New Crossroads ‘craft drinkery’ aims to be ‘comfortable place’ for pours, conversation

This new Crossroads venue is described as a “craft drinkery” because the partners plan to serve only wine, whiskey and craft beer that they have handpicked — based on their combined experience in the industry.

Co-owner Kyle Howard had been a wine representative for Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits for about four years and became friends with clients Scott and Lisa Kaczmarek — a couple who owned two Kansas liquor stores.

When he told them about his concept for Oak & Steel, they wanted to be a part of it and joined as partners.

After working on the Crossroads space — at 120 W. 17th St. — for about six months, Howard got his liquor license last week, placed his liquor order (getting nearly everything on his wish list), and on Thursday invited 130 of his “closest friends and family” for a soft opening.

Oak & Steel is in the Webster House parking garage. According to The Kansas City Star’s archives, the site was once home to the Orion Pictures building, part of the historic Film Row District. From the 1920s through the 1970s, Hollywood studios stored films in the district and then distributed them throughout the region.

The spot is already catching the attention of the neighborhood. Over the weekend, area residents and musicians from the nearby Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts discovered it was open and stopped by.

“It’s a comfortable place to relax and have good conversation and drink good beverages,” Howard said.

Oak & Steel serves a variety of American whiskey, along with a few favorites from Ireland, Japan and Spain. It offers about a dozen white and red wines by the glass or bottle.

There are two dozen taps devoted to craft beer, including such local breweries as Alma Mader Brewing, Brewery Emperial, City Barrel Brewing Co. and Stockyards Brewing Co. It also has regional craft beer, including 2nd Shift Brewing from St. Louis.

Oak & Steel offers some snacks, including Thez Nuts and Pretzel Addiction products. Customers also can bring in food from restaurants nearby.

Hours are 2 to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 2 p.m. to midnight Fridays; noon to midnight Saturdays; and noon to 8 p.m. Sundays.

“No days off. I will be living here,” Howard said with a laugh.

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Joyce Smith has covered restaurant and retail news for The Star since 1989 under the brand Cityscape. She appreciates news tips.