Visit the Hottest New Bar in Kansas City
An Inside Look at Tom's Town Distilling Co.
Step into Tom’s Town Distilling Company to be instantly transported back in time to the Tom-Pendergast-era of Kansas City. Experience the tasting room, restaurant and bar, all located inside a renovated, 100-year-old building featuring an Art Deco vibe and you’ll understand why the city has been referred to as the “Paris of the Plains”. As the first distillery in downtown Kansas City since prohibition, Tom’s Town is not only responsible for the distillation and distribution of bourbon, gin and vodka but it has brought the spirit of creativity, jazz and fun back to the city, according to Kirsten McGannon, Marketing Director of the distillery.
“Tom’s Town” is named after Tom Pendergast, of course, the political boss of Kansas City during the 1920s and 1930s. “He controlled the police, he controlled the city government. [Because of him] There really was no Prohibition,” explains McGannon. “All of the speakeasies were allowed to thrive, jazz flourished and it really became the Vegas of its time.”
Since the distillery’s opening in January, Tom’s Town vodka has won three gold medals and one silver medal while the gin has won silver and bronze. “Our gin is really unique in the marketplace,” says McGannon, “It’s not the traditional London Dry that tastes like a Christmas tree. It’s a new, Western-style gin. It’s a more botanically-balanced gin.” This unique mixture of botanicals gives it a different flavor that gin lovers enjoy, as well as those who don’t typically enjoy gin.
“Bourbon whiskey is having its moment. Millennials are loving the brown spirits and our best seller is the whiskey. We have the city’s best Old Fashioned, it’s our best-selling cocktail.” The distillery’s bar, which was voted by a local magazine as Kansas City’s Best New Bar, is serving up several delicious cocktails, all featuring Tom’s Town spirits. (The bartender was also voted one of the Top Bartenders in Kansas City!)
Beyond cocktails, the restaurant features several delicious food items to satisfy anyone’s cravings. One of the most popular items on the menu? French Onion Grilled Cheese. “It’s like French Onion Soup and a grilled cheese all in one and it’s outrageously delicious,” says McGannon. “We also have brie-stuffed dates that taste like candy.”
Take a distillery tour of Tom’s Town and learn the process of distillation of the three spirits as well as a brief overview of Kansas City’s history in the 1920s and 1930s. “Kansas City’s history is really intriguing to people. They are surprised to learn what it was like during the era of Pendergast. They thought he was only bad and associated with the mafia. While he was corrupt, he also did a lot of good for the city. He was charitable and built many beautiful buildings.”
The distillery, restaurant and bar are open year-round and there’s never a bad time to visit. The spirits can be purchased by the bottle as well as t-shirts and more. Tom’s Town is located at 17th and Main, in the heart of Kansas City’s entertainment district, one of the most fun and thriving parts of the city and conveniently on the street car line.
- By Ettractions Digital Content Editor PAULA MARINO
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