Happy Postseason, Royals fans!
For the second year in a row, Kansas Citians are getting hyped for October baseball. We had a long, thrilling postseason run last year; starting with the wildest Wild Card game and ending with a heartbreaking World Series loss, but everyone will tell you we had a damn good time getting there.
Beyondtheboxscore.com says that the financial impact of a postseason game on a city can measure in the tens of millions of dollars. Some of that is because of fan tourism, but a lot of it is because all of us who live here are schilling out hard-earned dollars for our team: t-shirts, hats and tiny jerseys for our babies, drinks and food at bars, gas to get to the stadium, parking, tailgate supplies, food and drinks in the stadium, celebratory shots at our favorite bar districts, and Uber rides home when it’s all said and done. In 2014, we had a lot of time to support the Royals physically, emotionally, and financially, and to learn the do’s and don’ts of surviving such a long season.
Here’s the deal, though: Kauffman Stadium only holds 37,903 people. The Kansas City metro has 2.07 million people in it. If only half of those people give half a shit about the Royals, that’s still roughly 960,000 people who will not be able to put their butt in a stadium seat.
Here’s the deal #2: a lot of people (myself included) can’t afford to go to one game, let alone all of the post-season games. Tickets alone (not to mention parking, tailgating, postseason merch and stadium fare) puts the total in the thousands. And some of us just got a new car and a new car payment. Ain’t nobody got funds for that.
Lucky for you, I’m here to guide you through the postseason on a budget. In the case of not being able to afford or get tickets, you basically have two options – watch at home (yours or someone else’s) or go a bar and watch it.
Watching at home comes with the benefit of being able to buy your own food and booze, and be free from the harshness of possible inclement weather. But it also requires a big TV, a cable connection, and friends who want to spend time at your place watching a game. If you’ve got all three of those things (I’m only at 1 of 3), you’re good to go!
If you don’t have the aforementioned things, then a sports bar is your best bet-and my favorite option. Considering that this season, the average game time is 2 hours and 52 minutes, plus whatever amount of time you have to spend there before the game in order to get a seat – this can get expensive*.
So, the trick here is to find the place at the apex of cheap drinks and great atmosphere. Generally, the things to be considered for “great atmosphere” are a lot of TVs and a lot of space for people cheering/yelling/jumping/crying/hi-fiving/etc. The things to be considered for cheap drinks are one beer or mixed drink for less than $4. Since I spent a lot of time in various sports bars last October and I know a LOT of people who work in sports bars, I bring to you the official guide to Sports-Watching in Kansas City:
Most Yuppie Sports Bar:
Granfalloon 608 Ward Pkwy, Kansas City, MO
If you don’t mind the mostly-tame, mostly-white, mostly-suburban, mostly-20-something crowd, Falloon is a great place to catch a game. There are a ton of TVs, the food is excellent (try the Hangover Enchiladas or the Mac + Cheese) and the service is great. The only downside is that it’s a bit pricier because of its location on the Plah-za. My recommendation is to get there in time for happy hour (one of the best in the city), if possible (M-F, 3-7pm), for discounted snacks, $4.00 360 Vodka cocktails and $2.50 domestic drafts.
Best Bar Food
The Peanut Five locations in the Metro
If you thought I was going to say anything other than the Peanut, you’re out of your damn mind. This is where you find the best wings in Kansas City, maybe in the world, and there isn’t a close second. Do yourself a favor and get the homemade blue cheese, even if you’ve never met a blue cheese you didn’t hate. You will not hate this one.
If you are adverse to divy-er establishments, go to the Overland Park location. It’s the only one where you probably won’t stick to your seat. If you don’t appreciate a good dive bar though, we definitely can’t be friends.
Best People Watching
BrewTop Overland Park 6601 W 135th St, Overland Park, KS
Young Cerner employees and middle-aged divorcees, plus the best Wednesday night specials around ($1 domestic drafts and 50c wings), equals the greatest people watching experience you could ask for. The drinks are cheap, the menu is diverse and the TVs are huge. If you live in Johnson County, it doesn’t get more fun than BrewTop.
Best Drink Specials
The Brooksider 6330 Brookside Plaza, Kansas City, MO
The Brooksider has happy hour from 3-7pm on Monday-Friday and they make it very easy to get drunk on a budget ($2 Domestic Draws | $2.50 Domestic Bottles | $3 Well Drinks | $3.50 Boulevard Wheat, Pale Ale, 80 Acre) as well as half-price appetizers. Not to mention they have other drink specials every single day of the week, except Sunday. If you’re looking to party down for less dinero, the Brooksider is the place to be.
Best Overall Game Experience
Johnny’s Tavern P&L 1310 Grand Blvd, Kansas City, MO
Johnny’s has 8 locations in the metro and two in Lawrence, so if the Power & Light scene isn’t your thing, any of the others are excellent for watching any game. However, I chose the Power & Light location because it’s gigantic, has 53 HDTVs, good food (get the Simmons wings), drink specials every day of the week, and is located in the heart of downtown.
I watched Game 7 of the World Series at the KC Live block, in the middle of P&L last year and it was just nuts. People were packed into standing-room only spots, I kept getting bumped into, I spilled beer everywhere (and very nearly got into an altercation with a girl half my size), and there was no place to sit and eat. Don’t get me wrong, I still had a great time, but I was mighty envious of those who had chairs to sit in at Johnny’s. You’ll have to get there extra early to get a spot, but it’s well worth it to share the best of the postseason with equally dedicated Kansas City fans.
*Here’s where I get on my former-server soapbox and go to bat (get it, baseball?) for my homies who are still on that server grind.
IF you choose to watch any sporting event at a bar or restaurant, here are some things your server would like to say to you:
- I know you’re here for the game. I see that you’re wearing the team’s gear of the big game that’s happening tonight, and you don’t seem to be bewildered by the other rowdy patrons wearing the same shit you are. Please don’t patronize me by telling me, “we’re staying for the game.”
- If you’re drinking, I already like you way more.
- You don’t have to order food right away. But if you’re going to take up my table for 3+ hours, order some food at some point.
- When you leave, calculate how much time you’ve spent at that table and how many times I could have turned that table over and factor that into your tip, along with whether or not I kept your drinks full and your table happy. Remember the THREE PLUS HOURS I spent catering to your whims so you and your friends can enjoy the game. Tip accordingly.