The top Uber destination in Kansas is in Lawrence; here’s a hint, it serves beer

photo by: Nick Krug

The Jayhawk Cafe sits at the corner of 13th and Ohio streets, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017.

Lawrence is known for many things: A basketball shrine. A downtown that evokes Norman Rockwell. An island of blue progressives in a sea of red conservatives. But, of course, if you want to peer into the soul of a community, there is really only way to do it: Check where we Uber. Apparently, Lawrence’s soul is thirsty.

Uber recently released information about top destinations in each state in 2017. According to a recent article by USA Today, the top destination in Kansas, indeed, was in Lawrence. It was . . . the Jayhawk Cafe, at 13th and Ohio.

Readers from across the country may think that sounds like such a quaint little university shop. By all means, if you have visitors in town, send them down to the Jayhawk Cafe and tell them to order a double latte. They are likely to get at least half of that order. Those of us in Lawrence know the Jayhawk Cafe really isn’t a cafe at all. Rather, it is better known as The Hawk, one of the most raucous college bars in Lawrence, which, at times, has had an unfortunate reputation as an underage gathering spot.

So think of that for a moment: The place that Uber drivers go most often in the state of Kansas is a college bar in the Oread neighborhood. (By the way, the bar is surrounded by student housing. I wonder how many times an Uber driver just takes someone across the street.) It should be noted that the Uber figures did exclude airports, transit stations and convention centers, although I rather doubt that the Topeka airport could compete with The Hawk.

Lawrence is not alone in having a robust Uber bar scene. There were at least 10 states where a bar was the top Uber destination. (My favorite was Arkansas’ JJ’s Grill & Chill in Fayetteville. The photo used by USA Today showed what looked to be a fairly empty building with a Porta-John out front. So, put an asterisk next to that one. Its popularity may be more about Arkansas plumbing.)

In case you are wondering about our neighbors, Nebraska’s most popular destination was a Lincoln bar, Barry’s Bar & Grill. And, all kidding aside, obviously if Uber is helping people not drink and drive, that is a valuable thing. Maybe there should be more states where a bar should be the top Uber destination.

As for other neighbors, Busch Stadium in St. Louis was the top Missouri destination. Coors Field in Denver was tops in Colorado. The River Spirit Casino in Tulsa was the No. 1 spot in Oklahoma. And while I know Iowa doesn’t technically border us, I have to pass theirs along: the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.

I’m confused about what constitutes a good night out in Iowa (unless there is a tractor pull every night at the fairgrounds, in which case this would make perfect sense.) More than likely, though, I’m just confused. Uber constantly baffles me. It calls itself a “ride sharing service,” yet despite some pretty strong hints, I’ve never once gotten the driver to pay his half of the fare.