By Jon Parton
A pub should provide two simple things: alcohol and a bathroom you don’t have to clean up. Everything else is a matter of taste.
Don’t mistake a bar review as an endorsement for getting wasted. In historic times, the town pub was where townsfolk met after a hard day of work. They shared news and stories and built up community ties over a pint of ale or rum. The word “pub” is short for “public house,” a place where everyone is welcome.
The Bier Station, located at 120 E. Gregory Boulevard in Kansas City, is a decent embodiment of the classic pub.
They only stay open until midnight on weekends and 11 p.m. on weekdays. True to form, they don’t open at all on Sundays. It’s a place you go to have a drink, not to get drunk.
It’s Kansas City’s first tasting bar and bottle shop, meaning you can walk out with a six pack or just enjoy a pint at the bar.
The prices for bottles are cheaper if you buy them “to go,” comparable with most liquor stores. If you stay to drink, it’s a little more expensive.
The first thing I noticed when walking in was the huge wall of coolers. Every international and domestic craft beer I never knew existed sat behind glass doors.
The entire place is decorated to look like a German train stop, right down to the authentic train signs hanging on the walls. A large LCD screen displays a list of beers on tap, about 20 altogether.
The pub features community tables and benches, harkening back to the days when people were encouraged to drink and socialize rather than just drink and listen to bad music at maximum decibels.
My drinking companions and I ordered a variety of beers and ciders for our first round. Rather than just take the top off the bottle, the friendly staff poured drinks into glasses. If any beer was left over, they’d save it for you behind the bar when you needed a refill.
I picked out a bottle of cherry cider, the taste of which still beckons me. If only I could remember the name of it.
The Bier Station features a few food offerings from local farmers and bakers, including soft pretzels, cupcakes and cheeses.
Although the quality was good and I enjoy supporting local farmers, $12 for cheese and crackers is still $12.
After spending a fair amount of money at a vegetarian restaurant earlier in the evening, I was tired of paying for food that never said “moo.”
Another thing I didn’t care for was the cramped parking. Most of my companions had to park down the street because there wasn’t any room.
As we settled in for the second round, we got to know some of the other patrons there. There may have been a game playing on TV, but everyone was too engrossed in conversation to pay attention to it.
Friendly conversation, decent drinks, and a clearly marked restroom; that’s the hallmark of what I think makes a great pub.
I recommend trying The Bier Station, but bring your wallet and try to carpool.
Contact Jon Parton, managing editor, at email@example.com.