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Casual Animal Roams into New, Wide-Open Range

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1 minute read

By Kevin Collison

There’s much more room for Casual Animal(s) to roam since the microbrewery at 1725 McGee acquired the building next door, allowing it to more than triple its size to become perhaps the biggest beer hall in the East Crossroads.

Owner Kyle Gray first learned the cavernous adjoining warehouse space formerly occupied by Midwest Acoustics might be available last spring. It’s owner of 40 years was ready to retire.

“The timing was horrible,” he said, referring to the Covid pandemic, “but it was the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Gray and his wife and partner, Lara, bought the property last May, but it took more than seven months to fix it up. It was a family affair with Lara guiding the interior design and his brother working as a contractor.

The big move occurred at the beginning of this year when the doorway opened between the original, cozy Casual Animal space that began operations three years ago and its spacious, skylit annex.

The former warehouse features skylights, a second bar, exposed brick and Persian rugs on the concrete floor.

Persian rugs cover the concrete floor, the ceiling is open to the rafters, new benches and tables are scattered in the space, a new bar was installed and in one corner, a grouping of comfortable chairs and couches create a little living room enclave.

Gray said having all that room has helped with Covid, giving customers plenty of room to spread out. There have been inquiries to use it as an event space, but he wants the space available to the public as much as possible.

“I think it helps when people are able to roam and get over their cabin fever,” Gray said. “Pretty soon, we’ll be able to open the garage door too.”

Casual Animal’s expansion comes at a time East Crossroads microbrewery scene is showing it’s ready to move on from Covid.

Border Brewing, another member of the neigh-brew-hood, is relocating a half block away to much larger space at 512 E. 18th St.

“Everybody is doing well and we’ve been getting major support from the local Kansas City community to keep us going,” Gray said.

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