This story was originally published in December 2019; offerings and opening times may be different due to COVID-related restrictions, so check in advance of a visit.
When a distillery is co-founded by a star mixologist, it’s a solid bet that the cocktails served there will be world-class. And J. Rieger & Co.—the brainchild of Andy Rieger and cocktail heavyweight Ryan Maybee, who operates Kansas City’s Manifesto and The Rieger—certainly delivers in the drinks department. Its distillery in the historic Electric Park neighborhood offers not one, but two bars, each serving inventive cocktails featuring the distillery’s whiskey, gin, vodka, and amaro.
The Monogram Lounge is an all-day space that opens at 9 a.m.: Start with a coffee or dive immediately into a Shift-Kicker, made with Kansas City whiskey, sherry, berries, and citrus—no one’s judging. There are also draft cocktails and large-format punches. With ample Wi-Fi and plenty of food options, you could spend the day here—at least until The Hey! Hey! Club opens in the late afternoon. Paying tribute to a historic jazz venue of the same name, the bar offers an intimate atmosphere and high-end spirits, with a separate cocktail selection from its upstairs neighbor. The inaugural menu highlights Kansas City history; adventurous drinkers can dive into the “Exploring the Wilderness and Heading West” section, with options like the Mochila, a frothy mix of Compass Box Great King Street Glasgow blended scotch, madeira, sherry cask-finished cider, orange, lemon, and egg white.
Both bars offer Heim lager—brewed exclusively for Rieger by KC Bier Co.—and several wines, including Aurora manzanilla sherry on tap. Try it alongside Rieger’s Kansas City whiskey, which includes a small amount of sherry in the blend. Each space’s menu changes seasonally, giving you reasons to return again and again.
Must-Drink Cocktail: Horsefeather, J. Rieger’s signature cocktail made with its Kansas City whiskey, ginger beer, bitters, and lemon, and served on draft
Don’t Miss: The 40-foot slide connecting the distillery’s second-floor Monogram Lounge to the first floor