Groups convening in Kansas will find an abundance of ways to venture out for some after-hours fun. From a swanky speakeasy in Wichita to casino action in Kansas City to a relaxing outing of painting while sipping wine in Manhattan, the Sunflower State offers plenty of entertaining nightlife options to end a productive day.
Wichita’s bustling downtown features intriguing urban artworks and a historic red-brick entertainment district filled with breweries and dining options, according to Jessica Sawatski, public relations manager for Visit Wichita.
A standout hot spot downtown is Dockum, a subterranean speakeasy-style bar located at the Ambassador Hotel. This trendy venue features decor reminiscent of the historic drugstore that was once housed in the building.
“They serve craft cocktails, wine and beer, small plates and tapas,” Sawatski said. “Although entrances to speakeasies of the 1920s were hidden, the Dockum entrance is accessible by following the pharmacy signs in the hotel lobby.”
She added that groups would feel exclusive at Dockum, especially in its original circa-1926 Union National Bank vault, which is available for private gatherings of six to 18 people.
Beyond its eateries and the various places to quench attendees’ thirst, including River City Brewing, which has a rooftop lounge that can be reserved for private parties, Wichita offers ample entertainment opportunities.
Among them are 22 live theaters, including Mosley Street Melodrama, an audience participation theater, and Loony Bin, a comedy club.
“Groups are sure to be humming, dancing and laughing the night away,” Sawatski said.
Lawrence also boasts a lively downtown that is considered among the most beautiful historic districts in the country, said Andrea Johnson, director of marketing and communications for Explore Lawrence.
“The main drag, Massachusetts Street, known by locals as simply ‘Mass,’ and its surrounding streets are bustling with activity day and night,” she said.
Explore Lawrence is available to help planners with a downtown pub crawl, which includes visits to a few of the many unique bars, pubs and live music venues located here.
“Groups can experience Kansas’ first legal brewery at Free State Brewing Co., a ‘hurricane’ at the Sandbar, an arcade at Quinton’s Bar & Deli and an intimate concert at The Bottleneck, all within walking distance,” Johnson said.
And for a fun after-hours corporate teambuilding activity groups can check out Breakout Lawrence, an experience during which attendees solve puzzles together in order to “break out” of a themed escape room within a certain amount of time.
Groups meeting in Dodge City often grab dinner and a show at the Depot Theater Company, which is located in the Historic Santa Fe Depot.
“Have a drink, be seated and be served an exquisite meal by the performers themselves before the show begins,” said Jenay Wallace, tourism coordinator for the Dodge City CVB. “Cabarets are also offered as a delightful option for dinner entertainment for your next group gathering in Dodge City.”
A new attraction in town that groups are also encouraged to check out is Boot Hill Distillery, which offers private tours and tastings for groups interested in having a “soil-to-sip” experience.
“The grain used in every single spirit the distillery produces is grown right here in southwest Kansas,” Wallace said.
She added that aside from tours and tastings, the distillery hosts a variety of nightlife events, including mixology classes and a Vinyasa Yoga and Vodka Night.
“To accommodate groups, an intimate meeting room called ‘The Jail’ was recently restored and opened on the distillery’s top floor,” Wallace added. “The building is a historic landmark that was once Dodge City Jail, so ‘The Jail’ actually held lawbreakers at one time.”
The Strawberry Hill area located in the heart of downtown Kansas City is a go-to place for groups seeking nighttime entertainment, according to Justin Stine, meetings and sports sales manager for the Kansas City Kansas CVB.
The area, which is centered on the circa-1887 Queen Anne-style Strawberry Hill Museum & Cultural Center, is the perfect place for a group pub crawl experience.
“You can begin the evening with some of the finest barbecue you will find in Kansas City at Slap’s BBQ,” Stine said. “After some great barbecue, start your pub crawl at Chicago’s, a local bar that has a wide range of craft beers on tap.”
A crawl might feature any number of other stops, too, including the 403 Club, a pinball bar with 11 pinball machines and more than 60 craft beers from 25 different countries, an internet jukebox and pool table; the Mockingbird Lounge, where groups can play a variety of board games while enjoying a sandwich and craft brew; and the 7th Street Casino, which has over 600 slot machines.
Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway is another popular nightlife setting for groups that would like to cut loose at the end of the day. The casino, located in the Village West area of Kansas City, features 2,000 slot machines, 52 table games, including 12 poker tables, and five restaurants.
Groups will find several opportunities for an evening outing in Overland Park’s walkable entertainment and shopping district, Prairiefire, which is home to the Cinetopia movie theater and Pinstripes, a bowling destination where attendees can also play bocce ball and share some dishes from a made-from-scratch menu.
According to Mindy Lallier, director of sales for the Overland Park CVB, groups are also welcome at Dave & Buster’s, which has meeting space along with about 150 arcade games, full-service bars, televisions playing sporting events and teambuilding opportunities.
Lallier also suggested that groups check out the New Theatre Restaurant, a dine-in theater that stages traveling Broadway and comedy shows.
In Manhattan-based Aggieville, a popular entertainment district with bars, restaurants and shops that attracts college students from nearby Kansas State University, groups can arrange an Aggieville Olympics outing.
“In the same spirit as global Olympic Games, Aggieville Olympics are the ultimate measure of excellence for people who want to gather together and simply have rousing and spirited good times,” said Michael Goens, communications coordinator for Visit Manhattan KS.
He explained this team-bonding pub crawl is built around fun bar-styled games in the walkable Aggieville area.
Also located in Aggieville is Uncorked Inspiration, where groups can book a Paint & Sip party.
“It’s a spectacular way to unleash the creativity that dwells within, plus enjoyment among friends and fellowship during the production of artwork to admire and treasure,” Goens said.
He added that Paint & Sip events are filled with good humor, easygoing instruction and a little art history.
Kansas CVB Contacts
Dodge City CVB
Geary County/Junction City CVB
Kansas City Kansas CVB
Overland Park CVB
Visit Manhattan KS