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|KCMag.com: LIVE MUSIC MECCAS|
STORY BY Natalie McAllister
The quintessential jazz club conjures images of brick walls, couples whispering around small tables and singles toe-tapping to the beat at a bar. In Kansas City, that classic club is undoubtedly The Phoenix (302 W. 8th St.), where the sophisti-sexy atmosphere plays to the tastes of jazz aficionados and loft dwellers alike six nights a week. The Phoenix dabbles in blues and American roots, but the mainstay of its live music is raw jazz performed by local talents—the kind of music you would expect from a city whose reputation was built on saxophones and pianos.
At Carlo’s Copa Room (14944 W. 87th St., Lenexa), the old country greets pasta-twirling diners at their dinner tables. In the fashion of the Italian-American singers who put Las Vegas on the map, lounge singer Frank Cherrito serenades guests every Wednesday and Saturday night. It’s not uncommon to see guests set down their forks to join Cherrito in song as he belts out Rat Pack hits. Inspired by the original Las Vegas Copa Room where Frank, Dean and Sammy swooned crowds for years, Carlo’s Copa Room delivers a family-friendly version of the Sin City mainstay, one that’s perfect for pasta or a taste of Kansas City’s Italian heritage.
And though jazz might be the heartbeat of the Kansas City music scene, Harry’s Country Club (112 Missouri Ave.) has the River Market crowd playing a different tune. Often billed as a straight honky-tonk, Harry’s Country Club is more of a classic country club crossover shaken with a twist of midcentury style. The overall effect: a high-class honky-tonk featuring more than 200 beers, a super-attentive wait staff decked out in mechanic shirts and cover bands capable of rivaling the masters themselves. Here, the midcentury musicians still inspire the live music, and the tunes of Patsy, Hank and Willie come back to life every Wednesday night with the ever-popular Tater and the Gravy Train. And with a constant selection of pedal steel guitars, upright basses and the talents of cover bands, Harry’s Country Club delivers the perfect frequency of nostalgia for urbanites of all ages.
Like a true slice of Irish hospitality, O’Dowd’s Little Dublin on the Plaza (4742 Pennsylvania Ave.) tucks visitors in with a menu loaded with Irish dining delights—we recommend the Boxty—and pints to suit all tastes. O’Dowd’s brings in bands seven days of the week to rock late-night Plaza-goers, but Sundays and Wednesdays are reserved for the pub’s heritage. Stop in to end a wild weekend on the right note with a pint of Guinness and an Irish ballad courtesy of Irishman Eddie Delahunt.