, the rooftop patio provides skyline views and plenty of space to start a summer night out.
Without a doubt one of the best spots to watch sports in town, the only downside to Ale House is that it may be a bit too popular. Arrive early enough to get a rooftop table and call dibs on the first game of cornhole and it should shape up to be an awesome evening above Westport. Avoid the crowd by grabbing a drink and some lawn games on a weekday after clocking out.
For more than 25 years, O’Dowd’s on the Country Club Plaza has been a pub for the people. Tasty menu items at a fair price, plus regular live music and rooftop views of one of Kansas City’s best-known neighborhoods makes for a proper meal post-shopping or a happy hour hang out that just might creep later into the evening.
New in 2021, OurHouseKC offers one of the coziest rooftop spaces in the city. The smallish patio has enough room for an acoustic performance, backed by the sounds of busy 39th Street. OurHouseKC rolls out a comprehensive menu, spanning breakfast to barbecue.
Some rooftops are fit for the early risers. On Strawberry Hill in Kansas City, Kansas, Split Log’s patio is the spot to sit in the morning light as it warms the downtown skyline to the southeast. It’s the perfect place to pick a coffee pour from rotating roasters, grab a pastry and knock out a few chapters of that novel.
Why not stay for lunch? Immediately next door to Split Log, Slap’s BBQ takes Kansas City’s favorite fare to the stratosphere — or at least a little closer to it. The rooftop dining area dotted with picnic tables is as “no-nonsense” as the Slap’s menu. Nonetheless, the space offers a unique local barbecue dining experience away from the gas station or gritty city staples.
Without question one of the most beautiful brick and mortar locales in Kansas City, Messenger Coffee Co.’s three-story spot on Grand Boulevard makes for a pretty incredible remote work space or morning hang. Great coffee and sizable breakfast and lunch menus backed by Ibis Bakery goods round out one of the best third-floor rooftop experiences one could ask for. Just put on some sunscreen.
For that person in the group who loves games
Part chicken restaurant, part adult playground, Chicken N Pickle is a flat-out good time. Plenty of TVs to watch the hometown team, six pickleball courts and a variety of lawn games make for plenty to do at ground level. Up on the rooftop patio, patrons can take in the action from afar, not to mention a unique view of the Kansas City skyline from the north.
So many games, so little time. So take a break from Up-Down’s array of classic and current arcade and video games for some fresh air above the Crossroads. The arcade bar’s upstairs is the prime spot to watch a busy First Fridays crowd below while enjoying Up-Down’s wide selection of craft beer and fun cocktails.
Books over booze, the Kansas City Public Library’s downtown facility’s rooftop terrace is worth a visit. Grab a coffee and head up the stairs until you can’t go any further and you’ll find an oversized chess board (very Harry Potter) and space to spread out and flip through your latest library haul in the thick of the Kansas City skyline.
For the big nights out in your best dress
Nestled on the seventh floor terrace of the Loews Hotel, Horsefeather Social is the spot for a classy night out above the city. The sleek space serves up scenic downtown views, paired with craft cocktails and snacks like the garlic shrimp flatbread, fit for a royal evening in Kansas City.
A fire pit and panoramic views atop Prime Social at the 46 Penn Centre building overlooking the Country Club Plaza treat date night duos and entire parties to one of the best open-air lounge-style experiences the region has to offer. Cocktails hover in the $15 to $20 range, though cozy conversation with Plaza views is closer to priceless.
Considered Kansas City’s highest rooftop patio, Canary KC in the historic Netherland building is the place for 360 degree views of the entire city. On the food and drink side, Canary’s modern American menu is accompanied by a massive wine list and creative cocktails. Private events are possible.
Perhaps the crown jewel of the Crossroads Hotel, Percheron KC provides a picturesque view of the city from multiple angles. If you’re headed up to the seventh floor for more than a selfie, Percheron’s clean and modern industrial vibe is even better with finger food snacks inspired by coastal fare and a cocktail in hand. You can count on a DJ spinning tunes up there.
Mexican flavors and beer on the roof
Margaritas on the roof. While there isn’t a wide range of options when it comes to Mexican restaurants offering open-air, top floor vibes, El Patron does just that. Authentic Mexican cuisine, plentiful options when it comes to tequila and a vibrant patio makes El Patron a must for entertaining guests or cooling down come summer time.
Across town, just a few minutes east of Crown Center, Teocali joins El Patron as one of the city’s go-to Mexican restaurant rooftops. Teocali’s massive authentic menu and red tile rooftop patio makes for a night that feels south of the border.
City Barrel Brewing Co. sets itself apart from fellow Crossroads breweries with its rooftop patio, which is most definitely shaped like the top of a barrel. There’s enough space up there to enjoy a few craft brews with buddies before moving on to what’s next. For anyone doing a rooftop tour, the brewery is not far from Up-Down, or Messenger if you’re going from coffee to a cold one.
Flatland contributor Clarence Dennis also is a social media manager for 90.9 The Bridge.