Bar Trek: The undiscovered tavern


By Jon Parton

It’s odd to find a dive just a block away from a martini bar unless you’re in Westport. Rather than surround ourselves with high-priced fruity drinks to begin with, my two companions and I set out to visit Buzzard Beach first.

Upon first glance, I had a hard time finding an employee or customer not wearing leather or sporting multiple tattoos.

The best dive bars don’t offer anything except a darkly lit place to sit and drink for cheap. In that, Buzzard Beach notably succeeds. If you drop something, cut your losses and leave it because the floors weren’t that clean.

The men’s restroom was small, cramped and uncomfortable for everyone that had to use it. It was the dirty, broken-down atmosphere that really led to my enjoyment of the bar. There was no cover charge to get in and the drinks were really cheap, a rare occurrence in a lot of Westport bars.

The wait staff was friendly and quick to get you another round. No one said a word to us as we played cards at our table. It’s the kind of spot that lets you come as you are and enjoy some cheap drinks.

After playing a few hands, we left for our next destination, wherever that may have been. We wound up inside a smoke shop since one of my fellow trekkers wanted to pick up a few fancy cigars. I’m not much of a smoker, but I am a freeloader when someone else wants to buy.

With our cigars in tow, we made our way over to Harry’s, a really crowded martini bar. Rather than try to navigate through the massive amounts of people, we stepped outside onto their patio.

Freezing ourselves out in the winter wind, we did our best to enjoy the recently acquired cigars. Our friendly waitress braved the cold to deliver our martinis to us, while we did our best to light the cigars in the midst of a Kansas City winter night.

The prices were more expensive, running anywhere from eight to ten dollars for a martini. I gladly paid the price in order to use a clean restroom that didn’t feature walls filled with graffiti.

After finishing a couple of cheap ciders at a juke joint just an hour before, sipping on martinis while smoking cigars seemed like the most contrasting part of our adventure.

We were joined by another lost soul, a woman who was waiting for her husband and friends to finish watching some game on TV. I truly felt content as everyone talked about the things you only talk about over drinks.

Harry’s is a decent place. There’s no cover charge. Most of the lower level is taken up by the bar, though there are a few tables and plenty of seating on the patios. Although they also serve food, we didn’t have a chance to sample their offerings.

I recommend Harry’s, especially if you’re a people watcher. Their patio gives you a great view of the hustle and bustle of Westport. If you like your drinks a little cheaper and don’t mind going to a dive bar, Buzzard Beach isn’t that bad either.

Contact Jon Parton, managing editor, at



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