As reported here in April, the handwriting’s been on the wall for this summer in Westport. Pressure had been brought to bear by merchants and bar owners against the Gusto Bar & Lounge in an effort to get the club dial back its dance music to something less urban. Because the late night crowds were already starting to look a bit Country Club Plaza like.
And the midtown entertainment was bracing for the worst with dress codes posted at Gusto and Kelly’s advising patrons not to bear arms (after all, it’s not Kansas) and cautioning against exposing their underwear or wearing baggy clothing and “jewelry that poses safety risks.”
So no big surprise that for several weeks Westport has had more than its share of urban outfitters from the wrong side of the tracks.
Ah, but Westport was ready.
“We’ve been blocking the street for a month,” says a businessman who asked not to be named. “But we just started ID-ing this past weekend and it eliminated half the crowd trying to get in. There’s no cover, but drinks are not allowed to be brought in. People were walking in with white styrofoam cups with the beverage of their choice.”
“Let’s just say that a whole lot of them refused to give up their drinks to come in,” says the source. “I mean, if all you had to do was give up your 79 cent soda, wouldn’t you just come in?”
On the bright side, “There’s also a lot of extra security to escort women to their cars,” says the source. “The barricades don’t go up until around midnight Fridays and Saturdays after the other bars in town close and they stay up until 3 a.m.”
Naturally there’s been some sniggering among insiders about the timing of Kansas City Star business columnist Joyce Smith‘s front page puff piece earlier in the week about bars “giving new life” to the entrainment district.
It could be far worse, the source stresses.
“It’s really mostly just from 1:30 a.m. to 3 a.m. and we’re only turning away around 500 to 800 people. The city needs to come up with something fun, safe and peaceful for kids and keep it open until 3 a.m. Why not? Or else they can keep chasing them around from place it place. It’s not rocket science.”