You can huff and puff, but you can’t blow The Brick down. As of 2020, it has endured 21 years of debauchery in Kansas City. God willing, The Brick will give us 21 more years of live music, great food, hot waitresses and lunches on the run.
Regulars drop by to shoot whiskey, unwind, eat fried Twinkies, and support local musicians. Brick patrons count on proprietor Sheri Parr and her staff for updates on what’s coming down, who’s moving on, and which artists are soon to break out of Kansas City.
Located in the epicenter of the Crossroads District, the Brick is “in the know on what’s now and culturally smoking” in Kansas City.
Sheri Parr bought the building at 1727 McGee, former location of The Pub for 33 years, on a leap of faith in 1999. Her dream was to own a bar that she could infuse with local flavor, local art, and local music. Sheri took The Pub’s dwindling newspaper crowd and built a clientele of writers, editors, artists, musicians, corporate types, and everyday misfits.
Counter to Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi lyrics, Sheri put up a stage instead of a parking lot. And then she held a public bar re-naming contest, because she didn’t care what her bar was called, “as long as it was called open.”
Sheri loved the name The Brick, because it sounded solid and urban. The Chicago woman who won the contest got her name on a barstool and an expense-paid trip to Kansas City.
As one of Kansas City’s few female bar owners, Sheri and her predominantly female staff, the Brick Girls, sprinkle feminine fairy dust all over the bar in the form of visual arts, performing arts, and menu items even foodies embrace.
The bar décor is semi Shabby Chic with an urban bite. The walls are immersed with local art instead of bar signs, and the ceiling tiles are covered in microbrew beer labels. The bar front has downlighting, so you can admire the mermaid mural painting by local artist Tyson Schroeder.
The Brick has no windows, but an abundance of string lighting, which makes a nice backdrop for storytelling events, poetry readings, and performances by the Scammers, the Electric Lungs, Bacon Foot, and Teach Me Equals.
The food is imaginative and ample. Sheri said that, because she’s Italian, she has the “need to feed.” Tuesdays are all-you-can-eat tacos. Saturdays are all about “Brickfast” — an all-day biscuits and gravy bar for $3.99. Add a Bloody Mary to your Brickfest for $1.
If you want something Elvis-worthy, order the Oklahoma Dog, which is a Boulevard beer-battered, deep-fried hot dog wrapped in bacon for $7.95. If you’re still hungry, order a deep-fried Twinkie for dessert for $4.75. More than 200 people a month can’t be wrong about this dive delicacy.
If deep-fried is a dietary no-no, try an apple and brie sandwich on rye for $7.45 or a Fluffernutter, peanut butter and marshmallow fluff on toasted wheat, for $6.75.
The chipotle meatloaf sandwich is also popular. Any beer tastes better married with the taste of meatloaf, pepper jack cheese, and homemade spicy chipotle ketchup. Order up.
An alternative funk mix keeps Crossroads groupies and hipsters coming back to hear more local and regional live bands at the Brick.
Sheri books two local and one regional band a week to keep regulars on their toes, and mixes things up with country, honky-tonk, blues, and up-and-coming garage bands from the area. The Old Crows, Cowtown Playboys, Dr. John, 3 Bricks Shy, and the John McKenna Band have performed at the Brick, where the stage gets as much action as the bar.
Monday nights, called the Rural Grit Happy Hour, feature terrific bluegrass music and Wednesday open mic nights bring some of the craziest karaoke acts ever seen without a cover.
The Brick’s sound system is said to be just as smoking as the bar’s sweet potato fries.
Drop in for a drink and thank Sheri for adding another brick in the wall of Kansas City’s neighborhood bar scene.
“If I wasn’t running the Brick I’d be driving a food truck or cooking for a hospice house,” said Sheri.
May the feminine divine continue to rule large at the Brick for decades to come.
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- Best Open Mic (Pitch 2008)
A Hug from Ryan Gosling
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