Helix celebrates 816 Day
816 Day is the annual celebration of Kansas City culture, featuring live entertainment, branded events, and one-day deals. Named after our city’s area code, the holiday takes place (obviously) on August 16. On this date in 2018, former Mayor Sly James signed a resolution to officially create this city-wide holiday.
To celebrate, we’ve asked five Helixers to share their favorite downtown places to shop, dine, drink and play.
Steven Scott, Interior Designer
Whenever I have the chance for an evening out, Farina is my go-to place. From the huge wine list to the ever-changing menu, I know it won’t be a disappointment. Located in the Crossroads Arts District, there are a ton of fun galleries to browse while you’re in the neighborhood. Although with an interior atmosphere like theirs, you won’t want to leave your table until they close for the night.
Extra Virgin is by far my favorite place to grab a drink in the city. The huge cocktail menu has something for everyone, no matter your drink of choice. The patio is hard to beat with their great location right off of Main Street, and the staff provides excellent service. The casual atmosphere lends itself to anytime of day and any occasion. I love to ask what they recommend off the menu, but every dish is amazing, so be sure to order a few to try.
If you haven’t been to La Bodega, I’ll see you there at 5 o’clock for happy hour. Their sangria is rivaled by no one else’s, and with their shareable small plates menu structure, this is the ultimate destination for a fun get-together after work. Located on Southwest Boulevard, it’s just a quick jump off the highway; you won’t miss it with it’s colorful exterior and corner street front.
Alexis Oppenheimer, Architectural Associate
Built-in 1927, the Midland Theater is a gorgeous representation of Kansas City’s architectural and musical history. The ornate interiors provide a spectacular backdrop for all types of performances, while the size and flexible seating allow for powerful, yet intimate shows. Whether you are checking out a comedian or dancing along to your favorite band, you are guaranteed to have a great time — and to hear them praise the magnificent setting!
Located at 18th and Baltimore, Dear Society is the perfect spot to pick up a unique gift for a friend or a little something for yourself! With a flagship store in Midtown, this is the second location of the locally (women!) owned boutique. Owners Chanel and Maria do an amazing job curating both new and vintage clothing, accessories, home goods, and gifts. The creamy tones and soft music of the shop create an urban oasis I never want to leave.
Hotels have become a staple for nightlife in major cities across the world. The gorgeous aesthetics, lively bars, and over the top amenities attract tourist and locals alike. The Crossroads Hotel does this for Kansas City! The lounge bar is one of my favorite spots to grab a casual drink and a quick bite with friends, providing excellent people watching and a cozy place to hang out. The rooftop bar has access to the incredible (yet elusive) KC skyline and delicious frozen cocktails, my ideal setting for a hot summer day!
Travis Snell, Architectural Associate
Howard’s is a great intimate lunch spot close to the KC Star building. I love their charming urban garden, full of edible plants including peppers, kale, thyme, and my personal favorite: rosemary. My go-to order is their hearty fried chicken sandwich with a side of their hand-cut, perfectly brown french fries. They also offer the best ketchup I’ve ever had in my life, which they get from the BoysGrow program, a local agriculture program that teaches youth how to grow and maintain a farm.
Everyone loves dinner and a show. I love being able to hop off the streetcar immediately at the Kansas City Alamo Drafthouse. You don’t even need to attend a movie — they serve dinner and brews next to their lobby, and sometimes have small music acts performing. If you’re looking for a fun date night location, remember the Alamo!
BOULEVARD BREWING CO., TOURS & RECREATION CENTER
Boulevard is a Kansas City staple, and deservingly so. They have a huge selection of frequently-rotating beers and not a single one is disappointing. The Tours & Recreation Center offers tipsy tours through their brewing facility, or just relax and have a beer in the beautiful brew hall. I’d also recommend trying out their brand new full-sized shuffleboard courts on the top floor along with a tallboy of your favorite Boulevard beer in hand.
Carly Erickson, Director of Marketing & Business Development
Brewery Emperial holds a special place in my heart. I’ve been here for lunches and happy hours with dear friends and created many great memories. My favorite experience there has to be when my husband and I were enjoying a nice dinner with our son, who was only six or seven months old at the time. At first I was nervous about bringing an infant to a small, intimate place, but then one of the owners joined us at our table, talked to us for an hour, and made us feel so at ease and welcome. Not only is the food unique and incredible, and the beers are top-notch, but that level of service and attention is what keeps me going back.
In a former (pre-kid) life, I was a live music junkie. Who doesn’t love The Brick for a good show? It has also become a favorite lunch or happy hour spot. No fuss, no frills, but definitely a little gem in Kansas City. Plus, I heard the Foo Fighters hung out there after one of their sold-out shows, so you know it’s legit.
While I don’t live in this building, Crossroads Westside is something that makes me really proud to work in the architecture industry. I remember what that site was before Crossroads Westside happened, and the transformation of that area is nothing short of incredible. Every time I drive by that building and see people walking about, it makes me so happy to see that activation of what many people thought was too barren and challenging to be anything positive.
Jay Tomlinson, Founding Principal
THE HAIR PARLOUR
American artist Peregrine Honig’s shop, Birdies, is located just across the street, also on 18th Street. I love supporting artists and their work, and this shop is no exception!
Last, but not least, we practice yoga at Sage at least three days a week. The owner, Sarah Kucera, is one of the coolest people I know, and she’s surrounded herself with tons of talented yoga teachers and wellness experts. My wife Leslie swears by Jen Denslow’s facials there.