For a minute, I cant concentrate on my plate. Despite the delicious duck confit and a strawberry lemonade cocktail, all I can do is stare out at the view.
By JENEÉ OSTERHELDT
The Kansas City Star
I never paid attention to how the tiny pieces of North Kansas City and Briarcliff fit so perfectly into the Kansas City skyline like a panoramic puzzle. Busy but quiet, city and suburban. I can see it all from the Trezo Mare patio.
And the sun has arrived. Summer finally won the weather war. We might not have beaches in our beautiful city, but we have pools and patios. Fun in the sun with a drink and some appetizers? This is how we do it.
Even food trucks like the Local Pig have a picnic table patio. Did you see the parklet in front of YJs in the Crossroads on First Friday? A parking space became a shabby-chic patio (expect to see it all summer).
So on a Saturday, Im with my girlfriends at Trezo Mare in Briarcliff, where there are plenty of outdoor tables and a view that makes you want to raise your glass of sangria and give a toast to the city. And suddenly I understand why the coasts take patio life a step further in the summer.
In places like D.C. and L.A., its the season of the day party. People dont wait until late night to have a little fun. They take advantage of the sun and throw parties on rooftop lounges and bar patios. Its all about DJs, happy hours and summer dresses.
Day parties havent taken over KC patios just yet, but we have all of the potential. From the Waldo Well and Sol Cantina in midtown to Westside Local and Johns Upper Deck downtown to La Bodega in Leawood, we have all kinds of options.
Here are some favorites, old and new, to get the outdoor party started right:
The First Friday Patio
Theres nothing like Kansas Citys monthly art crawl in the summer. The weather is right for gallery hopping and people watching. And if you can find a place to grab a bite and a drink before the festivities, its even better.
Im deeming the Jacobsons patio as the spot to do just that on First Friday, if you can get there early enough to nab a seat. It fills up fast because the Crossroads restaurant, at 2050 Central St., is nestled in the middle of everything. The patio has its own bar and an eye-catching fire pit fountain. Sitting out there gives you a view of the First Friday crowd, and you might catch the zombie parade, too. If thats not cool enough, theres a grand piece of art on the patio Delta Rings, a sculpture by Stretch.
Happy hour is 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Try the Leap of Faith. Its lemon, lavender syrup, red and white wine, rye whiskey and fresh blackberries. Yep. It tastes like summer. TheJacobsonKC.com
The Saturday Happy Hour Patio
Trezo Mare, 4105 N. Mulberry Drive, is a triple threat on Saturdays. You can get brunch, a happy hour and the breathtaking view. The recently launched Saturday happy hour runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and if they added a DJ or at least a jazz trio, it could become day party central.
Go in a group. Thanks to the discount menu (everythings $7 and less) there is no shortage of things to try. Order up the Passion Mare martini and the Italian nachos. Or my pick: duck confit sliders and a strawberry lemonade cocktail. But stay away from the calamari. At first glance, they looked like mozzarella sticks. But if the only thing you can complain about is monster-sized fried squid, you have #firstworldproblems. TrezoMare.com
The Lake View Patio
Kansas Citians prefer to brunch in the city. But the drive to Leawood is worth it when youre talking about Rye. Kansas City chefs Colby and Megan Garrelts bring the same culinary greatness that made Bluestem a win to Rye, 10551 Mission Road. I mean, Colby Garrelts is the best chef in the Midwest. The James Beard Foundation says so, and our taste buds agree.
So you know the food is good. Lets talk about the Mission Farms patio with a view of the lake and lush green grass. I felt like I was in North Carolina. Its got a private-party vibe, and whether you are entertaining out-of-town guests, rekindling romance or kicking it with the girls, this patio is for you.
Theres a mix of seating options from tables to patio sofas. On chilly nights, there are fire pits and heaters. This patio is the stuff postcards and Instragram are made of.
Now that weve talked patio, I have to tell you, the apple fritters are so good I almost cried. Try them. RyeKC.com
The Shop & Stop Patio
The Plaza gives good patio. Classic Cup, Brio and Cafe Trio winners. A newer option: Gram & Dun, 600 Ward Parkway. What it lacks in view (youre looking out at Ward Parkway), it makes up for in actual patio. The tables, the chairs and the layout are comfy, modern and roomy yet intimate. Despite the big crowd and nearby busy street, you dont have to raise your voice to hear one another. Its the kind of place you can party with your mama after a movie and treat her to drinks and dessert.
Let me suggest the C and H cocktail. Its La Marca Prosecco, Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot, a sugar cube and bitters. Fantastic. And the strawberry shortcake was made for sharing. But if youre looking for happy hour deals, be to sure to sit at the bar. Otherwise, youre out of luck. We prefer the table to the discount, plus the drinks are stout enough to warrant $9. GramAndDun.com
The Sky-High Patio
Whats better than a patio? A patio on the roof in the middle of downtown Kansas City. With sushi and sake and music.
The Power & Lights Drunken Fish, 14 E. 14th St., takes its happy hour specials and bar-tending skills to the top with a VIP-style rooftop patio that overlooks the city. Not only do you get a great view of downtown, a deck overlooks KC Live!, and a staircase leads right to it.
Its first come, first serve and if you want one of the couch lounges instead of a table, you need at least four people.
Along with plenty of seating options are fire pits, a bar and music, too. Be sure to try the sweet Tropical Splash, a mix of sake, melon liqueur, coconut rum, peach schnapps and pineapple juice. As for sushi, get the spicy butterfly roll: crab, spicy sauce, asparagus, scallions, masago and butterflied shrimp.
Just remember, the rooftop patio has its own schedule. Its open 4 p.m. to close Wednesday to Sunday. On Wine Wednesdays, theres live music, and select wine bottles are 30 percent off. There are also two chances at happy hour on the roof: 5 to 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. to close witha rotation of DJs to get the party started after dark. DrunkenFish.com
Wheres the party?
Got a favorite patio that no one talks about? Share your hidden gems with us. Email me your faves at firstname.lastname@example.org.