Kansas City Dive Bar Guide

Dive Bars The Blend Into Their Unique Backgrounds

Kansas City is a major city with an amazing food scene and a million things to do that somehow manages to support a dive bar scene made up of exactly the kind of hole-in-the-wall spots indicative of neighborhood bars in much smaller towns. And that is very much a good thing, the city stocked with ample dive bar opportunities that blend into the neighborhoods they serve.

Kansas City dive bar icon Chez Charlie offers little in the way of signage, a vertical white bar inscribed with ‘Cocktails’ the only suggestion that a business of any kind is housed below. Inside, recent renovations have smoothed out a few of the rough edges, but time-tested feature like the old school, free-to-play jukebox look just as they did decades ago.

Fellow Kansas City dive bar Fitz’s Blarney Stone doesn’t just share a sensibility with Chez Charlie, rather sharing an ex-owner and even the same building, the two dive bars anchoring opposite ends of a small strip in Midtown Kansas City. Darts is popular at both dive bars, but Fitz’s represents the Irish end of the spectrum, the paint scheme a match to the Irish flag and plenty of Irish whiskey available behind the bar.

To expand from dive bars on the same city block, Dave’s Stagecoach Inn dates back to 1952, single family ownership consistent throughout its history. The massive stagecoach-themed mural inside dates back to 1977 when a local artist was offered alcohol in exchange for art, the mural a preserved mainstay ever since. A tip from locals is to enter Dave’s Stagecoach Inn through the back door rather than the front, making for easier parking and a more locals-like entry.

Thankfully, Kansas City’s history stretches back far enough to house a few dive bar originals, including Johnnie’s on Seventh, tracking back to 1934 in a two-story building that paradoxically includes a pitched roof within the first-floor dive bar. The slanted panels that make up the angled ceiling feature rotating decorations but mostly rest on large photos of some of history’s great people named John.

Each of these and all of Kansas City’s dive bar options blend seamlessly into a sprawling city large enough to house uniquely distinct districts. And that’s the real test of a great dive bar, the ability to withstand the rigors of running a business for decades, supported by locals and regulars drawn to the authenticity of places like these.

Kansas City Dive Bars Not Yet Reviewed

Must Visit Recommendations

Unfortunately, we have not yet been to every single dive bar in the city, but there probably a few more punch cards on our livers, so we’ll make it there soon. In the meantime, the curated list of dives below comes highly recommended by a variety of friends, online sources and drunks.

Downtown

Zoo Bar

1220 McGee St
Kansas City, MO 64106
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Mission

Keyhole Tavern

5902 Woodson Rd
Mission, KS 66202
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Strawberry Hill

403 Club

614 Reynolds Ave
Kansas City, KS 66101
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Strawberry Hill

Johnnie's on 7th

55 S 7th St
Kansas City, KS 66101
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Strawberry Hill

The Easy Inn

322 N 6th St
Kansas City, KS 66101
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Waldo

Tommy's The Happy Place

8019 Wornall Rd
Kansas City, MO 64114
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West Plaza

Twin City Tavern

1815 Westport Rd
Kansas City, MO 64111
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Westport

Fitz's Blarney Stone

3801 Broadway Blvd
Kansas City, MO 64111
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Westport

Buzzard Beach

4110 Pennsylvania Ave
Kansas City, MO 64111
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Westport

Chez Charlie

3809 Broadway Blvd
Kansas City, MO 64111
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Westport

Dave's Stagecoach Inn

316 Westport Rd
Kansas City, MO 64111
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Other Dive Bar Options

Bobby Baker's Lounge

7418 Wornall Rd
Kansas City, MO 64114
Google Map

Breit's Stein & Deli

412 N 5th St
Kansas City, KS 66101
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Chicago's

534 Central Ave
Kansas City, KS 66101
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Drunken Worm

1405 W 39th St
Kansas City, MO 64111
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Fat Matt's Vortex

411 N 6th St
Kansas City, KS 66101
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Flo's Poke-A-Dot Lounge

8934 Wornall Rd
Kansas City, MO 64114
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Gilhouly's

1721 W 39th St
Kansas City, MO 64111
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Helen's JAD Bar & Grill

2002 Armour Rd
North Kansas City, MO 64116
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Jerry's Bait Shop

13412 Santa Fe Trail Dr
Lenexa, KS 66215
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Jimmy's Jigger

1823 W 39th St
Kansas City, MO 64111
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Jockey Club Lounge

4312 NW Gateway Ave
Kansas City, MO 64150
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Kelly's Westport Inn

500 Westport Rd
Kansas City, MO 64111
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Lost Bar

7632 N Oak Trafficway
Kansas City, MO 64118
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Lucky Boys

1615 Genessee St
Kansas City, MO 64102
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Mike Kelly's Westsider

1515 Westport Rd
Kansas City, MO 64111
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Moretina's Caddy Shack

700 E 3rd St
Kansas City, MO 64106
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P R's Place

1741 Washington St
Kansas City, MO 64108
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Patrick's Bar & No Grill

8251 Wornall Rd
Kansas City, MO 64114
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Red Baloon Bar & Grill

10325 W 75th St
Overland, KS 66214
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Sammy's Tavern

222 N 6th St
Kansas City, KS 66101
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The Hi-Dive Lounge

1411 W 39th St
Kansas City, MO 64111
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The Piano Room

8410 Wornall Rd
Kansas City, MO 64114
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The Quaff Bar & Grill

1010 Broadway Blvd
Kansas City, MO 64105
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Westport Flea Market

817 Westport Rd
Kansas City, MO 64111
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What Did We Miss?

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