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curiousKC | A Guide to Rooftop Patios in Kansas City

Toasting Beautiful Views and Delicious Brews

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Above image credit: The north-facing view from Crossroads Hotel rooftop bar Percheron (Clarence Dennis | Flatland)

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.

Party Porches

Affordable drinks, the game on TV, occasional groups of young people wearing Greek letters

The Well Bar Grill Rooftop | Waldo

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.

John’s Big Deck | Downtown

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.

Ale House | Westport

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.

O’Dowd’s | Plaza

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.

Morning & Meat Lovers

Hangover proof

OurHouseKC | 39th Street

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.

Split Log Coffee | Strawberry Hill 

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.

Slap's BBq building.
Slap’s BBQ on Central Avenue has helped revitalize the block in Kansas City, Kansas. (Courtesy | Michelle T. Johnson)

Slap’s BBQ | Strawberry Hill

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.

Messenger Coffee | Downtown/Crossroads

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. 

Patio & Play

For that person in the group who loves games

Chicken N Pickle | North Kansas City

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.

Up-Down | Crossroads

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.

Central Library | Downtown

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.

Movie-goers on top of Kansas City Public Library downtown central library for Off the Wall film festival
The Off-the-Wall Film Series on Kansas City’s Central Library rooftop. (Courtesy Kansas City Public Library)

Swank Spots & Skyline Views

For the big nights out in your best dress

Horsefeather Social | Downtown

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.

Prime Social | Country Club Plaza

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.

Canary KC | Midtown/Westport

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.

Percheron KC | Crossroads

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.

East-facing view from Percheron. (Clarence Dennis | Flatland)

Patios en la azotea + Cervezas

Mexican flavors and beer on the roof

El Patron | Westside/Southwest Boulevard

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.

Teocali | Crown Center

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.

Classy, a semi-sweet beer, gets its pink color from raspberries, blueberries and cranberries.
City Barrel is one of the few breweries in town with open-air drinking space. (Jonathan Bender | Flatland)

City Barrel | Crossroads

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.

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