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The 2020 WRNL Guide to Kansas City

Your guide to living your best life in Kansas City for the Big 12 Tournament.

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Brian Achenbach

Next week, Cyclone fans will be making their annual pilgrimage down to Kansas City for the Big 12 Tournament. There will be plenty to do in Kansas City well before the Cyclones play their first tournament game, so be sure to check out the events listed below, grab some beers and BBQ, and then set the controls for the Power & Light District.

Below are the things to do and see in Kansas City, culled from our own experiences and a discussion with members of the Iowa State Alumni Association of Kansas City.

For more information the Iowa State Alumni Association of Kansas City you can visit their web page or catch them on Facebook.

Big 12 Tournament Cyclone Centers

Every year we look to provide our alumni with a list of our favorite spots to go, and we are excited to provide some new options in 2020. In addition to our staple of McFadden’s Sport Saloon, located directly across from the Sprint Center, we have two new locations for everyone to check out.

Taps On Main – 1715 Main Street

Just a short walk south of the Power & Light District, Taps On Main has become one of our favorite Cyclone homes throughout the 2020 Season. With their Self-Pour Beer Tap Wall and an amazing menu (especially the Wings!), this should definitely be a stop while you are in Kansas City. Busch Light and Bud Light Specials throughout the week for all Cyclone Fans.

The Quaff Bar & Grill – 1010 Broadway Boulevard

New to our gamewatch slate this season, the Quaff Bar & Grill has been a fan-favorite. This amazing ownership team has opened its door to Cyclone Nation and fully embraced #HiltonSouth. Not only does the bar have some great deals for our alumni, but it can fit hundreds. If you are looking for a fun spot to chill in between games or celebrate with your fellow alumni, swing by The Quaff and enjoy an amazing gameday atmosphere.

Kelly’s Westport Inn Happy Hour – 500 Westport Road

Iowa State Alumni of Kansas City and Kelly’s Westport Inn host our annual Big 12 Tournament Happy Hour. An Iowa State Tradition in Kansas City, Kelly’s Westport Inn has become our home away from Hilton for years and if you haven’t been to our kickoff party yet be sure to swing on by and grab a mug or two! Live Music, Drink and Food Specials, and so much more! Join us for a night of Cardinal and Gold!

Hopefully we are celebrating victories by both our men’s and women’s team and looking forward to a long Cyclone filled Big 12 Tournament Weekend!


March 12th, 2020

Happy Hour - 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Kelly’s Westport Inn is open till 2:00 AM


Kelly’s Westport Inn

500 Westport Road

Kansas City, Missouri 64111


”FAC FAVORITE” and returning musician, Brian Congdon, will play from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM as we celebrate another season of Iowa State Basketball.


Free! Drink Specials - ISU MUG DEAL.

UpDown – Friday Afternoon Happy Hour

Join the Iowa State Alumni of Kansas City as we gather for our annual Friday Afternoon Happy Hour at UpDown - Kansas City. Take yourself back to the early days of 80’s and enjoy UpDown’s nostalgic video games and amazing roof top patio.

Don’t forget to wear all your Cardinal & Gold!

Specials Offered:

First 100 people get 20 free tokens

$1 off all boulevard beers till 5pm

$2 slices of pizza

RideKC Streetcar

Yes, that’s right, Kansas City now has a street car that serves a lot of your downtown and P&L needs. Park away from the arena on the street car route and trust to get to the Sprint Center with little to no hassle.


Aside from the tournament, the Big XII will also have their fan zone set up in front of the Sprint Center, so head over to see some family friendly events, play some basketpong, and enjoy the nice weather with some physical activity.

On Saturday, the Annual Big 12 Run will be held at 10 AM and features both 5K and 12K options.

The Snake Saturday parade is on Saturday morning and is a celebration of Irish heritage in North Kansas City.

If you want to combine running and a St Paddy’s day celebration then head down to Westport for the St Paddy’s day 5K.

