With complete confidence and accuracy I can report that just about every Irish person in Kansas City is eagerly awaiting the new deck at Kelly’s Wesport Inn.
Full disclosure: I don’t see many white people during my daily routine and I had always assumed that the term “Irish” was just another way to describe white people who weren’t Italian, which is standard nomenclature for the equally minority dominated world of boxing.
In any event, the Kelly’s deck project called Randal’s Roost is turning out to be a pretty big deal.
The marketing is rather brilliant and the move to let locals buy a step leading up to the deck at a somewhat accessible $250 bucks is a nice way to let area drunks take part in the renovation. Sources close to this project say the steps are selling at an extremely lucrative pace or at the very least people are lining up (once again) to give their hard earned cash to Kelly’s. It’s like buying a piece of Kansas City history for folks with brain cells to dead to remember it for themselves. The money pays for naming rights along with an invitation to the pre-grand-opening party. That is, if hanging out with a bunch of old Irish dudes is your bag. I’m a history buff so, obviously I think that’s kind of cool.
Appealing to the well established and cash heavy old school Westport denizens may be the right look for the place. Let’s be forthright: Westport is not what it once was and Kelly’s is in a mad dash to re-brand itself. This effort to make the place seem like an “Institution” rather than a bar makes sense for tourism purposes, at least now that The P&L has run off with almost all of the weekend night life crowd.
A brief aside: Given that Westport is “changing character” what I like most about visiting Kelly’s during the past two times I’ve stopped by is the place has become a hangout for some AMAZING African-American chicks whom I don’t remember partying there not so long ago. The new (hottie) denizens might be runoffs from America’s Pub now that the hip-hop format change has attracted a bigger (and some say more volatile) crowd, but I enjoy the eye candy nonetheless.
Still, I’m also a realist, and I wonder if this move that will tear apart one of the oldest buildings in town is worth it just for better bar biz. I can accept the arguement that Kelly’s is a Kansas City institution, but utilizing the newest latest construction technology to build a state-of-the-art patio addition doesn’t jibe with that unique proposition.
Like it or not, a bit of the old, historic Kelly’s will be destroyed in the process of creating the new deck and ultimately, as always, the success of the place will rely on their ability to welcome all of Kansas City and find support.