"Serving Up Tradition Since 1953." So reads the weather-worn, metal sign outside Johnny's Tavern, the north Lawrence establishment that men's lifestyle website Thrillist recently named the most iconic bar in Kansas.
Thrillist praised Johnny's, located across the river at 401 N. Second St., for its colorful history and ability to attract a diverse crowd of "local townies, bank presidents, and college kids."
And, from the looks of Thrillist's roundup, the Lawrence bar has some pretty good company. The list includes gems from every state (plus Washington, D.C.), like Chicago's Green Mill (reportedly one of Al Capone's favorite hangouts) and a 239-year-old Connecticut tavern that used to function as a Redcoat command center during the American Revolution.
Johnny's, of course, boasts a pretty interesting history of its own. Originally built as a hotel/grocery store back in 1910, the building evolved from a pool hall to a Prohibition-era gin joint to eventually, in 1953, the Johnny's Tavern we know today.
The bar-restaurant has another location in west Lawrence, at 721 Wakarusa Drive, as well as seven Kansas City-area branches.
What's the best burger in Lawrence? The best margarita? The best menu that's not on a menu? Now's your chance to make your voice heard.
Voting for this year's Best of Lawrence contest, sponsored by Lawrence.com, kicked off Sunday and will be open until March 31.
Of course, voting's not just limited to the hotly contested dining and entertainment categories. In total, we're asking for your input on 160 different topics — from barbers to clothing retailers to plumbers and gyms.
This year, it's easier than ever to vote. Voters can make their choices in specific categories without having to go through the entire ballot.
To vote, head over to Lawrence.com and click on the Best of Lawrence icon at the top. Fill out the ballot all at once or come back later to finish. If you change your mind, you can swap out your vote all the way up to the March 31 deadline.
Last year, more than 8,000 people helped us select the Best of Lawrence winners. So, join the party. Let your voice be heard, especially in regards to that mysterious best secret menu category. That's one I'm certainly curious about.
Best of Lawrence winners will be announced at a special event June 18 before they're published in a Best of Lawrence magazine that will hit newsstands June 21.
Picture the Jackpot Saloon, and “relaxing” and "refreshing" probably aren't the first words that jump to mind. On a busy night the downtown bar best known for its eclectic mix of live music is dark, crowded, sweaty and loud, and its signature $5 specials are flowing — that would be a 16-ounce can of PBR with a shot of Jim Beam.
“At nighttime that pretty much explains this bar,” bartender Mike Harmon said.
But have you been in on a Monday afternoon lately? Welcome to Jackpot’s version of a spa day.
From 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., there’s daytime-appropriate cocktails made with fresh fruits and a massage therapist on site giving chair massages, which are free but tips are encouraged. The bar’s only-on-Monday drinks usually include a bloody mary made with fresh tomatoes instead of bottled juice, a fresh strawberry shandy (Boulevard Wheat beer, lemonade, sprite and muddled fresh strawberries) and a fresh raspberry Tom Collins (muddled raspberries, lime and gin). The licensed massage therapists are borrowed from Body Boutique. When I popped in this week, they had a game of Dr. Mario set up in the front booth, though that may or may not be a recurring feature.
Harmon said his teacher-friends inspired the idea, envisioned to help people relax and get ready to tackle the week. And the drinks are easygoing enough you could have one or two and still go about your day (however, that shot-and-a-beer special is always available if you’re looking to take your Monday afternoon in a more traditional Jackpot-like direction).