Now let’s move on to the other Bs besides basketball: Beer and BBQ.


Boulevard Brewing, 2501 Southwest Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64108

Kansas City’s most famous brewery, but also the most popular and hardest to get in to. Daily tours are available, and $5 tickets go on sale at 10 AM. If you want to get in in a tour it’s highly recommended you line up before 9:30 AM and grab tickets to whichever tour best fits your schedule. The basic tour is roughly an hour and a half long and includes a free tasting in their tasting room.

If Boulevard proves to be too inconvenient, here are recommendations from our Kansas City friends.

Tom’s Town Distillery, 1701 Main Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64108

A new distillery southwest of the Sprint Center with a chill environment and great cocktails.

Taps On Main (the main Busch Light bar), 1715 Main Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64108

30+ beers on tap to choose from that you pour yourself. Oh, and it’s virtually right next door to Tom’s Town.

Lifted Spirit Distillery, 1734 Cherry Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64108

Our peers in KC tell us that this has the best gin in town, which is perfect for the weather this week. Catch this one to the southeast of the Sprint Center.

Stockyards Brewing Company, 1600 Genessee St #100, Kansas City, Missouri 64102

A newer brewery worth a try of any avid beer drinker.

Brewery Emperial, 1829 Oak St, Kansas City, Missouri 64108

The Other Places

Cinder Block Brewery, 110 E 18th Ave, North Kansas City, MO 64116

Iowa State alum Bryce Schaffter is the brainchild behind this brewery north of the Kansas City P&L.

The Big Rip Brewing Company, 216 E 9th Ave, North Kansas City, MO 64116

Just down the street from Cinder Block Brewery. Easy one, two punch for beer nuts out there that need to kill some time.

Kansas City Bier Company, 310 W 79 St, Kansas City, MO 64114

This one is damn near in Overland Park, but if you like German style beers then this is the place for you.

Flying Saucer, 101 E 13th St, Kansas City, MO 64106

Can’t, won’t, shouldn’t drive? No problem. Flying Saucer features hundreds of beers, with most on tap, right in their convenient location two blocks from the Sprint Center.

No Other Pub, 1370 Grand Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64106

Across the street from the Sprint Center in the P&L this bar is the new hangout for Sporting KC fans.

Yard House, 1300 Main St, Kansas City, MO 64105

Another new bar in the P&L, this one boasts an extensive list of craft beers. If Flying Saucer is full go the extra block to end up here.

Double Shift Brewing Company, 412 E 18th St, Kansas City, MO 64108

A new brewery within walking distance of the Sprint Center. According the The Googles it’s pretty good.

Border Brewing Company, 406 E 18th St, Kansas City, MO 64108

Another new brewery and it’s right next to Double Shift, and once again within walking distance of the Sprint Center but without the crowds of the P&L.

Torn Label Brewing Company, 1708 Campbell St, Kansas City, MO 64108


Joe’s Kansas City BBQ, multiple locations (click for map)

Formerly known as Oklahoma Joe’s, this is the BBQ place to go if you’re visiting Kansas City for the first time. Try the Z Man and have your life altered.

Jack Stack BBQ, multiple locations (click for link)

More traditional sit down restaurant than Joe’s KC, but Jack Stack does their BBQ about as well as anyone.

Q39, 1000 W 39th St, Kansas City, MO 64111

Just up the street from Kelly’s, so stumble over and have the best brisket outside of Texas.

Char Bar, 4050 Pennsylvania Ave #150, Kansas City, MO 64111

Even closer to Kelly’s than Q39. Guess you’re all getting college drunk and fat. Just be sure to bring the Tums.

Jon Russell’s BBQ, multiple locations (click for link)

B.B’s Lawnside BBQ, 1205 E 85th St, Kansas City, MO 64131

Another haul away from P&L, but worth checking out if you head south to one of the breweries mentioned above.

