Chuck: Captain Flashback Time Travels to Kelly’s in Westport

facebook_611215545I turned 21 in the service overseas so I didn’t get to any “21” bars until I was discharged in 1973…

My friends immediately took me down to Kelly’s in Westport where we scarfed (remember the word “scarfed”? Righteous!) 25 Cent beers all night. Many weekends later, deep in my cups as I staggered out into a summer night, I saw, what looked like a Confederate Soldier in the window on the second floor.

He’s still there.

Some years later, a Union Soldier must have been added. Elliot, who has worked the front bar at Kelly’s and been in Pat and Kyle Kelly‘s employ for 8 years, tells me it’s been there since he started. Bushwhackers in need of Red Leg dollars have seen the advantages of lasting peace – at least over drinks. And with Missouri in the SEC, we should expect a Pax Romana period in Westport for the foreseeable future, right?

kellyThese pictures show Kelly’s flourishing in 1913, first as a grocery store catering to “high end clientele.”  The staff looks like they somebody just told ’em “America’s Pub” was moving to Westport. This shot from the street is included, because in front of what would one day later become “Johnny Dare’s,” is Craig Glazer‘s great grandfather’s convertible.

Those Glazers get up pretty early in the morning. Either that, or they just don’t go to bed.

facebook_1968003146I’ve included a photo with an ad for the Waldo Furniture Company.

I did this because while sending the picture to a buddy, I forgot how to spell “Hassock” and the spell checker on my phone, has no idea what a “Hassock” is so it couldn’t spell it either.




Obviously, if Harley’s phone number had been available he would have been the go-to authority on this problem. Some day.. Anyway, turns out Hasssocks were a really cool piece of furniture. Your dad put his feet on it while he watched Walter Cronkite cipher the day’s events, drank a “hiighball” and chain smoked Chesterfields. The top flipped up. My brother never liked it as much as I did because I could just about stuff him all the way in there until he was about 6. Those were the days.

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21 Responses to Chuck: Captain Flashback Time Travels to Kelly’s in Westport

  1. the dude says:

    So what’s the difference between a hassock, a footstool and an ottoman?

  2. tony says:

    well did not know kellys had been there since 1920. great foreskin

  3. chuck says:

    Here is the Kelly’s building timeline.

    1850-1851: George and William Ewing built the building that is now Kelly’s.

    1864: Albert Boone purchases the store in January. Throughout the 1800s the building continues to be run as a merchantile/trading business under various owners. This included a drug store, grocery and hardware store. There have been rumors that the building may have been a stop on the Underground Railroad. However, this is unlikely because Westport was never inhabited by abolistionists. Also, its close proximity to Kansas territory makes it an unlikely waiting room for fugitive salves.

    Pre 1890: At some point before 1890 the extention of the back of the building was added. When this occured exactly is unknown.

    1892: The building is owned by Meriweather and Sons.

    1903: The building is sold to the Wiedenmann Bros. John F. and Jake C. Wiedenmann run Wiedenmann Brother Grocery Store for 20+ years.

    1934: A liquor license is issued to the building under “The Wrestlers Inn.” They featured live wresting and from what we know a rather wild after hours club. This was post prohibition and the building has housed a saloon/bar ever since.

    1947: Randal Kelly is hired on as a bartender at what was then called “Westport Inn.”

    1959: The building was designated a national historic landmark.

    1977: Randal’s partner, Art Brock, passes away and the name of the business is officially changed to “Kelly’s Westport Inn.”

    1988: Randal Kelly passes away.

    1995: Two of Randal’s sons, Kyle and Pat, purchase the building from the Wiedenmann family. George Wiedenmann Sr.’s ashes can be seen in a Ten High bottle above the front bar.

    2010: In March Kelly’s adds the rooftop deck.

    Today: Pat and Kyle still own the building and the business. Two of Kyle’s children, Colleen and Mitch, help run the joint.

  4. Rainbow Man says:

    Great place to be a twenty-something single a long time ago. I went there every night I did not need to be up early the next day. I met my wife in Westport and had three kids .. Our oldest is a KU senior but when she comes home for the weekend we tell her to steer clear of Westport. The model changed.. Places like 75th street opened up… Safer… good food.. no douche doormen… and you can still be there late and find romance until 2 am.. with a shorter drive home… No more high capacity douche doorman bad area BS. Tanner’s.. Paddy’s… came along… then all of the neighborhood joints later… Hell… downtown KCK is safer and more fun now than Westport… These Westport owners rode the gravy train for decades and then their concept died… Now they complain? Whatever. They didn’t think forward until it was way too late. Take your dad to Kelly’s on a Sunday afternoon for a beer for nostalgia’s sake… but don’t go near it at night.

    • chuck says:

      My son goes to Westport every now and again. He says it is very dicey and you should be ready for trouble, not in the bars, but in the street.

      It is what it is.

      • BrotherSunday says:

        TODAY, Westport is fine. There are more fights in Waldo with far less security. BrotherSunday goes out every weekend and sees more fights at Plaza locations like Zocalo and Granfalloon than in Westport. BrotherSunday was just at Kelly’s Saturday with a group. There was actually a band with people dancing! Some even had kids in college like yourself. Anyway, some guys wanted to smoke cigars and crack and such so went to Harpo’s and all was wonderful. Bros, it was a great summer night to be out in Westport. Places were PACKED. Harry’s Bar and Tables: PACKED. McCoy’s: PACKED. Ernie Biggs: PACKED. All contained lots of beautiful people and no doormen douches. BTW what is your effn problem with doormen? Because they ask you for ID and money? Do you go out anywhere…in the country? Would you rather wait for the bartenders to repeatedly card every person who orders a beer? The five doormen BrotherSunday ran into were professional and courteous. You mention some other bars and areas of town. To that I will mention that on the same night on the Plaza @ Granfalloon: DOORMAN (they are all fking nice guys btw). Tanners @ Waldo: DOORMAN. The Well @ Waldo: Doorman. This is either just a troll or you are just out of touch. BrotherSunday is thinking a little both because you then grind on “The Westport Owners”. Westport owners are just fine; some may be a bit more ethical than most in Kansas City. They opted out of drunken events which they deem far too dangerous. Take the crawl for cancer for example.

        Brother Sunday means no insult. Only invites you out to try dinner at Harry’s while you watch the kids having a great time. But if not, you can always enjoy your night out in downtown KCK ( ) but still hard to beat a summer night in Westport.

  5. Libertarian says:

    Nice read, Chuck.

    I always have a blast when I go to Westport.

  6. admin says:

    I understand what the Rainbow Man is saying…

    And I think Westport was for many years a pretty rude place to hang out. That’s the way I saw it when it was at its peak. There were always some cool places but at night…

    I think it’s a far kinder, gentler party zone today and there’s been a largely generational changing of the guard with many new places that are far less rough and tumble than the ones that ruled the roost in the 1990s and early 2000s.

    The problem today is the demographic in midtown and downtown has changed dramatically, And that’s a fight Westport and the Plaza will continue to fight probably long into the future.

    That said, my wife and I stayed at the new 816 Hotel a few weeks back and experienced none of the bad stereotypes people associate with Westport.

    It was a fantastic, safe, fun place to be

    • BrotherSunday says:

      Agreed. The Lone Star was the place to get your skull caved in. But they had great music so I was like meh… whatever. Don’t lip off – figure out people want to fight you and buy them a beer. Don’t pinch asses and everything works out for the best. This be the word of BrotherSunday.

  7. tony says:

    these pictures show kellys flourishing in 1913….great foreskin

  8. CG says:

    Chuck you are the man.

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