I had my first cocktail-paired dining experience in Bali. It was incredible and delicious. Six months after I returned home to Kansas City, I saw that one of my favorite bars–The Hey! Hey! Club–was offering a supper club with a cocktail pairing. I had to go. I’ve now been to the Hey! Hey! Supper Club twice. And, unlike many things that don’t live up to the first memory, it was even better the second visit. Some people might find dinner in a speakeasy a little intimidating or not worth the price. I think it’s absolutely worth it. This post shares why it has become one of my favorite places for a unique date night in Kansas City.
What’s The Hey! Hey! Club?
As mentioned in my cocktail bars in Kansas City post, The Hey! Hey! Club is a newer cocktail hotspot in the city. Located in the basement of the J. Reiger & Co. distillery, you’ll feel miles away from anyone in their intimate setting. The bar is named after a Kansas City bar from the 1930s of a similar name–The Hey Hay Club. (They really played up the name by offering hay bales as seating and had stages made of hay wagons.) The bar appeared in a 1996 film, Kansas City, as a slightly fictionalized version of itself with an altered spelling of its name. The signage from the movie, which spells the out name as it is spelled now, sits just outside the bar doors. As you walk in next to this life-sized piece of nostalgia, you know you are in for a great date night in Kansas City.
What is a Cocktail Paired Dinner?
If you’ve had a wine-paired dinner, you likely know what to expect from a dinner paired with cocktails. However, since many people aren’t used to drinking four (or more) cocktails at a time, it might sound a bit too boozy for some. Rest assured, establishments who understand how to pair food and drinks keep this factor in mind. Many restaurants will serve smaller versions of a cocktail or choose low ABV (alcohol by volume) drinks to keep the overall alcohol consumption reasonable. You can also opt not to finish every drink.
The other marvel of a great cocktail-paired dinner is when the food and drinks go perfectly together. When I have a cocktail at a restaurant, I generally like to have it before my food arrives. This is because it can be hard to pair complex flavors of a great drink together with food. Unless it’s expertly planned that way. In the case of both experiences at The Hey! Hey! Club, this was certainly the case. It’s like a wine pairing, when you eat a piece of cheese or chocolate and then take a sip of wine. The flavors of both the food and the drink get better because they are enjoyed together.
One of my favorite flavor pairings was the poached pear with Caffè Amaro mascarpone and The Alexander. The cocktail was a riff on a Brandy Alexander, and was made with Caffè Amaro, toasted pecan, Armagnac, and melted vanilla ice cream.
Why It’s the Best Date Night in Kansas City
In addition to the cozy atmosphere and delicious food and drinks, there are other things to enjoy at the distillery that houses The Hey! Hey! Club. As you wait upstairs to be seated, you can enjoy the distillery’s 130 years of history displayed in a beautiful, 3,000 square foot museum. Artifacts from the early days, including original product catalogs and bottles, can be viewed for free. If you time things right, you might be able to squeeze in a tour of the distillery as well. You can also browse their gift shop for spirits, cocktails to go, and J. Rieger merchandise before or after dinner.
Paying homage to the original Hey Hay Club’s world-class live jazz, you’ll find some of Kansas City’s top jazz musicians playing here. While it’s not big band (i.e. loud), it’s soulful and melodic. You’ll hear trios, duos, and solo piano players while you eat and sip. My brother is a jazz trumpet player, so I know good jazz when I hear it. Whomever does the booking of the musicians definitely knows what they’re doing.
Even on nights when dinner isn’t on offer, which I am sad to say is not every weekend, you can still have an incredible date night. You will always find incredible cocktails and delicious food at The Hey! Hey! Club. The Monogram Lounge is upstairs, overlooking the stills in the distillery, and also serves food and drinks. The final thing to mention, which makes this place one of the best date nights in Kansas City, is the service. The waitstaff are all super knowledgeable about spirits and cocktails. I’ve discovered new spirits after conversing with my waiter or waitress on more than one occasion.
What to Know Before You Go
When to go
Fair warning, The Hey! Hey! Supper Club option is sadly not always available. They have been offering them on Friday and Saturday nights, but check the website to find out more information. The website also includes what musicians will be playing.
Reservations & cost
You will definitely want to make a reservation which will prompt you to pay upfront for the Supper Club. The dinner is $110/person and the optional cocktail pairing is an additional $60/person. Tax and tip are additional. (These prices are subject to change, but were what I paid in August and December 2020.) You can also order cocktails off the menu individually and pay for them at the time of your visit. It’s funny to walk out without exchanging more money, but it’s also nice to walk away when you’re done.
When you arrive
The Hey! Hey! Club is located in the J. Rieger Distillery building (pictured) in the East Bottoms of Kansas City. The exact address is: 2700 Guinotte Ave; Kansas City, Missouri. When you drive up you’ll find plenty of parking in the lot across from the distillery. You’ll walk around the left of the building, when you’re facing it, to find the main entrance. Just check in at the front desk and someone will come and escort you downstairs.
I hope you enjoy your special night out in Kansas City!
Other Ideas for a Date Night in Kansas City
If this suggestion wasn’t your thing, or you’re looking for more ideas, I wrote this post for a friend’s blog. It covers date nights in three categories: Sporty, Cultural, and Culinary. Definitely contains something for everyone! Or, if you’re looking for another amazing date night in Kansas City, check out my post on The Mercury Room.