Plowboys BBQ, 1111 Main St. Suite 115, Kansas City, MO 64198

Google Maps isn’t updated with their new location just north of the P&L, but trust us, it’s there. The map above links to the address provided on the Plowboys web site and is within victory stumbling distance of the Sprint Center.

KC Barbecue Tours

Ever want to gorge on BBQ but not have to go find the places yourself? Then these set of tours might be for you.

Miscellaneous Eating & Drinking

Stroud’s, multiple locations (click for link)

Pan-fried chicken that is the best you’ll ever have. Three locations, but go to the Oak Ridge Manor location for the best experience, and be sure to order a Chicken Choker.

Gus’ Fried Chicken, 2816 W 47th St, Kansas City, KS 66103

One of the best restaurant staples of Memphis, TN now has a location in Kansas City and just happens to be right next door to the OG Oklahoma Joe’s. This is a great alternative to Stroud’s with more southern flavor.

Tannin Wine Bar, 1526 Walnut St, Kansas City, MO 64108

Just outside of the madness of the P&L this wine bar is offering a discount during the Big 12 Tournament to those who say they are Iowa State alumni.

Flavortown, 1333 Walnut St, Kansas City, MO 64106

You guessed it. The man himself, Guy Fieri, has a restaurant in downtown Kansas City.

John’s Big Deck, 928 Wyandotte St, Kansas City, MO 64105

It has a roof top bar!

Burg & Barrel, 7042 W 76th St, Overland Park, KS 66204

Heading out to the breweries near Overland Park? Grab a gourmet burger while you’re at it.

Cigar Box, 1519 Grand Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64108

Across I-670 from the Sprint Center sits the Cigar Box, the loungiest bar you’ll find near the P&L complete with their own throwback lounge singer. Want to class it up with your buddies? Go here.

Zoo Bar, 1220 McGee St, Kansas City, MO 64106

Go a few blocks north of the Sprint Center and go off the beaten path to the Zoo Bar. A cash only dive bar fit only for the most dedicated drinker.

Tank Room, 1813 Grand Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64108.

Want live music? Go here. Pro/con: close to a gentleman’s club.

Green Lady Lounge, 1809 Grand Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64108

Jazz? Jazz.

The Ainsworth, 11563 Ash St, Leawood, KS 66211

Head over near the plaza to this more upscale restaurant with some more classic American fare.

Chicken N Pickle, 1761 Burlington St, North Kansas City, MO 64116

This place is really unique, offering tons of pickleball courts to enjoy while you chow down on some delicious chicken, along with other American fare. Never heard of pickleball? It’s basically life-sized ping pong played on a badminton court, but the net is on the ground like tennis. They also have plenty of bags boards for those that don’t feel like straying too far from the traditional tailgating activities.

Tom’s Town Distilling, 1701 Main St, Kansas City, MO 64108

If spirits are more your taste, Tom’s offers tons of craft vodkas and gins, as well as any other alcohol you probably drank your body weight in by Wednesday of VEISHEA (RIP)

The Other Place, 7324 W 80th St, Overland Park, KS 66204

Another one of your traditional American sports grill, The Other Place out in Overland Park has a great atmosphere for watching sports. They also serve taco pizza, which becomes increasingly harder to find as you radiate farther away from Iowa.

Family Stuff

Don’t want to spend all that time with the crazies in P&L and need to be a responsible parent? Well here’s a list of things that make you look like a good human being.

The Plaza

Go here to spend money you don’t have.

WWI Memorial

Go here to feel guilty for it, and to learn some history.

Negro League Museum

Go here to learn about the part of baseball no one talks about.

College Basketball Experience

Go here to get a work out in, but be warned, it’ll be busy as hell during the Big XII tournament.

Union Station

Go here for science, movies, and other displays.

Kansas City River Market

Go here for unique shopping experiences and what is said to be the Midwest’s largest farmer’s market.

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed our list and be sure to check out everything the Kansas City Alumni Association has to offer. We’ll continue to update the list periodically over time so be sure to provide your experiences and recommendations below.