From the team behind The Monarch Bar and Verdigris, comes The Mercury Room. This the second bar the Exit Strategy has opened during a pandemic, the first being Verdigris in June 2020. The Exit Strategy includes David Manica, Christian Moscoso, Dominic Petrucci, and Brock Schulte. While the team is not new to serving up high-quality cocktails in well-designed spaces, The Mercury Room will transport you. In my 18 years living in Kansas City, I have never forgotten where I was. That was until I stepped into this sparkling new bar on the 14th floor of the Reverb Apartment building, overlooking downtown Kansas City. As a new year begins, why not start it off with a memorable evening under the stars, either inside or out on the patio? Come inside with me!
Originally posted on January 8, 2021 and updated on June, 20, 2022.
Step Inside The Stars
Under 9,000 twinkling LED lights sit 28 seats in this cozy cocktail bar. You can choose from three different seating options: Lucite barstools, comfy couches for a small group, or club chairs for two. (I found the barstools in case you wanted to glam up your home bar.) Whether you are facing the bar or the skyline, the mirrors provide a view of the whole room. The high shine from the black-tiled floors and reflective tables all work together with the lighting to make you feel like you’re in space. Through a small door off the lobby, you can also step outside to enjoy your drink and view of the skyline. Located in the heart of the Crossroads Arts District, there’s really no other place like it in the city.
The Drinks at The Mercury Room
Not only are the drinks delicious, but they are highly unique. They combine playful techniques, textures, and flavors. For example, the Double Exposure (on the left) was garnished with edible art and forced carbonated grapes. The rest of the ingredients in the clay-matured drink are London dry gin, soursop, white tea, fino sherry, and egg white. The grapes exploded as you chewed, in a good way.
In the middle photo, I am enjoying the Sgrafitto. Made with reposado, oaxacan-spiced aperitivo, perfect vermouth, epazote, pamplemousse, and a cocoa butter rim. The rim not only gave off a delicious scent as I sipped, but it also felt soft. I can honestly say that until now I had never had a drink moisturize my lips before. I loved it!
The last drink I ordered sounded too good to miss. I got a bit obsessed with tiki drinks while not traveling in 2020. This book was my gateway into buying 20 bottles of rum, just a warning. Back to the drink! The Permanence is made with Barbadian rum, curry orgeat, passion fruit agrodulce, and black tea-campari grenadine. Wow! What a flavorful drink to round out my experience. And I didn’t even share what my husband ordered. I can just say that everything was delicious.
What’s in the Name
As you might have already guessed, part of the name comes from the smallest planet in the Solar System. It also relates to the chemical element, Mercury. Mercury is the only metallic element that is a liquid, and is commonly known as quicksilver. (I never know when my undergraduate Chemistry degree might be useful, so forgive me nerding out here.) The symbol in The Mercury Room’s logo has been used since ancient times for both the planet and the element. The third connection is to the Roman god, Mercury. He’s the god of financial gain, eloquence, luck, and travelers, which are certainly reflected in the decor and experience.
What’s Included in the Price
If you’re not from the Midwest, it might seem silly to discuss price. However, Kansas City is known for its affordable living and that extends to drinks. There are many lovely cocktail bars in the city that charge prices in line with other cities. But, it can still be a point of tension among locals. I’ll admit when I read about The Mercury Room opening with all drinks priced at $25 each, I was a little surprised. However, I can honestly say, you get your money’s worth. The price includes more than your cocktail, tip, and tax. Upon arrival you are served a welcome elixir, a snack, and a departure toast. The departure drink features the woodsy flavor of santal wood. And, of course, the service is impeccable. In all, a complete experience.
When You Visit The Mercury Room
As we’ve discussed, The Mercury Room might not be a place you go every week, although you can. It’s definitely a place where you go to celebrate, show off the city to guests, or just treat yourself. I find a bit of anticipation for a fun night out just adds to the experience, and a visit to The Mercury Room is no exception. The bar is open from 4-11pm, Monday-Wednesday and 4-midnight, Thursday-Saturday. Here are a couple of tips to plan ahead:
- Make a reservation. Due to the small size of the bar, reservations are recommended. However, they have recently been trying to accommodate more walk-ins. Visit Tock and make a pre-paid reservation, $20/person for a la carte, which will be applied to your bill. You can also select a three-course tasting $75/person that includes three cocktails and small bites.
- Pick out your outfit. Unlike most every place in Kansas City, The Mercury Room has an “upscale smart, casual cocktail” dress code, but they’ve been relaxing it a bit. I don’t know about you, but if I dress up for an occasion, I do not want to look over and see you in your Chiefs sweatshirt. So, do your best to look nice but a jacket is no longer required.
- Look for the mercury symbol. After parking, either on the street or in the garage, look for the logo symbol on the corner of the building (at 18th and Walnut). You’ll step inside the apartment building lobby where someone will greet you and lead you to an elevator bound for the 14th floor.
And there you have it! My only last note is that by the time you get the check, you have technically already tipped (20%), although you can leave more. As most Americans can attest, not tipping on top of your bill feels strange. But, it’s a practice I would love to see change, provided we pay everyone a living wage, instead of relying on tips. This is what an inclusive price allows. Cheers!